In my last post I introduced our three new chicks and mentioned that it reminded me of a scene from Heirloom, book 3 in the Seed Savers series. In Heirloom, Clare and Dante are living on a farm in Canada and learning about gardening, farming, and such. The setting for the book series is a future where large corporations and the U.S. government have combined and own strict control of the food system. Clare and Dante have escaped to Canada.
When Marissa had first asked Clare and Dante if they would like to get new chicks and help raise them, they weren’t even sure what she was talking about.
“You know, chicks,” she said. “Baby chickens?”
“You mean we can get some of our own?”
“Yes, Clare, that’s what I’m asking; would you like to? We haven’t gotten any in a few years, but I thought you kids might enjoy it. You would be responsible for taking care of them, and then when they are laying, find customers for the eggs. We already have plenty for John and me and the kids. The money would be yours to keep, of course.”
“Oh, yes!” Clare answered. “It’s more than I ever dreamed of.”
Dante, meanwhile, had started hopping in a circle, doing some kind of happy dance he had recently latched on to.
“How many?” he asked when he finished dancing.
“Oh, I think six would be fine,” Marissa said.
They had intended to get six, but like many things in life, you go about one thing and end up with another.
Before the trip to the nearest farm supply store, Clare had checked out every library book on raising chickens and spent time on the Monitor, as well. She kept Dante up-to-date with her research, and they decided to get six of the same variety, although Dante’s inclination was to get as many different kinds as possible. Clare convinced him, however, that the chickens might get along better if they were the same breed, and together they agreed on Rhode Island Red.
“They’re supposed to be great layers, friendly, and do well in colder weather,” Clare held the book out to Dante, “and look at how pretty they are.”
“What color are the eggs?” he asked.
“Okay,” he said. “Sounds good.”
Now, however, seven, not six, little peepers hopped around in a large box in the garage: five Rhode Island Reds, one Barred Rock, and one Golden Sex Link. The chicks, of course, looked nothing like the grown chickens Clare and Dante had previewed in the books and Monitor; they were tiny and fuzzy, almost round, and weighed hardly anything. Clare and Dante played with them nonstop until Marissa called them in for supper.
“Now, tell me how you ended up with seven chicks and different breeds,” Marissa asked as they ate the evening meal.
John smiled as he chewed his food. He had taken the kids into town to pick up the chicks.
“—was just too cute,” Dante said. “He—”
“—was all black with this little white star on its forehead.”
“She really was so adorable,” Clare added. “And so friendly. It was like her little peeps were saying, ‘Choose me, choose me!’”
“And the Sex Link?”
Clare felt embarrassed that a chicken was called Sex Link. It didn’t help that Dante thought it was funny.
“I’m naming her Sexy,” he said.
“No, you aren’t, Dante. She was a mistake,” Clare said to Marissa.
“What I mean is, we got her by accident because she was in with the Rhode Island Reds. She was a little lighter in color, so we thought maybe she was a Golden Sex Link, but then we decided to keep her at the checkout. And we’re not naming her Sexy,” she said with a tight jaw, glaring at Dante.
Marissa and John smiled at each other as the siblings continued bickering about names throughout the meal.