Today I had to do the hardest thing (in my opinion) that you have to do on a farm. I had to put down a baby duck. I have avoided this responsibility for several months as we've had several animals that have had to be put out of their misery. They may have been sick or injured or, like this little duck, were just born with a defect that made it impossible for them to thrive. Rather than prolong their suffering, I believe it's better to end their lives as quickly as possible. I believe that, but I can not do it, that is, until today. The little duck was given a few days to see if any thing would improve. (Improvement has never happened but I think it's in our nature to give things a chance.) Apparently Andrew thought the little duck had died last night so this morning he tossed him in the burn barrel. Unfortunately, this afternoon, Josiah heard him peeping out there. Now this was a bad situation turned awful. Not only were his little feet deformed and his body lacking nutrition and water since he couldn't move right to get to the feeder and waterer, now he was covered in soot. The solution to his dilemma was obvious, I had to "take care of it". That's how I term it when we're discussing the mercenary killing of sick or inured animals. I knew I couldn't bear to watch it die and I wanted to make sure whatever action I took was thorough so the poor dear wouldn't have to suffer any longer. So, I took care of it.
I wonder if there was animal death in the garden of Eden, I mean before the Deceiver embodied a serpent and lied to Eve. Did God intend there to be a cycle of life and death for the animals? Did accidents, injuries, and malformations happen back then? Did anyone have to "take care of it"? It's easy for me to relate our human sufferings (accidents, injuries, malformations, sicknesses, pain in general) to the fall in the garden but I'm not clear on the animal and plant world. Did flowers fade? or fruit rot? One day I'll know these things for sure.
The bottom line is I hate "taking care of it". I hate the thought of "taking care of it". But, I did it. I did the right thing, here on earth, in our fallen state, where things are hard and imperfect and this little duck needed to be put out of it's misery. Even so, I'm sad and I'm sure it will take me a while to recover from this. It's still traumatic. I cried so hard I dripped snot. I even decided to write this post in order to workout some of my feelings. I also tried a bowl of ice cream, that didn't really help, which I knew it wouldn't but at least it was a nice distraction for a few minutes. I know farmers do this type of thing all the time. "Things happen" they say, "things" being death. I call that type of person "farm hearted," they do hard things enough that it doesn't disrupt their day or require a bowl of ice cream. Maybe one day I'll be a little more farm hearted but for now I'm still sad.