Thursday, June 05, 2008

Nice weather for ducks!

Yesterday morning after a few days of rain I came out and where there was once dry land, there was a little lake, and what wasn't there the day before was suddenly populated with ducks (and the house Maggies who are always here).

Don't know where these ducks are normally but as soon as it rains enough to leave pools of water laying about they are everywhere.

The elderly lady who lived here before us said to us that when it rained out here it was "a paradise of birds" - she was lovely and strangely it was her personality and the shine in her eyes and on her face that had decided me to live here.

The house was really run down but solid and she was happy to sell to us . She wanted people in here who would keep it as lovely as it was, and she knew we fell in love with what you could see outside the windows not what was inside - but that was nice because of the people who lived there.

She wanted to be with her husband who died about 2 months after we moved in here - he had end stage Parkinsons and she was physically incapable of taking care of him towards the end- so she got her dream
of being with him in those precious last days, and now where she lives is close to her daughter and borders a natural lake - so she is happy enough that way.

Across at the dam were the Ibis' and various and sundry, but it was the ducks who took my fancy -

When we were kids Dad would often bring home wild duck for cooking. Its an acquired taste! But we had to be careful because sometimes there'd be the odd bit of shot left in the duck.


Needs must - he fed his family and often it was his extensive vegetable garden and his rabbits and ducks which helped us through. Some of us have their sensibilities too finely homed to imagine eating such beautiful creatures - but it was not done for sport - it was need. Now days i don't have that need and like many of us can afford the luxury of looking at these lovely creatures and seeing how beautiful they are. I have no doubt my Dad did as well, knowing the spirit which drove him.

There is a big difference in going to a supermarket and picking up the cleanly wrapped bits of meat which you don't have to clean or pluck and taking them home to cook.

I never learned to shoot, never had the need. But sometimes it pisses me off when people get precious about those who actually put the food in our butcher shops and fish shops but are more than happy to dine out on fish and chicken and , yes ducks.

The modern farming practices with battery farming of all livestock are far more cruel than anything done by those who still farm in the old methods, with a care for the land and for the creatures. The main point I made to the girls when they began eating meat again was not to waste it - that is the crime. and to be as aware as you can be of the origin. In other words boycott battery farms where the animals are treated like objects without needs and feelings.

When I was fourteen I became a vegetarian which puzzled mum and dad no end - both of them would have known genuine hunger during the Depression and would have gone without during the War years. I only lasted about a year. The same with Melissa and Alison - they lasted a bit longer - Not everyone can thrive without eating meat. We are all O+ blood groups - and no doubt our ancestors back to the beginning of humankind ate meat. Some groups of people just don't seem to get enough iron and protein from being vegetarian and no one should judge another's way as far as I am concerned - we have become a nursemaid society where people assume they know more about other people yet spend precious little time honestly reflecting on their own actions and thoughts. I remember when I was very young how black and white things seemed - and as I grow older the edges blur.

Bit of a thought train! And sorry to spoil the images of the wild ducks with talks of eating them etc - I have enough to eat and so the ducks are safe from me. But when there is hunger then those same ducks would be food - and no doubt a real poultry farmer who free ranges his stock would look at the little chickens playing about and the mother hens scratching about and see the beauty in them as well - knowing what their end would be.

I came to this from a conversation sometime back with a person, who while delicately nibbling away at a bit of Duck L'Orange (or whatever) spent time condemning the farmers and declaring that all farmlands should be turned into National Parks - Not sure where she thought her next bit of grub was going to come from - she just didn't think apart from the "pretty" images she had in her head of a sort of land before humanity arrived, with its teeth and knives and empty tummies. Whats got me beat is that those who admire so much watching lions and other meat eaters rip and tear to feed and feed young, have not the same compassion for humanity itself, which is not a blight on this earth, not alien, but as much a part of this earth as every other living creature.

The many many wrong turns we have taken in our understanding of nature have not come from simple people trying to stay alive but from the monolithic Government bureaucracies which forced farmers in the 1950's to accept fertilisers and pesticides - (many of which were designed during World War II as for more nefarious reasons),etc or they wouldn't allow them to sell their produce to the big wheat boards etc which took over the smaller markets - and now these same bureaucracies are creating even more problems such as Genetically Engineering foods and animals, which is an abomination -

They just can not leave things which are not broken alone - along come the greedy companies, and the compliant lazy bureaucrats and things are being bought into being which will change the world as we know it for a long time. But its not the ordinary people doing this - we are being kept in a state of "bread and circuses", dumbed down and cowed and believing that we live in democracies - which is a nice faerytale till you start testing the bars of the prison society - its all very pleasant and comfortable inside the cage, and you can still stick your arm out and feel a bit of freedom, but if you try to break out, or to go against the accepted way of acting - those bars get bigger and bigger - and stronger.

I think sometimes those wild ducks are far more free than most of humanity, but I feel also that there is a turning tide and people are beginning to awaken from the slumber and realise how things are being manipulated in almost every part of life - in my case the awakening came decades back when my father - her who shot the ducks for food, was run down by a drunken driver - who was part of the old boys network - which dad never was nor wanted to be - and the drunk driver got off - then never even tested his blood - but they tested my dead father's blood to try and prove that somehow it was all his fault - which it wasn't. at fifteen I figured out how the world worked. It would have been an easier life not to have realised this but when I met Don he had had the same experience when his sister and the whole family were also wiped out again by a drunk driver who got off -

we both didn't know this about each other back then - that all came later - but across that bar the night I met him, apart from the fact he looked like a blonde Jesus Christ painting - there was something I recognised and something he recognised so that three weeks later we moved in together and we had come home - He knew and I knew the way of the world and this coloured our lives together - it was very colourful at times - many spats, took a while but we reached a place where we were so much at peace -

And out here amongst this beauty is where we found a few short years of peace and those memories can never be taken from him (wherever he is and in whatever form) nor from me. I look for him in the sunlight, under the trees, along the path...and wherever I feel peace and beauty and calm - or if something really makes me laugh out loud I feel, there he is.







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1 comment:

Ann O'Dyne said...

Dear Stirrer - what an absolute bastard that the bad stuff happens so often to one person, WTF is that?
Helen on her Cast Iron Balcony blog is just telling the story of a woman she is trying to help cope with Clink. Worth a read, and bloggers are good people too - well Helen is that's for sure (I have met her at grogblogs).

I am envious of your bananas and manadarins - and of course you can make mandarin sorbet.
I am surprised you "hate cooking" - I am lazy and don't cook: can-opener and microwave are my main tools. Have never roasted achicken, and only eaten duck once when out with people who ordered it.


I do love the chickens here at this house-sit, we roam around together and 2 of them let me pick them up. I am a complete sook for animals and have to tell myself constantly that they peck each other

(watching the hens roost is hysterical with all the pushing and shoving they do)

and fight over food and are quite ruthless despite looking cute. Just like people.