Duck Herding, Jedi Style

The ducks don’t want to sleep inside their safe and warm house at night.  They prefer to huddle in an appetizing pile of feathers right next to it.  I prefer not to feed the neighborhood’s nocturnal critters and perform the tedious task of herding the ducks into their home each evening.

In thrift shops I have seen vintage prints of small children herding a flock of ducks with a stick.  My ducks would cackle at such a sight.  If I approach them with a stick, they scatter, then reconvene and chatter about my failed efforts in a circle.  If I approach them at night with the two insanely long and metallic flashlights that the Englishman calls “torches”, I am a duck herding Jedi knight.

I walk straight toward the flock of feathers who stare at me in alarm.  They rise and move as one to the left.  I flash my left beam of light and block them.  Like Carol Ann in Poltergeist, they fear the light.  They make a move to the right.  My right arm rises with the flashlight beam.  They resort to moving in the only direction not dissected by a ray of light.  I am filled with a sense of accomplishment as they file reluctantly into their house within thirty seconds, loudly expressing their unhappiness.  I don’t care as I shut the door.  “You are sleepy” I tell them using my Jedi Mind Trick and I return to my house with the light sabers, errr… flashlights by my side.


Don’t be a chicken!

Donning my beekeeper’s veil and gloves, I headed out with the Englishman first thing in the morning for some hive chores.  On the way back to the house, I stopped by the chicken house to see if there were any eggs to collect.  I barely noticed the squawks as I approached the gate and pushed my way inside the chicken yard, awkwardly maneuvering in the large hat and veil.  I greeted the ladies with a cheerful “good morning!”  The chickens scattered to the far corners leaving a trail of feathers in their wake.  I was missing one chicken.  I opened the hen house and clumsily squeezed inside.  Rosie was sitting in a nesting box and looked terrified when she saw me.  I quickly backed out, realizing that the chickens did not recognize me.

I walked briskly up the hill to the garage, passing the ducks waddling for their lives in the opposite direction of my path.  I flung off the veil and gloves, gathered some treats, and returned to my flock looking less alien than before.  Not only did I get a great idea for a Halloween costume, a valuable lesson was learned:  what works for the bees does not always work for the birds.


Moving Day

Puddle Duck Pub was moved five feet to the side and two feet forward.  This allowed for more sunlight to reach the solar panel powered lights.  All five ducks watched the Englishman and me carry the house to the new location.  They tilted their heads and peered through one glittery eye each as I cleaned the inside and added new bedding.  They kept careful watch as the Englishman moved the green plastic turtle pool behind the house and filled it with clean water.  They splashed in the pool as we cleared weeds, vines and thorns.  They happily waddled in and out of their house, taking mouthfuls of food from their feed bowl.  They padded over to their drinking bucket and gorged on the lettuce I had placed on the water’s surface.  They raced around the house, chasing each other until they tired.  They slept behind the house on a mound of fall leaves, tucking their heads into their feathers in a warm patch of sun.

And when it was dark, all five huddled in a pile on the ground in front of the old duck house location.  Puddle Duck Pub was lit up like a beacon to their immediate right but they took no notice.  The ducks were confused and so were we as the Englishman and the English Boy cornered the ducks and carried them back to their shelter a stone’s throw away.