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Outdoor Life: A real duck dynasty
Alvin Richardson

With apologies to Phil Robertson and his funky band of bearded miscreants, there has arisen a mighty band of ducks on the Richardson farm down in the Real Buckhead. They are currently in total control of the property, conduct full-scale marching drills, sashay bravely wherever they please, hiss orders to anyone who dares to set foot on their domain, and wag their tails with the audacity total authority.

    These are not the ducks that Phil, Si, Jase, Willie and Jep made famous. They are not the ducks that normal hunters arise before dawn to pursue. Nor are they the kind that swim silently on a pond looking pretty and soothing. No sir this is a full-fledged gaggle of ducks who have taken complete control of their situation and may well be looking to consolidate their power by taking over eastern Morgan County. This is a powerful force to be reckoned with.

Just this week the entire battalion marched up to the back door, parked themselves on the stairs and loudly demanded their daily ration of cracked corn. This is a telling development because previously they waited somewhat patiently at their designated area for the handout to be brought to them. I believe that this was the first shot over our bow — a kind of warning from them that the chain of command was about to undergo an alteration.

In addition to that little event the mighty Muscovy armada has taken to resting themselves on the outdoor heating units, making themselves at home on the deck chairs and roosting on the roof. When the entire company lights simultaneously on their favorite roof gable it sounds like we are under attack from an airborne unit and is quite unsettling to my wife.

That is not all I have to report.

The duck commander (with further apologies to the Robertson clan) is of course Matilda the Muscovy duck who was made famous this past summer in tales which I have previously related to you in this space. Since she got her picture in the paper she’s become insufferable — drunk with ego from the power she gained from new-found fame.

And she’s been acting funny this week.

First we noticed she and her butt-ugly mate were poking around at the base of an oak tree in the back yard. That tree had an exposed cavity and Matilda began making forays all the way up in that hole, going completely out of sight. That seemed to be an expedition toward prospective egg-laying. That shouldn’t be happening this time of year but it certainly looked suspicious.

Our fears were further aroused when another incident followed the tree-cavity exploration. Seemingly the hole in that tree was not suitable so she took it upon herself to fly up on the deck bannister to see if her number three washtub that she raised eggs in this past summer was still available. She made a closer inspection by landing on the table where the washtub had been. It was nowhere to be found and she seemed to be disgruntled by that turn of events. Undeterred Matilda then launched a full-scale inspection of the rest of the deck and took a good long look at the outdoor sink back there. All of this is first-hand information because I was on the deck watching her. She paid me not one bit of attention while she went about her scrutiny of, what I assume was, an egg-nest mission.

These are indeed perilous times.

Truthfully I’m not in the mood to raise more eggs, clean duck poop off the deck or fight off half the local snake population. Nor am I in the correct frame of mind to continue to put up with a bunch of raucous, cocky birds and continue to take orders from them. There are difficult decisions ahead.

I will say this. If Matilda succeeds in raising another brood similar to the last one (which numbered thirteen) we’ll likely be running for our lives by this summer. Her army of Muscovy ducks might well overrun our position and all will be lost.

If it comes down to a final battle for us to keep our land I’m not sure what will need to be done but I have a sneaking suspicion that it will take drastic measures to remedy the situation. There will likely be only two choices. Surrender is one. Calling on the Robertson clan to do what they do best is the other but if they were to fail watch out — the army may be coming your way next.

Heaven help us.

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