April Snow Woes

It’s that problem you have when the day before the ground was solid mud but today it’s all snow covered and frozen.

When you are accustomed to being a glorious white but the mud has lingered and you are are hardly fit to be seen.

When all the puddles and ponds have frozen and all you have left is a water bowl.

And it’s just too small for a decent bath.

 

 

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Baby Chicks DO Make Everything Better!

A few years ago my mom broke her arm. Of course, Murphy’s law never to be discounted, that happened to be the day her baby chicks arrived. I picked them up at the feed mill on my way to go help her out, letting them know who I was and why my mom wasn’t there herself. “You bring these right in and put them on her lap” said the woman. “Baby chicks make everything better.”

They didn’t miraculously heal a broken arm that day, but they did bring out a lot of smiles.

Ever since the woman at the feed mill put it into words, I’ve found it to be true. Baby chicks, in many ways, make everything better.

This weekend I had big plans, my brother was going to be visiting and we were going to Get Things Done. The kids had plans with other kids, John had a crazy workout challenge event, it was going to be great. And then my brother hurt his leg (he’ll be fine), the kid plans canceled because it tried to be winter again today (spring will be back soon), John did his event (and had a great time despite the weather) but I was not feeling the “great” that was this weekend.

And then I got a slightly out of the blue offer of 18 baby chicks to be delivered ASAP. After rummaging around outside (in the ice/snow/sleet/rain/wind) for supplies, hauling straw and shavings and digging an extension cord out of the ice, the brooder house was set up and the baby chicks arrived. I stood in the warm brooder house, out of the wind and rain and sleet and snow and ice, looked at my new babies peeping in the straw and suddenly everything was quite a bit better.

But that’s not really how I know baby chicks make everything better.

How I know is this…

A few hours after they arrived Clara, Jane and I all went out to check on (read snuggle) the babies. After a bit I, thinking that I should get something done, left the girls out in the brooder house and spent about an hour in the basement on various chores. I came upstairs and it was suspiciously quiet. Did they go back out? … or… uh oh…

The brooder house has a door with a hook and eye latch on the outside and on the inside. The door, particularly in weather that is trying to make you believe it’s still winter, will not stay closed by itself and baby chicks complain to management when it gets too drafty. The door is always latched, from one side… or the other…

I hustled back out to the brooder house. Sure enough, the door was locked from the outside.  I opened it up and went in, bracing myself for yelling and crying and wondering if my apologies would have to go as far as promises of ice cream and movies. There were Clara and Jane, lounging under the heat lamp. Jane had a half a dozen baby chicks sleeping on her lap, Clara had  a few more along her legs and one tucked under her hair, resting on her shoulder. Clara just looked up at me and said in a voice usually reserved for teenagers, “Really Mom?

Then they ever so slowly shed the chicks from their laps and got their boots and jackets on while Jane excitedly told me how they opened a window so they could yell for me and what their plan was in case the brooder house caught fire while they were locked in it (it totally would have worked by the way). They each gave just one more chick one more snuggle and then they happily pranced off through the sleet to the house.

And that’s how I know that baby chicks make everything better.

 

 

Selective Color

Hello!

This is Smoke. He let me take pictures of his iridescent feathers for a long time while I figured out my selective color camera settings.

John had no idea he had purple and green feathers. He’s color blind. He says his “world is drab.”

Smoke on the other hand can see things in the Ultra Violet spectrum. And he’s turning into a bit of ham for the camera.

Pigeons- cooler than you think.

You can try and argue with me on this one but be warned, I have 3,456 more pictures of pigeons and I will use them!

 

Science Fair: When Pigeons and Peas Meet

Months ago Ivy came home bubbling over with excitement about the upcoming science fair. She deliberated long on what her experiment would entail and settled on growing pea plants.

Perfect, I said, we have a greenhouse!

Ivy planted three pots of peas, and planned to water them with orange juice, blue water and regular water respectively. Liquids were carefully measured, growth and changes were noted and things were going swimmingly.

Meanwhile…

Months ago Clara fell in love with pigeons and started hand raising babies.  Despite a number of setbacks the number of baby pigeons in our house rose while the temperature outside plummeted.

No problem, I said, we have a greenhouse!

Clara moved her four pigeons to the greenhouse where they happily flew around while she did crafts on the floor spending time with them. All five of them made a tremendous mess of everything and they were all exceedingly happy if a bit of a disaster.

Until..

One day, Janurary 23rd to be exact, Ivy came to me in tears. “The pigeons at my peas!”  Sure enough. All those healthy looking peas that seemed to love their blue food coloring enhanced water, as well as the control pot of peas were eaten down to nothing. The moldy orange juice dirt was untouched and the pigeons looked not even a tiny bit remorseful.

It’s okay, I told Ivy. I’m a biologist (as a mother, stretching the truth is a requirement of the job, alright?). This is just how science goes. Write down what happened, call it an unexpected variable, document the pigeon problem and it’ll all be fine.

Last week the pigeons, due to more set backs, (but the story of how Frosty was re-named Toasty is for another day), were still flying around the greenhouse when Ivy proudly took her trusty tri-fold board complete with pictures of pea plants and pigeons off to the science fair.

This week she came home beaming- turns out that with proper documentation even pigeons can’t ruin a good science fair project.

That’s a fifth place ribbon behind her and she’s even still friends with the pigeons!