The Duck Days of Summer

The Duck Days of Summer

A quick google search tells me that, according to the Old Farmer's Almanac, this is the time of year where dogs and men were driven mad with the heat. It's also the time of year that Sirius, or the Dog Star is the brightest star in the sky. 

While interesting, I'm not sure that any of our dogs want to be out in the sun at all. Mostly they hide inside the house or barn, lying on cool floors, in front of fans, and generally being lazy. I can't say I blame them. Even the sheep fight one another for space in front of the fans in the barn. Ducks on the other hand, ducks seem to be reveling in the glory of summer this year.

Geographically, we're in a very odd spot. The farm is located at the very beginning of the hills of Grey County. Brian's farm south of us is at the top of the first hill on our side of the road. Directly to the south of him, begins the plains of

Wellington North (my personal moniker for them), and very fertile farmland. To the north, and east of us is a series of rolling hills, valleys, streams, rivers, rocks, and trees - the Grey Highlands. Looking out our kitchen window we have a beautiful view of our own little valley, complete with seasonal brook and marsh. We are located in the foothills of the highlands, making weather very unpredictable. 

The red indicates the Grey Highlands, that little marker there, is where we are located.

There are times we can see weather coming in over the hills from the west towards us. We batten down the hatches, close the barns, and make sure all is ready for a downpour. Yes, the weather comes, but we can actually observe it parting overhead, some going to the south, and some to the north, but we get nothing. 

It can also play out in reverse. We will see a system coming up, but it appears that it'll bypass us, and move on. Low and behold, we suddenly get dumped on, but up the hill, in both directions got nothing. A friend in Durham, j had her basement suddenly flooded with a foot of water or so at the beginning of August. Thankfully she was fine, but of she, and many other Durham residents had to have floors, carpets, furnaces, and entire basements replaced. There was even talk of cars needing to be replaced the water go so high in some spots.

Image from Owen Sound Sun Times

Flooding in Durham, Ont., on the evening of Saturday, August 7, 2021. PHOTO BY TERRA HIBMA
But, I digress, back to ducks.
My point is, the weather has been good to us here, with seemingly just enough rain for things to grow wonderfully lush, green, and long. The ducks adore this. Being the insectivores they are, this means that there are lots of flying, crawling, springing, leaping, and slithering insects and arachnids for them to feast on. IT also means that there's lots of green plants to munch on too. Not only do the ducks like to eat the grass, but they will also hide, nest, and hang out in it. They are short enough to make exciting little ducky tunnels through the very, very long grass. Half the time we don't even know where they are. Even the new duck we purchased a couple of weeks ago (I couldn't help myself) are getting used to the lush long grass.

New Buff Orrpington and Pekin ducks on the farm. Aren't they adorable!

Things have gone so well for the ducks, that they've made more ducks! Unfortunately ducklings don't do well around here. Living next to an active marsh, with numerous prey animals about, ducklings have a tough time. We do our best, but it often doesn't end well, especially when the ducklings follow parent into that long grass...I'm sure your imagination can do the rest. Often she comes back alone. 

Ducks, being ducks, also revel in the down-pour rains this year. Once their paddle pools overflow, the water runs down the hill, creating a little stream, that they will all play in. Although we fill their pools up daily, there's nothing like playing in the huge gush of water from a downpour. Barn roofs collect A LOT of water...

I know I'll be pining for these days in mid-January, and should be grateful for them, but it's hard when the slightest movement feels like pushing through a  thick syrup of heat. For now, any way of cooling down is helpful. Although, I still haven't stolen the ducks' pool. Why I'm not sure....

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1 comment

That’s an absolutely wonderful description of the dog-days and duck-days of summer! I love the new ducks and can just imagine their happy chuckles in the water sluice.


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