Tending the Flock

Two roosters are at least one too many. When you are regularly woken up at 4am by two guys competing with each other you start to think about a solution.

The same applies if you have a little pond and 12 ducks. Ducks are messy. This pond is actually a big fiberglass tub and the water needs to be renewed, with 12 ducks, every 4 days.

And then there are 4 Hens who are sitting on eggs – a LOT of eggs…

So it is time to thin the “inventory” out. Some people will shriek now but we do not consider our poultry pets, they are farm animals. They live a great life, roam free in a huge enclosure, safe from marauding enemies with sharp teeth and an appetite for easy prey. They can dust bathe, the ducks can swim, there is plenty of good food, sun and shade and a cozy shelter. So when it’s their time they were so much better off than their colleagues at Tyson… (hope I don’t get sued for that…)

In the beginning I tried to butcher chicken myself. Armed with “Basic Country Skills” (very useful book if you are into small scale farming and home steading) I did everything they asked me to but the experience is less than enjoyable and takes a lot of time, a good I am not particularly rich of. So we found Rainshadow el Rancho in Scio, where a couple raises Buffalos and does poultry processing . The service is worth every penny, Joe Schueller knows what he is doing and he has knowledgeable and friendly staff.

So now a good amount of chicken and ducks are filling the freezer and right on time the first chick hatched today, right away being let out by his “gluck’ gluck’ gluck”-ing mother, although the little one needed help back into the coop and for a few minutes ran around desperately crying for his Mom until I picked him up and put him back into the coop.

And the two male ducks left over from last year that were already thinking they were chicken, and tried to hook up with the girls with the beaks, still have a few duck ladies from this spring who start to like them so those needs are taken care of as well.

Many more chicks are hatching soon and so we start again, self- sustaining and organic. It is quiet right now with the roosters gone but the new generation is only waiting to find their voices which in the beginning is always cute.

In the meantime our older son traveled for the first time – alone – to Europe.

It started with an invitation from his godmother to join her for a vacation on an island in the North Atlantic, Sylt. Then I remembered that another old friend and her family are vacationing every year at the Baltic Sea, only about 2.5 hrs from Sylt, and she has children the exact same age. We always wanted our children to meet so I called her in London, where she lives and asked whether she would be ok if he visited during their stay. Well, it ended with an invitation to join them in London, stay a week and then drive with them to the Baltic Sea from where his godmother picked him up to go to Sylt.

How much luck can a 13 yr old have??

He shopped his little heart out in London, saw the sights, had great fun with the boys and girls of the family, windsurfed at the Baltic Sea and is now enjoying 78 degree perfect weather on Sylt and it’s fabulous beach life. His German has gotten so much better and he will come back a changed man.

It is a bit strange when a child is gone for a prolonged period for the first time but that is the way it goes and loving means to be able to let go.

My older boy is starting to leave the nest and I am sure in latest two years his younger brother will follow suit but I am at peace with it – because regardless where the boys are going from here my husband and I are truly at home here in Corvallis and… love to live here.

About Annette: Annette Sievert is a licensed professional real estate broker with Coldwell Banker Valley Brokers. Contact Annette at: 541-207-5551

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