Moving my ducks to their winter quarters today brought a benefit to my ponies. The winter duck yard grows a healthy crop of thistle every summer. Normally it’s long gone by now, but we’ve had an unusually mild and long fall with no significant cold temperatures yet. It has made me complacent about some of my annual chores. So today I pulled thistle, and I fed it to the ponies. They like it when I pull it; they’re not as enamored with it when they graze near it. Perhaps they don’t like to be pricked in their legs. They all gingerly take the leaves into their mouths, even 3 month old Libby. I’ve been told that the long tap root enables thistle to accumulate more minerals than other plants, so perhaps that is what the ponies find worthy about the thorny eating.
In addition to a connection between my ducks and the ponies, there was a connection today between the ducks and our logging and construction business. I spread shavings in the duck house as bedding. These shavings were ones that we produced when we planed lumber for a deck we built this summer for a client. We milled the lumber from trees that we had cut and skid ourselves, from national forest land adjacent to where we live.
I feel very fortunate to be living a life with such tight connections between my animals, our business, and this incredible place we call home in the Rocky Mountains.