It was my husband's idea. Two years ago he came home from work with a big ole smile on his face. "Kids!" he shouted. "I have a surprise for you in the car!"
Greta and Finn ran gleefully to the car, and he pulled out a shoebox with holes in the side. Inside were - get this - SIX baby chicks. Turns out there is a little farm store in the neighboring town, where one can purchase baby chickens if one is so inclined.
I knew he was thinking about getting chickens, and while I thought he was a little nuts, I wasn't going to get in the way. But I didn't realize at the time he meant he was going to get chickens, like, that week.
About ten months later we started getting eggs. If you are an egg person, there is nothing more delicious than a farm fresh egg. Although the idea does take some getting used to. I was accustomed to purchasing my eggs in a nice brightly lit supermarket. Now we could get an egg that was still warm from the, er, source. One of the chickens lays light green eggs. That took some getting used to as well.
Turns out chickens are pretty low maintenance. We've had the occasional mass break-out. I can picture them there, late at night, pecking out their escape route in the dirt. One day they all figured out a way over the chicken wire surrounding their coop and fled, en masse, to the neighbor's yard. This prompted a little visit from the Chicken Police, politely asking us to keep them contained. Yes, there is such a thing as the Chicken Police.
Talk about a learning curve.
We've had a few losses, and we're down to three chickens. Yellowy passed due to natural causes, PeePee was lost due to the proverbial Fox in the Henhouse, and most recently Blackie had an unfortunate encounter with a Chickenhawk. Such is life. My husband started making noises that three chickens isn't enough. Maybe we should get some more?
So yesterday as he was heading out the door to work, he shouts over his shoulder, "the new chicks should be arriving today. Have a good day!"
I was rushing around getting the kids ready for school, so he had already pulled down the driveway when I thought: Wait? What? What does he mean arriving? This question was answered a few hours later with a voice mail message from the post office. "This is Sue from the post office. Your express package from, er, 'My Chicken' is here, and we need you to come pick it up as quickly as possible."
Yes. It turns out you can order baby chicks by mail*.
The kids and I piled in the car and drove to the post office. We walk in, wait in line, and then we hear it: cheeping. It is so loud the post office worker has to raise his voice a little. It gets to be our turn at the counter, and I sheepishly say, "We're here to pick up an Express Delivery. The, um, cheeping one."
We take the chicks home, and carefully open the box. There they are: nestled comfortably in straw over two warming pads: three baby chicks. Meet Curious, Fluffles and Joe:
*I was worried about this practice, too, but it's done all the time, and the chicks are safely and comfortably transported through a special delivery service. So it's all good.