The Chicken Chronicles Chapter 1: Naming Your Baby
When I started in this business of antiques and home decor, I only had two babies - Kate had just turned 4 and Riley was 6 months old. Fast forward nine years, and Kate is now 12, Riley is 9, and our sweet whoopsie baby Finn just turned 7. I can remember even before we had any children all the thought and planning I put into thinking about baby names. I had books all about baby names and in each one I had dog-eared pages circles and check marks on the titles befitting of my future babes. It was painstaking at times to find a name that my husband and I could agree on. I would love a name but he would balk that it reminded him of a kid he went to school with that only ever wore a striped rugby and smelled a little funky. And I had my own hang-ups about certain names too - perfectly good names that were ruined by perfectly annoying people.
Our only experience naming anything together before kids was with our pets. We already had two cats before Kate was born, and we named them Boo and Scout after Boo Radley and Scout Finch, the two hero characters from one of my all-time favorite books To Kill a Mockingbird (only to be unseated as my one-and-only most favorite books of time with a reading of The Book Thief - now both works have to share the title).
Once our kids came along, any pet naming duties were relinquished to them. We faired pretty well with Gracey, Maisy, and Marley and kept the inherited name of our dog Kai. It was only after we fostered two kittens last Spring, who the kids temporarily named Stampy Cat and Flower Power, that I realized if we acquired any new pets, their names would need to go through a rigorous vetting process. With the latest addition to our pet menagerie, I decided to take the reigns in assigning names to the baby chicks after “Mike” was emphatically lobbied for by my daughter. Sorry, Mike - we’re all ladies here (at least we hope so).
Since I was thoughtful in the original name selection for the kids and our first pets, I realized I needed to put some love into this decision for naming the new baby chicks too. My first thought was to pay homage to one of my all-time favorite period dramas, Downton Abbey, and name the chicks after some of the female characters of the show. The smallest Buff Orpington would certainly be Daisy and the Ameracauna who dominates the bunch would be the Grand Dowager, Lady Violet Grantham. This seemed to be the route I was going to take until death came to Downton - one of our little loves, a Barred Rock, fell suddenly ill and we found her limp little body in the brooder. There was great sadness throughout the family. This was the first experience with death that the kids could really remember and the events that ensued are certainly relegated to the enormity of another blog post.
So I started thinking again about these cuties I took on after my Towanda! moment, and decided they needed names befitting the stress and struggle their little lives had endured thus far. What better than to name them after the strongest, most lauded of my dearest women writers! After observing personalities for the past two weeks, we finally have role call:
Introducing the Grand Dame of Victorian Literature, our Ameracauna, Jane “cry baby” Austen (left). She is the eyes and ears of the bunch. She’s standoffish and suspect of everything. And her twin sister, George Elliot aka “Ellie" (right) who if we have the 10% chance of getting a rooster, she will be it.
This is Emily Dickinson, the lone Barred Rock survivor after the gothic death of her twin. She is quite a talker and appears to be the gentle leader of the bunch.
Here are the Buff Orpington sisters. Representing the Bronte darlings is Charlotte (rear) who has quite an appetite, and the tiniest of our flock but certainly not the smallest in her pioneer status as writer, teacher, nurse, and all-around amazing role model, little Louisa May Alcott (front), a real lovebug.
And alas, R.I.P. tiny angel chick named after a force of a writer who died far too young, the sweetest Anne Frank. Only a week old when she passed.
Please, stay tuned for all the hijinks to come as we continue along in The Chicken Chronicles!