Favorites of 2021

We spent our first year after we bought our house just doing renovations. But, this year we had time to do more things. We took our ducks on a lot of great adventures, and we enjoyed the island as much as we could.

We planted a lot of flowers to help feed the bees. It was fun watching them collect their pollen and head off to make honey.

I went to Mexico for some dental work. While I was there, I got to see Chichén Itzá. I have always wanted to see it, so it was pretty cool.

We also planted milkweed and raised Monarch caterpillars. Monarchs are endangered and nearing extinction. Planting milkweed and helping protect young caterpillars is a great thing you can do to help!

It was our garden’s second year, and our dragon fruit finally started making us some food. No fruit on the trees yet, but we are getting closer. Of course we also still have our vegetable beds, too.

We still snorkeled when we could. Rich can’t swim in the winter because he has warm-water hypothermia. But, we can snorkel in the summer, so we do.

We are so grateful to still be able to get out and do things. It’s not as easy as it used to be, but we do our best.

When I’m not working, I spend most of my time taking pictures of ducks. Our ducks have gotten kind of famous on Instagram, and so I try to make sure to take lots of pictures for their fans.

I hope all of you have a happy holiday season and a joyful new year! We think of you often and we are sending love.

Catarina and Chaos

Catarina before she could walk

In October of 2019, Rich rescued a malnourished Muscovy duckling from a feed store here on Oahu. The duckling could not stand or walk, which is common when they don’t get enough nutrients as they grow. We didn’t know if they were a boy or a girl; only that we had to save them.

It took her weeks to learn to walk and run

By December, we had determined that the duckling was a girl, and we had named her Catarina. She turned things around for herself by eating all the food we gave her and working very hard to learn to walk.

Catarina once her feathers came in

We decided not to clip her wings when her feathers came in. She still trips over her feet, so I don’t see her evading any predators on foot.

However, we learned that ducks get very lonely on their own. They need the company of other ducks in order to be happy. That is why, on December 9th, we brought home a week-old duckling to join Catarina.

Chaos Duck sitting in his food

Of course, the second duckling wasn’t malnourished at all. It was healthy! We’d never cared for a healthy duck before, and we soon found out that it wasn’t easy. There was a lot of jumping, loud peeping, and general chaos.

Chaos Duck started out so tiny!

So, we named the second duckling Chaos Duck.

Can you tell that we got Chaos Duck in December?

It turned out that Chaos Duck was a boy. So, we have found ourselves with a pair of Muscovy ducks.

They got a photo with Santa

People often ask about the quacking, but Muscovy ducks don’t quack. They’re very quiet, and mostly only make quiet hissing noises.

We built a sand man instead of a snow man

This is because Muscovy ducks are descended from Geese, rather than from Mallards (like most ducks.)

Chaos Duck grew so fast!

Muscovy ducks are not Native to the Hawaiian islands. They came here with the Spanish and the Portuguese several hundred years ago, and those that escaped were able to flourish because Hawaii is a fairly pleasant environment most of the time.

Rich and Chaos Duck

It’s actually not very different here from the Muscovy duck’s Native land, which is South America. Yes, South America.

At the North Shore

You’d think they’d be from Russia because of the name. However, they just got that from being sold to Europeans first by Russian traders. They’re Native land is the mangroves of South America, where they live in brackish water and dive for fish.

At the black sand beach where the mangroves grow

Catarina and Chaos Duck love to swim. However, they do have the trait that most Muscovy ducks have under-performing oil glands. This means that they don’t love to swim for more than 30 to 45 minutes. After a while they start to get waterlogged, because they’re just not very water-proof.

We took them kayaking

They are loving ducks who beg at our feet just like dogs when we eat dinner, and who love to snuggle and play with toys. We even taught Catarina to play ball, although Chaos Duck never quite caught on.

At Likeke Falls

Right now, we live in a house with a very small back yard. Since they don’t have a big yard to play in, we try to take them on as many adventures as we can.

In an orchid tree by the house

We’ve taken them hiking, kayaking, and swimming. They love adventure, and are generally excited to get in the car. I am not sure I would recommend ducks as pets. They are a lot more work than a dog, because they poop a lot more than a dog. But, we love them.

One of the swings on the North Shore