This morning, I got up the feed the animals and found the geese in a full-blown mating fight. Happy day. Arthur was biting and hanging onto Benjamin's wings like a pitbull. They were like one goose-as Benjamin ran, Arthur ran too, wings out. Like a weird Chinese/Pilgrim goose with four feet. And of course, being as though Arthur was stuck to him, Benjamin was completely panicked and ran all over the damn place. I caught them, separated them, and then Ferdi did the same to Arthur. And around and around they went. Caught them, separated them, and Arthur went after Benjamin again. See where I'm going with this? After 4 separations, I gave up and let them do whatever they wanted to do. Mating season is rough.
Went inside and got a call to work, so I went in for the full day (I'm a substitute teacher). On the way in, little girl started feeling sick, but thought she could make it. By the time we got to the school, she wasn't going to be ok. Couldn't pull out of working, so I went to the office, told them I could do the 1/2 day, hoped they could find someone to cover, and called my parents. My dad came to get her and would watch her until I got home.
When I got was done with work, I picked up the little girl, who was feeling much better. We got home, and the pond was strangely empty. The geese were running around the yard being their usual noisy selves, but the ducks were gone. G-O-N-E gone. There were no feathers, so they had not been attacked, but they were MIA. I called everyone to do a head count (I've trained all the animals to come when I call) and everyone came-except the ducks. Well hell.
This morning, I had noticed that the ducks were paddling in the stream behind the house. They do that a lot, but that stream empties into a much bigger stream to the side of the property. If the ducks had gotten caught in the current, they could go pretty far. I started to walk the stream, which is no minor feat. With the help of the little girl, we had walked to the boundary of the property on the one side. Still no ducks. We got closer to the stream in one area, and all of a sudden, flutters of feathers everywhere! The ducks had gotten all the way down the stream and had no idea where they were. They panicked, and docked themselves under one of the banks. We were just lucky we walked near enough to scare them out, or we never would have found them.
They were completely panicked. They looked at us like they had never seen us before and swam as fast as possible upstream, away from us. When they saw that we were walking the same way, they panicked further, crossed the stream, and proceeded to climb the hill that belongs to the gun club to the side of us. They were so freaked out, they used their wings to pull themselves up the hill. They weren't stopping and they weren't going the right way--they were going further onto the club's property. We had no choice but to cross the stream and go after them. Of course, little girl fell right in the water. Where would we be if she hadn't?
I pulled her out, and pulled her up the hill, which is insanely steep. We followed the ducks all along the top, trying to get them to go down again and back to the stream. They were still completely panicked. Eventually they decided that we were scarier than the stream, so they found a spot and skidded back down the hill to the stream.
My daughter and I couldn't go that way without falling pretty badly, so we had to turn back and find a flatter spot. We walked all the way back, across the stream and then back up the other side on our land. Mind you, the entire property -ours and the club's- is pretty heavily wooded and fairly wet in this area, so it's no pleasure walk. We found the spot where the ducks had come down the hill and entered the stream and they were no longer there. Of course. We headed back to the cleared yard area to see if they made their way back.
Yep, they did. They were sitting in the backyard, happy as clams, looking like they'd never left. Sigh. I got them into their yard and shut the gate. They'll be spending a couple of days being reacquainted with their pond, I think. That was too annoying. Got the little girl inside to dry her clothes and went back out to collect sap (4 1/2 gallons today). I'm just sitting down now.
Tonight, I drink. Glass of wine, anyone?
See you tomorrow!