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Spring toads, books, baby chicks, and Her Majesty

Well, folks, I still haven’t seen much in the way of reviews, but look at the front table of the Barnes & Noble on Merchant’s Square in Williamsburg!


I tend to get a little behind with blogging in the spring, because while I’m still writing away on my regular projects (just now, I’ve got two on the front burner: the history of the medieval world and the revisions which will turn my dissertation into a readable book) the farm-work springs into full blossom. All of a sudden we’re incredibly busy with grass-cutting, gardening, fence-mending, equipment repairs, picking up a winter’s worth of yard debris, and spraying Round-Up around every foundation and fence post (we’re all about judicious use of poison here). The days are suddenly longer, and the kids are outside every possible minute, enjoying nature. Also trapping it and putting it into little plastic cages.


In a couple of weeks I’ll get back to a few more thoughtful topics, such as the importance of Latin and why Byzantine theological quarrels are of riveting importance. In the meantime, take a look at the week’s high point: the baby chicks arrive.

We don’t have an incubator, so we order our baby chicks by mail. It amazes me that this actually works, but it does: you place the order, and when the chicks hatch they arrive the next day in a cardboard box. In our case, the Charles City postmaster calls us up and says, “Hey, tell Doctor Wise that his chicks are here!”

So while my father helped my oldest son set up the brooder,


I took Emily and Dan down to the post-office for the box.

When we opened it, there they were–all alive (which isn’t always the case, but the entire batch survived this time).

We got them into the brooder, where I had some trouble KEEPING them, since baby chicks (like kittens) are much cuddlier than their adult counterparts. This particular batch almost got smothered by love.


After several days of constant cuddling, they follow Emily around wherever she goes and jump up on her to sleep.


It’s so sad that they’re going to get big and ugly.

In other news, the William & Mary faculty were all notified last week that we can get tickets for an audience with the Queen, who is visiting the Wren Building at the College as part of her Jamestown anniversary tour. I considered going in and getting my ticket for about twenty seconds, and then read the part of the email where it says that SIX THOUSAND PEOPLE will be in town.

Huh. I don’t think so. I’ll just be watching it on TV.

Stay tuned for those riveting essays on Monophysitism and the eternal value of the gerundive…