You may remember Chip-Chip as a tiny duckling rescued from our cat’s and dog’s mouths. He lived for a few weeks in my bedroom, then the garage , then the woodshed and finally in our pond. He’s free to go but for the time being he prefers waddling after me in the garden and having a chat. One day I was scolding a daughter for lopping off the head of a Brussels sprout plant and noticed Chip sitting at my feet (he’s very quiet when he wants to be!). I couldn’t stay mad about the sprouts, could I?
Chip is far friendlier than the domesticated ducks we raised and eagerly gave away (we still have two Khaki Campbells Sophie and Ferdinand–our one daughter calls him Ferdiler for some reason). he gets bonus points for coming when he’s called and napping on my lap. I see him stretching his wings now and again so he may leave us someday, but for now we’ll enjoy him.
Our tiny friend Bob White (the quail) died today–one little bird that in the wild has less than a year life expectancy. He came in the spring and adopted our chickens as family, but we worried when he showed up one afternoon with a gash on his proud chest. Bob wouldn’t let me catch him then. He just scuttled around speaking in the opinionated voice he had. But with the cold yesterday he teetered my way and let himself be easily picked up. I hoped for the best and kept him bundled close to my heart and every so often he’d glance up with his dark eyes and coo as if whispering the last little secrets he had in the world. It’s a silly little bird, I know, but he charmed me all summer long. I’d taken to checking up on him with a flashlight at night in the coop. How can one small creature meant only for a brief life make life seem so sad when he’s gone?
Does it matter that he died in my hand greatly loved or that he did, in his bird way, speak his final words to someone who tried to understand him? Little deaths all around sometimes make life more unbearable than anything else.
Yes, Bob White wants everyone to know this chick is his no matter what people say. So he likes orange girls. So what? Boys will be boys. At first we thought they were just friends, but then Bob made it clear he lusted after her–they even sleep together–in the coop! The thing hanging off his neck is a piece of skin from being attacked by a cat (we think).