Kindling is a necessity this time of year. Maybe not for you, but for me it is. Quite a few years ago, my husband gave me this handy Swedish design log splitter. It’s called a Smart-Splitter and makes splitting logs into kindling a breeze.

Axes are good for splitting rounds into firewood. But when it comes to splitting firewood into slender pieces of kindling, the Smart-Splitter works even better. The blade rides a fixed post, so you can set the blade exactly where you want it, and when you drop the weight which falls onto the blade, it splits the log in two. It’s a failsafe way to split smaller and smaller pieces of wood in two. It doesn’t take long to make a bundle of kindling to start fires.


Seeing Hazel with her whole brood this afternoon was a pleasant surprise. With some hens, the break with their children is immediate. One minute they are sweet mother hen, “Here’s a plump worm children.” The next minute they are, “You’re off on your own – shoo!”

Other hens are like Hazel, spending less and less time with them each day, but still there when the children need some reassuring. Sort of like people, some chicks grow up with stern mothers, others with gentle ones. There are the no nonsense, “Children! Stay within eyesight at all times!” mothers, and the carefree ones who let their children do most anything they want, with every parenting style in between.

I never would have thought mother hens have so many different parenting styles. You certainly don’t read books detailing the parenting styles of mother hens, though if one were to write a serious one, it would easily require hundreds of pages. Add illustrations, studies on how childhood experiences influence parenting styles, the effect of this and that, the roles mother hens play in the success of roosters, et cetera, et cetera, and you’re talking about a thousand pages or more, perhaps even a few volumes. Now that would be a find in a library: three to five, leather bound, hefty volumes, an exhaustive treatise on how mother hens raise their children, with a companion compendium on evolutionary similarities between human and chicken child rearing.


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