On Saturday, Sadie and I went out. We call it out because we live about 12 miles from anywhere and, to be honest, we don’t get ‘out’ that much. I usually try and consolidate trips, if I’m going out for feed, I’ll pay the electric bill, return library books and swing by walmart too. Because when you get back to the farm, alllll the way back, it’s hard to get up the momentum to go again.
She took care of the horses across the road and I went up to the chicken coop. I have a pretty hen sitting on the nest, I’m not sure how many eggs because every time I peek over there she lets out this awful screeching sound I have never heard of before. I’d rather let her be, Mama’s can get protective you know.
With babies on the way, I knew we needed a safe place to let them grow up. The last batch of babies we had late summer disappeared one by one. And with that fox creeping around, there’s no telling how fast they would go. We have another small coop a few feet from the barn, our neighbor was keeping his chickens there but they’ve since moved. I went to check it out.
Baby Kitty followed me over, there was grass growing from all the seeds they left behind. I poked around for a while, it looked sound – there’s a door between to separate the hens if I needed to. One side had a few buckets full of hay for laying, and the other had a perch made from a long branch. Hanging from the ceiling was a feeder and an aluminum water-er that didn’t look very new.
The feeder had leaves in it, I tipped it over and shook it out. Want to guess what fell out with the leaves? Two baby birds. I felt like a villain. Fortunately, Mom and Dad were out at the grocery store, because I wasn’t immediately dive bombed. They both sounded pitiful, so I didn’t have very long.
One baby hopped off, the other one just lay there, stunned. I scooped him up quick and dropped him back in his upside-down nursery. The sibling was no where to be seen. I ended up leaving the coop, walking around the back, raking through the dry leaves, and there he was. He was so tiny, a little dark brown thing with a yellow beak. He wasn’t bigger than a walnut. I scooped him up and he fit right in the palm of my hand.
I felt his little tiny heart beating like a hummingbird, I dropped him in with his brother/sister and got out of there fast. I haven’t gone back to see if they are still there, because I feel like I did enough damage in 90 seconds than most people do in their whole lives. They had been traumatized enough, they didn’t need to see my big face again and go into a panic. I still haven’t moved Mama Hen either.
So Sadie and I went out, when we passed Gap Creek Middle School, she hit a butterfly. A beautiful Monarch got stuck in her one working wiper blade. We pulled over and I said ‘You killed it!’ She got out and plucked that thing from the car and laid it in the grass. It didn’t look very good. Our track-record today was pretty grim.
We finally made it to White’s Hardware just in time to see everyone else. People were walking around, loading their trucks, looking at plants, chicks, feed, you name it. I followed Sadie right inside to a row of shelves full of oil-pans. Each one was full of different seeds – marbled brown beans, bright yellow corn, pale pumpkin seeds, olive green okra seeds that would fit inside a cheerio, and hundreds more. They were all beautiful.
I grabbed a bag and she grabbed a scoop, and we began to measure out our garden. 1/2 a pound of White Half Runner beans, 1 ounce of Rattle Snake Beans, 1 pound of white sweet corn, 1/2 a pound of okra, we got squash, zucchini, cucumbers, and a big back of fertilizer. We got loaded up and drove across the road to Loveday’s Market.
The Loveday’s live on our road, they operate the produce and plant market from Spring to Fall. Outside are rows and rows of every kind of flower you can imagine, tables full of fresh local produce, all shadowed by hanging flower baskets. We picked out several tomato seedlings and a few pepper plants. I don’t know if you have ever smelled a tomato plant, but they smell like summer. It took me right back to gardening last year, I got so excited I about jumped out of my skin.
We went inside and said hello to Tim, he sold us on a big bucket of fresh strawberries, then we hit the road, snacking the whole way back. I told her about the baby birds, and we decided what we would plant first, and where. It was just another day to some people, a traumatic day for some baby birds, but to me and Sadie – it’s our whole world, I wouldn’t trade it for all the grain in Egypt.