It has not been uncommon for Steven to show up to Medford and add to the Hall family creatures list. First, it was a beautiful dog who all the grandchildren love. Then, there was the addition of 7 chicks, now 5 of which are healthy hens producing eggs for our family to enjoy. He also has added caterpillars that change into butterflies. Well, during a visit in May after Brianne had graduated from college and Steven was on summer break from teaching, at 9 o’clock at night, Steven makes the comment, “I need to make a trip to the all night post office to pick up some baby ducks I had ordered and air-mailed to Medford.” I remember staring at him in disbelief. Was he serious? Where would the ducks be housed? Steven said the ranch irrigation canal would be their home after some TLC for a few weeks (of which-unknown to them-his mother and father would be providing). Brian asked him where would they stay once the water dissappeared from the canal? Steven commented he hadn’t thought that far ahead. Sure enough, much to the delight of my children who stayed up late to witness the event, Steven, Brianne, and Brian showed up to our house with baby ducks snuggled in the delivery box! I have to admit, there is not much that is cuter than a baby duck. Steven had ordered several pairs of ducks with varying colors and abilities. Lizzy, Andrew and Sophie each got turns holding the baby ducks and we delighted in watching them try to walk on our hardwood floors.
The ducks were then taken back to Nana Rozanne’s home for the night and in the morning, Nana helped Steven and Brianne find a box and bedding that would work for the little ducks. We had lots of visitors to the ranch to see the baby duck. The ducks had a heat lamp on them and stayed in the Ranch work room till they began to grow…
and grow….and grow! Grandpa Hall eventually created a pen for the ducks to live in since they were growning rapidly but still were too immature for the wild. They were moved to the garage for more room. The ducks were quite nervous around people and raced from side to side of their new pen when people approached them. This was not a deterrent to Lizzy who would frequently climb right in the pen with them and pick them up! The ducks ate quite a bit of feed and could not keep the water from getting everywhere. Nana and Grandpa made two trips to the ranch daily to water the ducks!
Then, on the 11th of July, Grandpa Hall said it was time for them to go into the wild. He had a feeder staked to the ground above the canal in case they got hungry and then, one by one, he gently placed them in the canal. Immediately they knew what to do and they hid in the tall grass, ate the seeds off the tall grass and played in the water as a cluster! But, the perfect ending for these ducks was not to be as that very night, a bobcat (we think) ate Nana’s favorite duck! And then, weekly, one after another dissappeared. Just this week, the last 7 dissappeared overnight. Grandpa Hall is hoping they all found better refuge downstream or in taller grass, and not the belly of the bobcat! But thanks to Steven, we have all had wonderful experience with the ducks!