It snowed awhile back and I’m still not sure what to say about it. I’ve seen snow before but this one was really big. It’s long gone, but we’re still talking about it. Read the rest of this entry
Tag Archives: mallards
Daily Drama 61
Editing Dobby’s book has kept me so busy writing that I am neglecting the blog posts. Today, the Funny Farm is sad that my handicapped hen, Lula, has decided to fly up to the big roost in the sky. She came here five years ago, became lame at about 2-1/2 years, and stopped walking altogether two years ago. Daily meloxicam uprighted her, and she hobbled around, avoiding the other hens for a year. I finally moved her to the infirmary about a year ago, leaving the door open so she could come and go on her own.
Last September, a tiny opinionated hen came to live with us. Blur’s sister had died and she couldn’t stop talking about it. Once here, she quickly became PRINCESS Blur, but she did quiet down. The size of a pigeon, she fights the cats, the other hens are afraid of her, and even Dobby is baffled. She has never laid an egg. Princess adored big Lula, though. They spent their days together, and when Lula’s lameness progressed, Princess Blur moved into the infirmary with her. In hindsight, they spent this last month beak-to-beak, neither one venturing into the horrific weather. I should have known Lula was not well. It will be interesting to hear what Princess Blur has to say about her.
The east coast is not alone when it comes to weird winter weather. We have had cold and snow and many Mallards. Many freeloading mallards. My resident pair are somewhat erratic, so Mrs. Mallard must have a nest, but she isn’t sitting yet. Sitting ducks hold their necks differently, as if they have spent too much time in one position. Their voice also changes, and their message is different. We aren’t there yet, but she has a nest, and it is nearby. I think they even spent the night on the swimming pool. I have never seen that before in the ten years since they have been here.
Dobby is making fair progress toward a recovery. He was feeling pretty good when he made these brown footprints. He was leaving the kitchen. Is that better or worse than if he had been coming in? There’s so much medicine in his milk now, that we ought to come up with a better word than “milk” which no longer describes it.
Of course, we had a wind storm, too. A big birch branch crashed right through the wire roof of the aviary. It was a missed opportunity for the raccoons because my good neighbor fixed it that day.
The afternoon Garden Party has been damp. On good days it’s moist. Horrible days it is like living under a waterfall. I’m the one who wanted to live in a wetland, though. It’s groundwater, and it oozes up wherever it wants to. The asphalt out front has giraffe patterned cracks all over it. The cracks spit bubbles and ooze, eventually creating a flow down the street past the ambitious city public works drainage project that failed to take into account the source of the water. MY PROPERTY.
Dobby IS improving, though he had a setback last week. He slipped on the deck when temperatures rose enough to turn the organics and rain into a coating of Deck Slime. There are now anti-skid rugs everywhere, and a bunch of cheap burlap bags as filler between the gaps. The hardware store guys roll their eyes when I tell them the bags have to be from Brazilian coffee, not African or Central American. Then they obligingly dig through the stack, commenting on the origins, and noticing the different bags for the first time.
We lowered Dobby’s bed, so that the step up isn’t as steep. It used to have a standard box spring, but we switched it out for a “bunky board” which is a shallower mattress support. Now he can step out onto a big wide dog bed, and it’s a lot easier for him.
He’s feeling strong enough again to go to the front yard to graze . . . on non-existent winter grass. Prey animals are wary and they won’t leave a safe territory unless they have to. When Dobby is not feeling strong, he stays in the kitchen, playing pinochle and drinking mint juleps. Today he ignored the squealing little girls playing next door and went out to graze, so I know he is feeling pretty good.
Dobby thinks he should be able to go in through the front door. In eight years, I don’t think I have ever let him in through that door. For eight years he has been begging.
Oh, Dobby. He’s not very patient. His “offerings” have been top form, though. In an effort to offset his usual high-starch bad diet, I have been supplementing his vegetables with a bucket of cut bamboo foliage, in addition to what he grazes on his own. The fabulous local grocer, who supplies Dobby’s corn and romaine at a very reasonable markup, has been ordering us dandelion greens, too. The very same greens that I can pick for free from the garden this summer, are now a gourmet Dobby-treat in winter. I dole them out one-at-a-time to make certain Dobby appreciates them.
Little Spitfire is helping me edit Dobby’s book. If my desk was cleared off (or if someone lit a bonfire to it) I could set up her playpen. She would love that. For now she is happy with the cubby holes and a paper clip. She’s a fightin’-bitin’ female, but my farmer’s hands are like leather, so the joke’s on her! She’ll settle down after a while.
This is the working cover for Dobby’s book. We’ve been trying out some jacket copy on his fans, and hope to have a finished rough draft completed in a couple days. (Unless I remember to prepare my taxes.) It will undergo various levels of scrutiny, head off to a publisher, and Bob’s Your Uncle! That’s the plan, and I will keep you posted. It will be ready for summer reading, or bust!
A couple days ago, the first thing I did was look out the bedroom window to see if there were any ducklings out there. I had seen some the day before, but I was astonished to actually see them again, on the driveway, glowing and backlit from the morning sun! What a great way to start the day!
They live next door, to the south. I can see them from my deck, and from the window right next to my desk. I can hear the peeping, too!
I’ve never actually seen ducklings in that little pond before this year. Maybe that’s because their cat is now gone.
Dobby’s little stream drops into a culvert, goes under my driveway, and into the little pond. There is a hole under the fence where the culvert dumps out. There is a little slope at one side that ducklings can negotiate. They don’t have to jump.
Sometimes they come over to play in my little waterfall and look for bugs in the quagmire next to my driveway.
When I saw them glowing, they were leaving my duckling playground, heading home the long way around the fence. There is pretty good cover that direction, even though they have to go near the street. It’s a dead end with hardly any traffic.
I feed the mom all year long, so she doesn’t mind me following her around. We’re good friends.
I have been tossing out cracked corn for her. The ducklings prefer bugs, but there’s not a whole lot I can do about that.
Their little legs go pretty fast, but they aren’t so good at jumping! They’ll grow big enough to hop that curb by next week.
The neighbors are helping to watch out for them, too.
If that isn’t enough cuteness, there are ducklings on the big pond to my immediate north, too! I was seeing ducklings all the time there, and then I noticed that there were two moms, two broods! I’m tossing cracked corn over the fence that direction, too.
This is the view that my tomcats have. Kitty Hawk and Grover are pretty interested, so I won’t be letting them out at all for a while. I relocated a wild turtle from the street to this pond last summer, but I haven’t seen him this spring.
In the video, you can see three dads to the far left, watching over a mom with babies. The property next door has nearly 10 acres of wetlands, so there could be more than two broods there.