Archimedes our CRAZY Muscovy Duck
God surely laughed - we own a Muscovy duck!
Oh, the irony of it all!
Where I live in Florida, Muscovy ducks are generally considered a nuisance. They serenely waltz across our thoroughfares, lost and content in their own ducky thoughts. There is never any concern that a car is coming, or - how fast. Quite the socialites - for all of their "ugliness", they are found in groups - and just like the very elite - are never concerned very much about anyone else or anything else, but their own Muscovian agendas.
Poorly trained in bathroom hygiene and generous to a fault, they gleefully leave large deposits wherever they go. Someone, somewhere along the line, surely told them that all Florida driveways and sidewalks are Muscovy banks. Especially fond of church parking lots, day care center walkways, shopping centers, front door steps, right next to your car - no pedestrian walkway is sacred. Since their deposits are rarely found in the grass, one can only gather that they think they are making a valuable contribution to the "greening of the concrete".
When I first met my husband, his idea was that the only good Muscovy duck was one in a roasting pan, and he routinely ran them off his property. Oh, he didn't want to eat one, he just wanted them off his land. They really rankled him, because they left messes everywhere, came uninvited to the yard and ran "roughshod" over the entire lawn. He had a decided "must-drive-Muscovy-ducks-away" mindset, and on the rampage he would go. I never noticed that they caused any harm, and loved to see them with their little ones, but I just kept my peace and observed.
It was a regular thing...they would show up, he would see them, and shortly thereafter, they would be waddling off as fast as Muscovy ducks can waddle - towards someone else's domain. As much as I hated to see them run off, I just "shut up". Not my place to say anything, and I figured God would handle it. Little did I know...
Roast Duckling, Anyone?
I never roasted a duckling in my life!
One summer afternoon, about 2 years ago - before my husband WAS my husband - he called me at my jewelry store.
He asked me if I knew how to fix roast duckling. I told him that I really didn't, but by the time I got home, I would. As soon as he hung up the phone - PRESTO CHANGO! - I had stopped what I was doing online, and was pulling up roast duckling recipes like a mad woman. I so loved him and wanted to please him, and I still do, that I figured I'd have some terrific recipes pulled up, printed out, and propped up on the kitchen counter when I got home, before you could say "Jack Sprat"!
Rushing out of the store that night, as soon as I could feasibly get away, I came in the door, put down my things, and told my husband I was ready. He had a HUGE butcher knife in his hand, and called me out into the garage. The knife was put in my hand, and he showed me where the roast duckling was to be prepared.
In a box, on the garage floor, were two little darling baby Muscovy ducks. I thought he was serious...really, I did. I thought at first, that he was going to eat them! He took one look at my face, and burst out laughing; picked one up and put it into my arms, and he picked up and held the other one. Boy, was I relieved! He said he was outside, and these two little sweeties were just lost - he's pretty sure he heard their mother being eaten by one of the alligators that live in the lake. They were just making little baby Muscovy duck noises, and scared as they could be.
He told me he had quite a job running them down, and none of the other Muscovies had been around. He HAD to catch them - we have raccoons, and foxes, and cats, and alligators. He COULDN'T just let them die!
So, we named them. I named mine, which was brown and yellow, Archimedes - his, which was all yellow, was Einstein. We didn't have a clue if they were male or female, but the names suited them so! His was the clever one - always investigating, finding bugs, following us around the lanai, nibbling on my husband's orchids, sampling the orchid mix. Mine, I named Archimedes as a joke, because "he" appeared to be so clueless - about everything, completely unlike the Greek scientist for which I named "him".
Unfortunately, a few weeks later, Einstein had passed away - we never knew why. We just found him peacefully lying on his side in the cage, expired. THAT was not a happy day. However, MY duck, Archimedes...lives on.
Archimedes is in Love!
With my husband, that is...
Well, lo and behold!
The surviving orphaned Muscovy duck - MINE - falls in love with my husband! No, really - she did! She merely tolerates me; him - she adores! She's movin' in on my territory, the fickle flighty fowl, and even decided to come in for dinner one night, and flew right up to MY CHAIR. There she is, in the photo, just as proud as she can be, looking over the menu - I TOLD you she wasn't too bright - that's a PLACEMAT, but you can't tell HER that!
We got into the habit of bringing her into the house once in a while. She follows my husband like a sheep - no, not like a puppy dog - like a sheep. Right at his heels she is, waddling as fast as she can move, and into the kitchen they go. She looks up at the refrigerator, as if to say - "Well, let's go. Whaddya got in there for me, today?" He'll give her a little piece of hot dog - YUCK! - I don't eat the nasty things, or a piece of string cheese, or some fresh greens. As the "hired help", in Archimedes' opinion, I am allowed to feed her, so, she'll take food from me, too - BUT - I am distinctly told, in Muscovian, to "keep my distance". She views me as the maid - a servant, who cleans her cage, and brings her fresh food and water and greens - but, nothing more. That's gratitude for you - someone probably told her I gave her a man's name!
One Lovesick Duck!
Typical female...yak, yak, yak...
I am also a female, but not a very typical one.
This female, Archimedes, is so in love with my dear husband, that I am - literally - THE ENEMY. Oh, it is painfully obvious.
Before I take off for work in the morning, I go outside to drink my coffee - right next to her cage. I always speak to her, every morning. "Well, good morning, Archimedes, how are you?" What's her response? A reluctant, begrudging tail wag, and a bill up in the air. Sometimes, she is even so "uppity" that she turns on her heels, away from me. When HE opens the door, and says "Good morning, Archimedes, how's my little girl?" - she goes bananas. I am NOT KIDDING! It literally sounds like she is screaming at the top of her lungs, and her voice box is about to break. The tail wags like a whisk broom on adrenaline, her feathers fluff out, and she spends about 5 full minutes talking gibberish non-stop, and THIS is how it goes...
"Oh, my gosh, Dad, you won't believe what happened last night - there were 1.600 Canadian wild geese coming at me from the north, the south, the east, the west - it was terrible! I fought them all off, and defended the house, while you and the 'maid' - what's her name - were asleep, and a snake got into my cage, and I killed it, and I don't know WHO drug that orchid into my cage, and I saw an eclipse of the moon, and a falling star, and Saturn came to visit, and someone tried to break in the back door, but I bit him in the leg, and there was a fruit rat in the corn and I ripped him to shreds, and I want to go shopping later --- come up for air --- "and when can I come in the house again, and don't you think my feathers are pretty, and if you get rid of the 'maid', I'll clean the house, and cook your meals, and mend your clothes, and why do we need her, anyway, and can I sleep in your bed, and ride in the car...I'll behave - OK?"
That's just a small sample of how psycho she sounds, and it's a wonder she isn't hoarse!
To demonstrate her utter disdain for me, she has perfected the art of spitting her water at the backs of my legs and precisely on the top of my right foot, right on the instep. Of course, it runs right down into my shoe or slipper - MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! I told my husband that she actually missed a few days ago - simply, because I moved. Right there on the lanai pebble rock, where my foot usually is, was a perfect watermark, freshly delivered by a jealous female duck! She NEVER spits at him - not ever, not even once... just... at me.
Water your Duck! - Archimedes needed it, so she could SPIT at me!
Muscovy ducks need fresh water available to them at all times. Automatic watering device are a great option, to keep your pet Muscovy duck well supplied with a fresh source of water.
Archimedes Speaks, and Speaks, and Speaks
Are you listening?
This is her classic pose, right after she has gone through her "Psycho, Psycho Duck" routine, where she enlightens my husband about everything that has happened overnight - real or imagined. She cocks her head at what appears to be an unnatural angle, and ask him, in the ancient Muscovian tongue - "Are you listening?" Mind you, she never asks me - she could care less. She doesn't wish to speak with me, anyway. The pose is held, until he responds, and then she usually has some other juicy morsel to add to her previous maniacal repertoire.
One day, when she decided she could fly, she took off at a great pace, and flew solidly into the pool screen. Down like a rock she dropped, stumbling over clay orchid pots, scattering orchids and destroying a few. She stumbled to her feet, looked mortified and embarrassed - oh, yes, she did! - and looked around for my husband. He heard the din, and came out on the lanai and went straight over to her, to see if she was all right. That little manipulator sidled right up next to him, and launched into an accusation against me that really should have turned her tongue black. You could almost understand her - REALLY!
"Dad, oh, Dad! I'm so glad you're here! You're not going to believe what SHE" - that's me - "did this time. She grabbed me by the throat, drug me out of my cage, swung me around her head six times - yes, it was six - I counted, and flung me with all of her might, at the screen. My whole life flashed before my eyes, I was terrified, I thought I was going to break my neck, I knew she'd be the death of me some day, it was only a matter of time, you need to get rid of her, you just don't know what she's like!"
All the while Archimedes was telling her tale of woe, she accentuated her tall tale with multiple stabbings of her head in my direction. Periodically, she'd stop, cock her head, and ask him if he was listening. Once he responded, she'd launch right back into her tirade. We were both laughing so much, we almost cried.
This goes on, on a regular basis. I "pull her tail feathers" - I never did - "spit in her food" - give me a break - "kick her in the shins" - not once - and "call her names".
Well, that part's true...I call her "Archimedes", and "darling", and "girl". Technically, those are names. The worst part of this is, that she is - was - MY duck, the turncoat! My husband has another woman in his life, and I can't do anything about it. I have been wrongfully accused, by "the other woman", and what's really so bad about it --- she's a duck! What am I going to do?
On Amazon - and I could have written it!
Sometimes, the book doesn't show up, but it comes back. If it's not up here, the name of the book is: Enslaved by Ducks, by Bob Tarte. I seriously could have written a book by that name, about our little "out-of-her-mind" Muscovy duck.
So, we own a Muscovy Duck...
And God got back at my husband!
It's been almost 2 years now.
She is as much a part of our family, as if she was one of the children. Except, I'd have blistered her hide, for her behavior and lies, if she was really my child. Archimedes loves to come in and perch on the edge of the couch, as close to my husband as she can possibly get, and run her beak through his hair. She picks up several strands, and rearranges them to her liking. If she is swimming in the pool, and we forget she is out, she'll come up to the sliding glass doors, and tap on them with her beak, until we pay attention.
In the photo, she is trying to convince him to let her stay for dinner. The flash didn't go off, so forgive the photo, it's the only one I could get of her debate. You see who "rules the roost", don't you? Look at what is on the TV!
That peculiar duck follows him around the pool, right at his heels, and would follow him anywhere. He just loves her - he who was a Muscovy Duck Detester - not that terribly long ago. She has changed his entire outlook on Muscovy ducks, and even mine. We found that you will not have any roaches or Palmetto bugs around if you have Muscovy ducks on your property. Their very name came from the fact that they love mosquito larvae, and spiders, and ants, and all sorts of bugs. They do NOT quack, they are NOT aggressive, and they become very attached to particular people. They are good with their mates, protective of their families, and good providers.
So, see? I didn't have to open my mouth. God taught my husband a valuable lesson, about the ducks he was running out of our yard. Nothing I could have said would have been as effective as what came providentially. He sent him a very special, loving, adoring, beautiful female Muscovy duck, and she is his darlin' girl.
A Muscovy World War II Corporal
Did you know that there was a Muscovy Duck Corporal, that served his country well, during the second World War? Well, there was! Occasionally, on Amazon, you can purchase : Corporal Haggis: The Wartime Diary of a Muscovy Duck, September 1943-May 1945.
This remarkable duck gave its life, in service to his country. His comrades mourned his death, as earnestly as if he had been a real, live genuine soldier. Quite a story, this is - with a sad, heart-wrenching ending.
Well, "by gum", there's more than ONE way to "pluck a duck"!
Amazon does not seem to have the photo for this book, at present, even though we uploaded images for Lefty's Place, and Corporal Haggis, and they are both there, so here is ours!
No photo from Amazon, but here's the book!
Finally...I got her attention!
You know what they say - "Every dog has his day". Well, today - was mine!
That spiteful, sneaky duck has been snapping at me, and threatening me, and spitting water at me, and relieving herself on me, for a long, long time. On this red-letter day in "Muscovy Land", I brought her vile vindictiveness to a screeching halt.
My husband has wanted to have roast duck, for the last nine festive holidays. Well, each time, one thing or another came up, and it just - didn't - happen. So,...today - he finally got his wish! He thawed out the duck yesterday, stuffed it with half of an apple, three stalks of celery, a third of a large onion, and seasoned it with salt and pepper. Into the oven it went, for 2½ hours at 375°F, and voilá - succulent roast duck!
"Well, now," I thought to myself - "here is my golden opportunity. Time for a little "ducky" ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT...
I told Archimedes. She didn't believe me. I showed her the photo. Now, she does.
Well, what do you know? One photo, one tiny little photo, waved in the direction of our jealous, spiteful fowl, and a sweeter Muscovy duck, you wouldn't want to meet. She has seen the light! Archimedes didn't know that my husband really does love duck - roast duck!
She never dreamed that he would stoop to eating one of her relatives. I proved her wrong.
She was horrified. I felt justified. This duck had needed a good "comeuppance".
She swallowed hard, hung her head, and offered what I suppose would pass for an "I'm sorry, would you please forgive me?" squeak. Well, of course, I did - but - I know her kind. Just as soon as my husband shows her the slightest attention, I'll be "mud" in her eyes. She has a short memory, and she'll be up to her old tricks again, but - that's okay. I'm going to have the photo framed and hang it in her cage, as a gentle reminder that I, too, know how to roast duck - Muscovy duck!
So, we just co-exist - the duck and I.
She knows the score; we see eye-to-eye.
If she doesn't behave, in lieu of her bed...
She'll rest in a roaster - as dinner, instead!
Another Adopted Muscovy Duck
Hawaii Five-O Muscovy Pet - Intro is long, but keep with it!
So,...what does a Muscovy Duck eat? - Well, this is what Archimedes eats!
Muscovy Duck Paraphernalia on Amazon
Epicurean Delights for a Muscovy Duck
Unlike most Muscovy Ducks, Archimedes indulges in gourmet fare, such as...
- hot dogs
- extra sharp vermont cheddar cheese
- baby orchids - well, she is not SUPPOSED to!
- oyster shell
- one solitary slug
- wheat germ
- Moringa seedlings - she doesn't like those, thank God!
- palmetto bugs
- layena crumbles
- game bird maintenance
- AND - my SLIPPERS, and my FEET! Well, she nips them - a LOT!
Most of those things are good for her, some are not!
Once in a while, Archimedes asks us to tell you some things. IF she asks politely, we'll oblige her. She thinks you need to see this article, about another person we know, who is detested by her pet.
- Archimedes finds a kindred spirit - in a rabbit.
Well, what do you know? Someone else hates their owner - you have to see this rabbit's disdain for it's mistress. Goodness, the rabbit has a Simon Legree complex, and makes me look like Little Bo Peep! Definitely a "must-read"!
Another Terrific Muscovy Duck Book
Lefty's Place, is another wonderful book we have, about a Muscovy Duck. There just aren't that many around, so if you are a Muscovy Duck lover, snatch one up while you can!
All images photographed by me - E. Tack
I'll read these to her...
...the comments, I mean. She gets bored, so this will be something else she can talk about to my husband, and talk...she will!
© 2010 Emily Tack