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Chirp Chirp


Two days ago the rain started with a torrential storm of hail and wind. Between dumping over an inch of rain in 24 hours, knocking over trees, and flooding the creek - there wasn’t much to be done but hunker down. The days before were hot, humid, and messy. Our shoulders are red, the sky was dark, and the rain was refreshing as it was scary at times. But the power stayed on and I swear the entire farm got a shade greener. But I am telling you this as a set up. Because after the apple tree that fell over was sawed up and cleared away, after the sky turned gray instead of black, something kinda magical happened that next afternoon.


This time of year the farm is a deciduous rain forest. So dense with new underbrush, grapevines, crawling multiflora rose bushes and weeds. It is a wall of green. And I am sharing this so you can understand the way everything is enclosed in this small couple of acres. Sound carries weird, almost caught up in a little cyclone of a few swirling acres of open grass among the forest. And that combination of a quiet, gray, afternoon when rain is still falling after a harsh storm that Shannon could hear a newborn chick peeping outside across the lawn from the living room.


We were sitting down after dinner, both of us at the coffee table on floor cushions with our laptops open. I was sending out my new, shiny, resume (I haven’t written a resume in 10 years and Shannon helped me clean it up for 2021 employee needs. Did you know no one lists references on a resume anymore?! It’s asked only after someone considers you for a job.) Anyway, I was sending out applications for remote work as a copywriter/designer. Shannon was beside me working on her client’s powerpoint slides. We’d just finished watching GMM (a daily ritual that was part of my life before I met Shannon and now she knows Rhett and Link’s hometown) when Shannon got quiet and looked up at the middle distance. “Be quiet.” She stated, not unkindly. She was listening.

“I think I hear a chick? Or is it just a bird?” She meant a songbird. Lots of birds are nesting/feeding fledglings right now. I tried to listen through the rain and sighing dogs and house sounds. I could *barely* hear the chirp chirp chirp that did sound the way a newborn chicken cries out.


Within seconds she was out the door, clean lounge clothes post-shower shoved into muck boots without a coat, out into the rain and fog. I followed her outside and I couldn’t believe it. Across the farmyard, under the Eglu Cube coop, there was a white chicken we named Meaty Dove beside one of Moon Pie’s (another hen) just-hatched babies. The mother hen, Moon Pie, was already in the coop for the night with her one other chick below her. In the rain they must have gotten separated. Meaty Dove, already broody and looking for something to Mother - let the baby run under her to be safe from the rain - even as she chirped out for her real mom.


I couldn’t believe Shannon heard those muffled cries from inside the house and across the farmyard. Between her and Meaty Dove, that chick was warm and safe and reunited with Moon Pie and her sibling. Shannon was beaming and I grabbed her and hugged her - what a heroic moment! A keen farmer’s sense of hearing, the baby reunited with another kind hen, a human helping snatch her and take her to her somewhat addled mama in the large coop. All went well in the end. It was a few minutes of rainy, green, summer trouble but a happy ending and a sweet moment all around.


The rain is still falling here, and Moon Pie and her babies are doing well. We had some broody hens so we gave a couple of them eggs to hatch if they were so inclined. As lovely as having a brooder indoors is - sometimes I like letting nature do it’s thing without our indoor walls and headlamps. It’s high summer and a few farm-raised homebred Antlerborns are a nice addition. And here in our little hideaway, where the green covers all and only lets this little pocket of livestock, life, and laughter thrive we got to have a little teamwork save a baby from the rain.


I hope it brings a little sunshine to your day as well!



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