Five Green Acres Mary Jo + Andrew Borchardt fivegreenacres@gmail.com Poynette, WI
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We now have a very large family.

We now have a very large family.
March 4, 2008 Mary Jo

Our head count grew by 50 yesterday. And I’m completely, utterly exhausted. I’ve been going over and over in my head whether or not I wanted to share with you all how horribly it all went. Well, I decided the brutal truth is the way to go here, though I’m certainly not proud of myself. Maybe, I’ll learn a lesson from this. Maybe.

The persistent ringing of the phone got me out of bed a little before 6am yesterday. I ran frantically to catch it; the roads were slick and Andrew had just left for work, so I was a little worried. But it turned out to be the Post Office, letting me know my chicks had arrived there, and can I please pick them up ASAP?

We ordered an exciting smörgåsbord of 50 rare and heirloom chicks in January. (You know, almost 2 months ago) They were slated for delivery the “week of March 2”. Apparently, I was betting on later, rather than earlier in the week, as we were not in the least bit prepared. You see, my helpful husband had picked up some of the supplies earlier last week, but had neglected to take them out of the car. Not helpful, but I certainly didn’t take any steps to get the stuff out myself and set them up. Thought about it, but was pretty glazed over from the weekend.

What a complete debacle. Here’s how the day shook out:

5:57am: Oh, damn. Chicks are at the Post Office, waiting to be picked up???! Damn. Of course they are.

5:58am: Call to Andrew, who was in transit on slick roads. Yep. Stuff’s still in his car. Can’t turn around. Damn.

5:59am: Pour a strong cup of coffee. Get the chicken book, poultry catalog. CRAM! What kind of heat light do we need? Style of feeders and waterers? How big should the box be? 1/2 sq. feet per BIRD??? That’s 25 s.f.! Way bigger than the wimpy moving boxes we had planned on using. Damn. Why did I do this to myself? Did I REALLY not see this coming?

6:18am: Locate closest farm supply store – 20-something miles away. When do they open? 7:30am? Great! This may not be so bad afterall!

6:25am: 2nd cup of strong coffee. Take a breath. Finish drinking coffee, watch the news, breathe some more.

6:31am: Isadora’s awake?! Was hoping for just a bit more time. Ok.

6:48am: Make oatmeal – we’ll be too busy for breakfast later. (ooh! What great foresight! I’m handling this very well!) I can’t eat much – too stressed out.

7:15am: Hit the road. Damn – it IS slick!

7:21am: Narrowly averted disaster, managed to stay 1. on the road. 2. On MY side of the road. Everyone’s crawling now. Glare ice, covered with snow.

7:25am: Oh, damn. Missed my turn in all that almost-went-in-the-ditch excitement. Try to turn around without soliciting disaster. Narrow miss.

7:27am: My guardian angels pour a stiff drink and file a petition to be reassigned.

8:30am: Finally arrive, but after lots of aimless wandering trying to find the place. “Cheep, Cheep, Cheep.” The ticking chick time bomb in my head ticks away… They must be cold, hungry, tired, stressed out!

9:05am: Got everything but the light bulb for the heat. Pretty important – I’ll stop someplace along the way home.

10:01am: 3 stops later, have acquired heat lamp. Enter Post Office, am dubbed “The Chick Lady”, and leave amidst a chorus of agitated CHEEP! CHEEP! CHEEP!

10:06am: Finally make it home. Get 1 daughter in the house. Check. Get supplies in the house. Check. Get peeping box in the house, as quickly as possible, so as not to freeze them out. Check.

10:09am: Frantically, frantically try to provide the following to these poor, sad chicks. 1. shelter 2. heat 3. food 4. water 5. rescue from the gleeful, over-zealous 2-yr-old trying to pry them from their secure shipping box.

10:16am: Time to come out, little ones! Here’s your new home, this lovely box in our kitchen, near the wood stove. At least until I figure out what the hell I’m doing. Here – have some water. Drink up! Please don’t die!

10:21am: Alternate between the following for the next 2 hours: 1. Obsessive vigil. Why are you laying down like that? Here, drink! I will NOT let you die for lack of water. 2. ISADORA! Don’t touch their food. Stop that! Do not touch the chicks! No! You can’t pick them up! No! You can not take that one into the living room to watch Elmo with you! Stop playing in the food! No! No toys in the chicken box!! No! They can NOT eat raisins!

12:30pm: Nap time. For both of us.

And the day never got any better. Let this serve as a permanent reminder to me: I will never procrastinate again. At least with baby chicks. Ever.

The good news: no chicks were harmed in this shameful bout of procrastination. All are thriving and living the good life, safe and cozy in the basement.

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