My Mallard on the Wing Makes My Heart Sing Through the Tedium

For any unpleasant or tedious chore in my backyard or garage, I find it immensely helpful to release my small flock of chickens and an odd duck to roam our small yard. This time around it was my annual last run of the lawn mower as I chopped up dozens of bags of leaves left by strangers and neighbors at our request.

Yes, we’re weirdo’s that have a sign asking for folks to drop off their leaves, because they make excellent mulch for the flower gardens as a far superior alternative to the traditional wood chips that add nothing to your soil. That said, the process of emptying bags of wet leaves, and then chopping them down with the lawn mower, ranks right up there with helping a stranger apply hemorrhoid ointment.

Pain in the ass doesn’t begin to describe chore of mowing down and hauling up to 100 bags of leaves in a year. This year, as I was scooping up chopped remains, I found myself holding strange lumpy dough balls in each hand. They were pleasantly powdered with fine leaf powder, and had the feeling and consistency of Christmas cookies being formed prior to placing on the cookie sheet for baking. These, however, were nothing else but two medium sized balls of DAWG shee-it (excrement, dung, feces, krap, crap, poop, and utter nastiness). To bad it wasn’t just an expletive in abstraction, rather than the real thing.

Then there are the rocks, sticks, and plastic objects that people rake up with their leaves that I hit with the lawn mower, the endless restarting from having tried to swallow up too much at once, heavy wet leaves that could perhaps be used to wrap a fine cigar in some cases, and on and on I could go in my complaining.

Then there’s the flapping of wings, and out of the corner of my eye I see our beautiful mallard duck, Lillian, flying a full 30 feet as she leads her squadron of birds to another exciting area for them to scratch out a living. Their excitement, joy in flight, and unfettered exploring is infectious. This is why I keep my motley crew from the poultry persuasion. Their simple approach to life and innocent curiosity actually wear off on me from time to time. Poop in the hands or not, seeing them all doing what they were made to do, brings cheer to my heart. This is worth more than the 4000 ova jingling around in their ovaries, and will soon begin laying once every 25 hours or so in the form of an egg.

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