Monday, 15 April 2013
A year ago I decided I wanted to raise farm ducks for the precise reason that I absolutely love duck for dinner. It is up there with some of my favorite foods. So come spring last year we ordered a dozen ducklings. I was so excited when the big day arrived. We set up their little home with hay and a heat lamp and away we went.
Now ducks aren't easy to raise. They are extremely messy and being ducks, they love water and their water dish became their playground. We would have to mop up after them constantly, but I figured it was worth it. I mean, duck dinner was going to be at the end of all this back breaking labour right?
So time marched on, and the little ducklings grew. Soon we released them to the outside world, where they merrily swam in the pond, and reveled in their freedom. They would come to me when I called, in my best duck quack that to me sounded just like a duck, and they would follow me around the yard. I loved my ducks. Especially the white one. Mr. Waddles. He was my absolute favorite.
So here's the thing. My husband kept saying it was time to have duck dinner. And I kept saying, I didn't really feel like having duck dinner. I once again became attached to my livestock. What began as food for the table, became my little friends. I just couldn't imagine Mr. Waddles on my plate. I shouldn't have named them.
But, my husband, as usual, was right. We probably should have had duck dinner, because my ducks did what ducks do. They flew away. They flew off to the big lake across the street, and sometimes when I drove by I would see Mr Waddles happily swimming in the lake, where he had joined the rest of the ducks of Lake Vaughn. Mr. Waddles had become wild and free. And then one day he wasn't there anymore. Mr. Waddles had flown the coop and I had assumed he was dead and gone. It was winter and I figured being a farm duck, he just couldn't survive.
But a funny thing happened a couple of weeks ago. I was out in the backyard and over my head I heard the distinct sound of ducks quacking as they flew over. Now, this isn't unusual, we live in the land of lakes, but when I looked up, there he was. Stark white against the bright blue sky. Mr. Waddles was flying over saying hello. I gave him my happy quack, and I was so excited. I ran around the yard, and in to the house exclaiming that Mr. Waddles had returned. He wasn't dead, he had only flown south for the winter with the rest of his duck buddies.
Now Mr. Waddles hasn't returned to our little farm. He resides on the lake with the rest of his crew. But it is really special that every now and then he flies over and gives us a quack. It lets me know he's happy and free, and I'm pretty darn thankful I didn't have him for supper. I think he is happy about that too.