Friday, August 21, 2015

Think Like a Duck

We are in the fourth month of duck keeping here at the homestead.   There are new routines to refine.

For instance, the business of moving the ducks from here to there.  Sometimes it's hard to get them to move where you want them to, so in hopes of greater success, I'm attempting to think like a duck. 

See the grass in the background?  That square of dead grass in particular.  This is what is motivating the movement.  The movement of the duck enclosure, that is.

Even though the ducks leave the enclosure during the day to hunt bugs and whatnot, the enclosure grass gets throdden down with big duck feet and the grass under the duck house turns yellow rather quickly.  Thus, we move the duck enclosure and duck house frequently.

At the end of a day of marching around the grounds, the ducks must return to the safety of their house.  You'd think the ducks wouldn't be too fazed when their house is moved a few yards across the yard, right?


Still.  They must be moved.  So.  We notice that ducks have what you might call Space Issues- you walk towards them and they move.  So surely, you can control their movement.   It sounds so easy!  You simply Lead From Behind and they'll waddle right back into their enclosure.  What could possibly go wrong?!

You guessed it.  Plenty.  They don't move in an orderly way.  They dart about in random directions. There is no leader.  Not even you, the mover!  It turns out that thinking like a duck is a bit daunting. 

Good thing I've got helpers.

Like this Sheepdog for instance?  Nope.  Not interested.  She has declared herself retired.  

How about this Pomeranian?  Well.  He's certainly eager to apply his innate reindeer herding skills to duck husbandry.  Trouble is, when his ancestors were bred down to lap size the herding skills appear to have been replaced with a sort of vacuous enthusiasm.

One of these young gals?  Maybe.  Someday.  After they've mastered coming when they're called and can focus on a task for more than 15 seconds.

How about this helper?

Yes!  The husband.  The Handsome One.  (I've got a really good picture of him in overalls brandishing a power drill.  He has forbidden me to post it.  Every now and then I obey to keep the franchise.  So we'll have to settle for this "artist" rendering.)

Anyway.  THO and I descend upon the ducks from opposite directions and eventually they enter the enclosure and we lock them up.

In short.  It beats me how a duck thinks.  I'll have to think about that some more.  Here's one thought though.

 If the ducks knew what really lurks out there in the dark, might they think differently?

To be continued...  You know, the thinking.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Fluffy and George

One guy is in a hole
 and four guys are
 standing around
 looking down at him.
What do you think
they're doing?

Tired of filling potholes,
 they decided to
 dig some?

Maybe they're
 filling potholes
 from the bottom.
That's deep.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Pop Culture Frenzy, Round 37

Welcome once again to Pop Culture Frenzy.  Our question concerns Cecil.  Cecil has gotten a great deal of attention in the news.  Many are outraged and enraged and even the President of the United States is so troubled by Cecil that he has vowed to "get to the bottom of it".

What is this Cecil matter about?

The dangers of playground equipment?
Hostmaster:  fascinating response.  However.  The issue is Cecil.  Not seesaw. 

Oh!  Cecil!
  I have a friend who's a
Leader Dog for the Blind.  Cecil means
blind.  Was someone mean to a blind
Hostmaster:  probably.  But that isn't what the current Cecil outrage is about.
Is Cecil that cabinet member who
 used a private server to handle
sensitive classified emails? 
Hostmaster:  incorrect.  That would be Hillary Clinton.
Is Cecil the name of the abortion
doctor that was caught on tape
negotiating higher prices for
aborted baby parts so she could
buy a Lamborghini?
Hostmaster:  incorrect.  That charmer's name is Debra Nucatola.
Cecil the Lion was a totally innocent
majestic beloved creature who was
 murdered because of the gun culture.
That dentist should be made
accountable for his heinous crime.
Planned Parenthood is being attacked by
right wing religious zealots that
are against women having
health care.
It's all a lie that they
are selling body parts. 
Besides, it's legal.  Anyway 
abortion is only 3%
of what Planned Parenthood does.

Sigh.  You are correct.  Cecil the Lion is what's news.  It seems some guy, an American dentist, wanted to go big game hunting and his "guide" told him Cecil was a legitimate target.  Turns out Cecil the Lion was a thirteen year old tourist attraction at a Zimbabwe Park. 
That this innocent lion's death has created more outrage than the 125,000 or so innocent babies killed by abortion every day is a surely a testament to our culture.
So ends another round of Pop Culture Frenzy.

Round 37
Fluffy/Molly  16
Bryan/Cyndi   14

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Giant Hole

There is no filling the hole Mabel left when she left us.

Well, life goes on and all that.  Grieving is a time consuming process.  Why not fill it with something worthwhile.  Like training a puppy?  Or two?

So.  We've taken in a couple of baby giants that would probably cause Mabel to roll her eyes.

Lily is a Great Pyrenees.  Clover is an Irish Wolfhound.

Meanwhile, Lois is not the sort of gal who rolls her eyes.  Still, sweet Lois is ten and feeling the years.  Even so, no.  Lois didn't roll her eyes.  At first, Lois was not thrilled with the appearance of these two wild babies.  But Lois being sweet Lois, has warmed up to them. 

Perhaps she remembers when Mabel was a pup.

Things have a way of working out.

Monday, July 13, 2015


A member of the Woodpecker family, there are two types of Flickers in North America: the yellow shafted Flicker and the red shafted Flicker. 

Shafted?  This refers to the tail feathers (shafts).  The color of the shafts are visible when the bird is in flight.

The red shafted Flicker's range extends from Canada to Mexico.  The yellow shafted Flicker is found in Texas, New Mexico and Mexico.
Some red shafted Flickers migrate to northern parts of their range in spring where they mate, raise a brood or two before heading south in the fall.
Individual birds typically return to the same area year after year and often to the same tree where they drilled a hole for a nest the previous year (sometimes they use the same hole, sometimes they drill a new one).
The males and the females travel in separate flocks of up to one hundred birds.  When they get to the breeding grounds, the males drum their beaks on trees and sing to call to his mate.  Flickers usually mate for life but the couple are only close for a few months of the year, during breeding season.
After mating has been accomplished,  the female lays 7-9 eggs.  Both parents incubate the eggs and care for the young.  Unlike other Woodpeckers who feed the nestlings live bugs, the Flicker feeds by regurgitation.
Flickers eat bugs mostly- ants and beetles are favorites- which the Flicker digs out of the ground with his bill.  When the youngsters are a couple months old, they are able to dig their own bugs.
The Flicker's habitat is open woodlands, suburbs (red shafted) cactus country, desert woodlands (yellow shafted). 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Ducks Redux

Just three months old, they've got their grown-up feathers.

Here's a couple of fun facts about these ducks. 

With a snap of their beaks, they can catch a bug in mid air.

When in the presence of a human being holding an open umbrella they run wildly in circles uttering frenzied vocalizations.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Summer is Here

That is certain.

For here is our annual It's Hot Enough for Malcom to be Outside picture.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Meanwhile, at the Homestead

What happens when Henry barks at a deer?

The deer pauses briefly, then returns to eating apples off the tree.