It is Saturday morning – after another fraught week.
A huge hawk came onto the farm while I was at work on Tuesday and killed Mrs Flowers. I saw the hawk when I was driving up the drive from work. The birds were frantic, wild birds flitting from tree to tree hiding under the canopy as the hawk perched high on the barn.
It was huge. The size of my torso. It hurled itself down from the barn as I walked to the house- I felt it as it swooped above the trees, I instinctively ducked amidst a cacophony of wings and warning calls as the birds dived for cover. The Guineas were screaming up at it and everything but the ducks had gone into hiding. I immediately turned and went to the area that Mrs Flowers has been freely raising her last chick and all that remained was a great pile of feathers. When a bird is attacked like that they will jettison their feathers on an attempt to loosen the hold of the predator. But she was gone.
I retrieved BooBoo and we very slowly tracked the baby and found her in a low bush. Crying with terror and loss. The cats were still locked in the basement so we followed the little bird until I could scoop her up. Boo is an amazing asset in times like this. He seems to know instinctively who I am looking for and whether it is friend or foe.
The chick lived for few days in a large enclosure with a rescue rabbit and another chick. Mr Flowers lay beside the pen, attracted by her plaintive calls I suppose. But at this moment she is dying. She has pined away. She does not want to live without her Mum.
Isn’t that sad. Poor wee soul. Another reason why I hesitate to write is these things. The sadness of losing even a bird weighs heavy on me and I hate to tell you and you will be sad too. I try to search for the lesson that goes with the saga of the pea chick but I can’t find it yet. Fighting nature does not work. Maybe that is it.
The fields are drying up – interesting that our organic fields have instantly burst into green growth of all kinds whereas the chemical laden fields across the road that was drowned in the same flood are still totally black. Not one living plant is coming back. Only the GM crop was allowed on that field and that is dead so now there is nothing.
John will be home in a couple of days having missed this entire episode. He has been gone a few weeks. He will take over the place again so I don’t have to do chores after a 12 hour day. I have a new sump pump for him to install too. And hopefully he can fix the washing machine that quit during the flood. Then I can scuttle back into my corner and get on with flour and bread and pasta and supermarkets! Teaching people how to bake. And food. I have had no time for food. Lucky for me the courgette plants on the porch have offered me a courgette a day!
This weekend, now there is no reason to lock up the cats or fret about birds, and the calves are settled in this field….
I am going to cook.
I have developed a loose formula for my pasta. One egg per hundred grams of flour. (Not that big egg (above) though – double-yolkers are not in my equation). The water is harder to quantify – I always need a little extra water to get the dough just right but it is always a different amount because no egg is the same! I will work on that this weekend.
Soon we will be selling semolina and that will be a different equation! Semolina seems to need more fluid.
I also have two new flours to test bake. We are bringing in a new High Protein wheat while we wait for the Glenn to be ready to harvest. So I am going to put it through its paces.
There is rain in the forecast and it is very cool – low 70’s.
I hope you have a lovely day and I also hope to be back in your inbox tomorrow with a more positive attitude. Baking always cheers me up.
Love miss c
PS you can find our flours at janiesmill.com. Use the discount code SPREADTHEWORD47. A little gift from me.Thank you!
I am so sorry, that sounds so traumatic. I’m glad you will have some relief soon –
The little chick is still alive. Wrapped up warm in a cake pan by a heater in my bathroom covered in her mother’s feathers. She has started to peep to me when I go in and out to check her but I’d not moving much. I know there is very little chance of survival ( now that I have brought her inside – even less so) but at least she will die warm. This is important to me.
I’m still hopeful
Heartbroken at reading this. Hoping she will live! But grateful no matter, she is loved. 💙
Yes. She is loved. Thank you!!
This is just horrendous. How you don’t lose heart, I’ll never understand. You’re a strong woman, c.
I think I have lost a lot of my heart Misky. It has been eroded away here.
Ah, c. All I can think to say is, Bless. Just bless, c, and hope you’re being watched over.
Morning. It seems odd to have such an aggressive hawk. Nice to see you are continuing your baking. Have you tried Red Fife wheat yet? The high protein flour will be great to work with particularly for your pasta.
I LOVE Red Fife. It is one of our best sellers. It is 100% extraction so makes for a very hearty pasta! Thank you Pete!
Poor Mrs Flowers! You wouldn’t think a relatively large bird would be attacked by hawks. Obviously it was hungry and at least she will give life to another creature – it’s not like foxes, who kill for the fun of it. Maybe there has been less food for wild birds with the flooding. Very sad though nevertheless.
I don’t know. People do have trouble with hawks around here – targeting their flocks especially if there are chicks in the mix. We had a young peacock taken by a hawk years ago – do you remember? Foxes and cats and minks – all kill for the fun of it. Though I think foxes hide their kills for later too.
Yes, I remember the other one and the bastard mink!
Oh Cecilia that is the saddest news from the farmy for a long time. That poor little peachick must have been terrified! What a sad end to what had seemed the start of an exciting new episode. Good to hear John is due home, cut down on your enormous work load.
Yes. He has been away a while – and since he retired he does the farming now – in his way.
My other favorite farmy blog is Punkin’s Patch (sheep farm), and the writer of the blog has written so often over the last two years about losses in her animal family. I am always sad when I read about her losses and yours, but I have to think of it as part of normal and natural life. Even having a hawk and a grieving chick are part of the normal scheme of nature, so I try to practice acceptance. I always find comfort in how much you and the other blogger love and care for your animal family members. I will never forget your stories of dear Sheila, with her beautiful relationship with you and her wise soul, and the other blogger’s stories of dear Hank (the huge white sheep dog who had so much dignity and intelligence), but this means that I also have to remember their deaths and the sadness that followed. I hope I don’t sound preachy or dismissive of your or others’ questions. I have had terrible loss in my own life–both human and animal–and this is how I have to think of loss so that I can manage: I have to accept the grief because of the value of having known and loved the one who is gone.
Practicing Acceptance. This is a lovely way at looking at grief. Thank you for your wise words. C
That’s sad news about Mrs flowers and her pea chick. So horrid for you.
Bad luck. Yes.
I am so sorry to hear about the attack on Mrs. Flowers. I have my fingers crossed for her chick, but life can be so tentative sometimes. Whenever we live closely with animals, we usually have to resign ourselves to losing them at some point, but I think the loss of an animal by attack from another animal feels so much worse in a way. Sudden death is always heartwrenching, but nature is nature and we can only control it to a certain extent. I am glad to hear about your fields popping back after all the rain. Hugs to you.
The fields are wild- all kinds of plants growing in there! 85% of the corn is dead though. Just these weeds and wheat from last years crop.
this breaks my heart but i do understand the ways of nature. humans prey on other humans the same way. chin up!
Humans are definitely worse. We should know better.
Sad to witness nature in all it’s reality. I’m sorry for the trauma to the farmery calm. I’m glad your partner will be home soon and the work you’re doing at the mill sounds fulfilling. Tomorrow will be better. Hugs.
Work is great! It is my saving grace.
Wonder if it may have been a golden eagle searching for food after all the flooding. Maybe call the sanctuary lady you have worked with to see if they know of someone who would raise the baby? Knowing you want to do it for Mrs. Flowers, yet also knowing how very busy you are. Thanks for sharing it with us – and echoing many others, it is so wonderful having you back as you scrape together a few minutes to write!
– the chick never really bounced back up after her trauma. She may have been damaged too. Poor little soul.
As always we move forward because it is what we have to do… it does help to give oneself the occasional wallow in self-pity and grief though. I good cry can be the best thing in the world sometimes. Take care Miss C.
Bloody hell Celia, you’re really being challenged right now. Sending love x
I feel that I have been challenged since the moment I settled in this country. It is a country of extremes in many many ways. Quite exhausting really. I am looking forward to living at a beach on my next rendition.
SO SOooo happy to see you back here!!! I’ve missed you n Boo so much. I saw your first two posts but didn’t get a note to you – dealing with health issues – on the mend.
I heard there was 10″ of rain in your area – wow – those are rivers in the fields. We only had 5 – 6 “.
Here – so no lakes.
Hope all is going much better for you. Get yourself some rest – you
Thank you ! Hope you are doing better!
Such sorrow to come home to after a long day. And to have literally felt the swoop of its wings! And to hear the crying of all the birds. Just awful. Unbearable.
But Boo! Isn’t he absolutely uncanny! I’m so comforted he is with you–and Ton too, of course.
Fascinating that the chemical field is still black and the pure field growing wildly. Tells us a lot.
Last, what a spectacular beauty of a photo of Boo and Ton wending their way home along the road–with the lights from your home. The sky. Oh such loveliness.
You know when I was still single–many moons ago, I didn’t really want to get married. I asked my mother,”Why would you marry dad when you knew it was going to end some day?” Her answer, “For all the happiness in-between.” I guess that’s the attitude to have, but it sure is hard.
For all the happiness in between. Yes. That is lovely. I need to walk these dogs down to the fields and see if I can get a photo of the difference- it is deeply unsettling!
“Practicing Acceptance.” This is a lovely way at looking at grief. And “For all the happiness in between.” Two wonderful take aways among other thoughts today. Death on the farm is the hardest to accept. So hard that I find myself trying not to get close to some of the animals so that I won’t be as hurt when they pass. Not sure if not ‘fully investing’ is a good way, as now I’m thinking that I may be cutting back on ‘all the happiness in between’ as equuslover2 shared.
Love once given can never be taken away. I still have all the love from those who are no longer here in the physical world. The passings are always sad but if you’ve loved and been loved they hurt less. I know Mrs. Flowers and her chick loved you and each other as much as they could and that all belongs to you. I’ve had a lot of loss in my life but also much love and as I’ve gotten older realized that the love outweighs the loss by incredible amounts. That does not discount or diminish the pain or sorrow of loss, it does help ease it. Learning the acceptance is necessary and the beautiful things and love in between are part of the gift. It just makes everyone still with you more precious.
What sad news about Mrs Flowers. Sometimes the law of nature seems just too cruel. Beaming you love on the fresh winds of Aotearoa.
I can’t really add any wisdom to what has already been said. My thoughts are with you. Sad times…but there will be glad times again.
I am so sorry about Mrs. Flowers and her baby. Now isn’t a time to think of lessons, it’s just a time to grieve. You have permission. It hurts when something we have raised and loved is so suddenly gone.
Pania would have been a good sixteen years old. She was mature when I bought her. So sad she has gone and now her chick too.
Bloody bugger. I’ve said it more than once… nature and life being what they are, will say it again before it’s all said and done. Take care ♡
I’m so sorry for the loss of Mrs. Flower and her chick.
I wonder if that might’ve been an eagle, we have a pair of bald eagles here, living somewhere along the river. Haven’t lost anybody to them so far. At least, unlike humanity, nature is random and not innately cruel. I do like the idea of practicing acceptance, hard as that is to accomplish.
Very sad. But you’ve been teaching us gently for years that Death is a constant theme on a farm as well as brilliant life. Hand in hand. Memento mori.
Oh, Miss C, hard to Like a post when it brings news of the loss of another creature friend. Your heart is wide and welcoming, there is space for an infinite number of creatures and people, but the problem with loving is that it hurts when the ones you love die or leave. Thank you for giving the chickie a peaceful and comfortable end, if it is indeed the end. Maybe she’ll surprise you, maybe not. That’s nature.
Nature is brutal. The strongest win out and we mourn lost fragile beauty 😔😔 poor Mrs Flowers and Baby Flowers 💐 💐
Baby Flowers. Yes.
Good Day, sweet lady. I am wishing you happiness in your farming animals. It is so sad to see them go but ponder on the beautiful memories that they brought into your life, to help you smile. I follow your blog and would like for you to follow me at https://wisdomforpennies.com if you will. And I will share your blog all over with my cooking groups and Facebook. I have 1 follower on Word Press and would like to grow my number like I do on Facebook and many cooking groups that I am in. Thank you, and I wish you happiness and joy from this day forward. Connie
I am wishing good times that are coming along for you!