Saturday, March 17, 2018


Ed can't wait for mail delivery today. This guy who normally shuns and scorns items rushed to the farmhouse from Amazon is asking repeatedly if I think a package will be delivered today and if so, how soon? And when indeed it is delivered, he tears open the box and grins with satisfaction. It is the world's cheapest tripod. ($11 in case you're curious.)

Oh, we already have a tripod set up to regulate the height of the heating source over the chick box. This one is for Ed's (equally cheap) phone: he's testing a 24/7 nest cam idea. Not that watching chicks on a screen is any more exciting than watching them in person, but give Ed a technology setup opportunity and he perks up.

Me, I've fallen into the role of the caregiver (because the other caregiver in this household is a tad laidback in attending to the essentials, such as picking out poop at regular intervals). Good morning, babes! Look, it's a sunny day!

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They do look. First, with a stretch...

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Then with a jump...

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 What's beyond that wall??

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A step up from the feeding station...

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How long before they can jump right out of the box? I must remind Ed to set up the next enclosure -- a bigger play area for the adventurous girls!

Breakfast in the sun room.

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And yes, it is a beautifully sunny day -- skies that only the Upper Midwest can deliver on a regular basis in March!

(From behind the barn...)

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One could get lost in the new chick routine. It's endlessly fascinating but ultimately, at the end of the day, you would have to admit to yourself that perhaps picking up little poops all day long isn't the best use of your time. I suppose I realized that I was a bit over the edge when on my morning run to the barn, I stopped and went to great trouble to secure just the right twig from one of our peach trees to put into the chick box for their amusement.

A few more minutes of watching them eat, drink...

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... poop and nap...

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... and Ed and I are off. We need a good hike! But where?

We have a novel and somewhat clever idea (at least we start off thinking it's clever): why not go to our favorite nearby hiking spot -- the Brooklyn Wildlife Area -- but approach it from the back end? Rather than hiking the Ice Age trail that runs through it, why not search for the trout stream we learned about just recently?

We study the maps and plunge into the marsh thicket. It's not easy to go off trail when hiking in these parts. It tends to be rough going and you may reach impenetrable growth at the first turn.

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But, eventually we come to the trout stream. It's just lovely!

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We can see the sandy bottom and I tell Ed that in a year or two, Snowdrop will surely love wading in this clear stream of water (first, she has to be tough enough to survive the hike).

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We try to stick with clearings, but the fact is, it's easy to get lost here and after an hour of thrashing about, we turn back.

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After all, the little chicks are waiting for my attention.

Oh! They seem content on their own!

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I can't believe they're just six days old! So independent! And the feathers are coming in so quickly!

It's like watching a grandkid grow up, only at a hundred times the pace!

Speaking of grandkid, Snowdrop is with up tonight and she arrives with a smile on her face and a doll in her hand.

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(Said doll -- Peg, from her favorite PBS show -- needs to see the chicks!)

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Hi Snowdrop and Peg!

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As usual, when she is here for just one night, we have a pizza party. Recently, we've been playing the game of "broccoli comes first" and as a result,  Snowdrop has grown quite fond of broccoli. Or at least she eats it because our game requires that she have affection for it. Grandmothers are such horrible manipulators.

(Look at that sunshine streaming in, even as we eat just before 7!)

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Ed gets up to put away the big girls in the barn. She begs to go with him. Of course you can go, little one.

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Because the ritual of putting the cheepers away is fraught with possible dangers and dramatic twists and turns, I am never quite sure how everyone will look on the return.

But, they always look like this: full of smiles and chortles and good feelings.

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Goodnight, cheepers, goodnight child, goodnight little ones where ever you are...