There is an old saying, “Lovely weather for a duck” and for the past ten days the Twin Cities must seem like duck nirvana. Steady drizzle, heavy rain, wind, and cloud cover are giving the lakes and rivers a badly needed recharge. The ducks are quite happy, of course, even the hen mallard who built a nest behind the clematis.
Mallards are average sized ducks. A female ready to lay a clutch of eggs might tip the scales at three pounds and stands about a foot tall. I am close to six times as tall and easily 65 times as heavy. I had noticed a hen mallard in the backyard for a couple of days. She flew away when I approached Friday evening. Saturday morning, she was in the backyard again. However, her behavior was quite different. She immediately curled up and seemed injured. As I drew closer, she charged me hissing and flapping her wings like an upset goose, startling me for a couple of seconds, and then she slipped behind the clematis trellis. I figured out she had a nest and was defending it. If she is that determined to nest and risked her life to do so, who am I to say no? Assuming some varmint does not interfere, I will have a lodger for the next six weeks, and I could see up to a dozen little puffs of yellow fuzz scampering behind the hen when everyone leaves the nest for the last time.
Lucy and I had a hen mallard try nesting in the front yard eleven years ago, but she abandoned the nest within a week leaving three eggs behind. This was about the time coyotes were first spotted in the southern metro and we had fox as regular visitors. Nature is not always kind to neither man nor beast.
Yesterday’s hail did not seem to do any damage to the plant life though the aluminum siding on the south side of the house suffered some more dents. Anenomes, flax, bleeding hearts, honeysuckle bushes, and white violets are in their flowering prime with the yarrow and irises close to blooming and the blackberry bushes have flower buds. The silver maple trees in the neighborhood are laden with seed “helicopters” that are already falling, and I am sure the cottonwoods will soon make it look like a blizzard in June. Something besides ducks enjoy the weather.
There are some advantages to the unsettled weather: neither the furnace nor the air conditioner has run in over two weeks. Everything is green and the flowers are stunning even if they are trying to play catch up. Transplant shock is greatly reduced. The extra mowing helps make up for the reduced hiking and walking, but only slightly.
I hope your weather is cooperating and you have a chance to enjoy it. Give your loved ones a meaningful hug. Everything is just ducky when you have someone to love and to love you back.