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cover pic

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Unwanted Visitors

One of the most startling discoveries for me when moving far into the country was periodically having surprise visits from uninvited guests.  That would be of the non-human variety.  In the nearly ten years we've lived here, we've had a six-foot black snake in our attic, a bat in my swimsuit where it was drying on a windowsill in our bedroom, numerous mice in the walls and basement, several opossums under our porches, horses and cows in our back yard, stray goats and geese on our front porch, a tom turkey who wouldn't leave our patio, a cardinal in our cabin, birds in our chimney, a groundhog family under our cabin, and on Friday, a wild duck in our basement.  These are just to name a few of the creatures not owned by us to show up here.  There have been many, many more that have hung out in our yard, pasture, or pool.  Sometimes they've been rather fun to have around, like the owl in the bush right next to our living room window, the baby quail under our porch, and the nest of wild black bunnies beside our garden.  With four cats around, some of these didn't make it very long here, but others stayed for awhile.  The duck in our basement, however, really baffled me, and it was not something I wanted to keep.
When our 15 year old son first told me he had found a duck in the basement when he went down to get some snack food from the pantry shelves, I didn't believe him.  But just in case he wasn't pulling my leg, I told him to prop open the big basement barn doors so it could waddle out on its own.  These doors had been closed and latched for at least a week, however, and there is no other way down there without removing the small windows.  No one had done that either.  The only other ways down are through our house and down the chimney where the flue pipe opens into the basement.  I knew no duck had wandered into our house and down the basement stairs.  So I guess it flew to the top of our tall farmhouse roof and fell down the chimney?????  To me, that seems unlikely, but I can't conceive of another possibility.
Even though the basement doors remained open for hours, this duck would not leave.  If you got too close to it, it hissed and totally freaked out my children.  When Hubby came home, he and our teen son used a fishing net to catch it and take it outside.  Standing on the patio, my husband let it go, and it flew straight for our pool, of course, where it glided quickly across the water in the pool cover and hopped out.  But then it couldn't figure out how to get over or around the fence.  Two of our cats who were napping nearby and seemed totally disinterested in the whole duck escapade suddenly poked their heads up in great interest at the sight of a trapped duck who was desperately trying to find its way to freedom.  They went running after that duck at top speed, and right behind them was my husband, yelling "Nooooo" and waving his arms and chasing after the felines.
Fortunately, Hubby got to the duck just before our monstrous black Maine cooncat got his mouth around the poor duck's neck.  He swooped it up, raised it high in the air, and threw it into the sky this time.  We all watched it fly away---me, our son, Hubby, and our black cat standing at my husband's feet.  It was the mystery and adventure of our week, I tell you.  It paled only slightly in comparison to the births of our four baby goats earlier in the week.
The goat kids, by the way, are very much wanted and loved guests on our farm.  Actually, change that from guests to members of our farm family.  We just can't get enough of them.  If there were a way to diaper them, I think my children would be sneaking them into our farmhouse all the time.  But we'll keep that to ourselves because I don't want to give them any ideas.
I hope all your visitors are of the welcome variety this week.  Have a good one!

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