Duck soup …

June 21, 2009 § 17 Comments

Ducking the book issue this evening, I wish only to note that we have neighbors in our pool lately. Many blogs ago, I introduced “The Canards,” two married mallards  who live in the back woods of our property.  There were also for some time, two other male mallards who I took for failed suitors. And in fact, I thought they’d departed for more friendly female climes.

Apparently not. This afternoon, for the fourth afternoon in a row, in fact, two males (and I honestly don’t know which two they are – perhap they have wives stashed in the woods but I lean toward the idea of them being wife-less and a couple of suave, “metro” ducks) have taken to waddling through the gate and coming to wiggle and swim at our place. Cute? Colorful? Rather endearing? Yes, yes, all of the above, yet this isn’t exactly a pond we’re all sharing here. (And I’m sorry, but they’re a bit messy.) 

So the metro mallards and I play a little game of shoo. Typically, I go out onto the patio talking to them, explaining that they should stick with the shallow creek at the back of the property. Sometimes, I clap my hands. They then duck into the water. I walk toward them and they paddle furiously to the opposite end of the pool. I walk in their direction, and they do an about face and madly paddle in the opposite direction. This could go on and on.  Since they don’t like to share the pool and since I start down the pool steps to get in there and splash around as well, they take off, honking and quacking and doing that low-flying thing that makes you think they will fall out of the air to earth, or bonk into a tree.

Today, it went a bit differently. They were surprisingly nonchalant.

1st duck: I think she’s coming over here.
2nd duck: Settle down. Be cool. She’s an animal lover. No worries.

1st duck: Oh, she really IS coming over here. Egads!
2nd duck:  Really, man, I’m telling you, don’t get in a flap. These are really sweet people.

1st duck: You’re right. You’re right. I’ll just have a drink. Refresh myself.  That’s all. I just need a little drink.
2nd: There ya’ go.

1st duck: We’d better keep an eye on her, though. I think she’s getting closer. I can’t tell. What do you think? Time to flee?
2nd duck: Good grief, man. We’re here often enough with little complaint. It’s likely because she has company today  that’s she’s giving us a bit of the eye therefore she’s wanting everything ship-shape and heaven knows, we don’t keep a particularly tidy area. Or, maybe she’s on deadline. I’ve observed she’s a bit tense when she’s on deadline.


1st duck: Well, I’m walking around on the other side of you, keeping some distance between me and herself.

DSC_01481st duck: Sheesh, I’ve a heck of a thirst today. Hot, isn’t it?
2nd duck: It is, after all, the first day of summer, ya’ know.

DSC_01521st duck: Look! She’s awfully close – have a look, mate. Look! She’s standing right there.
2nd duck: Right. I can see her well enough. We have eyes on the side of our heads, ya’ know.

DSC_01571st duck: This is me, tryin’ to be invisible. Is it working? Can you see me now?
2nd duck: Quack. Get a hold of yourself, mate. Of course I can see ya’.

DSC_01592nd duck: All this dramatic tension has given me quite a thirst, I must say. (drinks) Yum.
1st duck: Oh, really. Please, shall we go? hmmm? shall we go now? hmmm?

DSC_01642nd duck: Really, I’m feeling rather pressed by her presence.  All we want is to linger longer and take in this gorgeous hot day.
1st duck: Step it up a bit, man, we’re clearly being discouraged and  it’s not all in her expression. I think she’s doing that “shoo-ing” thing. Step it up, old man.
2nd duck: I’ll bet this all sounds like so much quacking to her, eh?  Harumph.  What do you want to do now? Suppose we should go check out the pool across the way?
1st duck: We’ll have to fly, ya’ know. Waddling at this pace will just never work, what do you say?
2nd duck: I’m with you. Besides, you’ve got that gimpy leg. Come on, old fellow, let’s take to the air.

Indeed, it sounded like so much quacking.
And off they went.

Book suggestion…
THE STORY OF PING by Marjorie Flack and Kurt Weise.
This is a picture book and story for kids. And people who read to kids. It’s still on our bookshelf. Snarl loved this one as a kid.  Pink is a duck who lives in China and is herded along with his family on and off his owner’s boat. For reasons the read will discover,  Ping decides to head out on his own and see the world.  The illustrations are sweet, there are funny little details to cling to, age-regardless, and Ping discovers the meaning of home as he paddles the mighty Yangtze River.


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§ 17 Responses to Duck soup …

  • ds says:

    Tee-hee. This was wonderful–you have quite an ear for “duck”alogue. I loved Ping and all his many brothers and sisters, and so did the College Student as a child; it’s probably around here still. Somewhere.
    (loved your “bleating rain” and Yeatsian blue of earlier posts as well. Do write more about Ms. Gallant, please?) Thanks for sending the insomniac to bed with a smile 🙂

    • oh says:

      DS – Glad to hear that Ping has staying power at your house, too. Actually, I didn’t really like it the first few times I read it to the kids…and then something clicked. Probably whatever it is about it that clicks with kids, too.
      Yes, I’ll keep up and keep after Ms Gallant – I STILL have to read that interview – maybe tonight. Honestly, I wonder lately what on earth I DO with my time? There are so many things I want to do. Anyway, more soon on Mavis.

  • litlove says:

    This is hilarious! We have ducks in the village pond opposite, and at night they are quite the noisiest part of the local population. Often one starts up honking, and then the others all fall about, as if he’d just made a joke or a cheeky proposition. I hadn’t thought of putting words to it, though, and perhaps it’s better if I don’t! 😉

  • Lys says:

    if you don’t have those ducks’ personalities down, nobody does! you sound like a duck expert! and ping was one of my favourite children’s books. that and ferdinand (it’s about a bull who just wants to be nice).

    • oh says:

      Litlove – Noisy ducks at night? Not allowed. Honestly, why can’t they behave like Beatrix Potter characters? (I sound like a curmudgeon but i’m really not. It’s just that I wish they’d hang around the lake in our neighborhood. Really, there’s the nicest lake with a common ground all around its perimeter. Sigh.

      Lys – I am learning more and more about ducks. Egads, who woulda thought? I like to think they have British accents (which makes everything sound better somehow. But I know they do not.) And yes! I remember the book about Ferdinand. And the artwork!

  • shoreacres says:

    Gosh, I love ducks. Here’s a little ducky fact for you. One reason they like swimming pools even when there is other water available is because of the chlorine – it helps to cleanse their feathers of little mites they get. That’s why you’ll often see them preening next to a pool – or in it, for that matter!

    We had a pair of males at one marina who were great buddies. We called them Ron and Don, the Ducky Boys.
    They liked girl ducks just fine, but they really liked to cruise around together and just hang out. They got to the point where they’d been hose-sprayed so often they got used to it, and they’d come up to the boats begging for a shower. We’d stand there and mist them until they got bored, and then they’d let us go back to our human siliness.

  • oh says:

    ShoreAcres – I love that you know these things about ducks. I gotta tell you the word “mites” does not fly with me. Ugh. Though i understand how being mite-less would be more comfortable for the ducks. So…the conundrum – how to dissuade them from our little oasis when we’re not here? We don’t have our good old big dog to chase them off anymore. Inspired by the knowledge you’ve shared, I’m off to look up some tips and tricks for benign de-ducking an area.
    We might even adopt your name “the Ducky Boys” for our metro mallards while they insist on our neighborhood as a hangout!

    • shoreacres says:

      Oh, don’t worry. These mites are microscopic and apparently much prefer living in feathers. Unless you’ve had a feather boa surgically implanted, I think you’re fine 😉

  • Those are great photos! I enjoyed that.

    Say, regarding the NaNo Createspace dealio – didn’t you finish your 50k novel? If you did, they should have sent you an email telling you that you could get a free proof. Anywhoo, they’ve given that prize the last 2 years so maybe they will this year. You ARE writing this year, right? 🙂 As far as this proof and Amazon, it isn’t ready for prime time yet, but I’ll let you know! 🙂

    • oh says:

      Karen – yes! I did finish the 50K to be a winner and I probably did get an email but I can be so hurried and/or blase about emails…I didn’t do it. I really hope they run it this year. Oh yes, I’m ready iwth my idea on the next one. Kinda of a crazy thing to look forward to, but ah, well, there we are!

  • this is great fun, mallards are so full of character, I love hte dialogue you imagined for them…

  • Hi Oh, your ducky friends look like they have really made themselves feel at home! What a great post.
    And thanks for your comment too.

  • anne says:

    Oh this post made me chuckle… they are starting to feel quite at home.

  • This was hysterical! Also, I *loved* the story of Ping when I was little. And don’t forget Make Way for Ducklings!

  • oh says:

    Crafty – I shall pay attention to the mallard boyz and see what I can learn!

    Scarlet and Anne – yes, yikes, they do seem to be making themselves rather comfortable, don’t they? hmm…

    Jen – I should laugh more about ti. Honestly, they quirky little quackers but why can’t they love the neighborhood lake?

  • jeanie says:

    So delightful! I just laughed! They do have the gift of gab, don’t they? I know what you mean about liking them but wishing they’d find the lake. I suppose it’s a compliment, but you’re right — they’re not the tidiest fellows in the world!

  • oh says:

    Hi, Jeanie – Hey, I haven’t seen them lately, but then, I’ve been on a biz trip! I’m hoping the beagle decides to take up non-stressed friendly-style duck chasing!

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