This transition from house ducks to outside ducks has been the smoothest ever. I was concerned, as always, that the smaller ducks would have to go through an initiation before they were accepted into the flock.
This did not happen.
I started by putting the ducks in the wire cage in the pen with their new friends.Usually it takes a fair amount of time for the littles to venture out. These ducks are particularly attached to each other so they went out together.They spent a few minutes cuddling and surveying their surroundings.
It reminded me how important it is to have a friend when facing a scary situation.
Before long they were eating and drinking. I could rest easy for the rest of the day.
I went to check on them before I went to bed. I was going to put them in the coop but I found them cuddling in the middle of all the big ducks.
The newest arrivals to our duck pen really seem to enjoy the “duck pond” (i.e. kiddie swimming pool). Since we built the duck pen in the front corner of the chicken yard, I can watch the ducks swim from my kitchen window. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen so I get to see the ducks often.
At least once a week I empty the “pond” and refill it with fresh water. This is the ducks’ favorite day. I stand outside to get a better view of them in the clean pond.
Ricky is always the first to get into the water. He is the oldest duck and I call him the daddy duck.
When he is in the water, no one else comes around. Ricky doesn’t share.
The younger ducks are content to play in the puddle created by emptying the “pond.”
After Ricky has finished playing in the water, the rest of the ducks can take their turn.
The younger ducks are much better at sharing. They are not so good at social distancing.
When Beekeeper Brian and I were first married, we lived on the second floor of an apartment in Houston. I clearly remember standing at the bottom of the stairs one day with a basket of laundry completely terrified of a grasshopper on the stairs. I stood there until it hopped away and then I quickly ran up the stairs and into our apartment.
Fast forward almost 33 years and I now think nothing of scooping a cockroach out of the chicken waterer or walking through the bees on my way to the chicken yard. What brought about this transformation?
I’m not really sure. It is either growing older (and wiser) or living on Miller Farm where there are an abundance of critters.
In any case, it serves me well to be less afraid of creepy crawly things.
A couple of weeks ago, I was weeding in the succulent bed around the mail box when I felt something crawling on my foot.
I have overcome my fear of most things, however, I have a healthy respect for fire ants. I thought I might be on the menu for lunch that day.
I quickly removed my shoe to discover…a small rough earth snake.
I watched him for a minute then decided he was unhappy in the gutter so I gently picked him up and put him back on the dirt. He quickly burrowed to safety.
There was a point in my life when I would have hurt myself trying to get away from that snake. Then I would have refused to check the mail ever again for fear of another snake encounter.
Life is much calmer for me now. I’m thankful for that. The world seems to have more and more things of which to be frightened. I just chose to be fearless.
I was talking on the phone with our oldest daughter last week and lamenting all the changes that have had to take place recently. She is expecting their first child in July so is already changing many things in her life. It is stressful.
As we talked, I noticed a bird carrying sticks into the bush in our front window. I commented on it, and Brian said from the other room “It’s building a nest.”
I was struck by the contrast. Our world seems to be falling apart and this bird is calming building a nest and preparing to lay eggs.
Brian reminded me of the verse in Matthew 10:29-31 “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”I tried to get a picture of the nest through the window.
Brian was mowing the front yard last week and the momma left the nest to get food. He was able to get a better picture with the eggs.I’m going to make a card with this picture and the verse from Matthew. I’ll put it on the fridge to remind me not to be afraid. I am worth more than many sparrows.
We recently hatched duck eggs on Miller Farm. When Beekeeper Brian set the eggs, the world was a much different place. He was going to work and I was teaching music at school. Now we are sheltering in place and having lots of video meetings.
The ducks provide a welcome distraction.
At first there were five and they all looked like Cayuga ducklings which would have come from Lucy and Ricky, our two grown ducks.
They all snuggled with the stuffed cat.
It reminded me of the children’s book Are You My Mother?
Then two more hatched two days later. And just as Brian was ready to clean out the incubator, one more hatched.
We call him Leo the Late Bloomer from another children’s book. He’s gray and yellow and came from eggs we got from a friend.
I put water in for them to drink but, being ducks, they play in it.
The one with the yellow beak also has yellow feet which are a stark contrast to the black legs. They are really fun to watch.
Anytime I get discouraged or worried, I go watch the ducklings. It’s duck therapy and it works really well.
When I first began to teach music in the classroom, I would lose my voice once a year. Laryngitis is hard for any teacher, but for a music teacher it is particularly challenging. It takes much longer to regain the ability to sing than to talk.
I would spend weeks teaching listening lessons and doing rhythm activities. Before it was all over, I would find myself sad and out of sorts. I realized this was the result of not singing regularly.
This feeling of sadness is being felt on a much grander scale by musicians around the country as they are prohibited from meeting in ensembles to make music. The Toronto Symphony found a way around these restrictions.
As I listened to this wonderful music, I was overcome by joy and amazement. I could just imagine each performer in their own home playing their part without being able to hear the others except in their minds. I have no idea if this is actually how it happened but it really made me think.
We can all do our part wherever we are and trust that God will eventually put it all together to make something beautiful.
Hopefully, one day, we will see the finished product and all the sadness and loneliness will have been worth it.
In the meantime, we can enjoy the creativity of musicians who can’t help but make music together. Here’s another example:
I believe I have two of the best jobs in the world.
First, I get paid to stand in front of groups of children and lead them in silly songs. At least that is part of my job. As a music teacher I have the privilege of introducing them to all my favorite games and action songs. Of course the older kids are not quite so enthralled but all in all it is a great job.
Then I come home and have piano students file into my home all afternoon each with their own special talents and their parents. They come in as many shapes and sizes as the students. Parents usually ask at the first lesson if it is necessary for them to sit in on the lesson. It honestly does not matter to me as long as they are not a distraction.
I did have one mom that took to thumping her son on the head when he made mistakes. I politely asked her to wait in the car. Others have come in and read or worked quietly on their laptops. A father who was a school bus driver would regularly fall asleep during his daughter’s lesson. I was quite impressed.
One of the most creative uses of this time is by a mom who entertains herself with Eeyore – the donkey from Winnie the Pooh. My mom found a stuffed Eeyore at a garage sale years ago and it has made its way to Miller Farm via the “obligatory bag.” It talks if you push its nose, squeeze its belly or pull its tail.
This, however, would be quite distracting so this mom makes sure to keep Eeyore very quiet. Instead she arranges his hair. She then takes pictures and labels them. I was so amused that I asked her to send them to me.
Now that my secret is out, everyone is going to want to be a music teacher/piano teacher! Oh, well, I’m sure there are enough students and parents to go around.