Well, they're all dead now. All seven ducklings. We loved them from their eggy beginnings, watching them develop, break out, grow at a rapid pace. Then the raccoons came one night and decapitated them all. We thought we had sealed their outside pen well enough, but to no avail. The chunky masked varmints toppled a sawhorse and snuck underneath somehow, devouring everything inside. In the morning there were only two bloody corners, netting stained red.
Christina was pretty crushed by the whole event. She still can't blog about it.
The children, you may be surprised to hear, were unfazed by the slaughter. They seem to have accepted the vicissitudes of country living. (However, a few days later Z's beloved exercise ball, Bob, popped, and it took all our doing to prevent a seven year-old meltdown.)
I encouraged Christina to order some more ducklings, this time hatched and by mail. Soon after we had five ducklings. But the funny thing was that, beside the quackers, there were eight Rhode Island Red chicks stuffed in the mailing box. Christina called about the "mistake" and was told that chicks are stuffed in the box to keep the frail little duckies warm. Chicks are cheaper than hay, she was told. We ended up with quite a set of peepers.
So the story has a happy ending. Well, happyish. One of the ducklings got pecked in the head by a chick and perished. The Rhode Island Reds were pretty vicious, so I listed them on Craigslist and had them gone in an afternoon, which led to Eden pouting for some time. But playtime with the ducklings in the swimming pool has the whole family gleeful. Sometimes the best remedy is to immerse yourself in waves of new happy memories. Fortunately, we have no shortage of them coming at us these days.