Words of Wisdom

Youth is wasted on the young.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Duck Wars

At this time of my life, when so much is going on, I would expect that I should have been writing here more frequently when, in fact, the reverse (obviously) is true.

There is so much to say about our family and the trauma and angst that we are suffering in the teen years; about the business and where it is going; about the house and the windfall and the decisions we are trying to make....but all I can tell you about are the ducks in our pool.

Anyone who follows us on facebook will have seen evidence of the proximity of local wildlife to our backyard. In the past we have had to deal with snakes (plural), koalas and the ubiquitous ducks. The ducks are particularly irritating because they are hard to deter. I mean, squirt a koala and it will eventually get the message, block up all the snake entries and there will eventually be a thick line of ants marching into the subterranean coffin and back out the other side. Ducks are different. For a start, they use the water as a means of defence and when I say 'the water' I actually mean, 'our reluctance to get into the water'! Three of us can stand on three sides of the pool, shouting, hollering and hitting the water with sticks and the confounded ducks will position themselves in the centre of the pool, equidistant from all their antagonists. Unreachable unless you fancy a dip! Himself has taken to heaving chunks of wood, from the woodpile, at the offending critters.

Which brings us to recent events. Usually, through the winter, the ducks do a bunk and we are poop free on the sides and bottom of the pool. Come Spring, the bas***** return and Himself oils up his pitching arm ready to discourage them from making our pool 'home'. The other night, seeing an offending duck in the pool again, Himself went hooting and hollering up the back steps, reaching for his trusty block of wood. Just as his hand drew back behind his head to pitch the log at the offending mallard, she made a dash for the middle of the pool; her sides seemed to explode and a flock of tiny ducks streamed behind in her wake! There were 12 of them!!

The duck hating centre of my granite exteriored husband melted.

The following night, after a flurry of 'how do I get rid of them' posts on facebook, the BA and I went up to the pool to view the bebes. (Duck poop aside, they really are pretty cute). But the BA being 17 and slightly hormonally brain dead decided that she wanted to pick one up. Despite all our protests that the mother duck wouldn't let and and never mind that but you shouldn't handle wild babies or the mother will abandon them etc etc etc, she decided that the best way to collect a duckling for petting was to scoop one up with the pool scoop/net thing.

Well, you can imagine how that went.

It was pretty spectacular I have to admit. The mother duck rose up to her full height, flapping her wings aggressively and practically jumping into the net; the babies shot off in 400 different directions like a starburst of slippery black beaked tadpoles. Within 4 seconds they had regrouped under mother's wings, untouched but possibly extremely traumatised. OK then, definitely extremely traumatised.

Himself was horrified. The man who had routinely been throwing large hunks of wood at ducks for the past 2 months pointed the accusing finger at the BA and I.
"Don't you realise that if you had caught one, the mother wouldn't have anything more to do with it?" he enquired furiously.
I thought of the effing and blinding which normally accompanies the arrival of ducks in our pool, the curses associated with scrubbing off duck poop and my husband's general lack of love for ducks and I said....

The next day we saw no ducks.

"That's it!" Himself grumbled accusingly, "you've scared them off...."

The following day mother duck was back but......gasp.......there were only three ducklings left. Himself followed her as she took them for a walk, out onto the street (whizzz...beeeeeeeeeep) and over to the other side where she proceeded to walk up an extremely steep set of stairs. One little fellow made it up behind her but the other two were left, leaping and peeping at the bottom of the edifice.
"Well," he said,"if that is the way she's going to care for them, no wonder she only has three left!"

But he still wouldn't let us throw anything at them.

We may be scrubbing duck poop off the pool for a very long time.........


chaoticfamily said...

Oh the naughty little ducks - lol! Sounds quite eventful to say the least - thinking of you often xo E

Jill/Twipply Skwood said...

Aww man! I was hoping you were going to say that they stayed away after being traumatized! But still, I bet it was something to see. And nice pictures! :-)

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