• Cara Van Leuven

Don't Get Too Attached

It certainly did not begin with a bed-ridden hangover. There was no DUI involved. Going to bed at 9:30PM on NYE makes the next day a smooth start. So if comparing the kickoff of 2017 to good or bad, I would say it was outstanding, but due to unforeseeable circumstances a few factors made it temporarily crappy.

Laughter, booze and reminiscing flowed the morning of the New Year. Several heroes in the development of my character as a person and painter traveled miles to see the farmhouse in person. Erich, the best friend of a lifetime, discovered our old loft downtown. Friends like Sallie inspired creativity during those days. And Jeff, my landlord, let me pay in installments because I truly was that poor. And rent was only $500 a month.

As the night was capping, I checked my email with a request from my estranged father of 23 years to reconnect. The following day after sending a polite, thanks but no thanks, I heard pecking at the back door. The damn ducks were hungry. But there was only one- only Stephanie was there begging. Where was my beloved John Dalton?

I screamed out when I found the decapitated body.

There was no time to mourn. Stephanie (sans a clean alibi) was now at the top of the totem pole and as little as we know, it's no good to have a solo duck. So we drove two hours into the heart of rural Southern Illinois to find her brethren Muscovies. We pulled into a duck dwelling haven and met Heather. Over an hour later what I can tell you is this: we truly are awful farmers.

1. Ducks eat greens

2. Hens lay eggs

3. They don't freeze during winter

4. Not a bad idea to clip the wings because they do fly and might figure out how badly we suck

5. Coons decapitate/fox and coyotes carry the caracas away

Back in the truck with another two hours under our belt we unloaded our hens - Marmalade and Beetle - and the drake, Joey Boots. They are months into maturity and will never be like the original trio that we'd had since they were 1.5 weeks old; in hindsight we'd probably tamed them to a fault and introduced them to false predators like Shiloh and Buck.

It's been so cold the ducks haven't ventured out of the doghouse much. Nor have we from the farmhouse ... our furnace is exhausted and the thermostat constantly resets to 50º and we're too lazy and too cold to re-program it.


To the best duck ever, you'll be missed. But let's be realistic, come spring we'll try to forget you and buy two big geese, a flock of oversized sheep and maybe a goat. It'll take more than one my old friend. You were big.