Sunday, September 11, 2011

and then there were two

It may seem foolish on this day of National Mourning to be posting about a duck. But I think if we can feel greatly about the loss of small beauties in our lives we are all the better for it.
Our 3 chocolate India Runner Ducks have always seemed to be joined at the shoulder. They are named for favorite chocolate candies, Snickers, Tootsie, and Pixie. Snickers seemed to be the dominant personality, and she was easy to spot with lighter legs and ankles than her sisters. Pixie the smallest of the 3. In the past several days Pixie and Tootsie both moved away from Snickers for short attempts to interact with me on their own. But Snickers would call them back and they'd retreat.
For the past couple days especially they have been very vocal, talking up a storm for long conversations. From the house it always sounds like they're having a good joke.
There's also been an increase in wild animal sounds around the farm in recent days. On Friday night I went out to the birds a bit later than usual because we'd been out to dinner. I found Polish and one of the Buff Orpingtons sitting shoulder to shoulder in the little door opening of their chicken house, facing out blocking the door. This has never happened before. The coyotes were out in the valley below calling as I shooed those two inside and shut their door. They had been on watch, those sweet brave birds.
Sometime yesterday little Snickers lost her head, literally. Beginning their first full day without her, Pixie and Tootsie seem at a loss and are quite subdued today, not sure how to go about without her. Jerome says I seem very calm about it. I am strangely calm, but of course feel deep sadness at the loss of her life. We've all heard the saying "sitting ducks" and maybe even use it without really thinking about it. I have taken them out of their natural element, deprived them of being raised by a knowing mother who could have taught them how to be more careful, and put them in an environment that is limited in its options for their survival. I am saddened by my own selfish desires which robbed them of their chance for a "natural" life. I did not think beyond the desire to possess them, bewitched by the "cute" pictures in the catalog. Ignorant, unprepared and inexperienced, I was unable to provide them with better living conditions and failed them. Yes, they would have been purchased by some other buyer reading Murray MacMurray's catalog if I had not, but I did order them and wasn't prepared to keep them properly.
I have been learning many lessons here on Asbury Ridge this first year. I am sorry that this great lesson has been learned at Snicker's expense.
On this tenth anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, I pray that the world has learned a lesson, dearly paid for by much more than the life's blood of one small duck.


  1. I am so sorry to hear the sad news about Snickers. We can only go so far in protecting our animals and can't be with them every minute of the day. Please do not be harsh on yourself. We have been remembering the terrible events of 9/11 here in the UK. It still brings tears to my eyes when I recall seeing the television footage on that fateful day. x

  2. wishing i could brew you a comforting cup of tea...

  3. Sharon, your story was a sad diversion from the larger reality of 9/11. But every life is important, even little Snicker's. Please - don't beat yourself up about this. You're such a caring person and, as you said, you are learning about life in the country and doing a wonderful job.
    Please go easy on yourself.
    Big hugs!