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January 13, 2007 / Kate

Mendocino Duck Ice

These days it seems like we are never caught up with splitting wood, trapping bobcats, clipping goat toenails, retching as we clean rabbit poop from underneath cages, and a myriad of other farm chores. Last weekend we had to trim Beezus and Ramona’s hooves. One of us had to put the goat in a headlock while the other one trimmed their hooves with a pair of old garden shears. These days I am too exhausted to write anything witty or interesting on this thing. And our farm is so puny relatively speaking.

This morning we had an adventure involving our ducks.

Keith bought these ducklings a few months ago, and we raised them for meat. He began butchering them as they got big enough, and we were able to make all sorts of fancy dishes like Duck Feather and Sorghum Root Tart, and Duck a la Rouge. I would casually look out the window sometimes and see a duck’s head flying off a flapping duck. I would then be unable to keep that picture out of my mind for the rest of the day. One time Keith chopped off the head of a duck and it made an “oof” sound as it hit the ground and this sound has haunted his dreams ever since. This is the price one pays for home grown free range duck meat: dreams that are forever haunted by floating duck heads saying “oof” ever so faintly.

He eventually grew tired of butchering them by hand, one at a time, so we took the seven we had left up to the pond this week so they could have fun gallivanting around before the cougars got them. As of yesterday, there were six left, one with a big chunk taken out of her neck. Do I have to say ew? I don’t believe I do.

They must have had a meeting and decided they would be safer last night if they slept in the middle of the pond, but they didn’t check the forecast first. If they had, they would have seen that it was going to be about 17 degree last night. They slept in the middle of the pond and of course it froze over. We awoke this morning to find six water logged and freezing ducks swimming in a circle in the 6 feet of unfrozen pond in the middle. They couldn’t get onto the ice and walk, and they couldn’t fly because they were so heavy from the water.

I got our boat out and a big stick and slowly chopped at the ice, making a path for the ducks. My weekends used to be filled with coffee, blogs, waking up slowly, and general laziness. Now I have to save play hero to a bunch of doomed ducks.

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One Comment

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  1. Cuz / Jan 14 2007 6:12 am

    My mom has a bunch of stories about the guinea hens Granny Mobley used to keep. Her stories always with with, “and they were probably dumbest birds ever created.”
    I think my favorite was the one about how they would get killed by rain. I’m not saying I enjoy the wanton destruction of life. I’m just saying that it’s kind of funny that a rain drop could kill something the size of a small dog.

    Also, Erica is trying to convince me that “poop like a goose” is a phrase in common usage. For instance, “If you eat that bucket of cherries, you’ll be pooping like a goose in no time.” I, however, refuse to acknowledge that this is an idiom in casual parlance. It isn’t something people say.

    I hope you are both staying warm.
    Love and such. You know the rest.

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