Sprinter and low tide again

D.J. Sweetenham


O.K. So I made up that season - “Sprinter.” Today is the last day of January and the outside temperature, according to my atomic clock/indoor/outdoor thermometer reads 74.3 degrees. Surely that seems more like a Spring/Early Summer deal but, not wishing to tempt providence, I’ve called it part Spring (Sprin) and part Winter (ter). How about that? If my namesake, D.J. sees this he may need to sign another executive order, so please don’t tell him about it or that may be another reason for riots and other forms of civil disobedience in the streets. Well, let’s get back to reality or whatever passes for reality in this day and age.

The short spell of high tide didn’t last but a couple of days and the lake quickly returned to its mud-puddle state, not appreciated by the duck population. The dog-food pellets probably don’t taste as good, covered in gooey mud and I don’t think they really believed me when I tried to convince them it was a special chocolate treat I was feeding them. But I made it up to them with a half loaf of stale bread which I fed to them from the sun-room steps. They like me to sit on the lower steps and they all crowd around me, chattering away in Duckinese and I do my best to keep up with them. They know I understand the language because I have a hat that says “I Speak Duckinese.” Our northern friends, (oh, don’t worry, they were born here) a couple of Canada Geese, did not take part in the stale bread feast but they did get some of the normal diet when I fed them all again a little later in the day. Actually, it’s getting close to their afternoon feeding time right now and the Muscovies are making their way towards the cove in the corner of the lake where they get fed. Some of the larger male birds are gathering around the shed door. They know where the food is kept and they’re just making sure that I haven’t forgotten. I’d better go and get on with my chores. Just as I wrote those last few words, there was a fight going on between two of the biggest males. If I had been there I could have stopped it – I’ve had to do that on several occasions before. Now I’m anxious to see if anyone got more than his feathers ruffled. I’ll get back to you after I’ve done my duty.

Feeding time over and the swans missed out. It’s entirely their fault; they like to think that they are the most important birds on the lake and I really don’t like their bullying attitude towards the other birds. So this time, the other birds had a bigger ration and by the time the swans arrived the party was breaking up and everyone was leaving the scene. No serious damage was done to either of the two Muscovy drakes who were mixing it up just before I went down to the lake. As usual, the youngest lost some of his pride and a few of his tail feathers but apart from steering clear of each other for a few days there was no serious harm done.

Now for a short report on the newest additions to Duck Depot, Jack and Jill, the Chihuahua guard dogs! They are certainly different from Sammy and Delilah, our previous dogs. I guess I’m really too old to be trying to train 10-week old miniatures but Millie loves them dearly so I have to make the best of the situation. They really are sweet but a far cry from any other dogs I’ve trained. I’m sure I’ll get to appreciate them more when they get over their puppy-hood. I’ve always said that there is no such thing as a bad dog, just bad humans. And that’s not a team I want to be on. ‘Til next time.

D.J. Sweetenham, originally from England, is the author of Bumps in the Road and Bumps in the Road - Part Two, highlights of his interesting and far-flung life. D.J., his wife, and their small dogs, live in Stockbridge.