Archive for October 15th, 2008

The Hatchlings

The song-birds leave us at the summer’s close,
Only the empty nests are left behind,
And pipings of the quail among the sheaves.

[Henry Wadsworth Longfellow]


clip1_story5Grandpa Jim came home from town one day, saying that he knew where he could get a pony for me providing my parents thought it was okay. Seems this other family had children who had outgrown the pony and they were wanting to find it a nice home. So, the pony was brought to the farm. It was bay and white spotted, half Indian pony and half Shetland. It was very gentle and a dear thing. I loved it and rode it to death probably.

I used to carry water to the farm hands as they were out in the field working. Mid morning my mother would send a cold drink and a snack of some kind— cookies and so forth—to them. I always rode out with it. Mid afternoon, when she knew they were at the end of the field where the trees gave them shade, I went out again with another snack and cold drink. And that was, I felt, very important because they were so glad to get it.

One time I went to the hay field where my father was mowing. When I got to him he said, “I have something for you in this little box.” He said, “I accidentally mowed over quail nest and so I put the eggs in here and you can take them to the house. We’ll watch them hatch.”

I thought that was a great idea so I hurried back with the quail eggs, but on the way I realized that this box I was carrying was Chipping. “Chip, chip, chip, chip, chip, chip, chip.” Well, I of course didn’t know what was happening, but when I got home I told my mother what I had in the box.

She said, “Well I hear it too. I hear this chipping. Let’s open it and see what happened.” We opened the box and out jumped these little quail. They were about to hatch, and it was so warm with me carrying them along in the sun so they did hatch on the way back to the house. They hopped out of that basket box and scurried all over the house.

The first thing mother did was shut the cat up so it couldn’t get any of them. We were all afternoon hunting those little quail. As we’d catch one I’d run out to the back lot and turn it loose in the bushes because there were quail out there and we knew they’d be okay since they are prepared to run and hunt food for themselves. About evening we were through catching seven little quail.

My father had a good laugh when he came back in that evening. Of course he didn’t realize that they were that near hatching, but anyway we had fun over the whole deal, and the cat was shut up in the clothes closet.

The following is an MP3 audio file of Mama telling the same story as quoted above:

Photo Source: Ohio Department of Natural Resources

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