Monday, September 24, 2012

Pekin Ducks

It was so cool this morning, about 46, I decided to work for a while then run at lunch time. I prefer that because it splits my day. Even at noon it was only 69.

I ran up to Arrowhead Lodge and turned around. On my way back, I heard some wheels slow down beside me and a fellow said through his window, "You live in the big brick house at the corner, right?" I said yes. (It's not really a big house, but people always say that.) 

"We were wondering if you'd like a bunch of ducks? We like watching your animals when we drive by, donkeys, goats. My wife has dementia and is getting worse and it's getting to be too much work for us. They lay a lot of eggs, double yolks, too." 

Well, Karen had been talking about ducks lately (dare I say Peking Duck?), so I was tempted to say yes, but I said, Maybe, let me talk to my wife, she's in charge of our livestock. May I call you? 

"BW's the name, Air Force Retired," he said. "Dial 1700. I'm usually home, but if I'm not, call again because my wife may not remember to pass the message along. They're like our children."

This evening I called about 7 and said we'd like them. "Great, when would you like to pick them up? I've got some appointments tomorrow. The sooner the better." I said how about now. So off we went, with a dozen freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.

They live a mile down the road in a brick house I'd noticed on my runs when their dogs barked from inside a fenced yard. While we talked, he clapped his hands, "Time for bed, time for bed." The ducks came from the corners of the yard and ran into the enclosed space underneath their back porch. 

One by one, Karen and I crawled in to gather them up and put them in a couple crates we'd taken in our pickup. When we counted 8, he said, "There's one more. Let me get a flashlight. He might be behind the dividing wall." I'd noticed a low wall and had looked on the other side but seen no ducks. With a flashlight I saw a white tail wiggling back behind an old wheelbarrow. That duck was smart, not quacking like the others, as silent as a stone. So then we had 9. 

He asked Karen's name and wanted us to come in to meet his wife, so we chatted for a while, looking at pictures of them when they were "young and beautiful," as he put it. He told about some other ducks they had given away. They missed them so much, he visited the buyer and asked if he could buy them back. Nope. How about $25 per duck? Nope. $50? Nope, my daughters love them too much. So last spring he heard some birds chirping in Tractor Supply and said, you've got chicks? Ducks, too, said the clerk. He bought a dozen. One fell out of the box when he gave them to his wife. He accidentally stepped on it. (Boo-hoo.) Two others later got crippled, I forget how, maybe an incident with dogs, so he gave those two to a fellow down in the valley. 

So now we have 9 ducks again, same number as before. I wonder if he'll be tempted again next spring in Tractor Supply. They've nestled down for the night in the house inside the kennel by the garage. Karen says they're Pekin ducks. And we have a couple dozens of duck eggs. Would you like some?


  1. I want this to go on record - This was James' idea. I did not ask for more animals. In case anyone is wondering what Pekin ducks are, they're the big white ducks you see in park lakes. They're dual purpose ducks (meat and eggs).

  2. Au contraire, your house is big! And tiny! It depends on what you compare against--your house practically doesn't exist compared with the size of the universe. On the other hand, to a quark your house _is_ the universe. Against poor ghettos and third world houses it's big, but against suburbs it's on the small side of normal. The real test is comparing it with its neighbors...and from what I remember, your house is big!

    At any rate, it will get smaller and smaller if Karen keeps bringing on more animals like she did with these ducks. That lady is out of control! ;)

    Yes I would like some duck eggs. If you ship them to me, the USPS will surely do all the scrambling for me.