I was crouched on the bathroom floor over a tub of soapy water, encouraging the dirt out of some clothes when Tea walked in grinning. She held her hands cupped together in front of her. As she got closer I heard a tiny peeping sound coming from whatever she was holding.
"Look!" she whispered. I stood up, and as Tea held out her hands, I saw a fuzzy little head peek up through her fingers.
"Oooooo! A chick!" I cooed. "Is this your first day out of the shell?" I asked the chick. Tea said that today was the second day for the little one.
I gently took the wee bird from Tea's hands and held it close. So tiny and frail. So soft and fluffy. Tiny, beady eye. Tiny, pointy beak. It settled into my grasp as I wrapped my hands around it. The baby responded to the warmth of my hands and gripped my finger with its teeny feet. It cheeped and peeped as I patted its little head and stroked its tiny neck.
Tea said there were nine more in the shed. I gave back the hatchling and scooted up to my room to get my camera. Together we went into the shed, and Tea took the sitting hen out of the box where the chicks were being safeguarded. They were so cute -- white, yellow, and black chicks -- all scampering and huddling together, a chorus of cheeps and peeps. I gingerly nabbed one of the black ones as it came close to me. If I could have held all of them at once, I would have. Lined them all up like a package of "Peeps" that I know are on the shelves of every grocery store in the U.S. right now and patted every one of their precious little heads. But I didn't. I put back the little guy I had picked up. The mother hen that Tea was holding by the shoulder was not very happy that her chicks were being played with. Tea put the hen back in the box, and the hen immediately gathered the chicks underneath her wings.