FAST Blog: Family Homestead

Permaculture, Preparedness, Homesteading & Survival

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Sparrow Sorrow

When I went out to the Community Garden to let the chickens out I noticed something moving in the vegetable bed. My first thought was that it was a mouse or rat, but when I got up close I saw it was a small bird that didn't seem able to fly and seemed to be quite distressed. It had been cold that night and I had no way of knowing how long the little fella had been exposed on the ground. I picked him up and he didn't try to escape, he gripped on to my fingers and huddled in to the warmth of my hands.

Male House Sparrow

I'm not an expert on birds but from his markings he seemed to be a male house sparrow, quite young and by the look in his eyes he didn't look like he was doing too well. By the time I came back inside with him the kids were awake and watched in quiet curiosity as I carried this wild bird in to the house. I kept him warm, provided some food and water but unfortunately he died on our kitchen table an hour later. I did what I could to make him more comfortable and although it wasn't enough to save him at least he didn't die alone out in the cold. The children had left the room when he passed away, and it would have been easy for me to tell them that he had made a full recovery and flown away to live happily ever after, but that isn't real life is it? We keep livestock which means sooner or later we'll have deadstock and our children will have to deal with the concept of death. So I told that the bird had died. Logan asked me why I didn't save him, and I told him I had tried but it was just too late. Then he asked me "When you saw the bird outside did you move as quick as you could?", I told him I did but it was still too late, to which he said "Well it's great that you tried to save him Daddy, he was magnificent" The kids looked at the body, asked me questions about what type of bird he was, then Logan said that he wanted us to bury the bird so the neighborhood cats wouldn't eat him, so that's what we did.

I don't ever want to lie to my kids, I don't want to disconnect them from nature or life's cycles. Logan asked me 6 months ago where meat came from, after I told him (as a meat eater) the unbiased truth about how commercial meat is produced he said he wanted to be a vegetarian because he didn't want to hurt animals. He's stuck to his decision ever since, and we have been so proud of him that a few weeks ago the rest of us went completely Veggie too so that he doesn't have to be the odd one out at mealtimes. I haven't spoken to him about dairy yet, not because I am hiding it from him but because he hasn't asked yet, but when he does I will tell him the facts and let him make his own mind up about it rather than brainwashing him one way or the other.



  1. Poor little bird. Another lesson learned though.

  2. You take a wonderful stance on things with your children. I agree that they shouldn't be sheltered from reality,.....and likewise shouldn't be coerced into decisions they were pushed into.

  3. Death is part of life, it is great if children can experience it in a non threatening way, like yours just have. I have always vowed to myself to be truthful with our children. I have learned though that forcing things down their throat (I don't mean that literally!) when they are not ready can be stressful for them. Each of our children are so different in their need to know and learn. My youngest, Alistair, finds the idea that he didn't grow in my tummy (his words) but someone else's outrageous and does not want to talk about his life history (he is adopted). Like you, we let them guide us and we answer all questions, no matter how uncomfortable it makes us feel. Opportunities to talk about important things arise often enough! I also try to give them a objective perspective but it is not always easy to leave your own convictions and beliefs aside. James for example is interested in all things God at the moment and finds it difficult to understand that I feel no need for any kind of deity in my life. It makes for interesting conversations (mummy, what heaven do people like you go when they die?). Must not ramble on! Have a good day.

  4. Totally agree, when children ask we must tell them the truth in a way they can understand and is appropriate for their age. When my children were young and asked about where meat came from I told them, they decided to become vegetarian and still are.

  5. Telling any child the truth is always the best way, how much depth you use is a different matter, well done they do have to learn about life. As for the dairy, I agree again, at his age the dairy will help with growth.

  6. We wind up with all kinds of wounded animals here on the mountain. Most of the recuperate in the plant room and then go back to the wild. You can't save them all but you can make sure they have a quiet, warm environment and aren't subjected to being torn up by other animals. That's about all you can do.

    My son was a vegetarian for several years, but he got so thin and looked like he was made of dried leather. We tried all kinds of diets from books, and supplements, but finally we just had to convince him to stop. I don't know why it didn't work for him.

  7. It's wonderful you tried to help the bird and your kids saw you doing that. Even though it didn't end up so well I'm glad you were able to explain things to your kids. Honesty is always the best policy. Good on you for going vegetarian with your son. It's great you're letting him grow into his own person.

  8. when i was a young girl my parents told me once that being honest it the most important thing in life. so i agree with them :) follow:) hope U follow back:)

  9. just get a goat know you want

  10. What a wonderful little boy you have raised and with wonderful values. Power to you and Carly, TW.

  11. Aw, that's a sad but sweet story. You did good. Living close to nature is the best way to teach your kids the realities of life and death. I think they will be much better for it.


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