Every day for the last two months I've walked into the barn to the chorus of peeps and quacks. I've carried water, cleaned the pen, fed and cared for the 28 birds at least twice a day every day, and I enjoyed every minute.
I am heartbroken and devastated to report that our dog somehow jumped into the center of the tank and broke through the protective screen. It was a massacre. I wish I wouldn't have got out to look because the tragic image is now burned in my mind.
I know this is part of nature. I knew that it was dangerous to have birds so close to the dogs and cats. I trusted the screen would hold them in and keep other critters out. I even expected I'd loose a few but never did I imagine that I'd have to say goodbye to all but two. Apparently one duck made it and one chick, the kids call "Camo", are still with us.
While I have ill feelings toward Bo right now, I can't hate her; she's saved us from rattlesnake bites on two occasions that we know of and perhaps more that we don't. She watches the kids and does her job of keeping the place secure from coyotes and other unwanted critters. Its hard to love an animal so much only to have her also be the one that promptly ended a long-time goal that was so, so close to being realized.
They were cool birds. I was looking forward to watching them grow and collecting fun, colored eggs. Their new home will be done this weekend. All that work, effort, time and money is down the drain and there's not one thing I have to show for it except a severely bruised heart.
I don't regret bringing them home. They were a joy to watch, listen to and care for. I've always told my children its the experience, not the outcome that is important. This one is tough to take.
I haven't had the heart to go visit the survivors. I can barely walk by the tank, and whenever I think about it, tears well up in my eyes.
I know I need to "get back in the saddle" and find more chicks. I know this but I feel beaten down and utterly defeated.
This has been a rough week. I backed into a panel trailer and dinged the bumper, the goats got six of my bed tomato plants and I sliced my ankle with rusty barb wire. Its easy to focus on all that's gone wrong lately. Its one of those weeks I have to wonder what I am doing and why. Gut check time. I honestly didn't want to write this post but if it somehow helps someone who's gone through or is going through a rough patch, well, then its worth it. Life ain't all roses......sometimes it really crappy.
In all the pain, sadness and defeated feelings I know that I will heal. I haven't shared with many people, I tend to clam up, shut down and isolate. Its an old pattern than I am releasing. Writing this blog helps a lot. Those I have told, have been sincerely supportive and reinforces my belief in the power of love and the human heart. Their kinds words, hugs and encouragement gives me hope when I'm really tempted to throw in the towel and walk away.
This wound is deep and it stings. The quiet barn is so quiet. I expect to heal; right now I'm just giving myself permission to feel all that's here, free of judgment. I invite your thoughts and prayers to be with my family. I've written from my perspective but really we were all invested in this project.
It may seem silly to cry over chickens, but anyone who's cared for an animal(s) knows what it means to carry the responsibility of their life and well being on your shoulders. When things go right, there's no greater feeling and when things don't, you feel the depths of a sadness that you may not want. No one does.