Pecky and the rest of the chicks were growing at an alarming rate. They were outgrowing their first home so they’d been moved to new, larger pen.
“You’ll be more comfortable out here,” Jake said as he watched the flock race around in their new pen.
I guess. Did you have any luck at the hatchery?
What does that mean?
Jake sighed, remembering the rude man he tried to talk to about Pecky when he and his mom went to pick up more chick food at the hatchery.
“Well…I asked if they had any other gray chicks with green legs. Told them that we were thinking of getting a few more.”
And? What did they say?
“That’s the strange part. The guy seemed…uncomfortable.”
Hmmm. That’s interesting.
“That’s what I thought. He told me he didn’t know what I was talking about. That I must be mistaken.”
Mistaken? Didn’t you tell him you ordered from that hatchery?
“That’s just it. He insisted that I was wrong. Said I must have ordered it from another hatchery. Before I could ask any more questions, he turned and said he had to get some work done and I should just forget about ‘those chicks’.”
Pecky let out a frustrated squawk, startling the other chicks. They all ran to a corner of the pen and seemed to glare indignantly at him.
“So I guess that’s it.”
Pecky ruffled his feathers and looked up at Jake with angry eyes. Of course, thought Jake, chickens always looked angry.
What do you mean ‘that’s it’? One dead end and you are ready to give up?
“I don’t see what else we can do,” Jake said defensively.
Pacing, Pecky let out a series of cheeps and chirps.
Wait! What about the shipping company?
“Shipping company? What would they know?
They’d know if the chicks came from that hatchery. And, if they didn’t, they’d know where they came from.
Jake went into the garage and rummaged through the recycling, looking for the box the chicks came in. When he found it, he could hardly believe they were ever small enough to fit in the little box. He took it back to the pen to show Pecky.
“Here it is. They were shipped through the post office. I remember Mom going to pick them up.”
Figgy and Pixie waited patiently for Nim and Lil. They were supposed to have met them at Candy Cane Cafe so they could all fly to the house together. Glitter had showed up and told them that Nim and Lil would just meet them at the Malloy’s.
“Where are they?” asked Pixie for the hundredth time.
“Santa must have needed them for longer than I thought,” said Glitter with a frown.
“We really need to start setting up the games,” said Figgy. “I don’t think we can wait any longer.”
“Too bad, they were so excited to help tonight,” said Pixie.
Glitter gazed at the sky, hoping to see the pair zooming toward the house. “Well, let’s get moving.”
“How many solo cups do we need?” asked Figgy as he pulled sleeve after sleeve after sleeve out of the giant bag of supplies.
“Twenty-one per kid,” said Pixie.
“Ok, that’s 21 times 12…carry the one, add the 2…the square root of 56 is…”.
“Geez Figgy, it’s 252,” said Pixie with a shake of her head.
“Right. I knew that.”
“What about the ping pong balls?” asked Glitter.
“10 per kid,” said Pixie.
“120 ping pong balls comi–.”
Ping pong balls spilled out over the floor rolling here, there and everywhere.
Pixie and Figgy couldn’t help laughing as they watched Glitter canter around trying to gather them all back together.
“You could help me, you know!”
“Oh but it is so much more fun to watch,” said Pixie. At the glare from Glitter, Pixie relented and flew over to help collect them.
“I’ll get the dice ready while Glitter plays ping-pong,” said Figgy. “How many do we need again?”
“Six per—72 Figgy. We need 72.”
“And 12 pairs of chopsticks!” Glitter shouted from the basement.
All three minute-to-win-it games were set up and still Nim and Lil were not at the house.
“What did you say Santa needed to talk to them about, Glitter?” asked Figgy.
When Glitter didn’t answer, Pixie prodded. “Glitter, tell us what you know.”
Glitter, who always seemed to be on top of all the North Pole news, didn’t answer at first.
“Glitter?” Figgy folded his arms.
Turning to face Figgy and Pixie she admitted. “This time…I honestly have no idea.
Several years ago, when we first moved into our small homestead, I started throwing wildflower seeds in our back 2ish acres where we’d let the grass grow and the thistles thrive.
I’d snap up the cheap boxes of wildflower mix whenever they’d hit the sale rack at Wal-Mart. Sometimes the boys and I would make “seed bombs” and sometimes I’d just close my eyes and sprinkle.
Time passed and soon wildflowers started popping up.
Birds spread more seeds. Then came the pollinators. Butterflies and bees did that thing they do and more flowers popped up. Soon, our grassy pasture turned into a gorgeous wildflower prairie.
But…there was one, tiny problem. I’d long thrown the boxes away and we had no idea what most of the plants and flowers were. We’d walk through our maze and marvel at the colors popping up throughout the Spring and Summer.
“Ooo, look at that pretty purple one!”
“Ahhh, that yellow one looks a little like that yellow one.”
Beauty is beauty and needs no label…but it sure would be nice to be able to describe all the wondrous plants in our pasture beyond “flowers and stuff”.
My husband had the idea to create a plant directory. I snapped up the notion and ran with it. It is now part of our science curriculum. Picking, pressing and identifying. Discussing scientific names, photosynthesis, growing zones, medicinal uses, and on and on.
We incorporated art into our lessons while we read about the flower or plant we’d chosen.
This is no small project. We have around 2 acres of prairie with flowers and plants appearing throughout the growing season. It may take us a few years to get them all. By that time, more will have come. Not from us throwing down seeds, but from nature taking over and doing it’s thing.
Nature, left alone Creates boundless beauty, life Thriving without end