Last summer Mack and I gave a home to two ducks that were rescued as tiny babies (right after Easter) by an employee's sister. The ducks had apparently been turned out when they were no longer cute little duckings and had been mauled by something. The duck that turned out to be the male, now named Chester, was in pretty bad shape with a badly damaged leg. When they became too large to keep in town, we gave them a new home. We tried turning them loose in our pond, but they simply couldn't cope with the tough life and competition so we put them in a special pen--it has a grassy run with 36 inch poultry wire and an enclosed area about 16' by 4'. We shut them in the enclosed portion of the pen every night to protect them from predators.
About seven weeks ago the female, Gemma, started sitting on a nest of beautiful eggs. After a month one little yellow ducking emerged. It looked like a yellow cotton ball with eyes, a beak, and two little legs. We called him Squeak after the squeaks in the song about Rubber Ducky from Sesame Street. Squeak has been growing fast and incredibly full of energy. He also knows no fear. When I go in the pen to feed him and put fresh water in his little pool, he is so excited he comes running full tilt at me--sometimes even running into my legs. Extra care is essential to keep from stepping on him.
This morning when I went out to the pen, Squeak didn't come running; he wasn't even visible. I called him and was looking franitcally into his pen when he finally emerged. He was all bloody and his little eyes were puffy and half closed. If he had been a teenage boy, I would have said he had gotten drunk and in a very bad fight--but Squeak is a duck and was locked in a pen we thought impregnable with his mother and father. I couldn't believe it so I started examining the enclosed portion of the pen closely looking for a hole or space a raccoon or mink could have squeezed through. Nothing! But, while I was looking Chester grabbed Squeak by the neck and started bashing little Squeak's neck and head onto the ground all the while trying to stomp him. I couldn't believe it. What could Squeak have done? Is he a little male and is Chester trying to get rid of competition? Is Squeak a female and was Chester trying to breed her? It just didn't make sense. Our roosters and ganders are such good fathers. They don't even care if the babies are theirs. If it is a baby they take care of it. What is wrong with Chester? Mack rushed in and got Chester out of the big pen. He is now totally locked out and on his own. When we left, Mommy duck was resting beside Squeak trying to protect and encourage him. She was even plucking down off her belly and covering the bloody spots. She had him arranged so he could sip water without getting up. He seemed to be getting the best of care. We hope he will be fine and that he hasn't suffered any permanent damage. And as for Chester, I don't know!!!!
The picture below is of Squeak (before the attack) and his mommy.
Imagine my surprise when I clicked open a message from Wild Fibers to discover a picture of Prince Charles operating (or from the look on his face and the tufts of wool in his hand trying to operate) a single drive spinning wheel. All of us at one time or another have had similar experiences and looks on our faces. Never the less, I was quite astonished to see a picture of Prince Charles with a spinning wheel in front of him. I wanted to paste a copy of the photo here in my blog, but am concerned about copyright so you will have to imagine it. He is wearing an off-white suit, hopefully made of wool. Any of you who spin will know how navy or black slacks look after a session of spinnin, so he chose a good color. Apparently, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales is encouraging the use of natural fibers, especially wool, through the Campaign for Wool. HRH became involved when he discovered the low price that British farmers were getting for their wooI and launched a joint initaitive--the Campaign for Wool--with Woolmark in January of 2010. Wool is a great natural product. It is sustainable, has low carbon emissions compared to synthetic fibers, and is naturally biodegradable. I think it is a great idea and hope the campaign is very successful. Our yarn store has always focused on natural fibers and this Campaign is a vindication of what we (and you our customers) believe in and are working so hard to achieve. Wool Week is in October--some time around October 12--maybe we can come up with a special event!
Last night a fierce thunderstorm woke me about midnight. I got up, shut the windows and went back to bed.
This morning it was still raining--pouring would actually be a better description. We got drenched doing the chores, even though Mack and I both had on gortex clothing. We knew it was bad, because the rain had washed part of our garden down through our shed. Our cans of grain and feed were sitting in 2-4 inches of muddy water. The poor alpacas had muddy feet and knees because water had run into their shed. We put out straw for the alpacas and hoisted the cans of feed up on dry ground. THe geese were loving it. The whole hillside was doing a dramatic sheet flow. Thankfully, the grass is up and sturdy. We got ready for work.
We were stunned driving into work. We live on the top of a hill and thought we would have to turn back because of flooding. The top picture is our neighbor's corn field. They are located down on the creek--what is usually a creek bed with a little water flowing and a few shallow pools. Yesterday this corn field had nice neat rows of beautiful little 2 inch corn plants. This morning it was a raging torrent with all sorts of debris. (The stream, if you can call it that today, is a tributary of Wolf Creek.) The bottom picture is further upstream on another tribtary of Wolf Creek. It is way out of its banks and was flowing around a bridge which is barely visible at the right of the picture. Hopefully, the rain will stop, the water will go down so we can start the cleanup--and get home tonight!