Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Chicks and Weasels

In the 1950's most small farmers raised chickens.  In the spring we'd drive 13 miles to the local chick hatchery and bring home flat boxes filled with the yellow fluffy baby chicks.  Oh, they felt so warm and soft when I held them next to my face.  Every year I fussed  to keep 'just one' baby chick in my room, but eventually realized that my family powers amounted to zip.  The chicks went out to the brooder house, where a heat lamp kept them warm.  Eventually, they graduated to the chicken coop where they'd live until their final destination.....our kitchen table.

Keeping chickens and their eggs safe from wild predators was daddy's constant challenge.  The fox, the weasel and the raccoon were tyrants that made their clever ways into the chicken coop and left feathers as evidence of their nighttime raids.  

Yesterday I overheard two guys talking about weasels and how they turn white in the winter.  The only part of the weasel that doesn't change color is the tip of its tail.  In the spring, this color-changing process reverses itself, and the weasel turns from white back to brown.

Who knew.