Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Spring is in full force on our little Lake Fasanerie. Mother ducks have already started to hatch their broods and the swans are busy building nests and laying eggs. I saw the first nest on Monday tucked up right along the shore line. The mother was sitting proudly, the father patrolling the surrounding water. Across the lake, another swan couple was canvassing the shoreline. Sure enough, by Wednesday they’d claimed their stake and were busy decorating their new nest with sticks, twigs and grass.

Besides the joy that comes with seeing nature work its miracle, the swan nests have provided an added health benefit for me. I’m more eager to get out there and exercise because I’ve become so emotionally invested in the swans and their eggs. I play games with myself. Yesterday I decided to do as many loops as it would take for one of the swans to get off her nest so I could get an updated egg count. It took me five laps (just over 6 miles) before one of the lovely ladies hauled tail and went for a little dip in the water.

Apparently, swans lay anywhere from 3-10 eggs usually separated by two days in between. My last count has one nest at 2 eggs and the other at 5. The gestation period averages between 35-40 days. So, come June, we’ll have at least seven small, sweet swans swimming around. How’s that for alliteration?

I’m personally hoping for at least nine cygnets so I can name each one after the Fellowship of the Nine.When I was an early teen and well into Lord of the Rings, reading and rereading it obsessively, a stray cat that we'd christened Gray Lady had a batch of kittens under our back porch. As I recall, it was nine kittens but a lot of what I recall is not 100% historically accurate. Shocking, I know. However, the number of nine does make for a better story so let's just go with nine, shall we? Good. I immediately declared myself Namer of all things Kitten. Fuzzy little Frodo, Gandalf the Gray (he took after his mother), Aragorn... My little sister had another idea entirely. At the time, she was reading the Big Book of Bible Stories and she thought the kittens should all have biblical names. Ruth. Rachel. Abraham. I mean really, if it comes down to Abraham or Aragorn what cat would you want covering your back?

I don't think Gray Lady and her offspring stuck around long enough for the issue to ever get resolved. It's been a gaping hole in my childhood development ever since. So come on swan moms - keep a laying and give a girl a little Legolas!

Update: as of this morning we are up to eight eggs. Thanks Moms! And Happy Mother's Day!

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