These eleven little chicks are dear little things but I’m trying not to get attached to them. For one thing, they become less appealing once they’re in that awkward in-between stage, half grown and a bit rowdy. For another, I know a number of them will be cocks and I can’t spare them. For another, I’ve got more chickens than I want already. And yet there are at least a couple of them that I can’t help hoping are girls, so I can keep them. One has a striped back like a partridge chick, whilst being yellow otherwise and another is, as its feathers (rather than baby down) emerge, charmingly tweedy speckles. Others seem to have black spots, which is rather sweet. I don’t know. What I do know is that I can’t let them range free again – the flock, that is – because I found looking after several coopsful of chicks and their mothers was a miserable experience last summer and I don’t want it to happen again.
I’m quite torn, I have to confess. I’m fond of the chickens but they’re something of a burden. So are the tortoises. I honestly don’t want to keep them – the tortoises, that is – but I can’t let them go to just anyone. I know I’m doing a good job with the Tots – they’re not that hard to look after, but it’s very easy to get it wrong and the first few years of their life is crucial for their long-term health. I suspect I have too strong an inclination to feel responsible for things I don’t need to. It’s a nuisance.
I’ve remembered a possible anecdote about my mother’s young life (if you remember, some years ago I wrote a series of posts about my family ‘history’) – I have a feeling I haven’t mentioned this – I say possible because I might have. I must look back to see if I’ve ever mentioned raspberry jam. In connection with cocoa.