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ducks Extras

Why Does My Female Duck Bob its Head?

If you’re new to ducks, you may not have seen females or males bobbing their heads yet. Or maybe you have witnessed them bobbing their heads but don’t know what it is. I can help explain this behavior, because I also have ducks and have seen them doing this. We’ve had our ducks for a couple of years now, and one female duck bobs her head all the time.

For two years now I’ve noticed my Pekin bobbing her head at my boss rooster. This isn’t an isolated event either. Bakugo used to chase Megatron relentlessly, the whole time bobbing her white head. I have some ideas that might sound a little crazy or farfetched. However, like I said, I witnessed her behavior for 2 years now. I personally think she wants to be a chicken. I told you, crazy. She’s evidently confused, because usually in these events the roles are reversed. Drakes and roosters are more forward, not hens and ducks.

Why Ducks Bob Their Heads

Now what do I mean by that statement? For those of you who have had ducks for a while, you probably already know what I’m getting at. For everyone else, when a duck bobs its head, it is just what it sounds like. It moves its head up and down, sometimes several times in succession.

But what does it mean when a duck bobs its head? What are ducks trying to express, or are they even trying to speak? I don’t think only humans are possible of higher skills like communication. We have our animals, and I can watch them for any length of time and witness them speaking to each other. I may not always know what they’re saying. They may not always speak out loud or in a language I can understand. However, I know they’re talking or expressing themselves by the many various sounds they make and even by their movements.

We didn’t have our original three ducks very long, when I pondered this. And I never saw Aizawa, our female Mallard, or Kirishima, our late drake or male Pekin, bob their heads. At anyone. So that left Bakugo, right? She’s our female Pekin.

When I first noticed this behavior, I thought the ducks were attacking or harassing my rooster, Megatron. And I was indignant. How could they act that way? Now I said the others didn’t display these actions, and that was true. Although, they did follow Bakugo around as she chased Megatron, bobbing her head the whole time.

Watercolor of White Pekin Duck Flirting with Rooster, Courtesy of Paul Smith
This is a watercolor of Bakugo loving on Megatron, courtesy of my husband.

Ducks Flirt

I learned that when ducks bob their heads, they’re usually flirting. In waterfowl mating, it’s the female who chooses the drake with the best plumage. Ordinarily, if Bakugo was a normal duck, she would have chosen her natural match, Kirishima, the drake. However, that’s not what went on. She set her eyes on the rooster and gave him every indication that she liked him. My rooster wasn’t aware of what any of that meant though; he just knew those odd birds were following him and making him quite uneasy. Every time I saw him I told him he was the cat’s meow, but he didn’t think I was funny.

When a female duck bobs its head, it could also mean she is broody. Though, I don’t for one second believe this is the case, because Megatron always gives Bakugo a wide berth. She seeks him out, and it has made the drake angry! There have been a couple of times where she’s followed Megatron, head-bobbing, while the drake gets in his face, quacking at him. Like it’s all the roo’s fault this is happening.

There was a short time we thought Kirishima didn’t like Bakugo. We thought she was a lonesome spinster, trying to find love elsewhere. Although that was blown away when we saw both ducks mating. Also on other occasions I saw Bakugo spurn the drake; he wasn’t the best drake out there apparently.

Female Pekin flirting, bobbing head, at rooster in Yard
Megatron with Bakugo next to him. You can’t tell just by the photo, however she was bobbing her head at him.

Here is some more information on the subject of flirting and ducks bobbing their heads. I hope you don’t have a confused chicken or duck. Though, like I said, it’s more common for roosters and drakes to not be very picky about mating. It is, however, unusual for female birds to be confused in this manner, from what I gather. Click here to find out more about duck courtship behavior.

My daughter denies that the duck is flirting with the rooster. She thinks Bakugo wants to be the leader. The boss of the yard based on her behavior toward the other chickens. It’s typical bird behavior with pecking, yelling, and telling them to get out of the way so she can eat. She might want to be the boss, but in my opinion, as Megatron’s First Lady. And then they would be a power couple.

So you may be asking, what does this have to do with a duck wanting to be a chicken? Or with ducks bobbing their heads? Well, everything, because Bakugo knows what she wants. And it appears she’s realized Megatron won’t change his mind about inter-species relationships, so she decided to adopt chicken ways. As she continues to flirt with him.

Initially it was in being the first duck to approach us and actually get snacks from our hands. She crossed a major hurdle when she did that. It was one she knew she had to tackle, because the chickens have been doing it since time immemorial.

She passed another barrier when she started laying eggs in the coop like the other birds. She even managed to convince Aizawa, our Mallard, to do the same. Typically ducks will lay eggs in hidden spots near water.

Bakugo also really gets excited when Megatron makes special noises, like when he’s especially angry or frustrated at our other rooster. I saw her run to him immediately one such time, bobbing her head after him. Of course he instantly calmed down.

Pekin Duck bobbing head at Ameraucana rooster
Megatron with Bakugo and Aizawa.

If you have ducks and they bob their heads, most likely they are bobbing their heads at each other. Also, it is a positive sign that they like each other. There’s nothing to be concerned about. If they bob their heads at you, that means they like you. Although, if you have ducks that bob their heads at the other feathered fowl, then they are interested in a bird not of their species. They could also be confused like my duck. Will Megatron ever see the beauty that is in Bakugo while she flirts with him, bobbing her head? I doubt it, and it isn’t for her lack of trying. It’s hilarious to watch though, and I wonder, will she ever tire of chasing the dashing black rooster, as she bobs her head?

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Sicilian Cod Fish Recipe

This Sicilian cod fish recipe is another one of my mom’s recipes from when she was growing up. It was passed down from her grandma.  And it’s delicious and easy to make. There are other ones out there, however they typically feature black olives. But I’m not sure if the difference in ingredients is due to where in Sicily each person/ group was located. Or perhaps it was because of money, or even preference. Though I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Ingredients for Sicilian Cod Fish Recipe:

  • 4 cod fillets
  • 1or 2 baking potatoes, (depending on the size) washed, peeled, and sliced
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can whole tomatoes, diced or pulsed in food processor
  • 1 red or white onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • And Italian seasoning to taste
prepping Sicilian cod fish recipe

Instructions for Sicilian Cod Fish:

  • Heat oven to 350.
  • Mix flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder together. And then coat the cod fillets with the flour mixture.
  • In a skillet, on medium heat, add just enough olive oil to sauté the fillets until they are lightly brown on each side.
  • Remove the fish when they’re browned on each side. And in the same pan, add the sliced potatoes, and cook till almost fork tender.
  • While the potatoes are cooking, in another skillet on medium heat, add olive oil and cook diced onion and minced garlic until onion is transparent, not burned.
  • When onion is transparent, add diced tomatoes and season to taste with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning.  Simmer and then place fish and potatoes in an oven-proof casserole dish.  Pour the onion and tomato mix over the fish and the potatoes. Then bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until potatoes are cooked and tender.
prepping Sicilian cod fish recipe

I used red potatoes when I made this. But, the recipe calls for baking potatoes. However I just used what I had on hand.

Sicilian cod fish and potatoes

Thanks for stopping by! And don’t forget to leave a comment! And if you made this, let me know what you think.

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The Best Homemade Taco Salad

This is one of my own recipes that I just threw together one day, several years ago. And I’ve been making it ever since. I like it, because it’s easy, and I’m all about easy when it comes to preparing food. But it also tastes great. Tell me what you think after you’ve made the best homemade taco salad.

Ingredients for Homemade Taco Salad:

  • 16 oz of ground beef
  • 1 pkg of taco seasoning mix
  • 24 oz pkg of salad kit (I use the ones with shredded carrots, cabbage, and/or different types of lettuce)
  • 1 large tomato or 2 small tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 c-1/2 c shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • Tortilla chips
  • Optional–garnish with avocado or guacamole

Instructions Taco Salad:

  • First, cook the ground beef in a skillet till beef is all browned; drain and put beef back in skillet.
  • Next, add taco seasoning mix according to the instructions and simmer, covered ~ 15 minutes
  • Then, while the beef is simmering, pour the salad mix into a large bowl and add the diced tomato.
  • When the beef is ready, make sure there isn’t a lot of liquid in the pan, and add the meat to the salad.
  • Next, add in the Mexican blend cheese and toss the salad.
  • Then mix in the tortilla chips last; toss once or twice.
  • And garnish with guacamole or avocado.
  • Finally, serve immediately and enjoy.
Taco Salad

When I make this salad, the taco seasoning blend is usually flavor enough that I don’t add any dressing. However, if you prefer, there are plenty of recipes out there to choose from. Or you can pick up something from the store.

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Easy Sheet Pan Chicken Nachos

When my husband worked as a fireman, he came up with this easy sheet pan chicken nachos recipe for his shift, which he then shared with me. I make it frequently, because it’s tasty and very simple. Especially for nights when I don’t really want to cook or time is an issue. It combines canned chicken meat, refried beans, tortilla chips, seasoning, and some garnishes for a yummy snack or meal, whatever one prefers.

Ingredients for Easy Sheet Pan Chicken Nachos:

  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 12.5 oz Can of Drained Chicken Breast
  • 15 oz Can of Refried Beans
  • 1/2 oz Guacamole Seasoning Packet
  • 16 oz Bag of Tortilla Chips
  • Shredded Mexican Blend Cheese

Instructions for Sheet Pan Chicken Nachos:

white nachos topped with cheese and guacamole on a floral plate
  • First, grease jellyroll pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  • Next, put 1 Tbsp olive oil in medium to large pan.
  • Then, drain canned chicken breast and put chicken in pan over medium to medium high heat.
  • Add refried beans and 1/2 oz of guacamole seasoning; stir till well combined and warmed through. Remove from heat.
  • Next, spread tortilla chips on greased jellyroll pan.
  • Then drop chicken/bean mix by spoonfuls onto chips, careful to get the dip on most of the chips.
  • Add desired amount of shredded Mexican blend cheese to nachos when finished adding chicken/bean mix.
  • And broil for 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  • Finally, serve immediately.

I hope you and yours enjoy this as much as we do. Let me know what you think!

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Some Hurts Heal Only with Time

Grieving Over a Recent Loss

I didn’t have my regularly scheduled post up last week, because I had to travel out of town, back to Dallas for the memorial service for my dad. My mom asked me to write the eulogy or similar for the pastor to read, so I did, thinking about not only his life with my mom (they were married 53 years), but about the memories I had of him, growing up and even my interactions with him recently.

Papa with grandkids
My mom and dad with my two youngest daughters.

Even now as I sit here writing this, my eyes are tearing up, thinking about the fact that I won’t get to see his face or hear his voice again, at least not for a while if I live a long life.

My dad was diagnosed with non Hodgkin’s lymphoma almost a decade ago, however with his treatment and prayers, he made a full recovery. It was around that same time, either before or after, that he had to have a double bypass, but again he pulled through. Shortly afterward he had some growths on his scalp and face that were related to lymphoma called follicular lymphoma, although they are typically slow growing cancers. My dad chose to go through radiation, because he didn’t want surgery, however he didn’t have to have chemo.

In the intervening years, my dad’s oncologist would do scans to make sure he was doing well, though one thing I’ve learned through this process with my dad is that lymphoma doesn’t go away; it’s always there, waiting to strike again.

My dad with my youngest sister and me
My dad, center, with my youngest sister on the right, and I’m on the left.

It was in March of last year when the Pandemic had shut everything down that my dad started having pain in his leg, similar to sciatic pain, running all the way down to his toes, however because everything was shut down, he could only have virtual visits. He was prescribed medication, although it didn’t help. He had at least two more virtual visits, all in the middle of the shutdown, to no avail. He was at the point where he couldn’t walk. He was told to get a massage, but that made him hurt more.

In June, when Dallas opened back up, my dad was sent to a specialist, who paid particular attention to his past cancer and asked questions about his scans. My mom texted me, when they got the results the morning after his MRI, ‘It’s cancer.’ I was in shock. And scared. My dad had health issues in the past, although it was this most recent one, where he was at the point where he couldn’t walk, that concerned me the most. My younger sister and I weren’t sure if that was his death sentence.

Family photo at birthday party
My dad closest to the center, my mom across from him, my oldest sister next to her, and my brother in law on the other side of my mom.

From that moment on I did all I could to be available to both of my parents and to visit as much as I could. There were countless doctor appointments my mom had to take my dad too, not to mention several ER visits that we couldn’t help her with, not with COVID dictating everything and the care people are receiving.

I watched my dad waste away as his illness weakened him, though he hardly complained. I wanted to rage at the doctors, his oncologist, the inept hospital staff that kept insisting he had COVID when he couldn’t breath, and the powers that be to help my dad, to let me see him, and to give him dignity in his final moments. And I think I still feel all of those things, that rage, that hurt that my dad had to go through everything he went through. I feel robbed by COVID and the restrictions being placed on hospitals when a person doesn’t have it. We have masks, we have thermometers, we even have tests. No one should be left to die without their family, and no one should miss the opportunity to say goodbye.

family collage
Collage of my dad with his kids or grandkids.

I know what I’m experiencing is fresh; I certainly haven’t completely processed that my dad is gone. When I was at my mom’s house, there were a lot of other people around, so there were distractions, and I could also pretend he was at work. Next time I don’t know how many diversions there will be, or if I’ll be able to imagine he’s just working.

I want to say something witty, to bring this all together with my blog, however I can’t, not right now, because I’m too sad to do that, although I wanted to share what I was going through. Maybe in time I can, but not right now.

Memorial pic of family
All of the family–my mom, brother and sisters, and grandkids after the memorial service for my dad.
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Chicken Soup With Acini Di Pepe

This chicken soup with Acini di Pepe recipe was passed down through the generations on my mother’s side. It goes back when, I’m told, her ancestors lived in Sicily till they emigrated to New York.

My mother learned this recipe from her mom. And she probably started making it by the time she was a pre-teen. Then she handed it down to her daughters. It’s one of my kids’ favorite things to eat when they go to her house, even if it has stewed tomatoes in it. Even though it can be considered an old recipe, it’s quite simple to make. And I’ve even made some tweaks of my own.

Ingredients for Chicken Soup with Acini di Pepe

 chicken soup with mixed vegetables in cream colored bowl
  • 2 chicken breast halves
  • 1 Tbsp Better Than Bouillon Roasted Chicken Base
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 small diced red onion
  • 2 diced celery, leaves removed
  • 1 diced carrot or 10 oz package of mixed vegetables
  • 1/4-1/2 cup fresh or canned whole tomato, diced or pulsed in food processor
  • 1 Tbsp dry parsley
  • And 1/2 cup Acini di Pepe (Da Vinci is the brand I use)

Instructions

  • First, cook chicken with 1 Tbsp Better Than Bouillon chicken base in 2 1/2 quarts of water over medium high heat. When it starts to boil, lower to a simmer, and put a lid on the pot.
  • Next, when the chicken is cooked, check if it has enough salt, and add salt to taste, if needed.
  • Then, remove chicken and shred once it’s cooked through.
  • Add pepper, onion, celery, tomatoes, and carrots or mixed vegetables to pot, and simmer for 9 minutes.
  • Next, add parsley, and increase heat to medium high, to get water boiling.
  • And add Acini di Pepe last, when everything is cooked, and cook for 8-9 minutes more in boiling water.
  • Then put shredded chicken back in pot and heat through.
  • Finally, serve immediately.

I hope you enjoyed this post, and if you make this soup, please let me know what you think! Also, feel free to change it as you like!

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Polish Cabbage Pierogi Recipe

Every New Year’s Day I grew up having pierogis and gwumpkies (or golumpkies) at my maternal grandparents house until we moved away from Arizona. That’s when I was entering the 3rd grade. Pierogis are one of my favorite foods, probably because there’s a mixture of dough and butter. But it’s the Polish cabbage pierogi recipe I’m going to share, that I love the most.

Pierogis are filled dumplings. And they’re mostly associated with the cooking of Central and Eastern European Nations. However they go by different names in those nations. In Poland they are referred to as pierogis. Though, in Russia, they are known by vareniki.

In this recipe, the pierogis are filled with cabbage. But, more commonly, they are filled with potatoes. In other nations, they fill theirs with meats. I imagine the choices can be endless, although these are the traditional selections.

Ingredients for Filling for Polish Cabbage Pierogi Recipe

  • Cabbage
  • 1 Small Onion
  • 3 Tbsp Butter
  • And Salt and Pepper to Taste

Ingredients for Dough

  • 2 1/2 Cups Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 Egg
  • And 1/2 Cup Cold Water

Instructions for the Filling for Polish Cabbage Pierogi Recipe

  • First, chop onion and shred cabbage.
  • Next, cook onion and cabbage in 3 tbsp of butter in frying pan on medium-low heat; season to taste w/ salt and pepper.
  • Then, simmer until tender.

Instructions for Dough; and Putting it all Together

  • First, sift flour and salt together, and then add egg, and work ingredients into a dough, gradually adding 1/2 cup cold water.
  • Next, knead dough on floured surface until firm and smooth.
  • Then roll into ball and let it set for 10 minutes beneath a warm inverted bowl.
  • Next, take 1/3 dough at a time, roll thin, and then with a biscuit cutter, cut dough into circles.
  • And place a spoonful of filling in center of circle, fold in half and press edges together and crimp to ensure seal.
  • Then drop pierogis into boiling, salted water, and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Finally, after pierogis are filled and cook, pour melted butter over them.

These are my all-time favorite pierogis. However, I have also had them with fruit filling as a dessert, and they were unexpectedly wonderful. As I’ve mentioned before, I have some Sicilian in me on my mother’s side, because her mom was Sicilian. Though, I’m also Polish, which comes from my mom’s dad.

Holiday Traditions

When we lived in Arizona, meals at my maternal grandparents house were always a treat. Because, not only did they have quite a spread, but it was very ethnic; Italian on one side and Polish on the other side.

Gwumpkies or golumpkies, aka Polish stuffed cabbage rolls, was another Polish dish my grandpa would make for New Year’s day. This also features cabbage. However, rather than stuffing the cabbage, the meat and rice is stuffed into cooked cabbage leaves.

That’s not a recipe that I have ever cooked personally. Though my mom still faithfully prepares a lot of the recipes that were passed down to her.

What are your favorite holiday recipes? Is there some favorite dish that was handed down in your family? Or is there something that you make every year that gets requested? Please feel free to share, because I love trying new recipes!

I hope everyone has a blessed New Year’s day and a safe, healthy, and prosperous 2021!

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Papatelli

This recipe is one that’s been handed down to me from my mom, which was handed down to her from her own mom; then back generations, originating in Sicily. And they resemble biscotti in a lot of ways, only they are Sicilian cookies. Also, when looking up Papatelli, I saw pictures of them that looked like biscotti. However none looked quite like the ones passed down in our family. They also sound like Italian pepper cookies, in the way that the recipes resemble each other with similar ingredients. Though our cookies are called Papatelli. I hope you enjoy.

Ingredients for Papatelli

  • 3 Cups Flour
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Cocoa
  • 3 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp each of Cinnamon, Cloves, Nutmeg, and Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Orange Rind with juice
  • 1 Cup of Raisins
  • 12 oz of Sliced Almonds; (recipe originally calls for 1 lb, but we add a little bit less)
  • 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil; (I use Grapeseed Oil)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • Milk for Moistening; (just a splash to moisten the dough)
papatelli dough
The remaining dough after rolling up half into the shape of a sausage.

Instructions

  • First, preheat oven to 375°.
  • Next, measure and mix all dry ingredients, except raisins and nuts.
  • In separate bowl, beat eggs, vanilla, orange juice, and vegetable oil.
  • Then, gradually add dry mix into the wet mix, mixing on low to medium speed. And add splash of milk as needed.
  • Last, add nuts and raisins, and continue to mix by hand, adding more flour to your hands if needed to keep dough together.
  • Then, on a floured surface, split dough into 2 and roll out like sausages, 1 inch wide and slice diagonally, ~ 1-1.5 inches long.
  • Next, place the dough 1/2 inch apart on baking sheets.
  • Then bake for 15 mins.
  • Finally, cool and enjoy!
Sicilian pepper cookie or papatelli dough
What the dough ends up looking like.

Now everyone in my extended family makes these cookies with a white glaze for extra sweetness. However we don’t, since my daughters and I love these cookies just as they are out of the oven, once they’ve cooled. The blend of spices, chocolate, nuts, and raisins make these cookies the perfect snack. Furthermore, they’re deceptively easy to forget how many calories you’re ingesting. We can readily eat several of these before a meal, after a meal, or in place of a meal. But I wouldn’t recommend it.

Sicilian pepper cookie or papatelli

What are your Christmas traditions? Do you have a favorite cookie recipe that you make in your own family?