It started out like any other Monday. Up at 5:30, feed Mia and the sheep their breakfast, see hubby out the door for work and zip through the shower so I can get to work. As I’m finishing my make-up, about 6:45 am, my cell rings. My other batch of chicks is at the post office ready for pick-up. They weren’t due until Wednesday.
My first thought was “I’m not ready!” I was going to buy a lamp and set up another brooder and get another waterer, and I have to work today. By 6:46 I was texting work to let them know I’d be in as soon as the chicks were dealt with. I’m not due at work until 8 but I usually get there about 7:20 so I can get my coffee and peruse whatever is lurking in my “Reading File” before the busy day begins.
I quickly and methodically finish my morning routine, get all house animals fed and get food and water for the 80 chicks already in brooders. While I’m working I make a mental list of what I have on hand and let my mind wander to what might be re-purposed until I can get what I need. The only thing I really don’t have is a lamp to keep the chicks warm.
I live in Palmer, a town that enjoys it’s small town status, it’s one of the reasons I live here. Wasilla is only 10 or 12 miles away and has all the large retail chains that serve Alaska. There’s a Wal-Mart, Lowes, Home Depot, all withing a couple miles of each other where I could find everything I might need, IF I want to drive that far, and today I just don’t. As I drive the 10 miles to town I’m considering who might have a drop light, and if there is any chance they’d be open this early in the day. I decide my best bet is the hardware store.
Our hardware store is a baby hardware store. It’s part of a local Alaska “chain” and they have a reasonable selection of the basics. I could go to Lowe’s or Home Depot but they are another 10 or so miles away and I’m already feeling like I’m running out of time. As I pull into the parking lot I notice there are no interior lights on. I pull up to the door to read the sign and there are men inside. The hours say they open at 8:00, it’s 7:30. I notice the interior lights come on and one of the guys is waving me in.
Shopping was quick and easy, since I was the only customer I told him what I wanted and he took me right to it. We talked while we walked and I learned that 100 watt incandescent bulbs are being phased out and replaced with LEDs and compact florescent. While I understand how it’s better for your energy bill and the environment to use less energy I’m tempted to go full-on hoarder because in Alaska incandescent bulbs solve almost every crisis. Incandescent bulbs can heat a chicken coop even in the dead of winter. They can thaw out chilled sheep and even pre-heat the engine in your vehicle when it’s too cold to start. I use them to make heated bases for water bowls and occasionally they light my path. The hardware guy uses them to keep his pump house above freezing so his water stays liquid. These simple bulbs have superhero status around our house.
Now that I had my light it was time to collect the chicks. To the post office I go… After minimal waiting I’m presented with a big noisy box. All the way home the cheeping box ebbs and flows, all the voices chiming in and then just a few carrying on the chorus until, without any provocation, all the voices ring loud and true.
It takes just about 12 minutes to set up the brooder, open the box and one-by-one dip all the chicks beaks into the water dish to show them what it is. There were several casualties in this batch, making up for the last batch that had 100% live birds. Once all the survivors are in the newly created brooder, the waters are all topped off, and the thermostat is turned up just a little (don’t tell hubby) I quickly wash up and head to the office. I get there right about 8:30.
Just another day in the life…