It was Spring and our first of the year bird swap-o-rama was about to hit our fairgrounds. It was a perfect plan.
If you've never been to an event like this, it's quite an experience. All kinds of people and animals everywhere. Cows, sheep, donkeys, llamas, pigs, goats, poultry (just the birds alone are mind boggling) about anything you would imagine on a farm, and then some. It's like a flea market, except with animals. People drive all night and sleep in their cars to get there. By the time the gates are opened, cars, trucks and trailers are lined up as far as the eye can see.
The Swap starts early, and it's a rain or shine event. So at 5:00am under a thunder and lightning sky, we found ourselves juggling flashlights, coffee cups and umbrellas peering into crates and cages trying to find my precious ducks.
Even in the dark and mud, I practically skipped down the rows and rows of vendors selling every imaginable color and size of poultry, except for some reason I couldn't find anyone with Indian Runner ducks. In the predawn light it quickly became apparent that THIS day was not going to be an ideal start for me and my duck adventure. In fact, it almost didn't happen because we only found one guy selling Runner ducks that he knew little to nothing about and in the chaos of the event, his ducks were all flapping around in a panic and it was difficult to even see what he had. I thought I spied a couple of Runners, and tried to point them out to Farmer Tom, who then dove into the madness and started handing me birds which were quickly placed into a crate. I tucked all the feet and feathers inside and closed the door. Farmer Tom paid the man and we were off! Fingers crossed that we had a few good candidates.
By the time the sun was up and we were home with our new flock members, I realized we had two Runners and two something-elses. And a whole lot of noise!
But I was determined to see this through, so I settled them into the garden where they mostly did what they were supposed to (eat bugs), some things they shouldn't (eat plants) and some things that alarmed me (they were aggressive with our hens).
But before that happened, something else happened.
I found an egg. An egg? Somehow I didn't anticipate a duck egg situation. It never even crossed my mind. But my mind likes to sort through these life puzzles and somehow the egg was scooped up and placed into my incubator, joining a batch of chicken eggs already in progress. A little detail I "forgot" to mention to Farmer Tom.