A couple of months ago somebody reported our flock to Animal Control and the good code enforcer said we had to reduce the flock's numbers. (Yes, the CE really was a nice guy and no, I don't know who reported us. Doesn't matter, really.) Since I still didn't have the chicken plucker up and running and no family members who were willing to help out the old-fashioned way, I had to find non-freezer homes pretty quickly. That was a pretty panicky day, I have to admit. Then the oddest thing happened: I found out that I actually had a network. That little phone list of less than half a dozen close friends either homed or found homes for approximately fifty birds in less than 24 hours. It took about ten days to get them all off the property, but they had homes to go to. Do I have incredible friends or what? Because I worked so quickly -- quickly enough to startle the heck out of the CE -- I was written off as in compliance in a very short time. I got to keep the birds that I really, really wanted, even if I didn't get to keep all of the birds that I really wanted to keep.
So I got to keep the two American Buff geese, Drusilla and Vin Geesal; four Trout Runner Ducks (Mistress Ford, Mistress Page, Beatrice, and TBA); Seven and Quib-Quib, the (at the time) half-grown 50/50 Saxony/Trout mixed breeds; Sir Edmund Hilary, our resident white runner; and Yorick, the spoiled rotten Chinese ex-house goose. (Yeah, if the CE was freaked by the amount of birds we had, announcing that one spent the night indoors wasn't going to end well.) If I'd known that Seven and Quib-Quib were both going to be male, I'd probably have kept more of the Trout females -- but hey, these things happen, and it wasn't like I had all of the time in the world to make the decisions.
I miss my flock. I miss the Buckeyes that I had to give up -- but at least they went to a friend, and if I really pleaded and cajoled I could probably visit them every now and again. I miss my Cayugas and Saxonies and Silver Appleyards and all of the runners. I haunt Zillow looking for acreage I can't afford in towns my husband won't move to because I want a place that would let me have my flock. O Lord, let me please prove to You that winning the lottery won't spoil me too much?
One of the slivers of silver lining to this storm cloud is that I now have a gardening area and O, do I plan to make use of it. Right now it has some planted-too-late-to-be-productive tomatoes and some well-bug-gnawed basil, but it's going to be hopping soon. I have rye, oats, and several types of wheat that are just waiting for cool weather to kick in.
Next week I'm going to be dealing with the first anniversary of my father's death by planting garlic, going on a Veggie Run (I love my co-op!), and visiting the Natural History Museum. Dad always gave us a membership for a family Christmas gift and I'll probably bankrupt the family by trying to keep up the tradition. I just wish he could have gone with us. He would have loved seeing the Banshee's eyes light up.