|Big Sister with her two mallards|
First, the birds. Our dear neighbors took care of all of our birds and our cat while we were away. The chickens look great but there was one night at the very end that the ducks didn't want to get back in their enclosure at night. They can be very stubborn and infuriating that way. Sometimes they require herding or multiple attempts before I can get them safely locked away. They remind me of a line from one of my favorite children's books, Our Animal Friends at Maple Hill Farm, "They teach you patience but sometimes you can't help wishing they were different." So the ducks stayed out that night and the next morning all three of them (plus the guinea) were gone. The two Khaki Campbells and the guinea are likely dead (a few feathers at the scene) and I'm hoping the mallard flew away. I wouldn't be surprised if the mallard came back for a visit sometime.
|Pete the mallard as a duckling|
Big Sister and I were especially sad about the ducks because we invested so much time and effort in raising them from day-old ducklings. Plus, the mallards were Big Sister's special pets. None of the ducks were intended to be meat birds. They were cute and amusing and we planned to eat their eggs and let them provide duck-y services like garden weeding.
|Sweet, patient Penny the dog|
Our 15-year-old dog, Penny, stayed with my parents while we were gone. She had been stiff and slow for some time but while we were away her back legs just started to give out on her. When we got home we got to spend 24 hours with her before our dear vet came out to the house to put her to sleep. Mr. Chanclas dug her grave in the backyard (it requires a pickax with all this limestone) and we laid her to rest yesterday next to our cat that passed away in June. I miss her already.
So it has been a sad week here at our homestead but I am ready to return to my routine of caring for the remaining animals, feeding our family, and starting a fall garden. The summer garden burned to a crisp and it is time to plan for fall.