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.
When we were childless, FF and I rarely made a big deal out of Christmas. We had the one, obligatory, Charlie Brown tabletop Christmas tree. That was pretty much it. We both liked the holiday, but it is a bit too much decorating for us. And more importantly, too much taking down of decorations.
But of course, like everything else, having children means making more holly for the jollying on Christmas. So this year we put up the Christmas tree, made Christmas cookies, drank egg nog (except FF, who hates it), and generally made good on the promise to be "the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse."
So that title isn't exactly accurate. There will be, in fact, some "try" involved in this year's feast. Just not as much as I have in years past. We had a few late cancelations, so we won't have as many people to cook for, so that cuts back on a lot. But most of the pressure to "do it big" comes from within.
It's just before dinner on a Tuesday night and the house is calm. FF is watching a cartoon with FF Boy, FF Girl is getting some beauty rest, and I sit here typing a blog entry, reflecting on the day and feeling the whole "farm mom" vibe.
Today's activities included making sourdough biscuits and sausage for breakfast with the help of FF Girl; guiding FF Boy through the quirks of the English language (we're learning to read ee and ea words, such as see and lean); coaxing our Bearded Dragon, Kevin, to eat more than just mealworms; and arguing with FF Girl over whether she should wear denim cowboy boots EVERYWHERE. She won, by the way, as I think she looks pretty cute even if the aforementioned boots are often caked in mud and chicken shit.
I'm the wife of a Fledgling Farmer(FF) and mom to Fledgling Farmer Boy(FFB) and Fledgling Farmer Girl(FFG).