Spring is a windy beach, still clean from a half a year of ice and snow.
Spring is a handful of radishes fresh from the moist earth.
Spring is a half-grown chick — part bird, part dinosaur.
Spring is a baby with bare arms. And bare feet.
Spring is a morning in the garden.
Ellen woke up at 6:30 this morning — well before her usual waking hour — and crept downstairs to see the chicks. She stayed with them, and played with them, for over two hours (I am told, because I was sleeping in!). It was nearly 9:00 when I finally came down to the sound of two girls and six chicks happily chirping away.
Two years have passed since the first time we brought home baby chickens, and the girls want to be much more involved in their care this time. Amabel and Ellen are taking “the naming of the chicks” very seriously — thinking ahead into the future lives of their birds. Which baby names stuck last time? What will the birds look like and act like when they get older; how will their markings change and what personalities might they have? Who will be the biggest? Who will be the boss? Of course we talk about these things knowing how much we can’t predict . . . but I do think that the girls are considering the future of their chickens as they consider names, simply because they’ve watched a group of birds grow up once before and seen them through seasons of joy (the first egg!) and loss (unknown, and not so unknown, predators).
Mrs. P (short for Mrs. President) was a favorite bird from our first batch. She was the first to lay eggs and would proudly strut her way up to Harry and give him a good peck on the nose when he was getting too curious. Sadly, Mrs. P was mysteriously murdered at the tender age of six months. It was likely her fearlessness that brought her to her end — but we like to think that perhaps she protected the rest of the flock from harm in her last moments.
Who will be the “Mrs. P” of this group of ladies? (Or might one of them turn out to be a rooster? There is always the possibility that we’ll have a Mr. P!)
As of today, the chicks are called Fuzzy, Little Hawk and Big Hawk, Nickel, Little Jet, and Mashed Potato. The Australorp below is “Mashed Potato”. She currently resembles a tiny penguin, but the girls know from experience that she will grow up to be a very large solid, shiny black bird — and if she is anything like our full-grown Australorp, she will be shy but very sweet.
For now this bitty bird fits snugly in the palm of Ellen’s hand . . . reminding her (just a bit!) of a fluffy pile of Mashed Potato. A good name, don’t you think?