One Man Went To Mow..


The garden moves inexorably towards winter. The temperatures drop further with each passing day and there’s even the prospect of a frost before this week is out. Reminders of the season pop up everywhere, adding a sense of urgency to the (many) jobs which still remain to be done. Yet it’s only October and some days it can feel comfortably warm, warm enough for an afternoon coffee outside in the sun. Enough to prompt Mike, on a particularly pleasant day recently, to cut the grass. The lawn has been slow to grow over this long hot summer but recent rains have changed all that, in parts it better resembles a meadow.

The Gardener surveyed the mower’s steady progress as she made her way to the Precipitous Bank. It was shaping up to be a glorious late afternoon. Shafts of golden light cut through the trees as the sun sank lower in the sky. Canada geese flew overhead in waves, coming in to land in the fields opposite where they’ve been gathering for the night. Cows lowing from somewhere nearby. A robin, fluttering down to rest upon the stump of a tree, lilting a song. “Where will you be working this evening Missus and will there be worms?” And then. Then. The most horrific CRUUUUUNCH. That sickening wrench of metal against metal.

I knew what had happened. Before Mike did actually. I knew from his last observed position. “NNOOOOOoooooo!!”



When Mike places the ducks out on the lawn he favours a naturalistic style, positioning one of them a short distance behind the rest, as if it were running to catch up. I must admit, it perfectly captures their essence. Then, when he’s cutting the lawn, it’s his habit to mow right up to the ducks before stopping temporarily to move them out of harm’s way. Except, as we’ve already noted, on this particular day the grass had grown really quite long..



The patient was airlifted straight into surgery to be manipulated this way and that while clamped firmly into the workshop vice and then hammered back into shape. Mike has done his best.



But as you can see it was a close run thing. The poor bird’s lower beak has been forced upwards to meet the upper and frankly we were fortunate to escape a decapitation.



Bearing the scars, the casualty restored to the line up.. second from the right.

After the trauma of passing through the mower and living to tell the tale the least we can do is return him to the comfort of his friends. So now there are ten ducks focused primarily on where they’re placing their feet and one who keeps his head permanently tilted upward toward the horizon. I wonder what (or who) he might be keeping a look out for?


2018-10-23T17:01:46+00:00October 23rd, 2018|Tags: , |


  1. Jill Chandler October 23, 2018 at 5:13 pm - Reply

    Sorry but I laughed…..

    • Jessica October 26, 2018 at 8:54 pm - Reply


  2. grammapenny October 23, 2018 at 5:44 pm - Reply

    I laughed too and am empathetic. My husband is cutting back a “hedge” of forsythia, virginia creeper, bittersweet and grapevine all intertwined. its about 10 feet high 15-20 feet deep and 60 feet long. I need to do a blog post. Anyway I heard a whoops today.. he cut the dog fence cable by mistake with the chain saw. We did find two ground hog burrows though so that was excellent. I love your ducks.. I have rusty fish, a pig, a dragonfly, giant mosquito, wrens, and a fairy. but no ducks.

    • Jessica October 26, 2018 at 9:01 pm - Reply

      That is some hedge! Should keep him out of mischief for a while. Well maybe not if he cuts another cable! I love the sound of your rusty menagerie. We bought a new duck, a different style, but I can’t bear to put it out in the rain! Maybe in Spring πŸ˜‰

  3. FlowerAlley October 23, 2018 at 5:52 pm - Reply

    Poor ducky. I am glad he did not lose his head. Whew!

    • Jessica October 26, 2018 at 9:03 pm - Reply

      I thought he was a goner for sure, from the noise it made.

  4. janesmudgeegarden October 23, 2018 at 6:11 pm - Reply

    I am impressed with the way the duck is carrying his scars with grace and dignity- not a single sign of self-pity. Your line of rusty ducks looks wonderful there on the lawn, echoing the colour of the fallen leaves.

    • Jessica October 26, 2018 at 9:05 pm - Reply

      Almost snootiness perhaps, with his head held high?

  5. offtheedgegardening October 23, 2018 at 6:28 pm - Reply

    Oops! It is definitely character building πŸ™‚

    • Jessica October 26, 2018 at 9:11 pm - Reply

      He’ll never be the same again. Nor me. I shall be racing around collecting ducks before the mower is even out of the shed.

  6. Peter Herpst October 23, 2018 at 6:46 pm - Reply

    While the other ducks are looking at where they place their feet, your wounded fellow is watching to see if the lawn mower is coming back. Sorry about the accident but glad that ducky is back with his friends.

    • Jessica October 26, 2018 at 9:13 pm - Reply

      They’ll be glad to get safely into their winter quarters this year. Possible frost this weekend. Could be time.

  7. ginaferrari October 23, 2018 at 7:58 pm - Reply

    Looking out for the chap with the lawn mower I reckon! Did make me smile though x

    • Jessica October 26, 2018 at 9:17 pm - Reply

      The duck won’t be the only one.. something else to put me on edge πŸ™

  8. snowbird October 23, 2018 at 8:43 pm - Reply

    Hahaha….glad she survived the ordeal, she wears her battle scars well. I’m amazed she didn’t break the mower!xxx

    • Jessica October 26, 2018 at 9:23 pm - Reply

      Me too. I thought it would be just deserts. But then mower repairs are expensive. New mowers even more so!

  9. wherefivevalleysmeet October 23, 2018 at 8:49 pm - Reply

    Poor, poor rusty duck but did the mower survive this encounter?

    • Jessica October 26, 2018 at 9:23 pm - Reply

      It seems to have done, miraculously!

  10. Marian Simmons-StClair October 23, 2018 at 9:11 pm - Reply

    I guess rusty duck is now a lucky duck too!

    • Jessica October 26, 2018 at 9:25 pm - Reply

      I was amazed we could save it. It was just a mangled piece of metal lying on the lawn. I could have wept.

  11. Sarah October 23, 2018 at 9:37 pm - Reply

    Oh dear poor duck, glad he is still standing! Sarah x

    • Jessica October 26, 2018 at 9:27 pm - Reply

      So far so good. Hopefully (for the ducks anyway) lawn mowing season is coming to an end.

  12. linda October 23, 2018 at 10:38 pm - Reply

    Oh my…close call indeed!
    Our weather is getting colder and colder too…not particularly thrilled…
    Enjoy the rest of your week…
    Linda :o)

    • Jessica October 26, 2018 at 9:30 pm - Reply

      The weather forecast didn’t change here either, this weekend is going to be cold. It is Autumn I suppose. And tomorrow night the clocks go back. Cold and dark πŸ™

  13. germac4 October 23, 2018 at 10:46 pm - Reply

    We had a laugh over the poor duck almost losing his head! ( hope the lawn mower has survived) Very evocative writing of an autumn afternoon .. I could see the fields and the Canadian geese landing .. ..lovely……..πŸ˜€

    • Jessica October 26, 2018 at 9:33 pm - Reply

      We still have a few of the geese flying around but the main group appears to have moved on. It was lovely to see them gathering every evening whilst they were here. Noisy though!

  14. Sue Garrett October 23, 2018 at 11:11 pm - Reply

    He’s watching out for buzzards – keeping his pals safe.

    • Jessica October 26, 2018 at 9:34 pm - Reply

      Plenty of those about.

  15. Kris P October 24, 2018 at 12:41 am - Reply

    Well, I think it adds character. He’s the only duck in the line with a tale to be told.

    • Jessica October 26, 2018 at 9:36 pm - Reply

      Very true. So far..

  16. Beth @ PlantPostings October 24, 2018 at 2:33 am - Reply

    LOL. Well, it would have been tragic if the mower operator had been injured. But I’m certainly glad the humans and the ducks survived this event. The line-up looks fine…more interesting for the slightly tilted head and the story you can tell.

    • Jessica October 26, 2018 at 9:39 pm - Reply

      Actually I do think it looks more natural that one of the ducks is looking in a different direction. It’s right that he’s near the front of the line!

  17. Molly Williams October 24, 2018 at 2:36 am - Reply

    Oh, duck! I love the first image, the spider web and seedheads, with the blur of red behind.

    • Jessica October 26, 2018 at 9:47 pm - Reply

      Hi Molly, thanks and welcome.
      It was a case of right place right time, I just happened to be passing that teasel as the sun started to break through the mist. A few minutes later and I’d have missed it.

  18. Pauline October 24, 2018 at 6:57 am - Reply

    So glad duck survived its traumatic encounter with the lawn mower, what an experience! Love the first photo – stunning!

    • Jessica October 26, 2018 at 9:48 pm - Reply

      Thanks Pauline. One of the misty mornings we’ve been having lately. Lovely day to follow though, after the sun broke through. Can’t help feeling the warmer days are on hold for a while now..

  19. Caro October 24, 2018 at 9:17 am - Reply

    I don’t think that will happen again for a while. How’s the mower?

    • Jessica October 26, 2018 at 9:52 pm - Reply

      I think you’re right. House rules have changed. Well he finished the lawn. Not that you’d know it now, it needs mowing again!

  20. derrickjknight October 24, 2018 at 10:29 am - Reply

    Did he even grouse?

    • Jessica October 26, 2018 at 9:53 pm - Reply

      No. But they all know what to do next time… πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  21. Mary October 24, 2018 at 12:07 pm - Reply

    Well, it’s obvious. Now the duckie’s looking out for mad mowers!

    • Jessica October 26, 2018 at 9:56 pm - Reply

      The farmers around here have been hedge cutting this week. It must have made the ducks very nervous..

  22. Henriet Ferguson October 24, 2018 at 12:21 pm - Reply

    If they were my ducks I wouldnt be able to resist the temptation to reposition them from time to time to comment on my family / the weather / the fear of the lawn mower / the brexit… whatever.
    Glad you got some rain.
    We had one whole millimeter these days.
    The raindrops seemed to be looking round inquiringly, “Are we really meant to come down here?”

    • Jessica October 26, 2018 at 10:07 pm - Reply

      Oh the Brexit. It is probably just as well the ducks don’t have arms or they’d be hurling them into the air in frustration.
      It has been such a dry summer and is still. We’ve had a few heavy showers but nowhere near enough. I still have shrubs wilting and that’s virtually unheard of here, especially this late in the year.

  23. Linda aka Crafty Gardener October 24, 2018 at 8:07 pm - Reply

    That duck is keeping an eye out for the mower. πŸ˜„. A funny but not funny story, glad it survived the ordeal

    • Jessica October 26, 2018 at 10:08 pm - Reply

      I can laugh about it now, definitely not at the time!

  24. wherethejourneytakesme October 24, 2018 at 8:38 pm - Reply

    Hope the duck had PI insurance in place – I can recommend a good solicitor!

    • Jessica October 26, 2018 at 10:10 pm - Reply

      We might need him. In the meantime they’re ALL taking out PI insurance!

  25. Torrington Tina October 24, 2018 at 11:55 pm - Reply

    I am so glad that Mike does not seem to have suffered any permanent damage from his mishap. And the duck escaped pretty well considering, did you mention how the lawn mower fared in all this?

    • Jessica October 26, 2018 at 10:13 pm - Reply

      Amazingly it still seems to work. Mike managed to finish the lawn anyway. But it needs doing again already, as you see. Perhaps time will tell..

  26. Jill Anderson October 25, 2018 at 8:49 am - Reply

    They do look lovely marching across your lawn, & I much prefer the rusted metal to anything shiny. Jill

    • Jessica October 26, 2018 at 10:16 pm - Reply

      Hi Jill! A rural setting demands something rustic. It has to be rusty!

  27. Archie The Wonder Dog October 25, 2018 at 6:11 pm - Reply

    Oh no!!! I’m relieved he survived – you had me worried there!

    • Jessica October 26, 2018 at 10:16 pm - Reply

      You and me both!

  28. aberdeen gardening October 26, 2018 at 3:19 pm - Reply

    Totally quackers, but I think the duck healer did a brilliant job.

    • Jessica October 26, 2018 at 10:31 pm - Reply

      Hopefully it won’t be a job he has to do again!

  29. Chloris October 26, 2018 at 7:23 pm - Reply

    Well, lord love a duck. They do look lovely strolling through the autumn leaves. Glad he survived the accident.

    • Jessica October 26, 2018 at 10:34 pm - Reply

      Leaves falling like rain now. Mowing may be replaced by leaf blowing this weekend. That should be fairly safe shouldn’t it..?

  30. Linda from Each Little World October 26, 2018 at 10:41 pm - Reply

    Whew! Close call. That first photo is a beauty. Pure October.

    • Jessica October 28, 2018 at 4:33 pm - Reply

      It was a lucky capture. Temps have dropped. Right now it feels like pure January!

  31. Diana Studer October 26, 2018 at 11:06 pm - Reply

    Fool me twice and I’m headless. Better round up any little people, that mower sounds dangerous. And exceedingly powerful, didn’t realise they would cut through metal?!

    • Jessica October 28, 2018 at 4:40 pm - Reply

      Temperatures are dropping rapidly today. All ducks rounded up and put safely under cover. They will stay that way for the winter now.. well away from the mower!

  32. Freda October 26, 2018 at 11:25 pm - Reply

    Oh that was funny! Did I tell you about the mice eating the (straw) baby Jesus from the nativity scene I had in the loft? Isn’t it terrible the things you laugh at?

    • Jessica October 28, 2018 at 4:44 pm - Reply

      Well they do say mice will eat anything..!

  33. greentapestry October 28, 2018 at 7:33 pm - Reply

    Now why didn’t he/she just duck when that mower got too close for comfort? Poor Mike – not an easy job mowing round all those ducks πŸ™‚ Brilliant photo of the cobwebbed teasels.

    • Jessica October 30, 2018 at 9:43 am - Reply

      Mike usually moves the ducks before the mower gets anywhere near them. They’re just pushed into the ground on a spike. I have a feeling next time they’ll be moved before the mower even leaves the shed!

  34. Carrie Gault November 1, 2018 at 1:34 pm - Reply

    Dare I say it…I like the new improved arrangement – very natural and of course at least one duck ought to looking up at the sky (to check where those cheeky geese are and if there is a lawn mower coming the flocks way!)

    • Jessica November 5, 2018 at 6:52 am - Reply

      I like it too. It gives the flock a certain character. We’ve had several hard frosts already – very early in the season. So now both ducks and mower have found their winter quarters. They should stay out of trouble until Spring!

  35. hb November 7, 2018 at 12:17 am - Reply

    So, the duck should have ducked? One looking in a different direction than all the rest is better, really. There’s always one who needs to do it differently.

    How did you manage to convince the spider to make that web so photogenic? He must like you.

    • Jessica November 8, 2018 at 9:51 pm - Reply

      I felt rather sorry for the spider because the weather has been awful of late and his (or her) poor web has suffered some damage. I guess they are used to it at this time of year. Get your pickings while you can.

  36. CherryPie November 7, 2018 at 11:41 am - Reply

    Battle worn but still standing!

    • Jessica November 8, 2018 at 9:52 pm - Reply


  37. Cathy November 19, 2018 at 9:12 am - Reply

    But the poor duck will starve unless you tube-feed him… 😐

    • Jessica November 21, 2018 at 8:05 pm - Reply

      He’s on a liquid diet. With a straw. Not a plastic one obviously.

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