Saturday, April 18, 2009

Baby Chicks -


Baby chicks came with the stirrings of spring. Sometimes Ez Lewis, the mailman, brought them, having to drive up to the house to deliver them, and sometimes Mother had to pick them up at the tiny Garland post office with Jo Bob Cubbage in charge. Can you imagine being the mailman on delivery day, and having to drive about the country side with boxes of baby chicks making all the peeping noise that they did - or being in that tiny post office with boxes of baby chicks. The mystery to me is the question of where Mother ordered them from. Montgomery Ward? Does anyone know? All I remember is that the little black chicken house had to be heated, and Mother carefully kept the bottles of water full, and plenty of feed so the chicks could grow. The rounded thin board kept the chicks together and the heat in near the floor. We loved the fluffy, yellow babies, and were allowed to hold one now and then. As the chicks grew into pullets, some were winnowed out for meat and butchered and bottled, and some were allowed to grow big to become the layers for the year. I remember that when we lived in Ralston, we had one hen who escaped the hen house, and produced her own little band of babies, who followed her around the yard in single file as she paraded them for our appreciation. And one year in Penrose, the chicks began to sicken and die - Mother pursued the cause, and determined that it was the Pip - an acronym that eludes memory as to the full name of the disease, but remains a family word for anyone who is sick of an undetermined cause. We've all had the PIP now and then.

5 comments:

Louise Blood said...

Now that really brings back memories. I think its really interesting that chicks would be delivered in the mail. They must have come from someplace close to have survived being shipped. I remember the time when they got sick, didn't they gasp for breath? It seemed like in my dim memory that Mother compared it to diphteria in people, but I could be wrong. Pip was another useful family word.

Ann said...

What a fun memory and a true sign of spring. I think we have all had the PIP from time to time. The cute little yellow fuzz balls were so hard to leave alone. Mother had a hard time convincing me I couldn't have one for a pet. And remember the mean rooster?

When we lived east of Salem, we ordered baby chicks from a place in Minnesota or Wisconsin that I found in Organic Gardening. They were Aracana(sp) chicks - and laid different colored eggs when they "grew up" - green, blue yellow. The chicks did come in the mail, but the mailman wouldn't deliver them. We had to go to the post office very early in the morning to pick them up. That was such a fun experiment. We had baby chicks in a little concocted pen in my sewing room, (which had great ventilation), until they were safe to put out in the chicken coop. Our kids thought they lived in a magic world where baby chicks came to live in the sewing room.

Elizabeth said...

I remember the colored eggs - blue were my favorite. I didn't know that your broodie pen was in your sewing room. After all, we hatch all sorts of great things there - why not baby chicks?

Kemp said...

Ahhhh, I always thought "the pip" was just another Penrose term! I'm almost disappointed to learn that others have used it too! (click here)

Judy said...

What a valuable post this is for me. Picking up the chicks at the post office with Mother is one of the best memories. Who would turn down the chance to stroke the soft, yellow chick fuzz as the little critter rested in your other hand?