Monday, March 31, 2008

Duck Spa

Our pond is very small. It's really a large puddle with a pump and a little waterfall. In real estate jargon, it's called a "water feature." For the past four years there were goldfish in it that reproduced and multiplied just fast enough to keep the pond populated, after the ravenous heron had had its fill in the late fall. This past fall, though, that's not what happened. Only one fish survived. We saw it when we came home from California, but even it disappeared shortly thereafter. The pond bottom has Colorado River rock, smooth and pretty stones in pinks, blues and whites over standard pond black plastic. The rocks are covered right now in probably a half inch of thick muddy muck. Because there are no longer any goldfish, we considered rigging a system to clean the muck out so the pretty rocks could be seen, and potentially be a selling point for someone who is just gaga for ponds with rocky bottoms. We casually talked to the septic inspector about how to get the muck out, and he told us he would sell us a muck-sucker at a great deal, if we wanted it. We said, thanks, but no thanks. We let the muck be.

A good choice as far as these mallards were concerned. They arrived on Saturday and made the pond their private spa and rec center. They snoozed lazily on the ground most of the day, like vacationers on cruise ship lounge chairs, and woke only to take a paddle around in the water, turn their little bottoms up and eat what ever was wiggling and squiggling in that mucky mess. They couldn't have been happier. In fact they celebrated by doing a lovely little courtship dance that ended in wild duck sex right there in the pond. We watched while we were cooking dinner. Entertained mightily, I must say.

As with all creatures if you watch long enough you start to notice details about their particular behaviors. Ms. Duck seemed to not be able to stop moving her wings, even when she was sleeping. There was a constant shaking motion like she was trying to rid herself of pests, and never quite could. We wondered if they had sought refuge in our yard because she had some kind of nervous affliction. Mr. Duck was solicitous of her, and stayed awake to guard while she slept fitfully. They were quite the romantic couple. We thoroughly enjoyed their weekend with us. Something scared them off around 4:00 pm on Sunday. We hope they'll be back. I was already planning on finding their nest, which I was sure they were going build here. We'll keep you posted.

On a different note:

I would like to thank each of you who left comments on my osteoporosis post. If you are reading here Monday morning around 8:30 am Pacific time, I'm at a lab having blood drawn to measure my Vitamin D levels and a metabolic panel. My doctor took a conservative approach, wanting to see what's going on with my calcium, magnesium, phosphate, etc levels before she prescribes some therapeutic intervention. I greatly appreciated all of the input from your comments. I learned a lot, and I certainly will stay away from bisphosphonates. There are other interventions that I will be exploring. I will say this-- if care and compassion could build bones, then after reading all that you wrote, I would be strengthened for a lifetime. I can not thank you enough for your good wishes.

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