Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Birds Fly South For A Reason

Turns out there's a darn good reason geese and ducks fly south for the winter.

Here's Bruno.

Bruno's our grey goose. We're pretty sure Bruno is a girl, but I have yet to look up her skirt so I can't be sure. I'm just that expert of a poultry owner.

Now, here's Doris. Doris is our duck. You've met her before. Remember? We named her for her pillbox hat? Because Doris Day often wore a pillbox hat during the era of pillbox hats?

We've loved having Doris and Bruno around the farm. They're a hoot. Can't get enough of them. Truly.

They're also prolific poopers, these girls. And, as you know, I can't handle the poo. I can't handle their particular brand of poo, specifically. Great gobs everywhere you look or step.  It's something to behold.

In recent weeks, we moved Bruno, Doris and their feathered chicken friends to the chicken yard down by the barn and we were blissfully free of poo for a space of time. As we visited Bruno and Doris in the chicken yard and the weeks passed, though, we noticed the fine-feathered girls looking a little bedraggled and distressed.

They weren't happy campers. They were restless. They were in a dither. They were constantly wringing their hands. They just seemed...verklempt. We couldn't figure out what the problem was.

Then, Mike nailed it: the ladies missed their little pool under the trees up by the house. It was their favorite - these swimming fowl NEED to preen and splash and dive and swim. They need to be clean. It's very important to their sense of vanity and self-esteem. These ladies need to feel presentable.

Since we've been having a lot of mild winter days, after getting off to a very snowy start this season, the hose finally thawed, and so today, Mike filled up the girls' pool and brought them up from the chicken yard for a dip. Oh, how the ladies exulted in their nice, clean pool.

They dove and ducked and swam and rooted around in their feathered bellies. They plucked and nudged every nook and cranny; they kept tossing water over their backs and craning their necks in impossible contortions to scrub every last inch of their fancy feathered selves. (Like how I'm pretending that "selves" is a word? Did you catch that?) This took a good half hour. I finally lost interest and went back in the house. I'm not sure how long they actually stayed in the pool.

I remarked to Mike that I was a little concerned that Bruno might not dry off in time for the below freezing nighttime temperatures. Should we run and pick up a new heat lamp for them tonight? Doris was looking nice and waterproof; I wasn't as worried about her. But Bruno, she was looking a little slick and drippy.

"Nah, she'll be fine," said Mike.

"Yeah, she'll be OK," said friend Emily, who was watching the bathing spectacle with us.

Ummm, Em? Mikey? Just so you know, it's freezing out and I got me two wet, incredibly confused bird ladies in the spare, rarely used bathroom that is presently thickly covered with newspapers on every surface.

Did you hear me?? I have a wet GOOSE and DUCK in the bathroom! Anybody watch Friends? Anything sound familiar???

Did I mention the ladies are a little stressed by their surroundings. You know what stress leads to, don't you? Extreme stress? Mmmm hmmmm....stomach aches. And can you imagine what a goose and a duck with a stomach ache can do? Can you imagine the colossal poop fest that I'm studiously avoiding until tomorrow when I can let them back outside? I can't bring myself to dwell on it.

Instead, I am searching my soul and my faltering memory, trying to pin down the dastardly deeds I committed in my earlier years that have put me on the receiving end of this cosmically karmic farmy freak show.

Love from the farm,

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