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Strange how sounds are amplified at night. The competing sounds of the day retreat and one hears with new ears. The chirp of a cricket singing, the guttural bass sounds of a frog, the humming of bees' wings as they fly back to the hive laden with golden pollen and the high- pitched whine of mosquitoes wings. Nightfall has come on silken slippers.

The chinka-chink of the cash register signaled day's end, the door was locked and all was quiet within the store. The chicks in the cages were just gearing up for their nightly story telling. Excitement mounted as each found a soft bit of sawdust to burrow into, and then a hush fell on the 49er Feed Store.   

The Storyteller began with tales of delightful days spent outdoors, chicks and chickens running, wings flapping,   across sun-drenched meadows; daily baths in soft, fine dust which were easily burrowed into, the earthy smells of the sweet dust falling upon feathers and beaks. The next image presented was one of foraging expeditions into the woods, scratching in the damp earth to uncover culinary delights! There was opportunity to doze in the cool, damp earth beneath the rhododendrons, and azaleas, to scratch into the soft, friable earth of the shade garden, unearthing juicy bugs and slugs. These were delectable morsels! They kind of slid down the gullet and oozed sweetness.

But the best story was the one the Storyteller wove about Dunn Farm. Nestled in the foothills, across the river and almost to the top of the mountain, Dunn Farm sounded wonderful! Most critters had heard of Dunn Farm, a  country place, all critters living there as part of the 'family'. Each were given personal names, chickens had their own chicken house, and on weekends, hours and hours of free ranging! And oh! the most lovely morsels to eat! Bits of cake, veggies, bread and rolls and the cracked corn! Besides all the grass and bugs one could ever want! oh, the Joy!

The gardens were said to be so wonderful, full of fantastic flowers, and sweet little garden rooms in which to settle in for a nap. There was a big sawdust area that was great fun, chicks scratching into the pile, kicking up their feet, and tossing bits of sawdust around into the air! Then down to the herb garden, clipping bits of thyme, parsley, and onion tops when  no one was looking!

Every year Tim, owner of this haven, would come into the feed store to make his selection of chicks. He would hand raise these babies, giving them heat, light, and food until they were big enough and strong enough to live in the chicken coops. All the chicks hoped they would be among those selected, to be able to live at Dunn Farm! As sleepy little eyes closed, audible sighs signaled unspoken wishes turning into dreams as they slept.   


The sun rose on the feed store one early day in summer as Tim walked in to make his yearly selection of chicks. A half an hour later, a dozen baby chicks were on their way to Dunn Farm. There were black ones, red ones, buff ones and pretty, fluffy white ones. They chirped excitedly and huddled together in one corner of the carrier. They were put into a warm brooding pen, given fresh, cool water, a heat lamp, and soft shavings for their bed. The food was sweet and plentiful. The  hens  welcomed them and with soft clucks, bid them sweet dreams. Nightfall at Dunn Farm fell upon contented baby chicks, dreaming of the days to come, and the anticipated adventures at Dunn Farm. 


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