Saturday, July 14, 2012

Cheep Medicine

 The last few weeks have been a bit crazy. Like face-eating crazy! Amid the packing for our move, one of my ovaries suddenly decided it wanted to kill me. A few days later a giant wind storm attempted to blow the state of Virginia right off of North American continent and the power went out for almost a week. Making matters worse, the sun blew up, causing a heat wave and 100 degree  temperatures... and we had no electricity (or air conditioning).

 (Checking out the storm damage 2 blocks from our house)

After sleeping in pools of sweat in our own beds the first night of no power, moving the family down to the dungeon basement for the second fun-filled 90 degree night, and spending the horrifically hot day camping out at a McDonald's with playland (and A/C), we got word that the power at Mimi and Pop's house had been restored!

 (Recharging our electronics at McDonald's)

We spent an hour scrambling about in our darkened house, trying to find and pack the necessities to survive a few days away from home. We ended up at Mimi and Pop's house until July 5th when we got word power was back on in our part of town.

Needless to say, all of this change and activity threw Iraq for a giant loop. By the time we got back home and started trying to settle back into our daily summer routine, poor Iraq was wound up tighter than a ball of woolen yarn that had been through 10 very hot dryer cycles.

We had to handle her as we would a grenade with the pin pulled out, and no matter how lightly we tread, we were still subjected to intermittent explosions. She ran away from the therapists that visit throughout the week and erupted in tears at least 4 times every hour. She begged incessantly for random and unnecessary items and her OCD behaviors caused other people's trinkets to disappear and large piles of "stuff" to grow in strange places.

Just when we were about to erect a large billboard advertisement on the highway in hopes of selling our out of control offspring (it's a joke people!) we received word that the guinea fowl babies (keets) we had been waiting for had hatched and we could come pick them up.

This was either going to create a world of excess work for us, or provide a little relief.

We set out to the bird-lady's house after bed time, and once there received a fantastic tour of the incubators, the brooders, the coops and we got to meet lots and lots of chickens of all different, wonderful breeds!

Iraq was enthralled!

Our four, hours-old keets packed up and ready to go, we decided on a last-minute "impulse buy."

The little fluffy chick was like an irresistible nick-knack sparkling from a shelf in a grocery store check out line. And in that one moment of weakness, we may have spent the best $5 ever!

This is Millie, our impulse-buy chick. She was hatched on the 26th of June and she is a Mille Fleur Cochin chicken. As cute as she is today, she could end up looking something like this some day:

(This is not my picture, but one from a breeder of these lovely birds)

This is a bantam (miniature or small) breed of chicken.

Yesterday Iraq spent the entire day nurturing and caring for Millie. Now mind you, this is a kid who thinks "playing" with dolls means arranging them in a perfect row by hair color and that small children (like her sister) are simply an annoyance. She has never before shown this kind of heart-felt empathy and nurturing toward anything or anyone. She has mimicked these behaviors in the past, yet for us it was like looking upon an empty exoskeleton - a cicada shell emotion. 

Now suddenly Millie has made it real.

Every half hour or so, Iraq brings Millie back to eat and drink in her brooder. When Millie is satiated, her peeps can be heard throughout the house, calling her "mommy" back to pick her up again. Millie prefers Iraq's attentions to her warm, cozy, keet-filled brooder.

They read quietly together, they dance together, they talk to each other and they do lots of cuddling. Millie is the sweetest-natured bird I have ever met - content to do what ever Iraq wants to do.

Since yesterday, Iraq has been smiling for hours on end. Suddenly that grenade with the pulled pin has morphed into a kitten lounging in the sunshine. The whole atmosphere within the house has calmed and quieted.

We'll be moving at the end of the month, and Millie will be moving right along with us. Better yet, where we're going there is an active 4-H club. If Iraq turns this new-found enjoyment into a long-term love, she can get involved with so many facets of poultry-raising. There are shows where her "babies" can win awards. She could learn to hatch eggs in an incubator... (can you tell mom's excitement may be running wild about now?)

In the end, it doesn't really matter if chickens become a life-long love or if just having Millie right here, right now is the extent of it. All I know is that Millie has brought out some changes in Iraq - and that this one, tiny, fluffy little chick is helping my daughter grow!

And the keets have been fun, too!

(Iraq with a guinea keet)

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  1. Keets or chicks or whatever, I'm in tears at how Iraq has taken to them!!!!!

    Blessings, however they arrive are so sweet!!

  2. Sounds like an episode of a reality TV....... but at least it will get better Stunning pictures of your daughter.... and chick

  3. Looks a little scary from the picture.

  4. If you think that your house was hot, I had to cook in our fireplace during summer blackouts. My family used to raise chickens and they simply love chasing and eating grasshoppers. I help out in vegetable gardens and I am thinking about raising goats on my family's century ranch. I have raised THREE litters of a total of 26 puppies in a small apartment in the last two years and I already have a few strands of gray hair.

  5. I guess chickens are to Iraq as cats and dogs are to me. I feel as though I simply have to pet and kiss every dog and cat I meet, especially strays. My mother warns me to abstain from it, especially when they are accompanied by children because she says that people look at me as though I am a pervert, especially when I make kissing sounds to get the attentions of their pets. I got into a lot of trouble in school just for speaking to my peers about assignments because my principals were arrogant and hypocritical, one of them made a homemade rap video where two female students were dressed scantily. I think that Iraq's seemingly mimicked empathy was genuine, but she had difficulty in displaying it. I have that problem as well because I sound cold and apathetic when I try to condole others or when I speak of death and other violent acts even though I feel as though I want to cry rivers of blood. How did Iraq stim during her summer crises?


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