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I can’t unsee it.

–El D

The Hungry Raptor

The Hungry Raptor

My beautiful mistress demanded another blood sacrifice this week.

Hiram, our only boy duck that had manners, was taken out by a hungry raptor.

I was headed to work when I met the brazen beast near my car  in the midst of his macabre meal.  At first sight I was so captivated by the hawk’s beauty and proximity that it was all I could see.  I didn’t process the life being extinguished beneath his talon. And then, all at once I did, as the flood of life’s drama rushed in – the hunger, the struggle, and the sacrifice of one life for another.

Sacrifice.  When I was a child, the word conjured terrifying Biblical images of a world that made no sense: Abraham binding his son Isaac, slaughtered lambs, and gruesome crucifixions.  Such interesting tales told to Sunday school children.

Over the years, my understanding of the concept has deepened. When I became a vegetarian I began practicing what the word meant in action: to surrender or give up, or permit injury or disadvantage to, for the sake of something else.” I gave up my taste for flesh so that another life might go on for awhile longer.

My current lesson comes in noun form, “the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.”

Within the linguistic roots of the word sacrifice is the word sacred.  That tangle of meanings is there for good reason.  The life and death of one thing is contained within the seed of another.  Everything must eventually give way for what comes next in Life’s yearning for itself.

This brings me to the topic of the Japanese beetles.  The scarabs are pretty; their shells are an iridescent mix of greens and golds.  However, they don’t belong here. These interlopers have been fornicating all over the roses and eating up the petals and leaves. Last season I came to the conclusion that while they’re pretty, they don’t smell nearly as good as the flowers,  so I poisoned them.  Then I questioned myself about the ethics of a vegetarian destryoing a happy bug’s life — and about poisoning the air, ground, and plants with hazardous chemicals.  Skattur suggested I pick the bugs off, pack them in a box, and ship them back to Japan.  I entertained this fantastic idea briefly, then I decided to pick them off and feed them to the ducks, who seem quite satisfied with this exotic delicacy.

The first harvest of the season comes at the heels of all this sacrificial obeisance.

june 21 010

I managed to pick about a dozen blueberries before the bushes became just another elaborate system for feeding winged-things.

We have also managed to salvage some lettuce, radishes, and a few raspberries, which made a pretty salad.

july 7 2012 001

P. Recious Rainbow laid another egg, but some critter stole both of them.

The Devil spent an entire afternoon creating a Duck Defense System that included security updates to the coop and live traps.  We’ve caught and apprehended three bandits.

Bandit One

Bandit Two

Bandit Three

The bandits were banished from the farm.  We released them in fields far, far away from our ducks.

Much more happened this week that I hope to eventually get the opportunity to share. My weekly blogging schedule has been a bit derailed by the 500 preschoolers I have 45 days to meet,  a rapidly approaching deadline for an article, the start of a new semester, and the contemplation of how I wind up in these situations.

 

 

I stepped into the barn and paused a moment letting my eyes adjust to the shadows. Then I began to systematically photograph the murder scene.

It was gruesome. The body had been dismembered. I could only imagine the fear she must have experienced in her last moments or the fear the others must have felt being trapped in this space and forced to witness the horrors that played out before them. Would one of them be next?

There were no footprints. The perpetrator, or perpetrators, had scaled the walls. The perp(s) had been in no hurry to devour the queen. The queen’s wings hung from the ceiling, a haze of flies buzzing around them.  Her webbed feet and bill were cast aside in the opposite corner. White feathers were scattered everywhere in between. The brazen predator(s) had crawled up into the rabbit hutch to defecate leaving twin piles of feces containing P.Queen’s innards.  Why the rabbit hutch? This was the mystery that would haunt me into the dark hours of the night.

You killed the duck. That was bad enough. But you killed the duck and shit in the rabbit hutch?  Twice? Oh Little Bandit, enjoy your full belly while it lasts, but don’t expect to come back for seconds with such ease.

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