An open letter to the US Postal Service

Dear Sir(s) and/or Madam(s):

I would like to direct your attention to the picture at right; it is a lovingly constructed brooding box. Of particular note is the bright blue swimming pool, complete with basking rock/swim deck. You’ll notice a heat lamp, and if you’re unusually astute you’ll also notice it’s not illuminated. Perhaps you are wondering why no life-sustaining heat is pouring forth. Perhaps you are also wondering why I’m sending a letter with a picture of an empty brooding box to the US Postal Service. I’m sending you a picture of a dark and lonely brooding box because IT’S YOUR FAULT IT’S EMPTY!!!! I capitalized those letters on purpose, for I wish to indicate that I am, in fact, shouting at you. I would also include a frowny-face emoticon, but I shall keep this letter professional. Allow me to explain the reason for my ire, and the reason for which said ire is directed at you. For the last three weeks, I have been calling numerous feed stores, asking when their shipment of cute, fuzzy ducklings will arrive. In each case, I was promised a specific date, guaranteed by the hatcheries sending the ducks. And by “sending”, I mean utilizing the US Postal Service. Those promised dates, marked in ink on my calendar, have come and gone. Let me re-direct your attention to the photo at right. Notice the lack of ducks happily basking in the glow of the heat lamp, or paddling contentedly in the wading pool. Notice the lack of food and water available, because do you know what nothing eats? That’s right – nothing. Let me pose another question:  how is it possible for the USPS to delay four separate hatchery orders to four separate feed stores in a span of three weeks???? Do you think ducklings enjoy being in a cardboard box for extended periods of time? Do you think I enjoy being responsible for the fact that the four feed stores within fifty miles of my house have changed their phone greetings to “___ Feed Store, no the ducks aren’t available yet”? Since federal law prohibits me from expressing my dissatisfication with your operating procedures to the extent that I would like to do in this letter, I will close by requesting that you pull your collective heads out and deliver me some ducklings already. Fly like an eagle my a$$.


Despite my longing for ducklings being thus far unfulfilled, I actually have acquired four adult ducks. Gene found someone who had ducks she needed to give away, so last weekend my friend Abigail and I went to go pick them up. When we got there, the poor ducks were so mud-covered you couldn’t even tell what color they were. They didn’t have access to anywhere warm and dry, so they weren’t in terribly good shape. Chasing them around proved that I wasn’t in terribly good shape either, and by the time I caught the fourth duck, I was as covered in mud as they were. (And on a slightly related note, if some weird avian duck flu hits Washington state, it’s probably my fault – I think I swallowed about a gallon of gross duck mud). They seemed to perk up when we got them home, probably because they looked around and saw nothing but spoiled and pampered goats, chickens, turkeys, rabbits, and the world’s luckiest sheep. After a week of clean bedding and water, they are doing well, and Gene even went out and bought them some powdered duck vitamins that make their water look like Tang. 

All the other critters are their usual content selves. Princess Ariel and Woolimina are ecstatic with their new surroundings, and Woolimina isn’t skittish anymore. She runs right up to me the moment I walk through the gate, and I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that I always have Wheat Thins, or at the very least, a few Ritz crackers with me. Speaking of Ritz crackers, I made the mistake of assuming that Harvey and Claire, the now-gigantic bunnies, would happily share a cracker while I prepared their evening meal. Have you ever heard a bunny hiss? It’s like hearing a cute fluffy kitten drop an F-bomb — it just ain’t right. Both bunnies take meal times very seriously. Claire, in particular, has graduated from throwing her food bowl at me if I don’t make with the lettuce fast enough to charging at my hand. And hissing. Thank god for distracting Wheat Thins.

Sadly, the bunnies aren’t the only ones who blatantly disrespect my authority. The two Polish Crested roosters, Sean Paul and Marley, have decided that they rule the backyard. Until about two weeks ago, they would wait until your back was turned, and without warning you’d feel a feathered talon ball bouncing of your butt (they can’t jump that high). Lately, though, they don’t wait until you can’t see them coming. They just attack whenever they feel like it. I tried wearing unbuttoned flannel shirts outside, so that when they squared off with me I could take the ends of it and flap my arms, pretending like I have giant wings. I must have ruined the illusion by yelling, “You want a piece of this?” It seems as if they do, indeed, want a piece of that, because their response is usually to hang off my jeans. Chivalry is not dead on the farm, however, because King Julian routinely comes to my rescue. Just this afternoon Marley was having a go at my shins, and King Julian came flying out of nowhere and knocked him over. I’m officially a part of his flock now.

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