The sun peaked through the loft window creating a rainbow on the ivy wallpaper above the white metal bed. Heidi and Angel cuddled under the colorful crazy quilt as birds sang in the nearby apple tree. A robin hopped onto the wide window sill chirping as if to say. “Get up. Get up.” He cocked his head to one side as he watched the sleeping girls.
“Wake up. Look at the robin,” Angel said, as she sat up brushing tousled hair out of her eyes.
“Not yet. I was in the middle of a good dream,” Heidi answered in a sleepy voice.
“Hey come on,” Angel threw off the quilt as the rooster started to crow.
“Leave me be,” Heidi said, as she pulled the quilt over her head trying to ignore the racket as the bantam rooster and quail roosters joined in.
“Ma just went to get eggs,” Angel said. “She will expect us to be up when she returns.”
“Oh, all right,” Heidi put her feet on the rough plank floor and glared at her sister. “Quit being such a pest.
Ten minutes later Angel hummed as she bustled about the kitchen. She put the white table cloth on the square oak table under the round window that looked like a porthole. She carefully placed three blue plates and cutlery, with cream colored handles, around the table before placing a vase of daisies in the middle. “There it looks lovely. Ma will be pleased.”
Heidi descended the ladder into the cozy kitchen that had an antique feel as Ma came in the back door looking worried. “What’s wrong Ma?”
“Something took the eggs. The girls were in a fluster,” Ma answered as she put the wicker basket on the table. “There are mushrooms, fresh herbs and three eggs in the icebox.”
“Maybe an omelet instead of poached eggs and creamed mushrooms on toast. It will be a feast,” Heidi said, as she gave her ma a hug.
“We will have to be on watch. Hopefully the girls will lay today. They were very upset,” Ma said. “All that was left was the empty egg shells and feathers all over the place.”
Angel cuddled her stuffed doll as she stood there listening. “Not fair. Wanted a poached egg. You promised.”
“What could have taken the eggs?” Heidi asked, as she sliced mushrooms.
“Will need to set traps,” Ma answered as she cracked an egg shell and slid the egg into boiling water.
Angel took her thumb out of her mouth and stuck her tongue out at her sister. “My baby is worried.”
“You girls do your homework while I check the barn for holes and set traps. When your homework is done clean out the hen enclosure and put fresh straw in the nests.” Ma said, as she poured hot water in the sink.
“My homework is done,” Heidi answered, as she cleared the table.
“Don’t want to,” Angel said, as she cuddled her dolly.
“Girls, no arguing,” Ma said, as she headed towards the door. “Study your spelling.”
“Can I help and do homework later?” Heidi asked. “It’s too nice to be indoors. The sun and wind are beckoning me.”
“I want to read to dolly,” Angel said. “I gathered eggs yesterday and the old hen pecked me. My hand is still red. See.”
“Do your reading first and then come help,” Ma answered. “Old Rebecca is a brood hen and can be cranky at times. She wants to keep the eggs.”
An hour later Angel and Heidi walked down the path their feet crunching on the loose gravel. Angel paused to run her fingers over the red geranium flowers that marched like soldiers along each side of the path. She spread her arms wide and leaned from side to side pretending to be an airplane in flight.
“Look at me,” Angel said as she skipped along.
A robin landed on the stone wall behind the dense growth of raspberry bushes. “We’ll pick raspberries and blackberries later,” Heidi said.
“The bushes prick me. The bugs bit too,” Angel said as they passed the bushes.
“You like to eat the berries. Pick ones along the edge,” Heidi answered, as they continued single file down the narrow twisting path that felt like a tunnel between the tall bushes. The path widened and the weather beaten barn came into view. “Want to play detectives?”
“What fun,” Angel answered, as she pulled a small magnifying glass from her skirt pocket. “Look at those footprints.”
“They are big. Might be Ma’s. Look for something suspicious and out of the ordinary.” Heidi said, as she peered into the lilac bushes.
“Dolly is scared. There might be monsters hiding,” Angel stopped suddenly when she heard a rustling sound near by.
“Don’t be a silly goose. Come on. Ma’s waiting,” Heidi said pointing.
“Did you see anything, Ma,” Heidi asked as they approached.
“There are some little footprints,” Ma answered.
“There are scratch marks on the boards,” Angel said, as she looked through her magnifying glass.
“That mound of dirt must mean that an animal dug its way inside,” Heidi said as she walked around the barn.
“That is what I suspect happened. There have been a lot of coons around,” Ma answered as she put rocks over a piece of chicken wire and shoveled dirt on top.
Angel hugged her dolly while she stamped the soil down completely filling in the hole. “There all done. Will that keep the thief out?”
“Might slow the rascal down a bit. Might have to put chicken wire all around the barn,” Ma answered.
written by M. E. Hembroff