Yesterday when I went out to start my chores I was greeted by a string of giggling ducks wandering down the drive. Not good. They should have been in the barn laying. It was not yet light. And all their nests were empty. Not even one egg. The ducks had escaped before laying their eggs. I searched unsuccessfully. TonTon did not care. Boo was a little successful as the day wore on finding a couple but basically we came up empty handed.

I had been outsmarted by the ducks. And worse lost a days dozen. The eggs sell for seven dollars a dozen and ordered in advance so losing the entire clutch was deeply annoying.

I had to hand it to them though. They hid their eggs well.

When I got back from delivering what eggs I had to Jakes coolstore ( I pass this old school house below on my drive), I drove back up my lane to be met by Jude the little piglet playing in the driveway with the ducks.

Later I worked on the weak spots in my brick and old junk gates that barricade the openings in the barn and I hope everyone is where they should be this morning.

I have been familiarizing Jude with the world outside the barn every day for a few days now. I put his bottle inside my jacket to keep it warm and lead him on a walk outside the barn and through the garden and then back to his barn house for his bottle. Calling Go To Bed as he runs back into the barn for his drink. This way when he does escape he knows where his home is. Or that was my theory.

When a sow walks with her piglets she grunts and chats the whole time – they seem to follow her sound as much as anything. So that is what I do. As we walk, the dogs, a cat or two, the piglet and I – I keep up a chatter of repetitive words. If I stop speaking and get too far ahead I will see him freeze – like a dog en pointe – focusing hard on where I am and totally still. The moment I begin my walking song again the piglets head snaps to me and he bolts to catch up. Once he joins my little pack again he is all nose and wagging tail following the trail of my voice.

Think like a pig. Pigs in a field are seldom quiet – calling to each other in soft sonic voices as they graze like whales far under the sea. Always in touch.

It is snowing outside.

I think it will be another murky but warm day.

I hope you have a lovely day.


WEATHER: After the snow gives over, in another few hours, the clouds will come out. That will be typical. Not too cold though.



  1. Sorry to hear about the ducks going rogue. I hope itโ€™s a much different story today! Little Jude is the cutest little guy, and Boo looks very attentive with him.

  2. would it be too cold during the night, or could you corral the ducks in the stock trailer until the laying is done? Jude is a lucky pig to have such a dedicated Mama. Laura

  3. Yes, like Laura said above, I’m thinking that they must be totally contained at night and only let roam after the egg laying duties have been completed.

  4. Ducks are very cautious at first mainly because they are scared of everything (which they should be) but the older they get the more independent/smarter they get and the less cautious they are which gets them into trouble. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I just love seeing my ducks out on parade โ€” except when they should be inside laying! And I must have missed it somewhere: are you keeping Jude?

  6. The pictures are positively cinematic today. I feel transported back in time. It’s warm and cold all at the same time. I love the thought of you using your voice to bring Jude along. The Pig Whisperer. That’s who you are.

  7. A good laugh about the ducks giggling their way down the drive!!! I love chattering away with my animals!! My doggies and kitties have always been “the most chattered to” animals in the world!! It creates a great relationship!! Love this picture of Piggy Poo Jude eating his goodies and BooBoo sitting on guard!!! Quite the ole school house by you Celi!!!

  8. You keep a lot of creatures in your head, Miss C. “Think like a pig/duck/cow/dog…”. And it’s not just the human interpretation, but the actual, literal behaviour, the result of long observation. Young Master Jude is looking glossy and rounded, a very different young person.

  9. Those naughty ducks! It’s like children escaping from the school and out to the playground they go! ๐Ÿ™‚ Speaking of schools, that sure is a beautiful, old, one near you…even in its deteriorating condition! It’s too bad you couldn’t somehow rescue it’s old flooring but I’m sure that is much easier said than done. Whenever I go in to an old, abandoned building, I stand very quiet and try and hear the voices and hopefully laughter that once echoed off the walls.
    And that little Jude is just the cutest piglet! I’m so glad he came back to you…that was probably meant to be and I am not alone, glad that he did! ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. That beautiful schoolhouse looks like the one my mom went to in Cottage Grove, Oregon. One room for all the different classes. The kid behind her was always dunking one braid or the other in the inkwell. She had bright red hair, so it really stood out!.

  11. It sounds like a very friendly walk. I think all animals use our voice tones for much of the meaning they get from us. For 10 years I had a deaf and blind dog. And honestly the thing I missed most was her being able to hear me tell her she was lovely. Voices convey so much to animals. I am constantly threatening terrible and dire things to my misbehaving cats but since I do it in a loving sing song they never get the slightest bit upset about it.

  12. I’m all for visuals . . . would so love a photo of you and Boo and Ton and a couple of cats perchance and darling Jude with a clean bum all marching up the road ๐Ÿ™‚ ! Jude feeling very important at this stage . . . oh, loved the S African ducks all ready for work . . .

  13. Oh, those naughty ducks; but that is sort of funny.
    As funny as it sound to recommend that we think like pigs, I actually tell my colleagues to think like the trees that they work with. It is important to remember what their priorities are, and how they perceive the world. People so often surprises when I describe the forest as a violent place where much of the flora is competing for limited resources. In lush forests, even the sunshine is not free for everyone.

  14. Many years ago when my children were young, we had a small farm in Washington State. Among the many creatures my daughter raised were 15 free-range ducks and they were masters at hiding their eggs. We would be mucking the barn and bingo we’d find old eggs. We finally put them a pen, but they were indeed escape artists. Great post.

  15. That’s so fascinating to be taken inside a pig’s thinking. You certainly know your animals. Next step is to think like a duck hiding its eggs! I read your blog every day. Even when I don’t comment, I’m here enjoying every post.

  16. Jude, playing in the driveway with the ducks — he has never met a stranger, has he?

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