Baby Chicks on the Family Farm

A New Jersey woman recalls the delightful sound of baby chicks on her grandparents' family farm in Eastern Kansas

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Born in 1930 on a family farm in eastern Kansas, I loved to spend time at my grandparents' home three miles north-beautifully nestled below "Crowell Hill." Egg sales from their hens were their livelihood.

I always slept in an upstairs room. At that certain time of year the aroma of the incubators permeated the "west room" near the walk-in attic, which had a secret drawer that fascinated me so.

Once hatched the baby chicks were placed in their brooder-house around a brick oven. What a delightful sight to see them chirping – so happy – in their new home.

Further west was the henhouse with the straw roof. Hens were disappearing due to a opossum. Knowing that if the hens were gone there would be no money for groceries, my grandmother fixed a bed on a cot and slept in the henhouse. She was able to kill Mr. Opossum when he showed up that night for a big fat hen.

Now living in a large city, I haven't forgotten the peacefulness of being gently awakened each morning by the distant crow of a rooster.

Sara Hewitt Riola 
Lakewood, New Jersey

Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.