It was just a routine stop at Tractor Supply the other day for a few nuts, bolts, and a jug of oil when for some strange reason, I strayed from my direct path. Following stacks and racks of "impulse" stuff and ranching apparel, things that I neither wanted or could afford, I strangely headed, like a hound dog following its nose, toward the middle of the store. When I reached the centrally located service desk, I noticed an area corralled off by green gate sections just to the desk's right. A faint "peeping" sound suddenly tipped me off about why I had strayed; chicks, of course…yellow, irresistible chicks!
I leaned against a gate panel and peered into a steel water tub where dozens of the cute little devils ranged in a bed of shavings under a heat lamp. I smiled broadly…you simply can't watch chicks without smiling! There were other folks, too, folks whose routines had been altered just like mine; cute baby chicks are a true rite of spring, well, maybe secondary to sugar season and mud roads for me, but important never-the-less.
It was a great display with several kinds of birds in different tubs. Neat sign plaques offered Red Pullets, Tetra Tints, Assorted Bantams, and Cornish Rocks for less than three dollars, and even cuter ducklings for just a little more…wow, cheap enough! The display led my average, impressionable eyes from tub to tub until I not only knew the names and prices each of the birds but also the cost of the water tubs and gate panels! After about five minutes, just before planning which part of our farm would best support a chicken coop, I figuratively "slapped myself on the face" and walked away…"You damned fool, Burr" I thought as I now headed directly to the automotive section.
I recently talked to my neighbor Kenny Santor about a similar trip he once made to a local feed store. He had no sooner entered Blue Seal Feeds when "Frenchy", the manager approached him. "Got juss what you need…cuter'n hell now but chicKEN tace so good laTER?". Kenny said no thanks and in passing mentioned the grain they'd eat. "Non, Ken" Frenchy said. "I give you tirty maybe sixty day to pay for grain you know" Kenny said he got "stupid" that day and walked out with two hundred chicks in cardboard boxes!
He went on to describe the next fowl filled months with the pizzazz of a standup comedian: "Got em home 'n put em in the barn. In no time they turned from cute little things to ugly, flying sons-a-bitches. I'd come in and they'd dive bomb from the rafters and attack…God it hurt! Put up sheet rock t'keep em at bay 'n they ate it all plus some fiberglass insulation. Let 'em out in th'yard after that and they'd strut back and forth from the barn to the house…reminded me of little soldiers with heads up kind of at attention but streams of white sticky goop was spewin' out behind 'em as they marched! Frenchy told me they be fryers in eight weeks but y'know they were just all feathers 'n bones…I hated those %&!@# things!". Kenny said early in the fall one morning he caught the rascals. "It was so cold they all just stood there waitin' for me to pick 'em up.". He took them up to his brother-in-law Bob's farm and let them go in his yard. When Bob got home, Kenny said "somehow he knew I'd paid him a visit!".
Yup, springtime brings both the good and the ugly but there's also a lesson or two. I'm sure I'll go back next spring to visit the chicks because they make me smile but I've learned…I'll stick with the "nuts and bolts" of my visit and stop off at the supermarket on my way home to buy my chicken by the pound.
Sugarin' 2013 will officially end today with the last of our Grade B syrup pouring from the evaporator. It hasn't been a banner year but so much better than 2012 that we'd better not complain. To help you celebrate with us, we're "pouring" out a deal for you: we're offering 15% off grade B pure maple syrup bought at www.morsefarm.com from now through April 30. Grade B is the "end of the season" dark, robust syrup that folks in increasing numbers are saying is their "favorite". It's great for cooking (a little goes a long way) and it's better for you than refined sugar. Grade B has been proven to have certain trace minerals and antioxident values(www.news-medical.net/…/Maple-syrup-contains-a-range-of-antioxid). Grade B is also versitile: it's great for either cooking or on pancakes! So…lets tip a tumbler of maple syrup to a sweet dÃ©nouement of sugarin' 2013!
to your health,
and the Morse Farm family.