A Very Close Call

Yesterday, the Autumn sun rose over a fog-blanketed farm...

giving the land a mysterious, golden glow.

The tangibly thick air surrounded the horses,
out for their morning munch.

I quickly shed the jacket that I had put on before leaving the house.
It was still early, but the day was well on its way to being another warm, humid day.

I opened the duck hut to allow the runner ducks freedom to free range,
and went on about my chores.
Minutes later I noticed that all twelve of them had congregated on the driveway
between the garden fence and the woods.

The underbrush is quite thick with weeds by this time of year,
and the ducks occasionally disappear into this mass of growth, 
only to reappear at another spot moments later.

I suppose the insect hunting is good within these large weeds.

As I watched, they did, indeed disappear as they walked in towards the picnic pavilion.

Later, when they emerged and split again into two groups,

I noticed that one of the older group was missing.
I counted again.  Eleven ducks.  There should have been five of the elders,
but there were only four.

My heart sank as I thought of the previous day's fox incident.
I called to Hubbs and told him that one of the ducks had been taken,
right under our eyes.

We hurried to usher the remaining 11 ducks back to the safety of their 
enclosed yard.

Upset by the thought of one of our dear ducks being taken,
we decided that we had to take a pro-active stance against the fox population
that had apparently set up housekeeping in the woods close to the barn.

Hubbs decided to cut some trails into the woods,
and so, with  freshly sharpened machete in hand, 

he whacked his way deep into the woods
and found there what he thought to be a rather large fox den...
He dug around with a shovel, in hopes of destroying any small
caverns contained in that den.

He cut fallen trees away to open up the area and make it easily accessible to our dogs.
(Yes, hunting is great fun for them... and though we usually discourage
that behavior, in this case we decided to make an exception.)
We have lost way too many fowl to foxes this summer.

At one point, Hubbs decided to run back to the house for long pants and boots.
While he was gone I heard a sudden burst of loud quacking from in front of the barn.
(All of the ducks were safely tucked away in the yard behind the barn... so I knew it was not them quacking.)
I ran to the barn to find one lone female duck, obviously quite upset, 
looking for her friends.
It was our missing Number 12.... no longer missing.
(sorry, but in my haste... I had no camera with me)

Phewwww!  I breathed a sigh of relief,
knowing that she had not fallen victim to a wily fox,
but rather had gotten lost while combing the woods for breakfast.

A close call, indeed!

We have decided, for good measure, to keep all of the chickens and ducks
in their yards for a couple of weeks....
especially while we are gone on vacation.
An ounce of prevention is never a bad idea!

I am happy to report that after months and months of waiting,
my dahlias have finally bloomed.

It's crazy... they are about 3 feet tall and have just taken forever to bloom.
I do love dahlias... but having to dig them up in the autumn and replant in the spring is 
a little bit of a bother.
Still... they are lovely, right?

So, it's peppers that win first place for the most prolific crop of the season.

What we don't eat fresh in the next day or so,
I will chop and freeze to use in winter cooking.
And don't even ask me about the hot peppers....
there are still of ton of them in various stages of ripening.
Where is Peter Piper when you need him?


The JR said…
glad you found #12 safe and sound
daisy g said…
So glad it turned out well for Ms. Runner.

The dahlias are stunning!
littlemancat said…
Thank goodness,Bev! So glad #12 is safe with her family.
And the color of that dahlia is beautiful, 'tho I agree they are a bit of a chore with the digging up,storing,and all.
Lynne said…
Whew . . . happy you heard these “quack” . . .
Wise choice you and your hubs made . . . what a team!
I wouldn’t want anymore fox encounters either.
I think you must have created some kind of “pepper heaven” at the haven!
Lynne said…
sorry . .. the quack . ..
jaz@octoberfarm said…
glad you have all of your ducks back in a row!
Dee J. Hartman said…
Peter picked a peck of pickled peppers
But not the ones, near where sweet dahlias grow.
So Bev envisions peppers in her freezer
Chopped in bits and frozen, don't you know!
Dee J. Hartman said…
...And then there is this very lucky ducky
Who wandered in the woods, not near the barn.
Bev thought that foxy loxy might have killed him
But then found out it was a false alarm!
Leanna said…
Thank goodness the missing duck was alright. It is a great idea to take care of any fox dens that may be cropping up. Keep them in check.
This N That said…
A foggy post indeed... Great pictures. So glad that number 12 was found. There are dahlias around here that don’t get up and they come back every year. I had some out back that I never dug up and they bloomed for four years? I finally dug them up because I didn’t like where they were. Hope you are enjoying this beautiful day! Xoxo
Shar43 said…
Have a wonderful vacation. It's nice to see all the runner ducks in a gang! I so enjoy Dee's poetry, too!