Monday, May 21, 2018


I think rainy days mess with Ed's otherwise cautiously conservative attitude toward acquisitions. Typically, he does not look to add anything to his life, or to the farmette. But this morning, as I slowly wake to the patter of rain on the rooftop, I'm hearing Ed throw out this question -- do you know that muscovy ducks are not at all like ducks?

I respond with a more pragmatic query: you haven't fed the chickens yet, have you? It's rhetorical. Ed is always in bed after me and never out of it before me.

No. But listen, muscovy ducks are really unusual.
Where is all this coming from?  -- I ask.
I've been reading about them. I'm looking for ways to control bugs. Did you know muscovies are great bug catchers?

I go out into a wet but enchanting landscape to feed the cheepers.

farmette life-2.jpg

The three big girls brave the rain and run with me to the barn.

But where are the three little girls?

I look everywhere. I mean, I've been through this before. But I'm an expert looker now and besides, these days they always come running when they see me coming to the feeding stations in the morning.

I walk the land carefully -- around the house, around the sheepshed, calling, calling... Nothing.

Back in the farmhouse, I tell Ed -- I think we've lost them.
All three? That can't be!
I have looked everywhere.

He comes out, we look together. Carefully. Nothing.

It's such a sudden thing: here yesterday, gone today. What predator grabbed all three??

Ed is sullen. I guess you're right. They're gone. Let me just go check the orchard.
You know that's pointless. (No chicken ever goes there -- it's a bit remote.)

And lo! There they are! Why? Because yesterday, we weeded and tilled the land by the grapes and this, along with the rains, brought out the worms. The girls are soaked, but happily picking them out in the rows of planted buckwheat.

Why didn't you come when I called you?! I scold them, with that flood of relief that comes from finding out that all is well in your small wee world. (Of course, they did not come because they did not hear me -- the orchard is over an incline.)

We eat breakfast with great relief.

farmette life-4.jpg

And we come back to the discussion of ducks. Not just any ducks -- muscovies.
Ed is enthusiastic.
I'm apprehensive. We can't anticipate all that might go wrong. Still, I read about their friendly nature, about their quirky habits, their wagging tails, their utter cuteness, and I waffle.

We go back and forth, all morning long, reaching no conclusion. And yet, when I study the summer before me, I firmly believe that there is no room for anything that is either challenging or out of the ordinary.

In the afternoon, I pick up Snowdrop.

farmette life-16.jpg

The girl is spirited and happy, despite the long day, lack of rest and the cold, wet weather outside.

Neither of us wants to play outdoors. We've had days of sunshine and afternoons of splashing in the pool. Today's high of 58F (14C) is just not that attractive.

As I come in dripping wet, laden down with her school bags, shoes, coats and lunch boxes, I find her engrossed in a book that she clearly cajoled Ed into reading.

farmette life-24.jpg

It is an afternoon of many, many books for us.

But not only! (I'm showing off my ventriloquist's skills here: did you know that I can make that cardboard doll talk? Well, credibly enough for an audience of one three year old.)

farmette life-28.jpg

Toward evening, the rains finally subside. I follow Snowdrop (Ukrainian crown and all) outside. It's like setting a pent up little pony loose!

farmette life-30.jpg

Tomorrow, Snowdrop. Tomorrow we'll explore the great outdoors again. Today? It's a day for reading up on muscovies. Just because.