In spite of our heroic efforts to slow it down, including some citizens actually throwing themselves under their golf carts, our town is determined to commit suicide by growth.
I call it “death by 50,000 cuts,” which is the hourly population increase here. We’re now at 12.568436579 persons per square inch – that’s official government census talk.
But, no kidding! City Hall is writing so many approvals so fast for so much new development they don’t have time to bank the payola. Box stores are popping up faster than dandelions and the NASCAR wannabes have taken over the streets.
Not so long ago front page news here was a fence down and a cow loose. The news is a whole lot different now – more like the L.A. Times or Chicago Tribune.
Anyway, speaking of cows and strays and stuff like that, I’ve wandered way off my subject here which is — ducks! In spite of the aforementioned out-of-control growth here, a lot of the local wildlife has managed to hold its own.
While walking Mitzi after dark – I know “after dark” is an odd name for a dog but we wanted to be different — the occasional fox will slink across our path. Not that Mitzi would have a chance in a one-on-one, but she likes to growl a lot and pretend she could mix it up.
The other night we came upon a family of skunks who more or less ignored us and moved off in no particular hurry.
But, mainly it’s the waterfowl. There are quite a few lakes nearby which, at appropriate times of the year, attract flights of geese, squadrons of ducks and armies of those cute-as-hell but clumsy little gadwalls – also known as “mud ducks.”
I just found out, courtesy of InternetSlang.com, that mud duck is an acronym for “ugly woman.” These are little, round grey, flightless critters with webbed feet. I don’t know any women who look like that. Well, maybe just that one.
Sometimes the behavior of these birds is bizarre – especially the mallards. I don’t know who’s in charge of this operation (it must be Daffy), but this happens year after year. In late August/early September every day for about a month several hundred or so mallards will take off from one small lake, form up in precise military V-formations of about 20 birds each, flap like crazy like they’re headed for Manitoba and then skid onto another small lake about two hundred yards away! What’s the point, Daffy?
One day a couple of years ago we were enjoying a chat with some friends when, through the glass doors, we noticed some commotion out back and the dog went a little nuts. A closer look revealed that a couple of ducks had landed in our pool – a male and a female who of course were immediately christened ”Donald and Daisy.”
In 20 years here this had never happened. It was a novelty. An occasional visit seemed alright as long as they behaved and didn’t leave any calling cards. Even though Daisy came to the door begging, we knew not to feed them.
On about the third visit, Daisy arrived on her own. A few minutes later in came Donald. Then Ned . . . then Hal . . . then George . . . and finally Daffy. Poor Daisy was way outnumbered and just couldn’t keep her head above water.
We’d had enough of this! Mitzi and I chased the whole crowd away. The pair tried to land once or twice again, but we chased them off and haven’t seen them since.
That was the end of the saga of Donald and Daisy. Just as well. We might have had to deal with Huey, Dewey and Louie! Does anybody remember Huey, Dewy and Louie?