Sunday, September 13, 2009

Steve the Duck

Never ones to look a gift duck in the mouth, and completely clueless on the subject of how to catch two ducks emancipated into the wilds, we did exactly what was expected of us when the mystery ducks appeared on our pond; we submitted to their presence and incorporated them into our animal care routine. In a riff on our beloved neighbor (who finally acceded that the ducks were escapees from his barn) and without any way to tell them apart, the ducks came to be known collectively as “The Steves.”

After my initial stale-english-muffin assault, the Steves remained at the water’s edge, notwithstanding additional incursions such as dog chasings. They demonstrated an ability to fly, albeit not high or far, in escaping these intrusions, but stubbornly refused to reliquish residency from our pond. I would take feed down and deposit it at the water’s edge, but the Steves kept their distance, and I was never certain my meager offerings were consumed by their intended recipients.

Although they demonstrated the ability to escape chase from our pack, one of the Steves became the victim of some other type of attack, so by mid-Summer, we were down to one Steve. Saddened by the loss of Steve’s companion, but without any alternatives except interia we continued to offer refuge for the remaining Steve, such as it is.

At some point in time, our incorporation of the duck into our routine appears to have crossed a line into assimilation. Maybe the assimilation occurred after the great poultry slaughter of June 2009, as an unlikely alliance designed to ensure Steve’s continuing survival. Maybe this was always the more social of the Steves, now left to freely fraternize with his pasture-mates. As I have readily admitted, we are not well-versed in matters of duck so we are at a loss for any explanation for this interspecial mingling.

All I know is Steve the duck, despite, or perhaps because of, his distinct size disadvantage, has appeared to join our small herd of goats and horse.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ruminations on Regurgitations

We have been asked if we ever think about having children. I won’t lie: we have contemplated the possibility. For now, the dogs provide plenty of instructive opportunities for what parenthood would look like for us.

Late last night or early this morning, one of the dogs began making a retching noise, which eventually turned into the production of regurgitated stomach contents. I have only a vague recollection of the events, as I believe nighttime is a time for rest and repose, not holding back puppy ears and cleaning up the resulting by-product of a grass-eating binger.

I also believe any type of regurgitation is best done away – away from me, away from places where people eat, sleep or nap, away from the indoors, if possible. This means when I am in a state of wakefulness and one of the dogs makes a retching sound, I summarily usher him or her to the outdoors. This generally involves a lot of pushing, running around, arm waving, and I may have been known to shout a bit to expedite the process of moving the gagging dog from the inside of the house to the outside; mostly, I can report this process usually does not work. By the time we make it to the door, stomach contents have been cleared, and all the dogs do is go outside and munch down a thicket of grass, thereby ensuring a repeat of the process at some future point.

I don’t know that I would use this process with a child, but I suspect I might. I remember the first time my nephew got sick as a toddler. When I tried to explain the generally accepted practice of vomiting into the toilet, he looked at me as if I had asked him to bob for apples in the thing. He clearly had no concept of the controlled aspects of the process, and steadfastly refused to project his stomach contents, thereby resulting in a dribbling effect that compounded the difficulty of cleaning.

K, on the other hand, plods patiently behind the dogs, armed with a roll of paper towels, a plastic disposal bag and cleaning solution, mopping up their mess while cooing, “poor baby,” regardless of the time of day or night. I swear she didn’t curse or gag the entire time she cleaned up after Trinity last night. And when I woke up this morning, I found the most unfathomable thing of all: not only had K not sent the heretofore barfing Trinity away, she had allowed her entrĂ©e into the bed.