I love the editing features here, and I've begun a couple of stories to while away time as I wait for my chicks on May 16. Yes, I joined the support group... https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=7693-Chickenspeak The Flowers of April Before the flowers come and while the land is bleak with dirtydark entrails of snow, the first colour appears on clotheslines throughout Nova Scotia. You can chuckle at the rows of orange and lime skivvies, gasp at the pink and yellow lace brassieres, or whistle at the thongs of yesterday and blink at the brazenness of the tiger-striped ones. Especially guy-thong, the horror. Still, the business shirts are as white as daisies and the housecoats a florid fuschia. Try to say that fast, six times! The laundry is our garden for weeks on end, as we pine for blossoms. As brilliant as the clothes are, I love the bouquet of feral cats huddled along the barn foundation more. Breakfast served, they have time to congregate in the sunshine, exchanging news as they groom. We average twenty-five, and I know they long to spread out to the boreal forest, fields and brushpiles to mate and raise their young, sometimes in a flurry of tomcat madness, flying fur and squeals. The orange and cream, the striped and calico, the velor luxury of black stealth and amber gleam, claws as long as hawthorne. I wish for a pink mutation. Plants seem to have exclusive land rights. At the hardware store, the plastic lawn chairs are stacked in a rainbow of color, the neon of last year replaced by true blues, red and yellows, even a lavender so perfect it must be modeled on violets. Up the road a carpenter has finally lined Adirondack chairs at the end of his driveway to lure customers in with the multicolored splash of flower wannabes. Then there is Miss Abigail, pretty in pink and about to celebrate her first birthday as she is wheeled to the red barn by mama, Michelle. Both are country girls without a barn, and they visit on sunshine days to worship cats and stroke the gelding, who has turned a miraculous thirty-seven this spring. I know these two ladies will have their own pasture pets, and I whispered to mom that chicks are arriving in May, lest Abigail begin dancing, expecting them at once. She can be very upset if promised the sight of an 'animule' only to have said beast fail to appear. I can't explain why I cry at the first crocus any more than the pounding of my heart when the winter robins leave, and are replaced by squadrons of worm-digging southern birds- accompanied by cowbirds and their special friends, the red-winged blackbirds. But the real bloomers of late april are the daffodils, and we treated ourselves to a hundred King Alfreds the year we moved to our hobby farm in 1987. Or why I can barely exhale when the Viola palens gently open their white petals like children ending a prayer. Deep in the center a brush-stroke of indigo daubed with yellow puff. Most amazing is the arrival of the peeps on Chicken Day at the co-op. All the flashes of black, white, silver underlain by a sea of yellow. Tiny expectant lives, less than a day old. Buy them, warm them, hold them, learn them. Oh I think I'll have two silver wyandottes, no Rhode Island Roosters no not me, how about a Polish are they expensive? We need some sex-links, maybe those Golden Comets. No I didn't oder them in advance, are there any left? I'll take that little spraddled one, I know what to do. We will be deep in flowers soon, the rhododendrons are pregnant with bud, and the snowball bush would not dare appear with anything less than a fist-sized composite bloom. A hundred thousand honeysuckle cups will adorn the hedges and lure the tiger swallowtails for nectar, alongside the first hummingbirds and their ruby throat. Cedar waxwings will nest and the morning dew will evaporate in a heartbeat. April must end, because we need the flowers and the bok-bok-bok of nearby hens. Dear little chicks, you are my best garden.