Thanks to the advice of an experienced “duck man”, we’ve learned that Muscovy ducks do an amazingly fine job of coping with cold weather. Even when it’s -15°.
Well go figure. Here we’ve been turning ourselves into pretzels, climbing in and out of the newly insulated duck houses (hey, the ducks got the first straw bale residences on the property), and now we find out all they need is non-frozen water, a bit of food and a shelter—and a simple open-sided lean-to would meet that requirement. They never did have to be confined to their fine houses when it got cold.
No wonder the ducks wanted to escape. They must have thought we were nuts.
I guess they were right, though; when we learn something new about what it means to live in harmony with the land and its wonderful creatures, our prior efforts often end up looking a little crazed. It’s just like us humans to think animals need us to survive “out there”.
They don’t. When we take animals into our environment, we do owe them a safe and sustainable living situation, of course, but that’s it. They can figure out the rest of it all by themselves.
That’s a hard lesson to learn—that the Earth can take perfectly good care of itself without our help, and has been doing it for, oh, some four billion years or so. In fact, most of what we do to the Earth is detrimental, not helpful.
Maybe that’s why most creatures don’t have egos.