The local hardware/garden/feed store can be a dangerous place in the very early spring, and here’s why:
I’ve written before regarding my Tall, Dark, and Slightly Neanderthal husband’s woeful lack of distinction between critters and pets. This aspect of his personality is one I can deal with, mostly by ignoring it.
There’s a corollary, though. He’s also enamored of baby things. I think it has something to do with him being a big guy; little creatures feel precious. And, he likes babies. A lot. Watching him with our babies was a revelation and a joy to me. Babies, for their part, love him. It’s his deep, rumbling voice, paired with warm hands that aren’t in the least gingerly. Baby humans, baby dogs, baby sheep, even a baby llama once–they all like him, and he likes them back.
So, you can tell that as much as he likes baby things, I like watching him with baby things.
This explains why we went to the hardware/garden/feed store for some sanding supplies (he’s supervising The Boy in building new bedside tables), and came home with two tiny reddish Araucana-mix chicks, and two black Cayuga ducklings, and how I ended up expanding my Mary Poppins bra repertoire to include Chick Rescue.
I was blessed by the Bosom Fairy. And when one is blessed by the Bosom Fairy, one ends up with bras that are more engineering than lingerie. Forty-two cast iron hooks, steel girder beams… that’s the sort of support one needs when one has been blessed by the Bosom Fairy.
And with that level of engineering, there is often some degree of excess space down the front of one’s bra, right in the middle, over the sternum. Unless I use drywall screws to attach my bra to my sternum, or spend $100 a pop on brassieres, that space is going to exist.
My Tall, Dark, and Slightly Neanderthal husband named that space the Mary Poppins Zone. He’s right: it operates much the same way as Mary Poppins’ satchel. I’ve not tried to fit a large fern or a lit upright lamp in there, but I have stashed spare baby wipes, chapsticks, binkies, and cell phones down there without a bit of trouble. Chapstick works remarkably well after being stored at body temperature, too.
So: the baby chickens and ducklings will go outside into their permanent home in a few weeks, and in a few months, they’ll produce lovely eggs to eat and bake with. During their infancy, however, they need warmth, so they’re in temporary warmer quarters.
Being small creatures, they’re not terribly wise in the ways of their own kind yet. Which explains why one of the little reddish chicks tried to play Duckling, and got a bit soaked in the water. Soaked chicks get hypothermic very, very quickly (and they look simply pathetic with their fluff all matted down. Gives new understanding to the term “chicken skin.” Really, just pathetic.)
My family had left me alone to nap in solitude this afternoon. The distressed trill of a soaked baby chick woke me, however. She was insistent. When I saw what had her so distressed, I knew I had to warm her up, and keep her warm until she could dry out entirely.
So, I wrapped her in a dry washcloth, and tucked her down my bra. All you could see of her was a bit of beak, and one eye.
She was still a bit distressed, though. In a weird, possibly-inspired moment, I started producing an odd purring sound that has always calmed my babies… and she settled down, answering with a soft trill of her own every so often.
As she got warmer, she started to realize she was By Herself, which is Not What She Wanted… and she set up a distress call again. Her sibling answered. I quickly figured out neither would be still until they were together again.
And that is how I ended up spending a portion of my afternoon with two baby chickens down the front of my shirt, and another portion with both of them snuggled into the crook of my neck, napping.
It’s my husband’s fault. He’s just too cute with baby critters, and I couldn’t let a damp baby chicken freeze.
When you boil it down:
Mary Poppins saved that baby chicken’s life. With just a little help from the Bosom Fairy.