What does little birdie say
In her nest at peep of day?
“Let me fly,” says little birdie,
“Mother, let me fly away.”
“Birdie, rest a little longer,
Till the wings are stronger.”
So she rests a little longer,
Then she flies away.
— Alfred Tennyson
We welcomed some new baby chicks this past week. So we need to throw a baby shower, don’t we? Don’t answer that. Of course we do.
The new mother already has all the latest in chick feeders and waterers, so for the shower we focused mainly on the cake.
and then it was time for the chickens to party.
Like most showers, this was a girls only event. Roosters were not invited.
Once the last of the cake was eaten, I made my way slowly back toward the house for baths and bedtime. The baby pawed my face with sticky hands while Raphael and Gabby ran ahead. Long shadows hopped and skipped beside them through the field. The green grass was cool under our feet in the late summer evening. Clucking chickens and chirping crickets filled our ears.
This, I thought to myself, is what it feels like to be blessed. And there’s no place in the world I’d rather be than right here right now. Where babies need baths and chickens eat cake.
I just love this game. So much so that I have to share it here:
After a meal, the kids round up the leftovers from people’s plates as well as any old crusts of bread or stale crackers we happen to have around. These they bring outside and dump in a large plastic bowl along with shredded leaves, grass, and maybe even a juicy bug or two. One child who is chosen to be server then hoists the bowl high above his head and quite elegantly delivers the “salad” to a fortunate flock of very appreciative chickens.
Even after weeks of playing, they still haven’t grown tired of it. And neither have I.
I like old-fashioned play. After days of sickness and endless rain, the kids finally got a moment of dry, warm weather yesterday afternoon and they made good use of it by giving baths to the chickens, of course.
Kateri, who does not normally lean toward the domestic, turns downright motherly when it comes to her “sweet little hens.” So, we needed a tub (an old discarded storage container), some Baby Soap (thanks for sharing, Raphael), and plenty of towels. Let the bathing begin.
A couple of the hens panicked when we first placed them in the warm water. They flapped their wings frantically and soaked us with soapy sprays of water. But Kateri held them firmly in her grasp and spoke to them in soothing tones. They settled down. Then they stood still, blinking calmly, as she scrubbed the mud from their legs and rinsed the dust from their feathers. Each was bundled into a warm towel before being released to forage through the clean grass while their feathers dried to a glossy sheen.
In this morning’s sunshine, the hens still look radiant. God bless them. And God bless the girl who loves them so.