Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Quick-- Duck!

          I do not want to be The Duck Lady.  Not that I have anything against ducks.  I also do not want to be The Cat Lady, though I do love cats.
          Here’s what happened.  We were living in a wetlands area of Rocklin (there are many meandering swamps here, masquerading as slow rivers), and I saw an ad on Craigslist for a free box of ducklings.  Apparently some ducks had nested near a man’s pool in Sacramento, and the next thing he knew, half a dozen eggs had hatched and were now making a royal mess of his back yard.  He wanted to bring them, in a box, to anyone, anywhere.
          Well, Joni to the rescue, right?  Rule Number One: Don’t be so cheap that you read about free stuff on Craigslist.  Rule Number Two: Don’t volunteer for anything to do with poultry. Rule Number Three: If you break Rules Number One and Two, be ready to change your phone number.
          And of course I broke them all.  I could just picture poor Mr. and Mrs. Duck, crying their eyes out as that man took their babies, put them in a box, and then drove off. I’m sure he would have packed up the parents as well, but they no doubt flew away from him.
          And orphan ducks—orphan anything—I cannot abide.  So I gladly took the box, and decided to raise the babies for a few more weeks in my guest bathtub, until they were old enough to paddle away and eat bugs and such in the wetlands.  I was ready with starter feed, slugs, and finely chopped greens.
          I also decided a foray into the sunny back yard would make for a fun outing.  Here is where the needle scratches the record and my happy cartoon music turns into a duck wreck.  As if guided by inner magnets or swamp-seeking missiles, every one of the ducklings made a beeline for the gate, slipped under it, and went scooting into the reeds and bushes by the wetlands.  I dashed after them, but they had disappeared, probably into the mouth of a coyote.  Okay, maybe they tried to swim away, and maybe they survived, and maybe I’m kidding myself.
          It was a total disaster.  But it didn’t stop there.  Somehow I became the clearing house for all the people in northern California with unwanted ducks, and people were even starting their phone calls with, “I hear you’re the Duck Lady.” 
          It finally eased up, and now we live in another area of Rocklin not on the banks of the wetlands, thank you. But every time I see a duck paddling along in the nearby waterways, I wonder.  And I hope.
Hey, instead of trolling Craigslist for freebies, why not curl up with a good book here?  Or check out my YouTube Momvideos, which do not include the care and feeding of ducklings.