As we left the homesite, we stopped at the Marathon station to dump the day's trash and to gas up the chefmobile. When Kelly went in to pay, the attendant, Neil, asked whether the worm guy had ever contacted me. (they sell nightcrawlers for fishing, so I'd inquired about worms for composting a couple weeks ago) Kelly didn't know, which he told Neil, but then mentioned it to me when he got back in the car, and i said that yes, the worm guy DID in fact call me... so I went back inside to tell Neil.
I spent a few minutes talking with him, telling him that we were hoping to get all kinds of critters for the farm, but that i had no contacts. He said that they were selling chicks and rabbits at the Tractor Supply as well as letting me know about the Mennonites and their farmers' markets, where they also sold animals.
Kelly and I stopped by the Tractor Supply, and saw a whole bunch of teensy little fluffy chicks. The employee working there told us that they were going to sell out soon, since it was after easter, and that they'd only get one more shipment of chicks, but no bunnies, and that would be it. We decided we'd get some the next day (which was today) because we didn't want to miss the window of opportunity to buy chicks.
well, to tell you the truth, i'd talked myself out of it at some point on the ride home, but then we listed to a podcast. Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders, by Stanford's tech school, featured Jensen Huang, co-founder and CEO of NVidia. He said something that really struck a chord with me -- so much so that I noted the timecode and remembered to re-listen to it and transcribe it:When we got home, I put together the box of food I'd make the next day, and decided to make Pad Thai. We were out of eggs, so I made a note to wake up early to get some before we left for Prospect in the morning.Innovation requires a little bit of experimentation; Experimentation requires exploration; Exploration will result in failure.So Jensen Huang talked me into getting chicks.
Unless you have a tolerance for failure you would never experiment, and if you don't ever experiment, you will never innovate; If you don't innovate, you don't succeed.
You'll just be a dweeb.
This morning, I woke up before the alarm and headed to the grocery store. I bought eggs and potatoes and onions and a few other things we were running low on. As i left the parking lot, i remembered that there was another Tractor Supply right in the area, so i detoured. I was hoping that they might still have some rabbits, since the Pulaski location was out. They were also out of bunnies, but they had ducklings instead. So I picked out 10 chicks (doing this hold-them-by-the-neck-between-your-fingers thing to see if they fuss and fight. The ones that fuss the least are more likely to be hens.) I also picked out 6 ducklings (which, i understand, have no discernible reaction to the fussing test). I wasn't exactly planning on getting ducklings, but there they were, and there i was, and they were marked down to half-price because they were getting "too big". Just then, the new shipment of chicks arrived, and since I'd already selected from the older batch, my chicks were marked down to half-price, too! I still spent a small fortune on the setup of lights and feeders and waterers and food and grit and antibiotic and wood-shavings for bedding... but I'd have to buy those anyway, and much of it will be used again next year.
I drove home with my stomach in a knot, wondering what the hell i just did. I brought them in the apartment (GASP! Don't tell!) and started to set up the lights and the food and the litter and realized that the plastic containers i thought would fit them ...didn't... so i went right back out to Target and bought two of the biggest storage containers they had.
Then, back at home, Kelly kissed me goodbye and left me to be a poultry-mama for the day while he went to the homesite to work. I set the new containers up, and realized that I'd have to split the ducks up into two batches, and put the chicks in one of the original containers. So... Back out to Tractor Supply, to buy a small waterer and a small feeder, plus another heatlamp setup, so i could put the chicks back into the original, smaller container.
I come home again, and begin to get everyone situated, and I notice that the ducks are a MESS. The food and water and poop are everywhere, including all over the ducklings. I mean, I knew they were crowded, but they pooped everywhere, and walked all over everything, and all over each other. I started to set up the chicks, so i could divide the ducks between the two big containers, but i realized that the light fixture would only accommodate 150 watt bulb, but I bought another 250. SO... I moved the other light, moved the chicks into clean bedding with their new food & water, gave the ducks a bath (which they seemed to really enjoy, and it was HILARIOUS to watch them discover water!) and then dried them off a little bit with a towel (which they didn't appear to enjoy quite as much) and put them all on fresh bedding with the other 250 watt bulb, fresh water and fresh food, then BACK OUT to Tractor Supply AGAIN, to trade out the light fixture.
Finally, everyone's clean, fed, watered, happy, and not stepping on each others' heads. I can't wait to take them with us to the farm so they can get settled and be happy.
Today I learned: Experience is a great teacher, and I anticipate learning LOTS of lessons with my batch of 16 adorable peeping fluff-balls.
(*) If you didn't know it, all the episodes of friends were titled something like "The One with the East German Laundry Detergent" or "The One with the Evil Orthodontist" ...this one is "The One with the Chick and the Duck" (Props to Kathryn for reminding me of it.)