Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Loving Memory


It's now already seven years since Pipke has left us -  

but she's certainly not forgotten.
PS: also watch her *Life Story in a nutshell on YouTube. 

Thanks for your visit.
 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Normal Days in Pipke's Life: part 2

Hello dear blogger friends,

hope you're still around!
First I want to apologize for my long absence but I've had serious problems.
In November last year, my PC crashed with the result that I lost a very important part of my data.
I've lost not only the oldest family moving images, but also those of Pipke in her first years.
The latter weighs me the hardest!
I'm not going to bother you with all the details, but - I had and still have a lot of problems to continue working on Blogger. 
It's a disaster that I can no longer upload film images on my blog. 
So I'm going to try to find out how I can restore this.
Meanwhile I'm going to make the best of it.

So to continue with the sequel of the story.

Normal Days in Pipke's Life: part 2
As you perhaps could see on the previous pictures, our garden was rather large.
So - there was always something to do.




^
The backyard – near the orchard.
In the background you can see her pen.
Whatever the work was - we could always count on Pipke to cheer up our job.
Assisting my hubby with mowing the lawn was one of her favorite pursuits.
It was a joy to see her in full action.
Once a week in Summer, she accompanied my hubby with mowing the “whole lawn”. The whole time she ran after him.
Of course she had a good reason for this action, she was a clever girl.
She knew very well, that while the mower drove over the lawn, many bugs jumped up, and she was keen to catch them.
While she ran, her eyes were focussed on the bugs.
As a real roadrunner she rushed over the lawn in all directions, often with good result.
She knew the danger of the lawn-mower very well, she knew that it wasn't safe in front of it.
When my hubby had to empty the grass collector, she stood waiting patiently to go on with work.
*As you can see on this footage, she did her job very well. (*Link.)
She was our own private pest-controller, one – that wasn't harmful to nature.
Of course, after she'd done this tough job, she'd become tired. 
So - it didn't take long before she went to sleep in her dog-bed. 
For at least one full hour she slept then very soundly.
In fact, this was every time a good exercise for her to keep in shape! And - the most important: she did it with much joy … just like we did. She trained to keep fit.
This work was usually done in the afternoon, and if we didn't have to mow
the lawn, 'so now and then' - there was of course the '*weed plucking'.
(Actually, I can better say rather 'often' – because weed was an never ending struggle.)

^
Weed plucking in the front garden.

My hubby detested *this job  enormously, but he did it with joy - or rather said -with 'less reluctance' - when Pipke joined him. And of course, you didn't have to ask her to help. From the moment she saw a shovel or any other garden tool she was there to assist!



After the weeding was done she mostly returned to her dog bed.


When we were inside the house, she often went on her own to her pond to swim and/or to wash herself. Afterwards she went back to her dog bed to preen herself thoroughly. Every tiny feather got a turn. She also waxed herself with the wax of her waxing gland at the bottom on her back of her tail.

So now and then 
(actually it was rather a daily routine) I strolled with her through the garden. 


Often she wanted me to carry her. As a sign to be picked up, she pecked on my garden clogs.
I wore her then on my left arm, and - if I was wearing a sweater with a zipper, she started to play joyfully with the zipper tab, tearing on it with force.


^
Playing with my zipper!
Buttons on my coat or shirt, were also her favorite toys – or my earrings – oh .. oh, she would have liked to grab them, if she would be allowed!
I saw her then looking at them – her eyes focused on the glitter – but then I said with a disapproving voice: “no Pipke, you may not”! You could see her then, hesitating for a while: “shall I – or shall I not” – but she didn't – although she wanted to be naughty.
If she had behaved herself well (what usually was the case) I then said with a lot of appreciation in my voice: "oh, you're such a good girl!”
The look on her “face” then! You should have seen it – it seemed as if she was proud that she behaved well, and then she gave me an abundance of cuddles. Oh – we hugged a lot!
These were such endearing moments! She was such a good girl – she understood by the tone of our voice if she was allowed to do something or not.
Actually, we had our own special vocabulary. 
We spoke 'Quacks'.

After dinner - around 6:PM - if the weather was good, we drank our coffee outside with her. Then we sat together in the backyard – near the orchard – on the bench.


^
The bench where we spend so many happy hours together!

She sometimes sat between us on her synthetic mat,  or I carried her in my arms. Usually - around this time an ice-cream car drove along. He played a special tune: '*Little sand man, bring me a dream!' (*See PS!)
While we heard that tune I often said to her: “listen Pipke, what's that”, and then I also hummed the tune. Then she nodded her head – to the left - to the right – with short movements. She always seemed to be amazed that I hummed the same tune.
In fact, we wondered if she recognized it as the same.
While she was laying in my arms with her head close to my face, we had eye contact. She sometimes could be fascinated by my eyelashes: when I blinked then a few times – she started to play with them very gently, without hurting me.
With such a close eye contact I could see straight into her eyes. They were so beautiful dark brown. I could see her two eyelids (on each eye, as all ducks have and they can use them separately). The inner eyelid was a special one, it serves for diving goggles. It had a whitish color and it was a little transparent. The outer eyelids were covered with miniscule fine feathers, (almost as eyebrows) and when she closed her eyes, the lower eyelid went upwards, the opposite way as with humans.

When she sat between us on the bench during the molt – she often laid her head on my lap to be groomed. Then she let me remove the white waxy keratin sheaths that remained in her crest, (they hindered that the tiny feathers could open, it sat as a holder around it). She closed her eyes then – and tilted her head to all directions – I shouldn't skip one fluff of her crest.
When I stopped – she asked for more – and if I didn't react - then she tried to get her head under my hand – to be groomed again. You really could see that she enjoyed this. The result after a few sessions was beautiful. Before – the tiny feathers were all prickly, but now, she had a beautiful full soft crest.

Sometimes she also slept with her head on my shoulder – my long hair covering her head! On that moment - you should have seen me from the back! 
Pipke's head peeping through my long hair. 
It seemed almost if she was wearing a wig!
I regretted that I had no eyes on my back – that I couldn't see it – but my hubby enjoyed it, and he often described it to me.
Afterwards we often went to search for spiders! Yummy, yummy! She loved them.
We walked then along the hedge with her, while our eyes were all focussed on the spiders in it. When she had seen one we hadn't seen, she started to peep heavily, sometimes she became even impatient. 
It almost seemed as if she said: 'there is one here, quick!'
Sometimes we had to take the spider with a broom, because she sat too high for us, but - she had seen it. She had a very good eye-site, she could see birds of prey that we couldn't see (I'm going to tell you something about this later).
When there were no spiders, then we went to look for pill bugs. 




She knew their hiding places very well. She lured us then to boulders or wooden railway sleepers which lay as decoration in our garden.
There she started to beg. We had to pick up the stones one by one, she then sat almost on top of our hands. Together with opa she looked for them very furiously, not one could escape. Of course, opa couldn't pick up the larger railway sleepers, they were to heavy, but she knew where the smaller sleepers were lying.



So, she went to the sleepers and started to peep very elated until my hubby turned one over. These were the places with an abundance on pill-bugs – then it was a real feast.
After this “quality time”, she was really satisfied. 
We'd had our stroll, we'd snuggled, we'd groomed, we'd listened to the music and she'd had her favorite treats: spiders and/or pill-bugs!
Can a pet duck ask for more?



So - we all had a wonderful day!
How she went to sleep, I will tell you later.

Herewith I'm going to close this post.
I Hope that it could captivate you.
If this is not the case, then I fully understand.

For me, these are precious Memories!
I have written them to never forget.

Bye, bye 
and
see you!

PS: actually it was also intended as a legacy for my offspring, although ........

(About the tune: actually *that was the tune in her younger years. Later in her life the tune would change and it has finally given a very special touching meaning for me. I will tell you about it later in the story.)

Monday, September 14, 2015

Loving Memorie


If my love could have saved you, 
you would have lived forever.

May 25, 1995 – September 14, 2009


PS: *link!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Normal Days in Pipke's Life: part 1


Although she was often ill; of course, in between she had also good periods. 
These were such happy times! 
Then she could be so cheerful, lively and even a little naughty.
A normal day started for Pipke at the crack of dawn. During her whole life we were then also usually awake around that time. It seemed as if we were programmed so.
We often could hear her already from upstairs in our bedroom – quacking loudly – even before we had opened the door to the garden.


Most of the time – it was my hubby who went to her pen to open the little gate.
From the moment she saw him, she started to bob her head. 
Then my hubby bobbed his head too, to answer this warm well come.
It was cute to see how she stood there – pushing with her belly against the little gate. She was really impatient to come out.

When my hubby then opened her pen, the first thing she did was to give him a snuggle, not a snuggle like she gave me, but rather a nibble in his fingers, her way to say “good morning” to “opa”.

(For her: my hubby's name was “opa”, and my name was “oma". She knew our names very well. Oma and opa are the Dutch names for: grandma and grandpa.)

Then she usually ran directly to the back door to welcome me in the laundry room. 
For this normal morning ritual, I always wore my Pipke's coat or my Pipke's shirt to keep my daily clothes clean for the rest of the day. It's not that she was really dirty, no - she was even very clean for a duck, but – as you probably know already: a duck can poo a lot.

Therefore, when I carried her in my arms, I wore her so – that her behind was free, (in fact she preferred to lie like this) so that she couldn't poo on my clothes.

Actually, she has done this very rarely because she shook her tale just before she was going to poo and then I knew what I had to do.

There was “one” exception in this morning ritual. So now and then my hubby let me sleep a little longer (fifteen minutes). When she then entered the laundry room and saw that I wasn't there, she went to look for me.

So, my hubby said to her: “Pipke – where's oma, call oma”, and immediately she started to quack!

Also my hubby called then: “Oma – there is a little one waiting for you!” Now she started to quack even louder.



Coming downstairs, I often could hear my hubby say to her: “listen Pipke! Do I hear something?” Whilst saying this – he stuck his finger in the air. She then kept quiet, raised her head, tilting it to left and right, listening very attentively.

When I called her then – she became really elated – full of joy! 
(This is how my hubby described these scenes to me afterwards.) 
From the moment she saw me, she started to quack even more exuberant and ran towards me – and she didn't stop quacking - until I picked her up.





Then there followed a “full love scene” in the laundry room. 
(Click on the link above to watch the full love scene!)
She cuddled me then over and over. 
Oh – she could be so sweet! 
This was the best way to start our day!



It depended on the weather but when it was cold, we sometimes let her sleep in the kitchen under my chair for a while – on her synthetic mat. 
She knew this spot very well, we only had to say: “*doeke doeke with oma”, and immediately she went to sit under my chair. 
(*Sleep with oma, in a Dutch dialect.)




When it was extremely cold, we let her stay inside for an hour or so to warm up. She slept then on the worktop of the laundry room often with her beak between her feathers while we were having breakfast.


                                                
So now and then we gave her a lukewarm bath. She was keen to take a bath in the sink.

We only had to watch out then that she didn't do her whole wash ritual, or the whole laundry room would get wet.


In fact: the laundry room was Pipke's room. I never used the worktop for anything other than Pipke. I only used the sink so now and then to hand wash some clothes.

We always had disinfectant ready in case that an accident should happen. We always were very watchful about her droppings because it can cause severe problems if it should get in touch with an open wound.
During Summer she wasn't interested in staying inside. After the cuddles she immediately wanted to go outside to sleep in her dog bed, or to make her nests between the Indian cane.
After approx. one hour it was time to look for earthworms.





Then she went to the fork. Most of the time the fork was planted somewhere in the garden – and then she started to quack there loudly until opa came outside.

It was sometimes beautiful to see how she and also a Blackbird were looking for worms together, while opa was knocking on the fork.

Once, I had found this blackbird in Pipke's pen. It was still a baby and it couldn't fly, it still depended on its mother.

I let it stay there in Pipke's pen and fed it every day. After some time, we could see them eat together, it seemed as they had become friends. This blackbird (we had named it Zwartje), knew also very well when it was time for worms. From the moment that Pipke stood there waiting near the fork, he appeared.

When we entered the garden house with Pipke to eat from the big grains supply container, sometimes also Zwartje flew inside to eat there. He then ate what laid on the ground – and he sat so close to us, that we could almost touch him. He was very at ease with us.


                           
It even happened a few times that he entered into our laundry room, he just followed Pipke.
When we sat together on the garden bench, or my hubby took a nap on the lawn with Pipke, he was always in the neighborhood. He became almost part of our family.

After this “earthworm buffet” and a visit to the grain container in the garden house, Pipke usually slept for the rest of the morning in her dog bed.
That was then for us the appropriate time to do our errands or to go to town.
If my husband and I went together to the city, we mostly always turned back home before 3:00 PM. We didn't want her to be whole alone for too long.

When we came back home then, and she heard us opening the garage door – she started to quack very elated. She gave us every time such a warm welcome – we were every time glad to be back home!
From the moment that the backdoor was opened – she came dashing inside and chattered and chattered. 
Oh, she had so much to tell us. 
It seemed then as if she asked us where we had been so long. Sometimes it seemed rather a protest.
Then opa had to come outside for “worm hunting”, but first of all – he had to put on the right clothing!
For her this was: a “worn out jeans”. If he wore then something else – as protest, she pecked to his legs.
For me: the same rules were applied. She preferred me in worn out jeans. 
So – we both had a lot of them – we wore almost nothing else when we were at home. Except for Summer: then she had no problem at all with our bare legs. This was probably because she had seen them (in Summer) when she was very tinny, and she had imprinted them!
When we were home the whole day, she was very active. 
She often called us to come outside, and then she went immediately to the garden house to eat there. She liked it very much that we pretended to be eating with her by making smacking noises.
We could really have fun when she was in a playful mood. Then it seemed as if she wanted to invite me to fly. I still can see her standing there so full of joy: then she looked at me – raised her head – bobbed a few times and ran to the right and to the left. She waited for me, and I said then: “let's fly Pipke”.  While I started to run – she jumped up half a meter high and followed me flying above the ground. She really liked to do this, then she was really thrilled.
When opa was working in the garden house at his bench, she wanted to be with him. So she sat under his bench while he was working. Sometimes the wood shreds even fell on her head – but she didn't mind. She had no problem with it, she only wanted to be with him. She could become really angry because he sometimes closed the door when he had something to do that could harm her.

I had to call her then to come to me, and I really had to comfort her, but after a few cuddles she had forgotten about it already. 
Thereafter, like a “good girl” she went to sleep in her dog bed.

During Summer, when the weather was good, my hubby took a nap in his easy chair on the lawn. 
She knew he would do so when the sun was shining.  
So – she settled on the lawn already, even before the easy chair was installed, waiting for him.


 Someone waiting for opa!
It was not only beautiful and endearing to see them both sleeping there, but it was also very funny to hear!

At times my hubby started to snore, and then you could see that Pipke was annoyed by his snoring. She then opened one eye – while she kept her beak between her feathers – or sometimes she raised her head and looked up to opa. 
It seemed almost as if she was thinking then: “now that's enough, you snorer!”
I often came closer to enjoy this scene fully! 
Without the noise this lovely scene wasn't complete!
I even filmed it and took pictures of it.
Only the view. 
Of course these were no pictures of my hubby looking at his best: with wide open mouth – not even mentioning the noise – it seemed almost as if he was sawing a heavy trunk through.

However - this chapter would not be complete if I did not add this 'funny' scene with 'sound'! 

In better times!
Pipke and opa taking a nap.
Enjoy!
video


Next time we will go further with: Normal Days in Pipke's Life part 2. 

Bye, bye! 

Maybe a little naughty of us. 
Hope you could have a good laugh



Monday, May 25, 2015

A Dangerous Invasion on Top

Again, we were relieved that Pipke was safe. But alas also this time - that relieve didn't last long.
As if it hadn't been enough, a new problem suddenly appeared on the horizon.
This time, the danger came from the outside world.

The invisible enemy “Bird Flu” had invaded our country!

First there was only a mild action from the government. To prevent that our birds had contact with wild birds we had to cover their pens with nets. Because of the uninvited visit of the cat we didn't have to do that anymore, we'd already done that.
Unfortunately - this action couldn't stop the virus, it spread more and more. 
Not long thereafter the government had to take drastic measures. 
On the news broadcasting on TV we could see that many poultry farmers had to slaughter their whole life stock as precautionary measure to prevent the flu would spread widely.
Now - we already got to the point that in our nearby villages, ordinary people - hobbyists - who kept poultry in their garden, had to fill in a document. They even had to declare how many birds they kept, so the government could control how many birds there were in case they had to slaughter again.
Eventually – after some time – we received such a letter too, but we never filled it in - because we were afraid for what would happen to Pipke.

Then - only a few weeks later they even started to kill animals which were kept as pets!
This shows the way it went! 
I warn you, not such pleasant scenes to watch!
(The Dutch text on this film says: The culling. You have build something during 10 years. Within 10 minutes it's destroyed. At 5: 24 minutes you see the sad result. Thereafter, the disinfection follows. Was this really necessary? According the Dutch government this was strictly necessary to prevent further expansion of the classic bird flu.)

- It was actually all so “senseless"! These birds were no threat at all – they didn't get in contact with wild birds. “Wild birds” were the evildoers, but – of course it's not possible to kill “all” wild birds!
In fact, the poultry farmers caused the biggest problem. They keep too many birds concentrated at one place, so the virus could develop and spread there more easily.
Those places actually were a real feast for the virus. (By matter of speech, for them it was: a warm buffet 'all – you - can - eat'!)

Not long thereafter, we saw the most gruesome images on TV. They showed a man - also a hobbyist who kept Peacocks - defending his animals to prevent them from being slaughtered.
He even crawled on top of the roof of his house with his Peacocks. He was really desperate. Some of the animals were shot down, but others could escape.
Many people protested against this cruelty. It had a great impact on people who had seen it on TV all over the country, and especially - on those who lived in this man's neighborhood. They even protested fiercely on TV.
However, this story had “one” happy outcome!
After several weeks the Bird Flu had weakened and there was no longer danger – when suddenly the escaped Peacocks returned to their pen by themselves.
All those weeks they had hidden in the bushes. It seemed almost as if they knew that it was safe now. This event was even broadcasted on TV, but - it was a happy reunion with a bitter aftertaste.
Defenseless animals had been killed, although it could have been avoided.
They were the victims of the system, a system that takes unnecessary measures.
There had even arisen dissension among the veterinarians on this approach to solve the problem.
Some had *real doubts if this was the right way to deal with this problem.
I think - to hear *this fact – after your own pets had been slaughtered - it must have been very hard - even unbearable!
Eventually the outbreak of the avian flu virus of 2003 became a disaster year, not only for poultry but also for many unlucky pet birds in the Netherlands and also Belgium.
I didn't want to think about the fact that this could have happened to Pipke!
Luckily …

- This was it for now!
Unfortunately not such a pretty story.
Next time I will continue with something joyful.
Then I will describe: 'Normal Days in Pipke's Life'.
Believe me, it was never boring.
Thanks for reading and till soon! 
Bye, bye!


PS: today it would have been her twentieth birthday!
It would have been a miracle if she had reached this age.
Time flies.