Did I mention that we’ve had a few fatalities lately?
Life on a farm is bound to bring you closer to the facts of life – birth and death for instance. But death is never something pleasant when you walk up on it.
We got home from shopping in town a couple of weeks ago, with a visitor in tow, only to find a horrible sight. Romeo was carrying something in his mouth.
A duck head.
I soon saw the decapitated body of a duck, one of our young drakes, in the middle of the driveway.
Montana was so proud. She pointed at it with a look which clearly said ‘Look Mom! Look what we did!’
Sometimes having a man around comes in really handy. Burying small corpses for instance.
Then, not long after that on the same weekend, we walked across one of the paddocks to check the ford and stream and I found six dead wallablies. Not one or two, but SIX. Spread through the two side paddocks.
Wayne had called me over to show me a wallaby hiding in a pile of rubbish to be burned earlier that morning and told me Barney had had it down by the neck before he knew what was happening and called him off.
That’s it, I said, Barney is no longer allowed out into the paddocks in the early morning or late afternoon when its dark when we go out to feed the horses. I figured he’d been cutting a wide swathe through the wallaby population during his explorations of the paddocks.
I was not impressed.
Neither was Wayne when I made him collect all the little corpses and pile them up for burial.
Thing is… there was a wallaby we’d seen in the tiny paddock out the front of the casita during that week. (We really need to name our paddocks, I think.)
This little fellow seemed not to be too afraid, he moved off only when you got too close. I wondered about him but wasn’t concerned. I just made sure Barney didn’t get into the paddock.
One day about a week later I went out to feed the horses at dusk and didn’t see the wallaby. So I went looking. He was curled up in a little nest of grass in the far corner. He was just lying here. He made no attempt to get away, just hissed at me.
I could see skin and bones clearly from where I stood. I touched him. He was wasting away. I picked him up and went over to Wayne. When I put the poor little thing down it stood, wobbled and fell over and just lay there, hissing.
It was heartbreaking. I swear, if I’d had a gun I would have shot it myself. I couldn’t bare to think of it lying in the cold that night, dying slowly.
Again, being a man sucks. Wayne had to do the job.
Times like this I’m glad I can hide behind being a ‘girl’. At risk of setting the entire women’s lib movement back 60 years, I’m glad to be a helpless female at times like this.
I had to rethink Barney’s guilt. Maybe the wallabies are dying of something other than dog jaws around the throat. Sure, Barney may have helped some of them to the green pastures in the sky, but I think they were dying of something else already…
Could someone be poisoning wallabies?
When I arrived in Fentonbury, I found another dead wallaby. This one did not die of any disease. It had been hit by a car. I have no idea how it managed to make its way so far up the driveway to the garage, but it had… despite the fact that one of its back legs was broken in half, bone sticking out, paw curled up and facing the wrong way… That poor thing tried so hard to live.
I just hate it when things die.
I know its a fact of life. I just hate seeing so much dead wildlife everywhere. Tasmanian roads are full of it. I suppose every country area is like that. We have countless roadkill on our own road – wallabies mostly, native hens, even a quoll this week.
Unfortunately, I’ve been responsible for a few dead animals on the roads over the years. I hate it, and I drive so slowly at night I’m afraid that one day I may end up roadkill myself due to some road rage incident. Or cause I braked to avoid hitting something and ended up on my roof in a ditch.
My mantra when I drive at night now is ‘drive slowly and don’t slam the brakes’. I’ve had a few close calls.
But its like my car attracts animals. Before moving to Tasmania I’d run over a possum in Melbourne. It just ran onto the road and under my car before I could react. It ran right under my tyre.
Since moving to Tasmania I can take the blame for 1 possum, 1 rooster and 2 rabbits. I’m also responsible for 1 wallaby with a (hopefully just) sore tail, 1 with a sore butt and a quoll with a bad headache. These 3 actually kept going so I hope they made it.
I drive slowly and I brake for animals. I think you can get stickers that say that. Might keep the rednecks off my tail as I crawl along in the dark. I’m considerate, though, I pull over and let them pass when I can.
Tasmania really is the roadkill state. On the other hand, I guess we’re lucky. Not like in the USA where deer, moose and bears might be found crossing roads at night. Hit those and you’re bound to be as dead as they are. Or your car will be. So people might have a bit more care and respect for them. Here, except for wombats which can launch a semi-trailer into the air on impact, most of our animals are small and don’t damage cars or kill you unless you swerve to miss them… something not many people seem to do.
Anyway, here are a couple of gorgeous wire flowers Wayne made me as he sits, bored, resting. Cute aren’t they?