Since I was 7 when we moved to Zion, Illinois, I remember New York pretty well. Rebekah, Ruth, Elizabeth, and I were all born there. We lived in a suburb of Rochester, about forty miles from Buffalo. When people hear that we originally came from New York, they usually think New York City. It was totally the opposite of New York City! Down the street from us, an elderly couple raised and sold vegetables. We got some good stuff from them-- summer squash, cucumbers, corn, etc. Their stand was self-service-- prices on homemade signs propped in front of the vegetables, and a jar for the cash. Our landlady, who lived next door to us, had 2 pet sheep. We tried and tried to grow a garden, but the deer kept eating it. One time, my mom went out and found it wasn't deer after all. The sheep had somehow escaped from their enclosure and were happily helping themselves to our delicious vegetables. Yum! Not that they needed anything to eat. I would reach up as far as my five-year-old arms could stretch to pick big bunches of maple leaves to feed them. We had a large red maple tree in our yard, and I loved watching them eat out of my hand. Speaking of maple trees, sugar maples are plentiful in New York. If you go to New York, you have to have maple syrup! It's delicious. In the spring, when the sap starts to flow, trees are tapped. Spouts are hammered into the trunks to drain some of the sap into buckets. When the buckets are full, it's time to boil the sap to evaporate most of the water. The sap gets thicker and thicker until it becomes syrup. Then it's time to make some pancakes!
Growing Up In New York
Our Little Duck(continued)
My previous post was about the duckling we raised. Well, the next spring after it had grown up and flew away, we saw the same duck on our roof in one of our big flower pots. Where we live, all the buildings have flat roofs and are right next to each other. On the neighbor's roof, we saw three male ducks. Wow.
I guess she was pretty popular! The males were shy to come too close to us, but they hung around as close as they could. The duck laid an egg almost every day for about 12 days, and then flew away. A few days later, she started sitting on the eggs. Watch out! A mommy duck does not like to be messed with when she's keeping her eggs warm. We had to give her a lot of space or we would get pecked. Finally, it was time for the eggs to hatch. We didn't see them hatch, but Beth set up a camera with a time delay. We caught some videos of the ducklings. There were nine, and they were so cute! Every time we looked through the window, the mother duck quickly hid the ducklings under her feathers. Don't worry mother duck, we're not going to eat your babies! The only problem was, how are we going to get all these ducklings to the pond? It was a little difficult, but we managed to herd the little ducklings down the stairs and across the 2 streets that led to the duck pond. The little balls of fluff toddled after their mom as fast as their short legs would carry them. And then success! They made it to the pond and started swimming around. Yeah!
P.S. Next time, our duck was smarter. She laid her eggs on an island in the parking lot behind our home.
She still needed a little assistance getting them across the street, though. :)
The Little Duckling
About 3 years ago, we found ourselves taking care of a baby duckling.
It was all alone at the pond and was following us around. So we brought it home and fed it bugs. And more bugs. And slugs--the bigger, the better. If you've ever seen a mommy duck with her ducklings, they are cute! They sound just like chicks--peep! peep!
We kept it under the kitchen table with lots of newspapers underneath while it was growing up. Besides bugs and slugs, it liked oats and absolutely loved ham. I found out accidentally one day when I dropped some ham on the floor and it ran over and quickly snapped it up. One of its favorite pastimes was sitting on the windowsill and watching the cars go by.
We have a flat roof, so we kept it outside once the weather got warmer. One day, it decided to try out its new wings. It flew in a circle to get its bearings, and then took off for the pond where it was hatched. (We live only about a block from the duck pond.) The next blog will be about what happened after that. C U!
Sam and Fidget
This is a story about our first two cats, Sam and Fidget. Sam was orange with darker orange stripes, and Fidget was dark gray. My dad took Rebekah to the pet store on her 7th birthday and she picked out a kitten, which she named Sam. Sam was a very mischievous kitten. He would climb on shelves and knock things down sometimes. Once, we couldn't find him for about an hour. Then he mysteriously reappeared, meowing his cute little meow. He had been hiding in a pile of some things we left on the floor.
My mom baked a cake for Kath's birthday. She left it to cool on the rack, and left for a few minutes. When she came back, Sam was sitting on the table, busily eating the top of the cake. Thanks a lot, Sam!
Fidget was wild when we got her. She had been born outside, and didn't like to be petted very much; that's why my dad named her Fidget. But she turned into a "people cat" loving to be petted and brushing against our legs. She was an expert hunter. One time she presented Sam with a chipmunk she had caught, but Sam was too lazy to eat it, so she ended up eating it herself. She would catch mice, too.
And all the birds and squirrels expressed their outrage when she went outside!
Fidget had several litters of kittens that Sam was obviously not the father of. They were so cute! We found out who at least one of the fathers was when we went to a garage sale. The lady there had a cat that resembled the most recent litter. My dad asked her, and she said she had seen a cat that resembled Fidget hanging around. We put ads in the paper for the kittens and always got way too many calls for them. "Sorry, sir. Should have called 2 weeks ago if you wanted one of the kittens!"
And that is the story of our first 2 cats!