“Tonight in your dreams you must look at your hands.”
Carlos Castaneda

Journey to Ixtlan

Five Dead Ducks


I’ve been ejoying lazy mornings. Though I can wake up early I spend the first few hours in bed – resting, reflecting, reading, writing … whatever I feel like doing. I wait for the day to make up its mind – most recent days have started cold and or windy and or wet … and if/when it clears up I head outside for work. If the day doesn’t lean my way my body will eventually ask to change position and my stomach for breakfast … so one way or another I get the day started.

The first thing I do, regardless of the day, as at least a quick round outside to feed/water the flock of ducks and chickens and to feed the dogs. Today I was greeted by an unpleasant image. Five dead ducks and one dead chicken. Two of the ducks were completely headless – which ultimately indicated that they were attacked by some kind of weasel/ferret-like creature which Andreea claims has signature killing – removing the heads and drinking their blood (and eating nothing else!). Vampire-like creatures. It was a depressing sight. One of the four remaining ducks was also visible injured (bloody neck) but moving around quite well. The chickens were happily pecking at the corpses.

This was probably a second attack. A few days earlier I found one dead duck … now knowing what happened. Now I know.

So my day started with moving the corpses to compost pile and then an unscheduled moving of the mobile coop and electric fence to a new location. I was just thinking about moving them to another location where they could enjoy some of the late green grass and moist soils but due to the shock those plans have changed. After consulting with Andreea we decided that I will move them to their final destination for the duration of winter – adjacent to their winter shelter in the barn.

This wasn’t my plan for the day but I settled into it quite nicely … quite surprisingly to. I started it with a sense of heaviness and so I quickly realized that I need to change vibe. I decided to start the task without any urgency or pretending to finish it in one go. It as a nice and sunny day with good visibility (making hard for predators to sneak up) and so I first let the flock range free. The chickens had a great time. The ducks stayed bunched together and next to their bucket of water.

I started by clearing the area with a scythe and then with a hoe in some of the places where the electric fence perimeter would go. I then hauled the mobile coop to its new location. With that done I went to herd the ducks (ducks can be herded, chickens not) and they quickly found the ramp into the barn and went inside. I think they were pretty terrified from the night. They did not come back outside today.

I then completed clearing space for and installing the perimeter fence, brought over the energizer, hooked everything up, tested the fence and … it wasn’t working. Shit, Fuck … were the first words to go through my mind. I quickly figured out that I had messed up the wiring. The are two green wires (dumb design) – one that leads the charge into the fence wires after passing through a lightning-catcher, the other leads to the ground … they were inverted. The energizer was feeding directly into the ground and the fence was useless (electrically speaking). This also explaing the slight but noticeable increase in our electricity bill in recent motths. Fuck, shit … again.

The dogs are well trained with the electric fence. They only touched it once (each) in their lives. I am convinced that they witnessed what was happening inside the fence but couldn’t do a thing about it – even though no current was passing through the fence. Fuck, shit.

Evening set in. I finished working. Had a couple of bowls of soup. Sorted the large bowl of cherry-tomatoes I picked (headed for pickling tomorrow). Did my yoga practice. Then spent a few minutes with the Shakuhachi. That’s when the emotional waves surfaced. I felt the fear and panic the animals must have experienced and aggression came through my playing. Then the energy settled. The last six breaths of my playing were dedicated to each one of the animals. One breath for each soul. I did not intend them to be the last six breaths of my playing but as each breath passed through the flute emotion built up in my throat. By the time the six breaths has passed nothing more could pass through my throat, so I stopped.

The next electricity bill should be back to normal.

Check the fence every time I move it. Harsh lesson.


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