The silence was deafening this morning. Yesterday at o' dark thirty, I wrestled eleven ducks into two large dog crates, loaded them in my car and headed north. One of the downsides of living in this state is the dearth of processors, thanks to over-regulation. There was one processor who would handle ducks and they were a good distance north of me, with an early cut-off time for drop-off, to boot.
Armed with my trusty GPS, off I went. An hour and a half later, after going 2.2 miles this way, 3.1 miles that way, 5.6 miles the other way, etc., I was thinking how lucky I was to have my trusty GPS to guide me through this maze of back roads, country lanes, hills and dales. It guided me all right - right into the back yard of someone who was NOT the processor. I believe I was within spitting distance of Canada.
Frantic now (having all that quacking in the back did not help sooth my nerves), I drove aimlessly, trying to find a signal so I could call them and report my lost-ness. I went right into their voicemail. I left a fairly unintelligible message and begged for mercy and an time extension. I squinted at my phone (having conveniently forgotten to bring my glasses) and typed in the address again. Bingo! I was off - in the wrong direction. By now my blood pressure was rising and the inside of the car was littered with feathery down and wood shavings - having 11 equally frantic and stinky ducks in near proximity means windows down. I found a sheriff's way station and rang the bell. No answer, even though there were about six cars in the parking lot. I briefly contemplated hitting the big, red EMERGENCY HELP button, but then figured they wouldn't agree that being lost with a car full of ducks constituted a legitimate reason for breaking up their coffee klatch/card game and would arrest me for false emergency. Back in the car, I tried once again to reach the processor - and did!
Turns out they were very close to where I had been about 45 minutes ago - about 20 miles away. By the time I pulled into the drive, I was a mess. But they were very nice about it and did not refuse to take the ducks (that was the awful thought that kept running in loops through my mind). We briefly discussed the giant turkeys a farmer had dropped off (we had a bet as to what the processed weight would be - I won. I was closer to the final 42#) and I took myself off.
Since it was a lovely day and I was close to Vermont, I stopped to pick up my yearly apple supply and headed to my parents' house. Five cups of tea later, I was finally calm. I drove back to the processor, loaded the now-quiet ducks into the cooler and headed home. I also gleaned a happy nugget of news - this guy was merely renting the facilities until he put a processing unit into his own farm - a mere half hour from me! Woot!
I straggled inside, squeezed the ducks into the freezer, let the dogs out and poured a glass of wine (not necessarily in that order). The four girls left were very quiet - I imagine they decided to keep a low profile, just in case... After a little carrying-on this morning, they settled down and seemed to enjoy the fact that they could forage and splash without being assaulted every five minutes. I am enjoying the quiet until they re-find their voices.