Everyone wanted to know what a birthday is since today is my birthday. “A birthday is like a hatchday, well, sort of, almost…” I said.
“So people do hatch from eggs!” they all said together, partly with amazement at what a big egg I must have come from and partly with satisfaction from finally figuring out the big secret of where people come from.
“Not exactly,” I said, “But that’s kind of close enough. We can discuss it all later, okay? Right now, I have birthday gifts for you.”
“Like what we chickens give to everyone on our hatchday celebrations?”
“Now that is exactly right!”
I was glad to have been able to navigate around the discussion about where people come from. It was tough enough to explain where chickens come from, but I had done the best I could since they never had a Chicken Momma to explain these things to them.
I spread out half of a straw bale into their run for them to enjoy. You may not think of that as much of a gift, but to a chicken, it is a goldmine and treasure hunt all rolled into one wonderful gift. You see, the straw bales from the previous winter have just been sitting in the yard and slowly decomposing. They have also been holding onto moisture. And if there are two things that the tastiest worms and bugs love, it’s decomposing stuff and moisture!
After they had thoroughly examined every bit of straw for delicious treats, Bessie came to me and asked, “So on a birthday, does anyone give you a gift?”
“Usually a birthday cake. It’s like a cupcake only bigger. When I was growing up, my mother and grandmother would always bake my favorite cake for my birthday. It was a strawberry cake with real strawberries in the cake and real strawberries in the icing.”
“I could bake you dozens of strawberry cupcakes or just one really big strawberry cupcake,” she offered. (Bessie loves to bake, and we have shared some of her own recipes here in the past.)
“That would be nice. But it is summer and the kitchen does get really hot when you’re baking in the summertime. Maybe you’d like to learn how to make something else my mother and grandmother made for me called banana pudding.”
The word “banana” caught Gracie’s attention because Gracie does love bananas. They are not an everyday treat because she needs to stay at a good weight for dancing ballet.
The two of them went off into a corner and put their heads together. They were obviously planning something. Whatever they come up with, it will be wonderful. It may be The Biggest Strawberry Cupcake Ever or a Real Meringue-Topped Banana Pudding or something in between. And if what they make doesn’t work out particularly well, there is always ice cream. It is amazing how many baking goofs can be turned into an ice cream topping! And, of course, Pearl may even put on her Let’s Go Bananas Hat and entertain everyone this evening.
All in all, I’m expecting today to be a perfect birthday as I already have five of the most wonderful gifts ever right here with me in my own backyard!