chore day

15/366 - morning duck chores and poor Finn, who just needs to be a part of everything.

Meg has gone snowshoeing on the mountain and Caleb is having a "nerd" morning with Dad (his description), geeking out over electrical systems at a hospital Mark is working on.  Cold, January morning and it's my turn to do the duck chores.

There's no way to go about it fast.  We don't have water plumbed to the duck house, so when the long, long hose is frozen solid, watering the little flock is a complicated business.  I fill old milk jugs with water from the house, haul them up the hill, unlock the gate, lock the gate, set down the jugs, unlock the gate, lock the gate, head back to the house for the water boiling in the kettle so I can unfreeze the lid of the watering can.  Boots off, slippers on, slippers off, boots on, back up the hill. 

Coyotes lie in wait, so the four remaining ducks are confined to their fenced yard, churning the mud into slime.  Everything is dirty, everything.  I make a mental note to quit scolding the poor kids (who do this daily) for their muddy footprints or the tea kettle that returns with hay and a smear of slime stuck to its bottom. 

It's wonderful work. 

The ducks murmer at each other in excitement when the fresh water hits the bottom of the bucket.  I stop to take their pictures, laughing once again at their innate silliness.  We have been talking about whether we should add new ducks in the spring...whether it's fair to chance their lives on coyotes or to keep them confined for days on end.  I've been thinking maybe it's time to be done - no ducklings, just let these old girls finish their days in peace.  Wheezy stands behind the apple tree, where she thinks I can't see her and slowly peers around, pretending to preen her feathers when I catch her eye. 

Maybe it's time to be done.  Maybe not.