Sunday, March 29, 2009

Mother Hen

Emma has been reading all of the flying magazines that Herb has been getting. Consequently, she has fallen in love with ultralight airplanes and plans to own one as soon as she can. There are only two obstacles: her dad says "no", and she doesn't have the money. She has decided that the best approach is to earn the money first, then patiently present her research to her dad showing that ultralight technology has improved dramatically, and they are now safe. That's the plan anyway. If he still says "no", she'll have a nice nest egg for something else.

My mother has contracted for Emma's weekly maid services. Emma plans to earn the rest of the money by selling eggs, rabbits, and milk if I will finance half the expense of a cow. She also wants to raise Bantam Aracaunas. So at the Laetare Sunday dinner, she traded Mickey a dozen of our eggs for a dozen of his hopefully-fertilized Bantam Aracauna eggs. She dragged out our incubator, cleaned and sterilized it and studied the direction booklet. It was not much help. Actually, it was rather disturbing. It has a long list of things that can go wrong and the causes: mushy chicks, soft chicks, exploders, etc. The editors didn't bother to explain the difference between a mushy chick and a soft chick. Nor did they deem it necessary to tell whether a mushy or soft chick is dead or alive. Details, details.

Temperature is, naturally, one of the critical factors, so Emma has been diligently checking the temperature inside the brooder with two or three different thermometers and doing internet research on embryology. At least once a day she retreats to her "candling" room (our half bath) to check the eggs with a flashlight for signs of life.

In the midst of all her concern for her "babies", Mickey texted me to tell me that one of his hens just hatched eight chicks. Naturally, Emma was a little discouraged that he should reap all of these benefits with so little effort, but he has offered her the mother and the chicks. That smoothed everything over! She'll bring them home today after Mass. . .if she can catch them.

Mickey's birds are wild.

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