Rude kiwis...again!

Actually, it's not 'again', it's 'still'! And I don't actually think all Kiwis intend to appear rude. I tell myself that it's just cultural differences that are difficult to get used to. Let me explain...

I go grocery shopping every other week, usually late morning and it's not crowded. But it never ceases to amaze me how New Zealanders are NOT at all like Americans when they interact with strangers. [ See my 07 February 2008 post] I couldn't count the amount of employees that had carts on both sides of the aisle and were STANDING in the middle opening talking! The lady in front of me was trying (but not really succeeding) to be patient, but I just said, rather loudly, "Good grief!" to get their attention so they would get out of our way! The only employee that bothered to ask if she was in my way was working in the cleaning products aisle. I told her, "No, you're not in my way, but thanks for asking. You're the first one to bother today!" I wish I had gotten her name. Oh, well.

So, with the employees blocking the aisles and the customers stopping wherever they get distracted by a shiny object, it's a real nuisance to shop here. There are no 'Sorry I'm in your way' smiles or 'just being friendly' smiles, except for the occasional elderly shoppers. [My theory is that they're probably not real Kiwis anyway.] And there's still no polite prattle as your items are checked out.

Also, being a pedestrian is a challenge here. Even if you're crossing at a designated crosswalk, it's a good idea to make sure the cars stop before you start into the street. It's amazing how drivers give no mind to pedestrians. Personally, my philosophy is that they probably don't want my blood on their bumper and probably don't want the paperwork, so I do take a bold chance occasionally or, at least, it looks like it.

For the record, there are kiwis who are nice and have manners. Even though some were drunk as skunks, the hubby's coworkers were really nice and polite when we all went out for dinner a few weeks ago... ok, a couple didn't pay their restaurant bill and had to be chased about to get it done, but that wasn't really a matter of manners...but I digress....

**EDIT** This post was written in 2008. Now, in 2012, I still get comments on it. If you feel the need to prove my post correct and leave a rude comment to tell me I'm not wanted here (like some before you), don't bother because I won't publish it. It's my blog and my opinions.


I don't get out much...

...but I like it that way. And keeping an eye on the ducklings outside my dining room window is a terrific study for me. I don't profess to ever be a duck expert, but I can tell you now that ducks and humans have very similar traits, if you look hard enough.

The ducklings this spring showed up in this order:
  • Mom(1) and Dad with 6, that are now only 3
  • Mom(2) and Dad with 3, that are now 2
  • Mom(3) with 10, that are now 9
  • Mom(4) and Dad with 3, that are now 2
  • Mom(5) with 11, all still here
  • Mom(6) with 8, all still here
The first 6 were down to 5 within a few days and then I noticed that the babies would come alone with the parents following--it definitely reminded me of alcoholic parents, where the parents and children exchange roles. After only a week or so, Mom and Dad only showed up sporatically to feed. Sometimes, they all would all trot off together, but the babies would inevitably come back alone. When the babies were at the pond, it was obvious that they were outcasts.

Babies of Mom2 and Mom4 were abandoned when they were about a week old. [Guess I was off the mark thinking Mom2 was going to be attentive.] They would hang around, at a distance, to the Mom3, but spend some nights huddled together here at the pond.
Curiously, the male ducks would always run Mom4 away, much to my dismay. Mom and Dad's compromise would be to stay at the front of the house while the little ones would make their own way to the pond and back

The good news for all the orphans is that Mom3 eventually took them in and they are one HUGE family!! So, of course, I make sure they all get special attention--even when they make their way to the back door to beg for food!

I'm very proud of Mom5 and Mom6 who have succeeded in keeping the whole family intact. They must have some great hiding spaces for sleeping because they have only ever spent a night or two on the side of the pond.

Needless to say, it gets a bit loud and splashy when all 35 ducklings show up. And, with them all quacking and diving and molting and finding their wings, it's quite good entertainment!

By Christmas, they will all be gone and it will be quiet, once more.


Meet some of my garden friends

Here is the patheticat we call Bubba. I always thought that cats innately chased winged animals, but obviously I was mistaken in that theory. The fact that the ducks are not even the slightest bit bothered by his presence is almost as eerie as his lack of enthusiasm to attack the ducks.

This is the neighbor's cat. Shhh!! She thinks she's a lawn ornament!

This is a tui that caught me taking his picture as he dined on the nectar of the kowhai (ko-fie) tree. They have a white tuft at the throat of a metallic black/green body. Their own song is hauntingly metallic, but beautiful to hear, but they are also mimics of humans and other animals--it's strangely funny to hear a duckling calling from a treetop!

I believe you have met the fantail in a former post. They are very nice to have around, especially in the summer, as they eat flying bugs like mosquitoes (called mossies, here). They are not particularly afraid of humans and seem to be showing off their beautiful tails all the time. There is a pair of these that have discovered our compost barrels!

I know this isn't the mental image you get in the US when I mention the word 'pigeon'. It's a wood pigeon and is much larger than those in America. I love their red beaks and feet, such a distinctive trait. They eat berries, so they are attracted to the strawberry trees across the lane in the summertime.

Earlier in this blog, I mentioned Einstein, who seemed to know when I was going to put out bread or seed. These are a few more of the gorgeous yellow finches that beg for food on the back patio. Their color is quite striking and they apparently don't mind getting wet if there is birdseed involved.

These are cute little waxeyes. Click the picture to get a better look to find out where they got their name (warning, the pictures are big). They are smaller than the finches that come around and they definitely let the other birds get to the seed first! But, I find them fascinating in their color and deftness of flight. I don't recall anything quite like them in Kansas.