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Ducks, a Radish and an Appleseed · Monday November 20, 2006 by Abbie

After the hub bub of the birthday parties, and as Sunday afternoon was dripping with glorious sunshine, we decided to take the kids to the village duck pond to visit what we call our ducks.

Two years ago a pair of ducks from the village pond came over to our garden pond for a little privacy and space to mate in. The duck laid four eggs and then dropped dead. It was quite sad to watch the drake wonder around for a couple of days looking for her. She was just not fat enough to lay successfully.

But the four eggs were put in stasis until a broody hen on the farm next door was able to sit on them. She managed to hatch three of the four eggs and when the ducklings were big enough they came to live on our pond.

Ram had a wonderful time caring for them and it lead to all sorts of educational opportunities. As we were unsure of their sex at first, he gave them names that could be either. Petra turned out to be female, and Fred and George, after the twins in Harry Potter, were male. We called them the Duckleys!

Come October they flew to the village pond, but in the spring Petra walked back to the farm with Fred and George and they raised another nine ducklings! We think that all the care and attention Ram gave them allowed them to be healthy enough to breed successfully. We helped the farm folk to take them back over to the pond when they were big enough, and now consider them to be ‘our ducks.’

So over we went with a pot of food for each child. But they were very agitated and wouldn’t come near us. The children explored a bit and found and identified some prints at the edge of the pond. They identified them as dog, and between them they pieced together what had happened to scare the ducks. In talking to another villager they found that they were right! So good observation skills there!

Then just before tea we got out the big radish. As usual I got onto the Internet first and looked up as much information as I could. Then we sat around and smelled it, and tried to guess what it was. I then told them that it was a Chinese radish or a Diakon. We peeled it, and they all had a taste of it. Then we talked about the best growing conditions.

This wasn’t like a teacher teaching a class, but more of an informal spontaneous conversation, only I happened to know a little bit more about it than they did. Next time they see one in the green grocer they will know what it is, and will probably tell anyone close by all about it.

While they were all sitting round the table waiting for supper, which included the cooked radish, the kids started singing. As Ursula and I both spent time in North American summer camps where it is common to sing a grace before eating, we broke into a grace called ‘Johnny Appleseed.’ Johnny Appleseed

Oh good, I thought. Another educational opportunity! I thought we could tell them who Johnny Appleseed was and maybe even look it up on the Internet.


Ram and Banana immediately started telling us about The Simpson’s version, complete with a description of all of Bart’s pranks!

Oh well, I guess two successful educational outcomes out of three isn’t bad for a Sunday afternoon!

  1. I am often told by my eight yr old that she knows something I am trying to discuss with her already. 9 times out of 10 she learnt it on the Simpson!

    — Maire Stafford    Nov 22, 11:35 AM    #
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