It’s been a week of relative peace here on the farm, thank goodness. No predator sightings, no major disasters, just frolicking baby goats as far as the eye can see. Wesley and Leia have fallen in love with the ramp Gene built two years ago; they spend hours jumping up on it, then sliding back down. The two babies have actually started playing together, at least when their mamas aren’t looking. Buttercup and Ariel have decided for some reason that the other goat’s baby is a terrible influence on their precious little one, so if one gets too close to the other, headbutts ensue from all directions. Everyone else has adapted well to the pitter patter of little feet; Christmas makes her trademark grumpy turkey sound whenever one gets too close to her, but I have yet to see Wesley or Leia dangling from her beak. The kids pretty much steer clear of the ducks, which is odd considering Wesley’s favorite sport is sideways hopping right at any chicken who wanders across his path.
Wesley and Leia aren’t the only wee ones in residence right now; two days ago I found a guy on craigslist selling what he advertised as “one to two month old” ducks. Since I need to re-establish my laying population, since ducks eggs are one of my best sellers, I figured two-month-old ducks would be perfect, since they start laying at four months. Obviously getting four-month-old ducks would be ideal, but I’m not made out of money. Nor, apparently, are mink attacks covered by home owners insurance. Anyway, so I convince Gene to drive me all the way out to Seabeck to pick up these five ducks.
I’ve noticed a trend with some of the folks I’ve dealt with on craigslist – most seem to lack basic knowledge about what they’re selling. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of people have been wonderful, and have even started following my blog. This guy, not so much. What he described as months old ducks were in fact not more than five days to a week old, tops. We’re talking fuzzy headed, size of a half-dollar, still in the “peep peep” months away from laying anything stage ducklings. That didn’t stop me from taking them home, though. I have to say this for the craigslist guy, though, neither one of us can bear the sight of mama duck’s reaction to her ducklings being hauled away in a big fishing net, so I came home with mama duck too. All six have fit right into the crazy farm life, but I did have to add some more swim rocks to the pool so the tiniest duckling can get out.
I did have a bit of a scare last night, though. After finishing my evening chores and plugging in the night light for the ducks, I noticed that Harvey hadn’t put himself to bed yet. He usually heads back to the Bunny Ranch before dark, so I started to get uneasy when I saw his bedroom was empty. Come midnight with still no Harvey, I put on my headlamp and set about to tromp through the woodline to find him. Have you ever worn a headlamp in the woods? For some reason, the beam of light illuminating at that particular angle turns everything familiar into creepy, Friday the 13th, vampires hiding behind every tree sort of woods. It also has the most unfortunate side effect of magnifying the size of all the orb spiders that have apparently taken up residence around our house. I quickly settled for bawling, “Harvey, come home!” in the general direction of the woods from the relative safety of the deck. On the plus side, I learned that the eyes of white moths shine fluorescent pink when you shine a flashlight at them. How cool is that? Harvey stumbled in sometime this morning, presumably after last call at the clubs. I found him nursing a hangover underneath the deck steps. I gave him a cucumber treat to try and rehydrate him, but he asked for it in Bloody Mary form, and added that I probably didn’t need to talk so loudly. Shortly after Sean Paul and Marley began crowing in his vicinity, he grumpily (and unsteadily) wandered off to bed.
In chicken news, I have decided that those little pink leg bands should be pulled from the market. I check in with the chicks numerous times throughout the day, so imagine my horror when I realized the legs of three chicks had started to swell around the bands. They are supposed to grow with the leg, but for some reason that didn’t happen. Gene was able to cut the band off, and we used Neosporin to help calm the swelling. They all seem fine now, but I felt like a horrible chicken mama. To compensate for the lack of identifying markers on them, Abigail came down and together we dyed the left foot of each of her chicks purple with food coloring. I figure if the food coloring wears off, then Abigail can just get new chicks, and I’ll keep all those.