Freddie Announces an Engagement at The Duck House

Freddie is pleased to announce the official engagement of Henry “Wiki” Nguyen to Emily Doodle. This pairing took everyone at Garden Lodge by surprise as Henry and his adopted muscovy sister, Bernadette, daughter of Sao-Ree and Jing-Jai Dactyl, have been inseparable since they were ducklings in June. A source says Emily must have known just the right things to say to Henry because she has him wrapped around her webbed toes. The couple has chosen Freddie to preside over their union.

Emily (right) explains what she wants to her new fiance, Henry (left), as he bows in acknowledgement of her wishes.

“By all evidence, I expected Henry would win-over Bernadette, his adopted sister, but something changed between them. Bernadette has been hanging out with her mother and talking to her father through the fence a lot. Maybe daddy didn’t approve of Bernadette marrying a runner duck. I have to say, I’d be afraid of her dad. That Sao-Ree’s a big fella,” says Emily’s long-time friend Ming.

Long-time friend of Mary, Ming Urkel.
Long-time friend of Emily, Ming Urkel.

Paparazzi has followed the surprise couple closely during the past week, catching them breast-to-breast at various functions.

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Crowd seen leaving The Duck House. Paparazzi caught Henry and Emily (center, just in front of Augie in doorway) touching wing tips on the way out the door.

An inside source says that Emily has always been a loner and that they never expected that at five years of age Emily would get engaged, nor that young and dashing Henry would put aside his interests in Science News and taste-testing salsa for long-term romance.

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Young Henry’s preoccupation has been centered around Science News and salsa tasting for the entire five and a half months of his life.

Ray, the Blind Rescue Goose

Ray, a buff goose who, deformed at hatching, has little or no eyesight.
Ray, a buff goose who, deformed at hatching, has little or no eyesight.

Imagine being a social being who hatches from the dark into the dark and confusion of a commercial hatchery. Just close your eyes and think of the peeping around you. All peeping and no Gung-Gung-Gung! Mother Goose is supposed to be there, waiting. She is supposed to nudge you and keep you warm with her fluffy goose pillows, that soft goose-gunt between her downy thighs.

Even more…you are supposed to be able to see.

Ray was born without eyes, basically. She has eyes that were not fully developed. And she has a condition called angel wing in which the wings grow twisted and stick out from the bird’s body. Sometimes this can be corrected by taping the wings to the body. Some sources say this condition is genetic, others point toward too much protein in the bird’s diet. I’ve had angel wing pop up in a couple of my ducks, but they all ate the same food, so at least in my cases I lean toward genes.

August2014 027Ray must have been put in a box and shipped with the other hatchery rejects. (I was told by the pet store that gave her to me that their store receives the hatchery rejects.) The pet store employees took her in and sheltered her as best as they could. Unfortunately, it’s common knowledge that this particular store sells “pet” geese, ducks and chickens to people who intend to eat them. The women I talked to wanted to save Ray from this fate.

Ray’s rescue began with a text from my good friend M. who is a fowl expert and a former employee of the pet store who now works at a dairy and has given up most meats after fully realizing his relationship with animals. I assured M. that I would find a place for this poor goose, so I contacted River’s Wish Animal Sanctuary. They agreed to take her.

Angel wing, a condition in which a bird's wings twist and stick out from the body as the bird is undergoing growth spurts after hatching.
Angel wing, a condition in which a bird’s wings twist and stick out from the body as the bird is undergoing growth spurts after hatching.

Upon first meeting Ray, I didn’t know what to expect. She was beautiful and reminded me of my rescued buff goose Ooma who passed away last year from hyperparathyroidism, or so the necropsy concluded. Her wings were splayed out and I suggested the pet store manager clip them to prevent her from injuring herself and so that she would fit in the transport box better. The employees said their goodbyes and sent me with a letter about Ray and her care, asking the sanctuary to contact them about how she was doing in the future.

At first the sanctuary owner, who was very busy with guests upon our arrival, suggested I let Ray out into a small field spotted with sapling aspen trees. I watched her spin in circles, trying to find her bearings, so I called to her. At first she ran into trees and I steered her away into open areas. After discussion with the sanctuary owner, we transferred her to a smaller pen and discussed her care–how she needed to have predictable food and water settings and be free from bullies.

Ray calls out, probably hoping to hear the voices of the people at the pet store who cared enough to save her.
Ray calls out, probably hoping to hear the voices of the people at the pet store who cared enough to save her.

I said I would call to check up on Ray periodically and to call if there were any concerns. I did get the impression that the sanctuary owner thought I would be a suitable home for this wonderful goose, but I assured her that I don’t have the space or the funds to accommodate her. We discussed bringing Freddie out to meet Ray some time, which I thought could be possible if it turned out she wasn’t doing well at the sanctuary. So far I’ve heard she’s doing fine, though the little duck they thought would make a companion for Ray ended up being picked on by her.

While I was at the sanctuary, I noticed two gigantic mallard-looking boys strutting around speaking muscovy duck language. Marvelous, I thought. I had to take their picture. Muscovy ducks are native to Mexico and South America, though they can be found in Southern states such as Louisiana and Florida, some parts of Texas. They are a different species from mallard ducks, though the two can reproduce, the offspring being mules and hinnies who are infertile much like mules who result as a cross between a horse and a donkey.

The most gorgeous muscovy x mallard mules I've ever seen. Huge and comical boys I wanted to hug.
The most gorgeous muscovy x mallard mules I’ve ever seen. Huge, comical boys I wanted to hug.

We wrapped up the rescue that day by the owner sharing her paintings and telling me that a family member of mine had donated fused glass pendants to one of her fundraising events and how much she loved S.’s work. I mentioned how I wished I lived closer, then I could volunteer (it’s difficult to come up with gas money these days). The truth, too, is that I have my hands full. But if I lived down the road from the sanctuary, perhaps volunteering would be something I could do. However, I am passing on the need here.

Please volunteer at River’s Wish Animal Sanctuary, if you live in the Spokane area, to help lovely beings like Ray.

Perfectionism Does Not Prolific Produce

17 days.

That’s how much time has passed since my last entry. The mouse fiasco was winding down when I started this blog. When this blog began I thought, “Hey, I’ll have time to write every day since this mouse craziness is over!”

Did I?

Freddie, a Chinese swan gander, named after Queen's charismatic (talented, beautiful, genius, the list goes on) frontman, Freddie Mercury.
Freddie, a Chinese swan goose gander, named after Queen’s charismatic (talented, beautiful, genius, the list goes on) frontman, Freddie Mercury.

Does photo documentation count? Freddie says it does. He’s right here, staring at me over the back of the laptop from the other side of the picnic table. We are outdoors. Thunder and lightning, he says is “very, very frightening”, kept him indoors until around ten a.m. today, which does not make him happy. He practiced his coy prancing back and forth in front of the tri-pane window of the duck shed because he knew my guests and I could see him from the kitchen. But still he had to stay in. I guess that’s the frustrating part of being a rock star reincarnated as a goose; you have to rely on some dumb human to promote you.

Freddie is a perfectionist. But you already know that, don’t you? He does whatever he damn well pleases no matter how long it takes and he tends to be persevering and somewhat frivolous with his funds. Some might say he’s a good friend to “have”. Freddie will tell you to interpret that any way you like, that he’s not going to spell it out.

“I hate actually trying to analyse my songs to the full. You should never ask me about my lyrics. People ask, “Why did you write such and such a lyric and what does it mean?” I don’t like to explain what I was thinking when I wrote a song. I think that’s awful. That’s not what it’s all about.” –Freddie Mercury

Along with perfectionism, Freddie has drive. He stays up all night, keeps his honker in tune in case he needs to bellow out a Hong-hoooonnnnnnnngggg! at 3 a.m. just to jolt the neighborhood. Sometimes, like right now, he utters a melodramatic, “Hoooooooooong…” while standing on one leg with his neck arched gracefully and his eyes closed. Then his head dips forward with a start and he opens his eyes and shakes his head as if to say, “I meant to do that.”

So I can imagine he would ask me why I don’t just get on with it already. This isn’t junior college back when I scrawled each letter by hand on a page of ruled paper as if each letter I wrote on a page had to be the bearer of perfection, as if I’d invented the alphabet with all these little curls and swirls and small handwriting that had to be better than anyone else’s in class. I didn’t get it then. I held on to what I had: focused handwriting techniques.

Well, you still don’t get it!

THAT. Coming from a goose.

I suppose I should listen. After all, he knows how to ponce about while hundreds of thousands of people sing along in a trance. He’s proven himself. I haven’t.

There must be more to life than this.”

I’m searching for that drive I once had. The same drive that kept me in my bedroom hour upon hour as a preteen who couldn’t put a pen down as she filled notebook upon notebook with fiction stories. The same drive, I suppose, that pushed me through ten years of schooling while I worked full-time. I couldn’t do that now. Exhaustion. I found out the hard way that some things in life are not for me. The big bang socializing scene, the 9-5 work-a-life-away within four walls with people I do not understand–didn’t work out for me. But I won’t declare myself a failure. Yes, I’ve had to give up trying to succeed through those old avenues. Hold the phone.

So                       here                           i                                  am.

I’m a solitary duck whisperer who has recently learned she can cook.

I’m a backyard farmer who records what may appear to be frivolous details.

I’m a human being who entertains herself with bizarre notions of Freddie Mercury reincarnated as a pet goose.

I can’t wait to experience more joyful moments of what makes this world so fascinating. Because it really is fascinating. We’ve all had that moment when we’ve looked up at the sky, particularly at night when the stars are like tunnels of light gently pulling us towards…what?: the heavens; our destiny; our imagination; aliens? I don’t know. We don’t know. But we’d like to, wouldn’t we?

So let’s pretend.

A few moments ago I was doing the same thing I’ve done for a long time, which is to walk back and forth with what I like to think of as a sense of purpose, replacing objects where they belong (picking up), looking for particles to disturb (cleaning), using water molecules to expel particles from within fibers (laundry) and so on. As I was doing these things I kept thinking that I’d promised I would write this blog and that I wasn’t writing. Why wasn’t I writing?


I wanted to begin at the beginning of something. This beginning I had chosen meant I needed to upload photos from my phone to my computer, but I couldn’t find the cord. How could I begin without those photos?

There are too many options when it comes to a perfect beginning. (Or so I’d like to believe.) <—Now that’s sillier than Freddie Mercury reincarnated as a pet goose. Where/when/what is the beginning anyway? Is it the beginning of my life? Well, I don’t remember being born, so that’s out. Is it the beginning of this day? Perhaps. I wanted to begin, of course, with a duck and I needed duckling photos. Now, talk about a way to hold myself back, eh? Those duckling photos I needed…on my phone, which I don’t have the cord for.

How convenient.

Many a vignette for skipping too many a day. 

Here goes.