Why, oh! Why do I do this to myself every year! It’ just too cold out here! I mean, like, I love my ducks and chickens, but man! I sure would love them more if I didn’t have to get up in the dark, put on layers, and layers of clothes just to go out and freeze!
Water them, feed them, and refresh two different sections of the barn! Then, repeat the whole process at night again! And for what? Ducks and chickens! Only crazy people do this! I could save myself the torture and do what everybody else does. Sell them all in the fall, and restart in the summer. Then others and I would suffer with buying from the store every other week. (cough*cough)
Every summer, I promise myself not to allow the flocks to populate to, too many. And every summer, I get so excited about new life, that it all gets away from me. I hate to put a limit on blessings 😉
It’s the same with everything I set out to do. Even in the flowerbeds and vegetable gardens. I’ll be out there weeding, but when it comes time for thinning, I stress right out and start running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off, trying to find a spot to plant those live roots that I had just thinned out! I just cannot bring myself to throw it away! Sad, I know.
Come fall, I start counting heads, then pray I can sell over half of my grand flocks! Why? You might ask. Well, it’s quite simple really. You see, in the summer time there are lots of natural feed for both the ducks and chickens everywhere. Yes, my flocks do free-run (meaning there is a fence, but only to keep out the coyotes and wild dogs), so they get all the benefits that their systems were designed for. Yeppers! I raise real ducks and chickens.
So with the blessings of weeds, wild seeds, worms, bugs, and flies, the cost of grain/corn feed is a lot less. As you guessed, come winter there just isn’t enough table-scraps to make up the difference, of what the Creator can do. With the price of feed higher each month, it forces me to cull out to scale back. I guess you can chalk that up to being a subtle reminder of what we can do with Him verses without Him 😉 So all those chickens and ducks, who are nice and plump come fall, get culled out to make the one way trip to get inspected and ‘dressed’. Then, dividing amongst family to share the wealth. (Sharing the wealth of my weakness to let things grow! How funny is that 😉
With both flocks cut down half, and the temperatures are starting to drop into the negatives, I find myself betwixt in emotion of laughing at myself because I did it again, and thanking God for such a beautiful, bountiful blessing.
And then, the advertising begins, in hopes that someone out there needs a rooster for their flock. Perhaps, there’s a ‘lucky duck’ who wondered what Duck L’orange tasted like, but could never afford those outrageous, fancy restaurant prices! Or, maybe they want to raise a bunch of quiet quackers for themselves. Whatever the reason you need a duck or chicken, I’ve got them to spare at a more than reasonable price 😉 Plus, I hear these Muscovy ducks taste like roast beef!
Well, I guess we will be finding out today. My “guinea pigs” (whole family) will be here today. So I took one out of the freezer and I have it ‘dressed’ and ready to go in the roaster as I type. I’m kind of excited about this, because everything about these birds I love. They are quiet and docile to raise. That scores high in my books 😉 Now if they taste as good as I’m told, well then, I guess they will be a flock guaranteed to be found here, in the Heart of the BottomsUp 2/3 Acre. Between the ducks and chickens we are sure to have something of good, healthy protein around. Eggs for eating, baking and mantaining the whole flock over again. Meat to make the Healing Hands Soup, roasted duck, chicken dinners all putting to use the crockpot and roasting pan. To know that what we are put in our mouths was raised properly, and passed all inspections, really is quite a rewarding blessing. And then too, to be able to share it all with others.
Whatever is left here when snow builds up, is usually what we carry through those long, bitter, cold days. Rising early in the dark. Lugging out those heavy water buckets every morning, because otherwise their water freezes. Some would suggest that I get some of those electric water heater buckets, so we don’t have to do that. Nice thought, but lugging the water is one of the keys right there that helps keep my ability to share, by keeping the cost down. So, every morning and again at night, we lug water. Occasionally, we need to do this twice a day when it’s really nippy out there. The chores take twice as long to do, and of course, right in the days that you don’t want them to. The cold goes right through all those layers. The fingers get numb, burn and tingly from the cold. The eyes water in the cold winds. It gets real easy to forget and start mumbling about why I am doing this in the winter. So, remind me again, why I do this!!?
And that’s when it hits me… just as soon as these thoughts of complaining and mumbling start, I try to slam shut that bickering door, because I remember. I remember all the beautiful blessings that were given to us. Without these blessings the table would be sparse. The ability to share the dream of it all would not exist. And I remember those who did mumble, quit and now are without. They make their trips to the store to buy pale eggs. (cough*cough)
I realize that it all goes beyond me. There’s a bigger picture that those blessings reach. I quickly whisper a sorry for my regretful thoughts, and hustle the ol’ wide-load a little faster. Go back inside and to sit at the dinner table and thank God for the blessing of the food.