Wednesday, April 25, 2012


With all the beauty and joy that comes with spring, the succulent green of new leaves and the all-out fecundity, I've never seen so much bloodshed and horror erupt from the season of rebirth.

I'll start with the good news.  Things are growing.  Our apocalyptically warm weather has wrought a spectacle of leafy newness that usually holds out until mid-May in these parts. 

My all time favorite:  Broad Beans! 

My friends and neighbors, Nancy & Norm, gave me a monster chunk of their rhubarb.  I'm well pleased.  I've not killed it yet.

June fruiting strawberries going strong.

I planted year old asparagus crowns.  It takes 2 years to harvest asparagus.  That means that by next year I'll be knee deep in purple spears.  Once bearing they will continue providing me with lovely veggies for up to 20+ years.  

But they're sending up a few early shoots.  I'm so damn pleased (1) that I get some asparagus and that (2) I didn't kill them!

Garden Cress.  The lead component to my favorite summertime soup.

Black Currant bush!  I see leaves.  Means I didn't kill it!  Yet.
Green house in full swing!

But with spring having sprung, it has also brought the frisky out of our animals.  By frisky I mean murder.

It began early in the season with the drake we call, with absolutely no originality, Aflack.  His back was poked raw and bloody.  Now if you have chickens, you know the result of having too many roosters to too few hens:  ladies with their backs completely bare of feathers and a few lesions if she's especially unlucky.  But with the ducks, it's the guys who go at each other.  A fight to the death for the ladies' affections.  I use affection very loosely.  There's no affection involved and often there's a bit of drowning thrown in the mix but so far, the duck ladies have survived.

(For those wondering about the geese, they mate for life, so the ganders are pretty chill about the whole spring mating thing.)

I called the owner of the ducks, as I'm fostering them until they can get their Irene ravaged farm back in working order.  She confirmed that it was mating fever and eventually took Aflack away to have spa time.

All seemed well, with only Aflack victim to raging hormones and the water fowl taking to uprooting vulnerable garlic instead of assaulting romantic rivals.

Ducks and Geese love garlic.  Who knew?
And then two days ago Ray runs into the house yelling, "duck down!"  Within the course of a few hours, a strapping drake was laid out on the meadow with his wings akimbo and his back bloody.  He died that evening.

The drakes in the foreground are the perps.  Mean little buggers.

The next morning another drake left the coop, after an evening of hell, similarly injured but still walking relatively well.  I caught him and have now isolated him in a pen and little bit of pasture of his very own.  There are now two very mean drakes left standing, having taken Aflack out, killed another and maimed a third.  I have big love for all creatures.  These two, not so much.

lonely boy in his bachelor pad.

Lonely Boy longing for his lady. They talk through the mesh in hushed tones. 

So it is now my job to arrange the recuperating pen in a manner that is predator safe (at the moment, Lonely Boy is sleeping in a large crate at night).  That way, I can bring his lady love to stay with him.  They miss each other terribly.

Wish us all luck for getting out of the spring without any more tragedy.  And to you, I wish all the happiness of spring without any of the mayhem.


  1. Dear God...I had no idea ducks were this evil. I shall have to re-think my previous idea of having the furry beasts. Geese sound much more "loving" if you will. I am sorry to hear of the Spring horrors...hopefully things will mellow in the coming weeks.

  2. This is the very reason why I monitor my viewing of the National Geographic channel. :) I'm always caught between my strong desire to watch any creature in their natural habitat with my strong aversion to said creatures sometimes acting like the wild creatures that they are while in that natural habitat. Alas, I guess it's all educational. Besides which, I make sure there are always delicious baked goods to turn to when things get really rough and emotions run high. :)

  3. Having grown up on a farm, things like this happen. My father always explained that its "Nature" - sometimes cruel, sometimes giving. As humans who love our "beasts" its hard to accept the cruel side of nature, but we adjust, and make adjustments for the injured beasts as well. I wish that no more tragedys befall your animals.

  4. eesh. I had a flock of hens kill a young cockerel. I decided they were militant lesbians. Poultry sure can have fowl (ha!) dispositions. It's no fun sometimes. :(


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