Today I am grateful for my hearing and all of my senses. They help me partake of everything that is going on around me, and they give me reasons to pause and appreciate much.
Yesterday afternoon my son Sam and I walked into a Tractor Supply Company store in a nearby community and were greeted by the chirping sound of baby chicks. While Sam tried on some new work boots, I was drawn to the familiar sound in the middle of the store.
There were several batches of different chick breeds in small holding pens. I snapped a picture of this crew because they looked most like the ones I remember as a child. They are Leghorn pullets.
Hearing their baby chirping sounds took me right back to my childhood. One of my favorite things each spring was when Dad would go to Deborah and pick up the latest batch of baby chicks. They traveled in special cardboard boxes with air holes and some bedding for their journey.
Before their arrival, the brooder house was made ready. This was where the chicks started their time on our farm. A smaller red building where they went from these cute little chirpers to bigger cluckers.
I just loved looking at and holding these little ones. They were adorable and vulnerable. As a child, I felt like I was protecting them and helping them feel better.
In a few short months, some would be ready to be butchered and eaten. Others would spend the summer in the brooder house and surrounding area. Mom was mostly in charge of the younger chickens, but we helped feed and water them. I liked being the one who could open the little door on the side of the building in the mornings so the chickens could roam the farmyard. We had to make sure they were back in at night, and that no unwanted visitors had joined them.
We helped with the butchering too. Not a favorite job of mine, but a memorable one and a source of many shared family stories. As the laying hens started laying eggs, we helped gather the eggs. Later in the summer, last year's layers were usually sold and we moved the new batch to the larger chicken house.
I appreciate much about being raised on a farm and being a working contributor on that farm. Chicks and chickens were key contributors as well. We learned about living, growing, dying, and providing in ways that our town and city counterparts did not. They were valuable lessons and I am grateful for them.