Wednesday, May 30, 2012

It's all about the Chicks!

Setting the stage: We have friends living on an island that we visit occasionally. This week Linda had ordered chicks and my husband was supposed to take them out to her. But he hurt his back and is laid up on some pretty severe medications. Being the helpful sort, I volunteered to deliver all the goods that had been ordered. When someone is coming in from town, everyone calls to ask to have various things brought out to them....cigarettes, beer, wine, groceries, baby chicks, chairs, all sorts of variety.

Now for the adventure: This past weekend, Linda had arranged with Bob to bring in her baby chicks. But the chicks were not ready when he was supposed to go in. he stayed home an extra day and that's when he hurt his back. So, because the chicks were ready to go to their new home, and they are fairly fragile at this stage....and Bob was not ready to go anywhere, I said I would run that errand and go out to the island, stay overnight at Linda's and then come home again. She was pleased to be having company and I was pleased with a little mini-escape. We planned to do some kayaking. On the Friday, Mum and I ran around doing the errands and picking up the various supplies always requested when someone is coming from town......lettuce, fresh milk, plumbing supplies, oil, cookie dough, beer, wine, cigarettes....always an interesting list, but most importantly, the chicks!

When Mum and I got home, I got the chicks settled in the dog crate with water and food. I must say that both Mum and Dad enjoyed seeing the young life and hearing the peeping. Dad was smiling and bent over watching them. Having memory flashbacks to his time on the farm I'd bet, but he sure looked amused. Mum was amazed that there was one voice in the 30 birds that was continually louder and more aggressive than the others. The chicks settled well for the night.

At 7:30 a.m. Bob had me up and rushed out the door. I wondered what the heck I was going to do with the extra time as it doesn't take me that long to drive there for a 10:00 a.m. pickup. (It does for him, but he has been teased about his green truck being a turtle shell!) The last phone call I had with Linda the evening before was that the pickup time would be 10 if I didn't hear from her again. So....since I had been kicked out of the house with all the supplies loaded in the car, I drove north, stopped at Sayward Junction for a leisurely tea, and carried on. The logging road is nicely graded and not too many potholes, so even tho I take it pretty carefully on that part of the road, I made good time. I arrived at the wharf, pulled up close so as to unload before parking the van....and the fun began.

I got out, walked around to the other side and opened the door to check the chicks, except that the other side was locked. I walked back around the vehicle, opened the door, pushed the unlock/lock button and walked back around to the other side. Still locked. It wasn’t till the second time I returned to the driver’s door that I realized what I’d done….left the keys on the seat and locked myself out of my van. Arrrgh! I stood there wondering what to do. It was very sunny and I was worried about the chicks locked in the closed car in the sun. Not to mention four cases of frozen meat! My phone doesn’t work out there so I had no way to call anyone. I waited till 10 hoping Linda had a phone and was mortified that I would keep everyone waiting. But 10:00 o’clock came and went, as did 10:15, 10:30 and 10:45. By now I’m really worried about the chicks. So I decided I had to break a window.

I found a rock that was ragged and started trying to break the little window by the rear view mirror, thinking it would be the cheapest to replace and the easiest to drive home with it missing. I beat on that window with everything I had for about 20 minutes. All I accomplished is severely scratching the window. Not even a crack or chip! I stood there puffing and wondered what to do next. I wandered around the parking lot looking for a piece of steel rod or something. I couldn’t find anything even remotely useful. It was so silent. The water was like glass, not a sound anywhere…..but suddenly a big machine in the dryland sort started up! AHA!!! A person who might have a phone….I can call a towing service and get this opened perhaps.

Still no Linda so I walked over to the big yard where they were piling up logs and stood in the middle, trying to make myself obvious so I don’t get run over. The man continued to pile logs for about 5 minutes and then I guess he figured I wasn’t going to go away so he drove over close to me and slowed down his machine, looked down at me and said “Do you need help?” (Duh!) I said:

“I was wondering if you would have a crowbar or something that I could break into my car with….I’ve locked myself out.” His lips were twitching and his eyes sparkling and he shut the machine off and got out and stood on the deck. I said “It’s ok if you laugh! I feel pretty stupid!” He laughed then, jumped down from his machine and asked what kind of vehicle I was driving. I said and explained about the chicks inside, and that I had tried to break the window but wasn’t strong enough with just a rock. He smirked again. It’s ok. Smirk all he wants…I needed his help.

Now this is when you believe in angels unawares and all that stuff. Not only is he the only person within miles on Saturday morning, but he says “Let’s try another approach. I used to run a towing company in McNeill so let’s see if we can get the car open" OK. I’m very hopeful as I walk back to the car. He arrives shortly in a little “golf cart” and he has a big screwdriver and a selection of wires with him. After looking inside to see the setup of the vehicle, he put the screwdriver in the top corner of the driver’s door, with a sock between it and the pressure point, and asked me to hold it forward at an angle “like this”. I did that. He then bent the end of one of the wires, poked it in the gap formed by the screwdriver, pushed it forward inside the car and then maneuvered it around until he got the button and managed to click it, successfully unlocking the car! I was so excited I turned around and hugged him, completely throwing him off guard, and said thank you thank you thank you! He was grinning and laughing at my excitement. But the alarm was blaring loudly so I opened the car, grabbed the keys, pressed the button and shut off the noise. Phew. Silence again.

I had picked up two 8 packs of beer for Sheila, who is helping Linda cook for a logging crew right now, and I opened the back and said “Do you drink Beer? I’d like to give you some I’m so grateful. It’s warm but I’m just so happy that you got that open.” He took the beer with a big smile on his face, set it on the seat in his little cart and took off back to work. I couldn’t believe my good luck in having someone with those skills right there when I was desperate. I also wondered why ever lock the vehicle. Except for the alarm, there’s not much to it!

Now, back to business. Linda is still not there. And I am grateful because now I can put everything down on the wharf and be ready. I did that. I left the frozen meat and the chicks in the car which I’ve now parked in the shade, and I took the chairs, the pipes and nails and plumbing supplies groceries and my suitcase down to the wharf. But while I was doing that I dropped the other 8 pack of beer for Sheila. They rolled all over the place and were dented and scratched. One can was leaking so I put it in my tea mug to contain it, thinking Sheila will be laughing when I give her a cup with a leaking can in it.

I went back up to the van, opened the box of chicks, put the top off my thermos in their box with water in it and made sure they were all ok. I enjoyed watching them peep and drink and jump in and out of that little bit of water. I had the windows open and it was pleasant, but still no Linda. I began to think something was wrong so decided that I would wait till 2 p.m. and then go home and see what I could do to set the chicks up for another delivery time. After watching them settle down again I decided to go down to the wharf and get my book out of my suitcase and sit there and read. I left the van open for air, with the chicks in it and headed for the wharf.

I’m five steps down the ramp and a giant Raven flies away with a chicken filet out of Len’s groceries! I got down there and looked and the bird had pecked through my cloth grocery bag, through the plastic shopping bag, and through the plastic wrapper of the meat and had shredded one chicken breast all over the wharf and was happily eating it! I was horrified as now they are short one chicken breast! I was so annoyed and then realized that the chicks are peeping in the van with the window open and I wouldn’t put it past the two ravens swooping overhead to go for them too. So I covered the groceries with my suitcase and a chair, sprinted up the wharf to get the chicks, and sprinted back down again with the box of chicks in hand.

Darned if the Ravens aren’t in the groceries again from another angle and this time they have a big peck hole in his steak! But now I’m there to guard the stuff and I sat on a chair, with the chicks on another chair, the groceries all covered up and read my book in the sunshine while I waited for Linda. The raven swooped overhead for quite a while knowing there were snacks there, but I didn’t move. They sat in the tops of the trees and squawked at me, but they weren’t getting any more out of my stuff! I soon got warm enough that I decided I would just drink the beer that was in the leaky can! So now Sheila has 7 beer where she is expecting 16!

Linda showed up at 12:00. (She got confused because she said 10 the evening before, but in the morning she read my email which was sent much earlier in the day, suggesting 12:00 noon so she came for noon). She was pleased to see me and had Len with her to help load things in the boat. I went and got the frozen meat out of the van and we took off. We chatted happily, and took a little cruise past the log sort on the other side of the hill they are logging. The dozer boat was fascinating to watch, but I think I would probably be squealing and crying if I was in it! Linda headed back around the point and we got about half way up the channel and suddenly both engines stopped. Linda looked at the fuel gauge and sure enough …. Both tanks are empty. Linda was furious that someone would dock the boat with no fuel in it, and furious with herself for not checking before she set out. She phoned Sheila in the kitchen to tell her to send someone out with fuel, and Sheila just started laughing! So we all laughed. What can you do! We drifted a bit and each drank one of Sheila’s beer. We drifted towards a semi-abandoned float house and Len calmly tied us up and we waited there, enjoying the sun and the calm water. I’d have been terrified if it had been rough! Pretty soon one of the men came around the corner and poured 5 gallons into one tank and we limped to her place on one engine.

We unloaded the groceries and Len and I took them up the ramp while Linda went right over to their fuel dock to fill the boat. Sheila, who turns out to be someone I knew years ago is laughing so hard by the time I explained all the things that happened to her beer and why she got one scratched and dented can that she can hardly stand up! That’s one that I’m never going to live down. During the 24 hours I was there she got a lot of pokes in about her missing beer.

But that’s not the end of the adventure. Linda came back from the fuel dock, and we were outside by their fire pit. She was carrying the box of chicks and said she was going to go right up and put them in their house. She almost got past us and I noticed her hair was all wet and asked her if she had gone swimming or something. She started laughing and said “I was hoping nobody would notice. I did the pike pole landing as the boat drifted away from the dock and I didn’t stretch far enough and fell in! Just like you see on TV! Luckily it's a nice day!”

She soon came back down, we finished preparations for dinner for all the loggers, and then she and I and her grandchildren went up the hill to look at the chicks…….most of whom had found a way out of the house so we had to find the hole, plug that and put them all back. Great fun for the kids catching little chicks!

By the time dinner was done and all the loggers left for their cabins and the chicks were finally safely in their new home I was exhausted from all the excitement and I went to the little room that Linda had prepared for me and I read for a while but soon fell asleep. We planned to do some kayaking the next day, but when we got up it was raining so we just visited. After so many calamities in one day, I am wondering if I'll ever be trusted to make the run for the team again!