March Madness – Raising Baby Chicks

Maybe it’s the pain in my heart from losing my long lost friend, Mister Bascums. That pain became immensely intense when my son, Brandon, returned from his deployment to Romania. It just didn’t feel right not having Mr. B around. I’m not sure why having my son home made the void seem so much bigger. It was almost unbearable at times. So I went searching to fill that void…

Spring was in the air. The sun was warm. The breeze slightly cool. I only had to work at the YMCA until 11:00 am. I was filled with new energy. I wanted to plant flowers, build my chicken coop before the arrival of baby chicks, and start a garden that is destined to die at my hands. As I worked with members at the YMCA, the only thing I could thing about was getting home to experience the fresh warmth of the sun rays, the feel of soil between my fingers tips, and the smell of grass and flowers. Eventually, the latter would send me into months of not being able to breathe, head congestion, and non-stop sneezing. In fact, my husband has banned me from ever mowing the grass because of this. That does not make me love the smell of spring any less.

I contacted Karen. You know, my co-conspirator in these challenges. She’s been MIA – a silent partner at this point. We won’t hold that against her, as she has found herself an new Beau, Steve. She has been a little preoccupied with his presence lately. That is perfectly okay because she seems so happy! Anyways, I was fortunate to get a hold her. She agreed, her and Steve, would meet me at the Tractor Supply Company where I buy some of my garden supplies. We discovered the baby chicks.  They were Golden Hens. The Red Hens, I really wanted, could not be guaranteed not to have a rooster in the mix. I just had to have these Golden Hens! They were amazingly beautiful! The only problem I had was a warm place to keep them because I do not have a garage. But at least, now, I could mark another challenge off this Ultimate Bucket List, Raise Chickens and Enjoy Fresh Eggs (#40).

Karen and Steve helped me figure out a way to keep them at my house. Steve even helped Wes build the chicken coop. In order for the chicks to stay in the house, we constructed a Rubbermaid box, added a heat lamp, and some straw. We used old lids for food and water. I can’t help myself! Every time, I pass by them, I have to pick them up and play with them. Love on them. Talk to them.

Neptune, my three year old English Mastiff, was infatuated by them. He would just stand there and stare at them like they were creatures from another planet. The last set of chickens we had, he would chase them, pin them down, and lick on them. He never once hurt them. He just loved playing with them. Unfortunately, the hawks had a different use for them. I don’t know who was more devastated over that, him or I. I even tried to accuse the propane man of taking them because I could not fathom the idea of a hawk taking off with them.

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One week went past, my husband informed me that we lost one of the four. I was so hurt by that. I started to get really sad about it. Then, I realized that even my grandmother could not save them all. It is like she was speaking to me. Letting me know that it would be okay. You see, she used to have all kinds of chickens, doves, horses, goats. I think that is where my love for nature comes from. She had garden pots all over her lawn, growing such things as jalapeño peppers, green peppers, tomatoes. You name it, she could grow it. She even raised baby chicks from the egg. Yes, she hatched them under a light. When one of the chicks didn’t make it, she would call me and I would run over and bury it. I would even make a cross made of sticks at its grave site.

My Granny did not pass on her green thumb or the ability to raise animals to me. In fact, I don’t think I acquired any talent from the family tree. I have the biggest brown thumb any one could imagine. As stated before, my voice would make doves cry. My artistic ability is the imagination in my head that never makes it to paper. BUT, it doesn’t stop me from trying! I still hold on to the idea that Granny is directing me from heaven on how to plant flowers and vegetables, what to feed them to make them grow, and giving me enough of her love for animals to raise my own. I think of her when I hear the birds singing in the morning. I imagine it is she that is singing to me.

When I am really stumped for answers and Granny is taking too long to give them to me, I just pick up the phone and call my mom. She has all the answers! She too can grow anything and is a master at concocting the most unusual things.

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
Albert Einstein

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