We got back from my sheep shearing classes to find what was left after a neighbor's dog paid a little visit to the farm.
After parking the truck, we stepped out to find our beloved FaFa duck's cold, stiff, lifeless body on the driveway. We were stunned but there was more to come. FF's first thought was to the babies, so he hurried to the barn to check on them. We've had freezing temperatures here for the past two days, so the younger ones were penned in the barn with a heater to keep them nice and warm. Luckily, all baby duckies and one chick were accounted for and in good health.
The same could not be said for the rest of our flock. Dead chickens behind the barn, under the carport, behind the grill. Ducks with broken wings, pitifully limping. It was just too much.
FF immediately started repairing the fence while I bundled the kids and got them into the house (all while marching them blindly past FaFa duck's body). Thankfully, it was already dark and cold, so the kids never saw her and I got them safely inside the house. Then the task began to unload the rental car, get the kids to bed, check on the rest of the flock and do what we could in the dark and cold. 27 degrees, y'all.
The next morning, we went out to assess the situation in the realness that only daylight brings. Let's just say the situation looked a lot better in the dark. We salvaged what was left and did what we could for our flock, but in the end, I suspect we will have to lose our more seriously injured farm companions.
Honestly, I'm at a loss for words, which if you know me, is rare. Homesteading teaches us so many things each day. Each day's lesson, painful or not, brings me ever closer to certainty on the lifestyle we've chosen.
We try to make sure all of the animals live a stress-free, happy life and have a pain-free but inevitable death. But I couldn't help but feel as if we failed poor Fafa duck.
We told the kids over breakfast what happened. FF Boy's response was silence, a tinge of sadness crossed his brow, and then that beautiful, sweet, doughnut sugar-covered face suddenly lit up. "Maybe we can hatch another Fafa duck again?"
There will never be another Fafa, or Thelma and Louise, or the Conductor, or Carl. But our farm, and what they contributed to it, will last with us forever.
The aftereffect of a full day of processing chickens and ducks.
It's ugly and dirty work, but seeing a deep freezer full of meat for weeks to come is incredibly satisfying.
Because we have lots of poultry, we eat a lot of eggs.
Fried, poached, hard-boiled, soft-boiled, omelets, over easy, sunnyside up.
There are tons of ways to prepare an egg, but arguably the simplest is to scramble it.
Oddly enough, as simple as it seems, most of the time I order eggs in a restaurant they are terrible. Rubbery, dry, no flavor. Kinda how I picture George Hamilton would be, were one to intentionally lick him. Or, I guess unintentionally, lick him too.
Me: "Hey ... can chickens fart?"
Me: "Can chickens fart?"
FF: *Mouth open.*
Me: "Yesterday I distinctly heard one of the Welsummers let one rip."
FF: "Why are you asking me? Do you think I'm an expert in flatulence?"
FF: "I don't know."
Me: "It sounded like a fart."
FF: "Maybe it was one of the kids."
Me: "No, they were too far away. It was me and one chicken and I'd fess up if I did it."
FF: "Google it."
I'm the wife of a Fledgling Farmer(FF) and mom to Fledgling Farmer Boy(FFB) and Fledgling Farmer Girl(FFG).