We have another baby. She's a chicken with impeccable roots that go all the way back to the very dawn of chickendom, and her name is Bear Grylls.
But everyone calls her Beary.
She earned her name because she was dropped in the wilderness of our backyard by her jungle chicken mother, yet she survived. The whole story is a little more complicated.
We've been thinking of raising a few chickens for eggs, so we asked our landlord, Khun Thanom, whether he knew of a place where we could get some chicks. He was very enthusiastic about the idea and told us that he had chickens! He could give us some!
"They're jungle chickens," he said. "They fly, and they sit in the trees."
We know about jungle chickens, because Chinua has been telling us for a while that chickens are originally from this part of the world. You see the original ones all the time- they have blue skin and look like they could beat your fluffy chicken in a boxing match. They look like Rambo chickens.
So Khun Thanom brought over one of his Rambo hens and six babies late one evening. Chinua wasn't at home because he had run out to get something, but he and YaYa had already run out to buy a large chicken basket, earlier that day. A chicken basket is what people use to keep chickens in here, as well as in India, and it is a large upside down basket. Technically it's a chicken upside down basket. So Khun Thanom set up the basket and put weights on the top. All was well and everyone settled down for the night.
The next morning, I woke to the sound of the excited voices of my children, who were running down to see the chicks. I could hear every word they said, including the bit of panic that crept into their voices when they realized that the chicks were escaping through the holes in the basket, and the more developed panic in their voices as the Rambo hen lifted the whole basket, weights and all, gathered her chicks, and ran off.
That's when my two-weeks postpartum self popped out of bed and turned a bit of a chicken scuffle into a melee.
"Chinua!" I shouted. "The chicken is running away! The kids don't know what to DO. THESE CHICKENS WERE YOUR IDEA! You have to look for them and I had a new baby and new baby new baby and panic!"
He may have given me a fairly exasperated look, but he shook the sleep off of him and started on the search through the neighborhood. What followed was a lot of searching for chicks and chicken, as the Rambo hen flew onto the nearby government building roofs and into trees, clucking all the while, calling her chicks. Chinua and the kids managed to catch four of the chicks and attempted to make a little trap for the hen with the basket, hoping she would come to catch her chicks and they could pull the basket back over her. What she did, because she's apparently a Rambo hen with a brain of genius, was sneak back in, collect her chicks, and scuttle into the distance with them. Now they roam Pai happily. I hope.
All except Bear Grylls. She got lost in some trees, my mom heard her calling, and YaYa found her and brought her back.
She hangs out with us and reads, and listens to music, and sits in the brooder Chinua and the kids made for her, and she runs around in the garden, and eats the ant larvae that Chinua buys for her. (The ant larvae that we buy for her is not ant larvae for chickens to eat. It is ant larvae for people to eat. Because people do that, they eat ant larvae.)
In other small town/urban homesteading news, I have dirt! I have been obsessing about dirt for months and months and months, drooling through the windows of the bus as we pass everyone in the world who has dirt except for me, because I only had sandy gravel. But Khun Thanom brought me some good soil from his land not too far from her, and now I can plant things, and I can watch them grow.
The funny thing is that the kids seem to mix the two babies up, calling Beary "Isaac," and Isaac "Beary." But of the two babies, Isaac is certainly the quieter.