Friday, August 26, 2016

We Bought a Farm: Losing the guineas

Our flock of 22 guineas is no more.

It's a long story, but it begins with two puppies who needed the yard free of birds. They were starting to chase them, and I needed a safe place for the pups to run. We decided to move our guineas out of the yard, figuring they could fend for themselves. However, some predator figured out that they were outside the yard and began picking them off one by one.

Unfortunately, because our property is so large, it took us many weeks to figure out the population had dwindled. JB was out mowing and started noticing some "kill spots." (These are piles of guinea feathers that are pretty obvious.)

Just as we were debating what we could do about this, we realized we only had one guinea left.

And this morning, he wandered into the yard. And I was out feeding the animals. And the dogs were out. And the dogs killed the guinea.

Puppies are puppies. I know I can still train this out of them as they get older. But I still felt utterly defeated. I felt so sad. I wasn't super attached to the guineas, but I liked them, and I felt like we failed. I was mad at the dogs. And like I do, I started kicking myself for getting new dogs. And I started missing Scrubs who was perfect with all the animals.

(Did I mention I had found a dead duck that morning too? No idea why. No sign of any problem. Just dead.)

I called JB, who was already at work, and I was just sobbing. I'm sure I'm hormonal too, but I was just so sad. I felt like it was my fault. I felt like I had failed. I started having all kinds of thoughts and doubts and worries.

JB settled me down. He reminded me that having animals means losing animals. As our neighbor Billy told me in his fantastic southern drawl, "You buy stuff. Stuff dies."  

So I called my father-in-law. The guinea wasn't totally dead, and I just couldn't deal with it. He could tell I was sad. And he walked into the kitchen with Grama behind him. "I brought reinforcements," he said.

And my heart soared.

There is something about not feeling alone in the trenches that gives you the pick-me-up you need. Mom told me to take a shower. And  I did. And within a few hours I was feeling ready to tackle the day again.

Loss is tough. I'm not sure I will ever get used to it.

But tomorrow is a new day.

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