The Monday Book: MAKE WAY FOR THE DUCKLINGS by Robert McCloskey

I grew up on this book. It’s the story of Mr. and Mrs. Mallard, and since it was written in the 1940s, of course Mrs. Mallard took her husband’s last name. They set up house on an island in a lagoon off Boston Gardens. There, they are befriended by a policeman named Michael.

When Mr. Mallard flies off to visit upriver sites, he and Mrs. Mallard agree to meet in the gardens a week later, but to her surprise, Mrs. Mallard finds a huge stream of traffic between her and reuniting the children with their Egg Daddy.

Enter Michael, who sees the dilemma and radios for help. Soon four policeman, a patrol car, and numerous passersby form a cordon for the family, who are escorted in peace to the reunion. The family settles in the gardens so they don’t have to call out the city’s resources for future forays. You know, spending taxpayer money on journeys to recreational locations, that kind of thing.

I’m writing about this book today because it’s peaceful. Because Nancy Reagan gave Raisa Gorbachev a copy of the Boston Gardens bronze statue commemorating McCloskey’s ducklings to take back to the Soviet Union in the 1980s–another time when we were all afraid of each other. And because so many generations of children learned to read, learned to look after defenseless animals, and learned to value the small things because of this book.

If you’ve never read it, now’s a good time. If you have read it, now’s a good time to re-read it. Two wings up for Make Way for the Ducklings.

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Filed under book reviews, Wendy Welch, what's on your bedside table, writing, YA fiction

The Chicken or the Egg?

Jack getting his guest post in on time is a rare event – – –

Some regular readers will know that we have chickens free-ranging in our backyard, four to be precise. Two (Thelma and Louise) came in March and settled in easily, exploring their new surroundings and quickly began laying an egg each per day.

Then, more recently we received another two – retired government workers! They had been employed to track any evidence of West Nile Virus by having their blood tested regularly. After their stint is finished these chickens are re-homed to people who must promise not to eat them. They quickly settled in as well and within days had become good buddies with the original two. We christened one of the newbies ‘Elissa Hirple’ because she was limping when she came and the other one ‘Kathy’. But we didn’t see any eggs from them! (Also Ms. Hirple overcame her limp.)

Being novice chicken owners we did some research on their laying and found that it’s related to the amount of daylight they experience. When the days get shorter and darker they are likely to stop and about a week ago that seemed to have happened. I stopped seeing eggs in the usual corner of the coop I’d converted from an old outhouse.

When we stopped seeing the usual two per day we resigned ourselves to not getting any until Spring. When we were getting eggs regularly, Wendy preserved a couple dozen using a method involving pickling lime called ‘glassing.’

I still checked each day just in case they might provide an occasional egg, but nothing, and we began to talk about when we would break into the glassed eggs. Then yesterday as I refilled their food and water, I happened to look in a different corner of the coop and to my astonishment there were fifteen eggs. So they hadn’t stopped at all and it is almost certain that either Elissa or Kathy joined the production line!

So we now have two large containers of glassed eggs sitting on the counter, and we are still enjoying three-egg days.

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Filed under animal rescue, between books, crafting, home improvements, humor, Life reflections, small town USA, Uncategorized, Wendy Welch