Monday, February 10, 2014

Another Duck Story

You want to keep them alive.  After all you put them there to survive if possible.  But when it comes down to stems and seeds, extreme methods are necessary.  It is a  harsh winter,  worst in my memory: snow follows cold  with wind and ice between then more cold.   My attempts to keep part of our small pond open for the ducks involved two sets of pump/motor combinations to keep water flowing at the surface  to avoid freezing.  Both failed in the extreme conditions.  The last pump froze up during a -4° F morning leaving the four ducks without open water for protection from the marauding coyotes.  The dogs know when the ice will hold their weight and it now will.   The next morning  would be the end of ducks without intervention -- the coyotes are sneaky and slinky, built high,light and leggy -- since ice was thick enough to support even my 138 puunds.

The plan was to chase the ducks out of their tiny corner of the lake onto the snowy yard where they could be caught by hand.  That plan proved unnecessary since it turned out Ginny and I could herd the little ingrates back down through the yard to the duck pen I built years ago (which they seldom used and wouldn't usually go into)  Me with a long aluminum  pole and she with a  plastic-bin cover managed to get them  herded to the pen with rest stops every 50 feet or so.  Safe and sound they went into the duckhouse strewn with straw and (we can only imagine) happy to be there -- who knows?

A dove flew in . . . . . . .

Ducks started out to be a birthday present for Ginny years ago (the local farm store sells duck and chicken chicks in the spring) with 4 of the little critters.  Little did I know the process needed to keep them going:  From dining room floor to garage cage to building a duckpen with cedar poles and plywood, extending into the pond 8 feet or so, totally enclosed since racoons like duck too as I later found out.  Eventually I managed to hatch several with an incubator I made as one of many.  Sitting back to ponder, I cannot remember the number of ducks I have killed through inexperience or injury.  Little mama, spotts, sprig, big al . .many more,  some stand out, some don't but all part of the flow of life  we must all experience.