Six Little Ducks That I Once Knew…

Once upon a time, about thirty years ago, we lived on twenty acres 87565532in western South Dakota.  My husband and I decided that these twenty acres would make a nice “homestead,” just about the time that the modern version of that word was becoming popular.

I have loved ducks for as long as I can remember.  I have WANTED ducks for as long as I can remember.  Once we got our homestead, I worked on Norm for a very long time to allow me to get ducks.

When I was a kindergarten teacher, one of my favorite songs was “Six Little Ducks:”

Six little ducks
That I once knew
Short ones, fat ones, Skinny ones, too.
But the one little duck
With the feather on his back
He ruled the others
With his quack, quack, quack
Down to the river
They would go
A wibble wobble wibble wobble
To and fro
But the one little duck
With the feather on his back
He ruled the others
With his quack, quack, quack…

I also loved a book, while teaching school called “The Story about Ping,” a little Peking duck in China that gets lost.

87542538One spring morning, I brought home six little yellow baby ducks.  Ducklings have got to be some of the cutest babies, ever!  Their little beaks, all flat and cutsie, their little webbed feet, so soft and rubbery!

These were Peking ducks that would be white and big and supposedly good eating.

So, I had my babies and we raised them with love and care.  The girls fell in love and so did Norm (although he would not admit it).  The six grew from fuzzy little yellow to beautiful white ducks, walking proudly around the place.

Do you know?  Ducks really DO walk in a row!  Quacking and strutting and waddling alone, all in a row.  So when I watched them, I would sing the song, either to the girls (who would say “MOMMY!!!!”) or to myself, as time went on.

Barnyard in Your Backyard inclues information on raising ducks.

Barnyard in Your Backyard inclues information on raising ducks.

These six charmers were allowed the run of the place, as were the chickens.  The ducks preferred not to sleep in the hen house with the plebeian hens but to sleep, in glory and peace, under my bedroom window!  This was fine, except when the sun came up – early as it is in the summer – they would start talking to me in a mummbly sort of way; “quakety, quackety, quackety.”  Not as loud as in the daytime, but almost like they were yawning and stretching (as they were) and saying “wakey wakey!  Time’s a-wasting!”

I thought it was cute, although I would have loved to sleep in later.  Norm did NOT think it was cute!  He DID want to sleep in later!  He would complain every morning about the ducks and even shout at them out the window.  They would look up at him and say “What?  What’s the problem?  Time’s a-wasting!  Get up, sleepy head!”

As they grew in size, there truly WAS a leader and he DID have a feather sticking up on his back, curled up for all to see.  And would quack at the others to make sure they would follow.

This was the first spring of our home; we had a friend come out to break the prairie sod, never before dug into.  He brought a big rotor-tiller to make us a garden. The first things I planted was onions.  A nice row of yellow onions that would be stored for winter use.

My sweet ducks discovered the onion sets as the little green shoots came out.  They walked along the onion row, in their row, and popped those onions right down their gullets!   When we discovered this, we found the row with half-holes where the green shoots had been.  They had just grabbed them up, no digging, no messing the ground, and popped them down!  It was funny but not.

We planted more onions then put a low fence around the garden; the chickens had not discovered the garden, so it was safe from them.  And the ducks had not discovered they could fly, so a twelve-inch fence was enough to keep them out!

Thus went my summer, watching my ducks waddling around, quacking and chuckling to themselves. Came the fall, Norm said “eating!!” He insisted, no matter how hard I tried to argue, so the day came that Norm did the nasty deed and my ducks went into the freezer.  And I am here to say that I do NOT like duck meat …. can never even think about eating it, no matter how it is fixed.  So the ducks were eaten by everyone else but me.  I gave the meat away because I couldn’t even bear to cook it.

I miss my ducks.  I really enjoyed them and wish I could look out my window today and see those six little ducks, all in a row!

About cpthegreat

Connie (aka Spinning Grandma) lives on Ash Lane Farm in southwest Minnesota. She is an expert on spinning, weaving and knitting and a former history interpreter.

One thought on “Six Little Ducks That I Once Knew…

  1. I too love white ducks walking in a row and not on the table. The first we got were when my daughter was young – an adventure pursued as it does in life when you mix children and ducks.

    Ours refused to stay away from the neighbor’s corn field – so they were given away.

    (The curl is a sign of manhood)

    Dori