I hesitate to post this but I’m feeling as a part of real life on farms, taking the good with the bad, and knowing how folks have followed along with Lucy & Ricky, I should. Plus, I’ve stopped crying (mostly), long enough to be able to share this bad news....... I am beyond sad and so is Lucy.
I found Ricky in the sheep stall Monday morning. He had gotten behind one of the ewes next to the wall and ended up being smothered under her weight. When the flock stood up to head out the door, I saw him lying still, warm from the ewes body but, not his own.
I left the pair together in the barn for the morning. Lucy wouldn’t leave his side. Animals need time to grieve too. I’ve seen this before. Then, in the afternoon, I buried him in the garden, next to their pond. She followed me out, calling for him. She’s still calling today.
Lucy is managing, probably better than me, following my new tom turkey around, Thomas Jefferson. She took a swim this morning. I’ve been spending time sitting with her and having talks about how much we miss him. It helps, me at least.
Ducks in the wild don’t mate for life. After a breeding season, if one is lost, the other will find a new mate for the following year. On a farm, it’s a little different. Even with a mate, they can form attachments to their keepers. Lucy has done both. She responds to my calls for her to come and now, is calling for me when she hears me outside. She’s very independent, (I wonder where she gets that from), so I’m hoping with time, we’ll adjust. That said, she is still calling for Ricky when I’m not around.
These are always the hardest times managing a farm. I can accept loss from a predator easier than I can something like this kind of accidental death. It is a reminder I am really not in control, as much as I like to think I am. We are so much a part of something so much bigger than ourselves. Frankly, we make all the plans, think we have the solutions, things all figured out. Then, we are reminded, we’re not in charge. Shit happens, as they say.
With the seasons changing, we’re turning over new leaves, in so many ways. I’ve been lucky in that in almost 13 years, there has been significant loss but, not a significant number of losses here on the farm. But, I remember every one and each time, I bury a tiny piece of myself with them. It’s that connection that keeps me alive, living every day, doing what I love most, spending time, caring for animals. It truly is, Bittersweet.