Monday, December 5, 2016

Lies and deceptions- and this time it's personal (aka, not a political post)- UPDATED

My parents were able to spend Thanksgiving week with us this year. It’s the first time they’ve seen the farm, so it was really nice having them here. 

But, on the last morning of their visit, the lie was finally revealed.

Back story: I crashed into arachnophobia pretty hard when I was 8 years old. It was August, and the movie Arachnophobia had been released on VHS. My family rented it from Blockbuster Video- yeah, I know, I’m dating myself here. Anyway, I wasn’t allowed to watch the whole thing, for one it was “too scary,” and it was also past my bedtime*. I was under the bed sheet, and it started doing that thing where it kind of shifts and tickles. Now when it does that, I’m up faster than jackrabbit on speed! Because on that fateful night, in August when I was the sweet, tender, innocent age of 8; I thought nothing of the shift in the bed sheet- right up until a HUGE MANEATING SPIDER JUMPED ON MY FACE! This thing was huge- covered my nose and mouth, down to my chin. I flung it off and tried to scream. I opened my mouth, but no sound could come out.

I ran into the living room, where my parents were still watching the movie, and in my panic, managed to choke out the words “spider” and “help” while frantically pointing towards my room.

My dad started searching. All the lights were on, and he started systematically peeling off all the bedsheets. No spider. The explanations started coming, “It was just a dream… because of the movie…” Vaguely, I became aware of an additional weight on the sleeve of the t-shirt I wore to bed. I looked down, and staring up at me was the evil demon beast. It was SITTING ON MY SHOULDER watching my dad search for it like, “Hey, when you find it let me know!” I was paralyzed. My mom was not. She finally saw it, too, and flung it off my shoulder, screaming, and I was screaming, and the spider was scuttling, and my dad was confused as hell!

Finally, though, my dad found the spider- a harmless garden spider, big, scary, but ultimately harmless. Instead of killing it, though, he scooped it up and put it outside delivering the “It’s more afraid of you than you are of it” line. “Good for the garden…blah blah blah.”

Except he didn’t find it.

On the last day of my parent’s visit, we were sitting out front having our morning coffee on the porch. One of the evil demon beasts crawled across the back of my hand, and I flicked it off. The evil overlords- scorpions, in case you’re new here- have obviously put spiders down a notch on the list of evil for me. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not. Anyway, my mom remarked at how calm I was, and that there was a time I would have freaked out. Then, she asked Steve if I’d ever told him the story of the spider (above).

Yes, I did. “And to add insult to injury,” I said, “Dad took the damned thing out and released it.”

“No, I didn’t. I never found it.”

“Wait. WHAT?!?!”

My father LAUGHED HIS ASS OFF! He didn’t find the stupid spider, he LIED about it so I’d go back to bed! For all I know, that spider never left! It probably still follows me around! That cold breeze over my shoulder isn’t a draft, it’s the fucking spider waiting for me to let my guard down so it can make its final strike! It’s probably the one who unleashed the evil overlord scorpions on me! Does that mean the spider is actually the Emperor of Evil who control the evil overlords? I’m just a puppet in the game of evil world conquering arachnids!

Lies! Lies and deceptions!

Is anything real anymore? 

*Ok, a brief aside here, because I honestly cannot figure out if the correct way to write this is "past my bedtime," or "passed my bedtime." Oxford is no help either. I decided to use "past" because it's a specific time- bedtime- but I'm still not convinced that it's not supposed to be "passed" in that the time for bed has gone by. I suppose I should just be glad that it will be this thought that keeps me up tonight, and not the shifting of the blankets as the Evil Emperor settles in to watch me sleep.

UPDATE: I felt like adding a post script here because I've been reading a lot of disturbing stories online from people whose Thanksgiving family get together did not go well. The current instability in our country has created a lot of problems, and my heart goes out to everyone who is struggling to understand, cope, survive, etc. I am so grateful that the biggest family drama we had was a humorous reveal of something that happened nearly 3 decades ago! I'm one of the lucky ones, and that means a lot to me. To those of you out there who have had to cut ties with family for your own mental health, I understand. I've been there, and it's hard. Unbelievably hard. Just remember, you're always welcome in the Whanau. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. - Nelson Mandela

Looking through social media, it appears there are still a number of people who don’t seem to understand why some of us are afraid of what the new presidential entourage means. Now, first of all, I just want to say that there is a part of me that is happy for you if you can’t work out why we’re scared. I hope you never feel the sense of hopeless vulnerability that we are experiencing. At the same time, however, I’m deeply disturbed by the lack of empathy, and hope against hope that your children never have cause to feel this way.

Have you come across, or even shared, this little gem:

“I keep seeing people post on how they are terrified, or scared? Well.. what are you scared of exactly? War? Because that's happening. School shootings? Because that's happening. Pipeline? That's been happening. Terrorism? Definitely alive and well. Going broke due to health insurance? Mm yes. Corruption throughout the system? Already there. Police officers being murdered? Yep, that's happening. Bullying? Check. Loss of jobs? We've got that on lock. A tanking economy. Yep. Being discriminated against for your religion, political views, sexual orientation, race? That's been going on. Rape, murder, violence, riots.. all going on and has been.
So tell me, what are you scared of that is not already happening basically everywhere? This isn't a Trump problem, this is a people problem. Y'all need to reevaluate your own selves..
Maybe America is a little too scared and a little too easily offended.
Quit being scared, crying around, offended by everything.. step up and do your part as an American, no, as a damn human being. Treat others with respect, help and encourage one another, raise your kids right, be a contributing member of society. Make sure your hands are clean, that's your job. Burning the American flag? Get out of here with that crap, how about you do your job to make it a better place.
But right now, all I see is hate. It's disturbing, and the ones with the most hate are being exactly what they claim to be against.”
Maybe America is a little too scared and a little too easily offended. Quit being scared, crying around, offended by everything.. step up and do your part as an American, no, as a damn human being. Treat others with respect, help and encourage one another, raise your kids right, be a contributing member of society. Make sure your hands are clean, that's your job. Burning the American flag? Get out of here with that crap, how about you do your job to make it a better place. But right now, all I see is hate. It's disturbing, and the ones with the most hate are being exactly what they claim to be against.” Maybe America is a little too scared and a little too easily offended. Quit being scared, crying around, offended by everything.. step up and do your part as an American, no, as a damn human being. Treat others with respect, help and encourage one another, raise your kids right, be a contributing member of society. Make sure your hands are clean, that's your job. Burning the American flag? Get out of here with that crap, how about you do your job to make it a better place. But right now, all I see is hate. It's disturbing, and the ones with the most hate are being exactly what they claim to be against.”

Apparently written by someone under the name Scott Strader on Facebook. Isn’t social media liberating?

Ok, so let’s see if we can break this down, shall we? I’ll keep it as short as I can.

War, school shootings, terrorism, corruption, loss of jobs. Yes, all that is happening, and will continue to happen, and if you’re not the least bit scared about how normalized they’ve become, then you are definitely part of the problem. Besides, do we really want a man who has filed for bankruptcy six times? Ok, possibly not every case was entirely his fault, after all the casino business hit a rough patch. Sort of like a country that’s been in a recessionfor a few years.  Has anyone informed him that filing a chapter 11 for America would be a very bad idea?

Health insurance. Do you truly believe that a man who refuses to pay his bills actually cares for the common person? He is big business all the way, and that means the pharmaceutical companies and the insurance companies have an ally to support them as they continue to bleed us dry.  Obamacare is anything but perfect, but millions of Americans rely on it to insure themselves and their families. And yes, that’s just one of the many things Trump has backed down on it, but it remains a fact that the threat was very real, and very scary, and remains scary, to a large number of at-risk people.

Pipeline. Yes, we’ve been fighting the pipeline that is endangering the lives of Americans and threatening the sanctity of the environment. The fact that Trump received a sizeable bribe donation from the CEO of the company that wants to rape the land endanger lives install a massive, dangerous pipeline despite the ongoing issues with the line already in place, is just one sign that he doesn’t mind selling off ourchildren’s future. Another sure sign that he is completely out of touch with environmental concerns is that he appointed a person who sounds more like a conspiracy theorist than a profession as the head of the EPA.

Police officers being murdered. Sorry to say, but without comprehensive gun reform, this will continue to happen.

Bullying, rape, discrimination. You just described the newest leader of our country.

But honestly, we’re not afraid of Trump. I’ve never met a President, and I don’t intend on starting now. It is a frightening thought that he will be shaping policies that will affect us for decades to come. Looking at who he’s appointing to his cabinet, the threat of loss of civil rights that have been fought for over lifetimes is all but ensured, and that’s not good news either. But the terror that is filling so many Americans isn’t entirely about him.

So what are we afraid of?

We are afraid of a world where school children chant, “Build the wall!” While their classmates cry and the teachers don’t do anything to stop it. *

We are afraid of a country where a black woman, filling her car with gas, is accosted by three men who pull a gun on her and tell her they could “kill her right now and nothing bad would happen because she’s just a piece of meat.”*

We are afraid of a place where two school girls can get on a bus and tell the blacks they belong at the back of the bus because Trump’s President now. *

We are afraid of a society where a white woman jogging on the morning following the election passes by a group of men and when one yells out, “Who owns your pussy now?” no one says anything. *

We are afraid of people who think it’s perfectly acceptable to send a Mexican man a terrorist note made out of letters cut from magazines and pasted to a piece of paper telling him to leave the country. *

In a word: You. We are afraid of the people who are either so self-centered, or downright malicious as to have the gall to ask that question. We are afraid of the people who voted in hatred, live in hatred, and continue to treat the rest of us like we are the ones that forced this horror on our country. We are afraid of people who saw a sexual predator and decided he would be a good role model for our sons and daughters.

You gave hate a voice. Now we all pay for it.

Yes, there are riots going on right now, and that needs to stop. Did you know that in many cases it started as a peaceful protest, a way of supporting each other while we process what has happened, when some people who saw an opportunity for chaos descended? Did you realize that the vast majority of protests are remaining peaceful? The only hate crimes I’ve seen are those by people who loudly support Trump. By people who name Trump as the reason they can hurt others without consequence. There are bad decisions on both sides.

So right now, we are organizing, we are filtering, we are supporting. Right now we are planning to stand up for ourselves and those who cannot. Right now we are doing our job to make America a better place by not sitting idly by while racism, bigotry, and misogyny rips away at our core values.

If you are so offended by our honest and visceral reaction to this, then maybe you need to try being honest with yourself. Maybe it’s you who have not been “keeping your hands clean.”

To my fellow citizens, by brothers and sisters who have been united by this ugly situation we’re in, stay strong. Fight with love and tolerance no matter how dark the night. We stand together, we stand strong.

*All of those stories are firsthand accounts I read through a supportive group. This is what people are truly living through. 

Friday, November 11, 2016

Childhood's end

It was a wonderfully warm, but not too warm, day when my parents broke the news to me that Santa wasn’t real.

I was 8 years old and I think it was sometime in early November, but I can’t be certain. I think it was after we’d had a simple lunch at the table. I only remember a slight feeling of shock, then, upon seeing how much they struggled with the words, I decided to think more about it later and said the words I thought would make them feel better, to stop their frowns. I remember being acutely aware of people, especially adults, that Christmas season. Trying to make sense of this new world that I’d suddenly been plunged into. A world where magic didn’t exist.

I rejected that thought. Magic was still real, and I saw it all around me once I cared enough to look.
It was years later before my dad took it all back. “Santa does exist,” he told me, “it’s just… different.” He didn’t need to. “I know,” I said, “I’ve always known.”

When it came my own child’s turn to hear that magic was fake, he got a wholly different speech: “Santa is not some dude that flies around the world delivering presents to good kids, it’s the spirit of peace and love that inspires people to be better to each other. That spirit that inspires us to help the less fortunate. Santa is real; he’s just not a jolly fat guy in red. “

It’s the spirit of tranquility that makes adults not hate each other quite as much as usual. Bring on the Christmas season! We need it now more than ever.

I’ve been struggling with this election. I’ve tried to close myself off from the world, because the world is an ugly, dangerous place right now. I honestly did not expect my own reaction, but the fear that has gripped me since Tuesday night has been intense. I thought it wouldn’t really matter to me who won, who our next President was, I just wanted the campaign over.

How wrong I was.

I think it’s because I truly believed that America was better. That we still had enough human decency to not elect such an obviously dangerous person.

My family is not on the front lines, not entirely. We’re “white,” so that’s our protection. We’re not Christian, my son and I have mental illnesses, my husband and step-daughter are immigrants, and I’m not strictly heterosexual. We’re not on the front lines, but we’re not far back.

I’m scared. I’m scared of what could happen. And I can’t trust anyone.

People I thought were my friends, people I thought cared about my family voted against our safety. They voted, almost with fanatical relish, to put my family in danger. That is something that I can’t forgive, and it’s going to take a long time before I can be nice again. It will take a long time for the resentment to ebb. Probably until I know we’ll be safe, which may be never. We may never again feel safety, and that’s a hard pill to swallow.

I’m trying not to hate these people; people I thought of as friends. People I thought I was protecting by voting for the lesser of two evils. People who fed me to the fire. So far, you may have guessed, I’ve failed. Hate is filling me so entirely that I can’t eat. I can’t sleep. I haven’t done either properly since the election. Food tastes bad, sleep is filled with monsters. I’m waiting. Waiting for the next threat to show itself.

And every time I see the face of our new dictator, all I see is my own demon- the one person who’s very thought still sends me into a panic attack nearly 14 years later. A few weeks ago I sat in a lawyer’s office trying to explain, and completely lost control. I sat there and sobbed, humiliated at my own weakness. Trump is a trigger to many of us survivors. The fact that he’s a self-confessed sexual predator isn’t really the issue- there’s plenty of them around. The fact that he’s a self-confessed sexual predator in a position of power isn’t even the issue- there’s plenty of them, too. The issue is that so many of our neighbors and supposed friends said that it doesn’t matter. That we don’t matter. They agree that women are there to be objects, that we don’t count. That we somehow asked for this. That complacency is the issue.

I saw a comment stating that not all Trump supporters are racists. Not all Trump supporters hate women. But does it really matter? You voted for a man that gave the scum of our country carte blanche. It’s all ok, because our President does it!

It’s not ok. It will never be ok. It’s as far from ok as you can possibly get.

There was a woman in my co-op who absolutely horrified me. She claimed she was voting for Trump because she had to vote with her conscience.

It’s your conscience to rape women?

It’s your conscience to torture innocents?

It’s your conscience to kill people that look different from you?

It’s your conscience to deny every ideal we’ve based our country on?

It’s your conscience to plunge the earth into an environmental disaster that we may never recover from?

If that’s true, I’m not sure I want to share the same space as you. This isn’t about politics anymore, it’s about humanity. People who have put their humanity on hold because some demagogue has promised them the holy grail. It’s about the fact that your conscience includes the mass destruction of everyone who doesn’t believe the same overused tripe you do.

For those of us who have lived our lives on the edge of outright dissension, it is terrifying that one manipulative megalomaniac can wield so much power over our disenfranchised populace as to put us into actual physical harm. The world may not be ending, but it has certainly changed, irreparably, for the worse.

So what now? A lot of people are asking that, but nobody seems to have a very good answer. “Keep fighting,” seems hollow when everything we’ve been doing has failed. “Do more,” is even worse when we’re so tired from the battles we’ve waged over months and ended in the message that we are worthless, we don’t matter.

The thorn? Clinton won. At the time of this writing, the votes are 99% counted and Clinton is in the popular vote lead by 395,050. That’s a lot of people who have had their voices ripped from them.
So let me share another story.

I did not vote early because I didn’t know who to vote for. I didn’t like any of my options. At 2pm central time on Tuesday, November 8th, 2016, I “forced” my son to go uptown with me to vote. I grilled my immigrant husband, who is much more politically aware than I am since I’ve never tried to pretend that my vote actually matters, who he thought I should attach my name to, knowing full well that I hate Hillary Clinton and everything she represents. I headed uptown, braving rain and flooded creeks, still not sure who I should attach myself to. I’d read accounts and seen photos of women voting for Hillary Clinton in tears because the thought of a woman president was so incredible, so life affirming, that they could not contain their emotions. It was a powerful message that they believed in so strongly that their emotions over flowed unchecked in our patriarchal world that disdains from such shows of weakness.

I voted for Hillary Clinton. And I nearly cried. But not for the reason you’re expecting. I felt the tears threaten as I selected her from the list, because I didn’t want her as my leader, but she had a better chance than most at beating Trump- and anything is better than Trump. Present tense.
I was not and am not proud of my decision to kowtow to popular demand and vote for someone I didn’t truly believe in- but let’s be honest, I didn’t really believe in any of them, I was only voting against the one I couldn’t live with in the strongest way I could. Not that it mattered. I could have written in Cthulhu and it would’ve counted as much.

Because I don’t matter. Message read loud and clear.

Just for the record, I don’t support the anti-Trump riots. I don’t think that’s the way out of this mess. I don’t what is, but I certainly don’t think that’s it. But I understand it. When you take everything away from people and leave them without any acceptable way to defend themselves and their loved ones against hatred and injustice, they tend to react in violent ways. It’s fear that fuels that reaction, and I hate to say it, but it’s not over yet. The elites think people are easy to control when they’re denied basic rights, but actually, when they have nothing left to lose, people become as untamable as any jungle. There is no stopping the will of survival.

I have struggled my entire life with people interrupting me when I speak, because I don’t matter. I try to limit my words, obviously not easy for me, just to try to avoid people talking over the top of me. And yet, I have literally been interrupted when saying, “Hello.” One word, unfinished, because someone is so much more important than I am. And I have been forced to accept that out of politeness. It’s what good girls do.

But it’s very difficult to combat racism, sexism, bigotry, and hatred when your voice has been taken from you. When no one will give you the opportunity to speak. When every effort to force your right to speech is met with sexist derision.

So, this is my declaration. If you are afraid, so am I- we can be afraid together. If you are angry, so am I- we can be angry together. If you are confused, so am I- let’s figure this out together. If you have forgiven, please teach us how, because we are struggling.

And if you voted for Trump, please try to understand that right now we’re trying to find a way to forgive the betrayal, contempt, and outright hatred. We’re trying to understand what is so offensive about wanting equality. We’re trying to find our footing in this new world where hate is encouraged, and intolerance is expected. We’re trying to decide how to teach our daughters they’re still strong and our sons they still need to show respect when the adults in control have shown the absolute opposite.

I don’t know how or if we can move forward from this. I don’t know that I want to. Everyone I look at is an adversary; everyone I have to deal with is plotting my downfall. Maybe it’s paranoia, but they just voted to put it into action. Trump just kicked over that domino and I simply don’t know who to trust. So, right now I’m trying to keep to myself and not piss too many people off. But I am hurting, and it’s not going away any time soon.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Scorpions: The continuing reign of terror

Last summer, my parents gifted us with their spa because the water situation in California was getting critical and they couldn't fill it and keep their water consumption reasonable. So we bought a trailer and towed it from California to Texas.

It has saved our bodies several times over the last year. After doing physical labor on the farm, having the ability to soak in a spa with jets made the difference between walking the next day and hobbling around like Gollum if he'd been hit by a truck.

The spa has an integrated cover so it's easy to close it up when it's not in use, and helps to keep most pests out of it. When the lid is closed, there's a bit of a lip that's sealed with a rubber tube. Most bugs come against it and go away. There are two exceptions: fire ants and scorpions.

During the Spring, when we got a lot of rain, there were a few times when fire ants got into the water and decided to live in the pipes. When we turned the jets on, we were assaulted by fire ants. That was interesting, to say the least. We wound up draining the pool to clear the ants out. Now, we control the ants around the spa so we don't get eaten alive while we try to relax.

Scorpions just think it's an awesome place to hide out. When we open the cover, we do a quick check around the edge and take care of any scorpions that are sitting there. Normally there's only one- they're fairly territorial.

Yesterday, when we opened the spa, sure enough, there was a scorpion hanging out on the edge like, "What's up guys? Can I join you?"

Smoosh! Problem solved.

So I opened up the other side, and there was another one! Apparently, he'd seen what happens if you ask to join in, so instead of asking, he just jumped in. Into the spa.

Now you're thinking, "Yeah, so it drowned and you scooped it out. What's your point?" What you're forgetting is that scorpions spawn from all of the evil in the world. When there's negative energy, it condenses into scorpions, and right now, there's a lot of negative energy floating around. That's making the evil spawn ridiculously strong.

The scorpion did a graceful swan dive into the water, gently floated down to the seat, THEN RAN DOWN TO THE BOTTOM AND UNDER THE FILTER INTAKE! IT RAN UNDER WATER!

Steve didn't see it running, he thought the current from the intake sucked it in. He had the net scoop and was trying to flush it out from under the cover, but it wasn't coming out. I unplugged it, thinking that maybe the sucking was making it impossible to move it, and assuming it would've drowned by now. Steve got a screwdriver, and removed the cover, but we still couldn't find the body. When suddenly, RAN ALONG THE BOTTOM!


Just let that sink in for a moment. Scorpions apparently have no problem living under water.


Steve eventually caught it and got rid of it, but there is now a special paranoia for me.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Sapphire Skies

Our little farm is in the middle of Texas. Summers in central Texas are harsh; incredibly harsh. Throughout July, the temperature stays high and the rain is non-existent, so the landscape becomes cracked and desolate. The trees that thrive here are resilient, and occasionally there is a bit of green left in their shade, but everywhere else it's cooked. So when the almost unbearable heat of August hits, there's no escaping it.

This has been the first year that we worked on a veggie garden- which is going really well. We had a great crop of cherry tomatoes, peppers, and pickling cucumbers. We've managed to harvest a couple of watermelons. And just this morning, we picked our first okra! But we've stopped watering half the garden- the cherry tomatoes, cauliflower, and tomatillos, because the heat was just proving to be too much for them. We've had to move our potted plants around due to the intensity of the sun as well. We're still learning about our environment.

This morning we woke up early- it's the only time of the day we can function for very long outside- and transplanted an eggplant before sitting on the porch for breakfast. It's how we start every day. After breakfast, Steve started work, and I went to let the chickens out for the day. They spend most of the day wandering around the yard, foraging for insects, and keeping the place remarkably clean! You know, except for the chicken poo.

As I walked across the yard to their run, a breeze touched my face. A cool breeze! I breathed deep and smelled the promised of Autumn. The promise of cooler days and nights with the windows open. The promise of sitting around a camp fire (Summer means burn bans) drinking mulled wine and roasting marshmallows. I looked at the sky and realized that instead of the burnt out Summer sky, the blue is starting to deepen to the sapphire of Autumn.

It's going to be hot today, and for many more days. August is one of the hottest months. But the promise is there if you pay attention. The promise that this harsh Summer will release it's hold on us and we will enjoy a reprieve. We've certainly earned it.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Not just a number

It’s just a number,

It doesn’t define you.

It doesn’t tell your story,

It doesn’t speak to what you’ve done.

It doesn’t showcase your children,

It doesn’t celebrate with friends.

It doesn’t toast birthdays,

It doesn’t enjoy long quiet evenings, snuggled up on the couch.

It’s just a number.

So why is it so important?

Why does it change how we feel about ourselves?

How we feel about others?

Why is it so hard to look at that number steadily climb as the grey hairs come in and the wrinkles form?

It’s just a number, but it matters so much.

In a world full of judgement and hate,

Where we constantly find ourselves alone,

Is it really any wonder that it’s not just a number?

Thursday, June 30, 2016


Our neighbor had to go into the hospital for surgery this week, and asked if we would look after his animals. So of course we accepted! We go up to his place to check on his birds- he has a bunch of baby chickens and turkeys, and racing pigeons. They're very cool. The most fun, though, is we have his 4 ducklings staying in our brooder. Our bathtub brooder in our master bath.

You may remember when we got our chickens and they stayed in the bathtub brooder until the coop was finished. And yes, Toby is once again fascinated and highly protective of the babies.

Little whack whacks
We're only watching them until this weekend, but we've already decided that next year, we want to get some ducks. They're awesome. But here's what I've learned about ducklings this week:

1. They are hilarious when it comes to water. They had one of those little chick water things, but they emptied it within minutes every time we filled it and put it in the tub. I put the little litter box in filled with water so they could have supervised swim time, and the first thing they all did was drink a bunch. I suddenly realized that they could get a proper drink from the chick waterer because their bills are too big/work different. So we went to the dollar store and picked up some smallish disposable cake tins. They love it! And yes, they like sitting in it and splashing a bit, but being in the bathtub, that's just fine. We just have to change out their straw occasionally.

2. They grow fast! Yesterday morning one of them was standing as tall as it could trying to reach the mesh over the tub, but was still about an inch too short. This morning they're all chattering away at the mesh! They don't even have to stretch up that much!

3. The sound they make is not as high pitched as the chicks. I'm sure if we had 21 ducklings, the noise would be comparable to the 21 chicks. There are times they are quite loud. However, the peeping sound they make is several octaves lower than the cheeping the chicks made. It doesn't pierce your skull in quite the same way. One of them, the little black duck, is already starting to make little quacking sounds.

The most important thing we've learned, though, is 4. They smell REALLY REALLY BAD! I mean, HORRIBLE! Who would've thought that 4 ducklings would be so much worse than 21 chicks? Honestly, Steve duct taped a screen over the window so we could open it and get some air flow because we thought we were going to pass out from the stink. They're not as dusty as the chicks, but geez they stink! Before we get ducks of our own, we're going to build a duck coop and run that they can go directly into, because there's no way we would last very long with this smell!

We will miss them when they go home this weekend because they are fun to have around. I definitely will not miss they smell, though.