I am a Hoosier girl through and through. Born and bred on an Indiana farm smack dab in the middle of the state. For those of you reading this who wonder what a Hoosier is, it is anyone who was born in the state. Where the name comes from, no one can say for sure. Some say it happened many years ago when the settlers lived in cabins and when someone would be coming toward their cabin they would yell out, “Who’s yer?” There are other explanations, but no one knows the true meaning.
Over the years I have written stories about my growing up years on my daddy’s Indiana farm and today I will publish one here on my blog. It’s written as me as a little girl and the facts are as I remember them. My brothers and sister may remember things differently. I had a wonderful childhood and remember many fun things that happened while I was growing up. So here is my first story.
Ducklings by the Back Door
It was Spring on Daddy’s Indiana farm. New baby animals were being born every day. The one animal Daddy did not have on his farm was a duck, but that was soon to change.
One day Mommy came home from visiting a neighbor carrying a box in her arms. Inside the box were eggs. Not just any kind of eggs which Katie saw every day. These eggs were duck eggs that the neighbor had taken from a setting duck.
Mommy had gotten an egg incubator at a sale and had been wanting to try her luck at hatching some eggs herself. She carefully placed the duck eggs inside the incubator. It was round and had a lid that raised. It ran on electricity to keep the eggs warm.
“Your job will be to turn the eggs every day,” Mommy told Katie. “You will also have to sprinkle water onto the eggs to keep them moist.”
Katie was excited. She knew that if she did her job correctly, there would one day be some baby ducklings hatching from the eggs.
Every day Katie would go down into the cellar where the incubator was kept and she would turn the eggs a quarter turn. This was so that the eggs would get warm all the way around. She sprinkled water over the eggs then carefully closed the lid. She looked at the eggs through the glass top and wondered how soon the baby ducklings would be poking their beaks through the eggshells.
The days followed slowly one after the other. Each day Katie watched the eggs, but they just lay there. She knew that inside them ducklings were growing and would soon be too big for their eggshell homes.
Then one day it finally happened. Katie went down the cellar steps expecting to see the eggs just laying there as usual, but instead she found that the ducklings were finally being born. There were cracks in several of the eggs and she saw one tiny beak poking out of one of them.
“Mommy, come quick!” Katie called. “The eggs are hatching!”
Mommy hurried down the cellar steps and watched with Katie as each duckling emerged from its shell. The ducklings had to work so hard to get out of the shell that when they finally emerged they were exhausted. They lay on their sides breathing hard, their yellow down still damp from being inside the eggs. Soon they were standing on their tiny webbed feet and stretching and flapping their wings.
Not all the eggs hatched. “That is nature’s way of saying that the ducklings inside those eggs would not have been healthy,” Mommy told Katie.” “They did not develop enough to hatch.
Even though all the eggs did not hatch, there were eight baby ducklings to care for. They had to be kept warm, so Mommy fit a light bulb above a box and put the ducklings inside. Katie fed them baby chicken feed that Daddy bought for the hundreds of baby chickens he raised on the farm. Day after day the ducklings grew. They thought Katie was their mother because she was the first thing they saw when they hatched. They would come running to her to be fed.
Once they were large enough, they were put in the chicken yard with the chickens and lived in the chicken house. When Katie came out the back door they would run to the chicken yard gate and quack at her. sometimes she would take them out of the chicken yard and let them follow her all around the yard. soon their soft yellow down became snow white feathers. They became noisy and destructive and tore up some of Mommy’s flowers in the garden. Mommy said they would have to stay in the chicken yard.
The big white ducks lived for several years on Daddy’s Indiana farm. Mommy tried hatching chickens in her incubator, but never had any luck. Katie sometimes gave uncooked oatmeal to her pet ducks because they were spoiled and they loved oatmeal. The ducklings by the back door were her babies and she would always have a special place in her heart for them.
Hope you enjoyed my little story. Bye.