Friday, May 17, 2013

On Owning Animals - a taste of the past

Juan is on his way back from Washington DC, where he did some consulting for NASA. So I have been home alone, so to speak, these last many days. So to speak, because there are those ducks out there in the yard, 4 big ones and 10 or so little ones.

And they are rather independent, these muscovies are. They are not very closely related to domestic ducks. All the domestic ducks descend from a mallard-like creature, but muscovies come down a different branch of the waterfowl family entirely. Some people think they are actually geese.

Muscovies are independent in a couple different ways. For example, if we didn't clip their secondary feathers on one side, they'd fly off and probably take up residence in Clyde Brook, which trickles its way through the woods and backyards just a block away.

And even in their pen, they graze on grass (which is a goose-like thing to do and not a bit ducky) and they could stay happy for a while doing that even if I didn't carry feed out to them for a few days.

They also poke and prod the compost pile with their bills, ferreting out bugs and especially the little red worms that have been reproducing in there for a couple of years.

I also saw them billing some old logs in their yard, finding bugs there as well. 

So they have many ways to feed themselves. And because it rains a little most days, they could also get water when they were thirsty (which because they are ducks is quite often) even if they couldn't bathe as they like to do or wash their food. 

Because the animals do eventually need me, I feel I must be much more responsible than usual. I am the only one here to care for them (as unneedy as they are). 

And that takes me back to when we had a real little farm in the Boston area. That was a traumatic experience. Juan was also away for NASA back then, and we had several small children and a lot of animals. If you'd like to read about it, you can find it on a blog called Homestead Time. This blog is chronicle, so it should be read from the lowest down, earliest post first. Things weren't as easy then as they are now, as you will see.

That trauma carries forward till now. Juan is almost back and I will be most thankful for the back-up.

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