One of the chores I wanted to get to this weekend included cutting back a very oversized perennial grass that is by our mailbox.
I think I planted it at least 7 or 8 years ago now, and let’s just say it has done very well in that spot. It has gotten HUGE. For the last probably 3 years, I have said every fall, “We need to divide that grass. It’s enormous.”
By the end of the season, it flops forward and definitely encroaches on the daylily’s space, who lives in front of it. But each year passes, and I never get aound to it. (Which is why it is now gargantuan sized.)
There is probably a “right” time and way to divide a grass like this. If I were a real gardener, I’d likely know this. But I’m not. And researching this fell onto my list of “stuff I mean to do, but I’m not actually going to make time to do”.
I finally decided yesterday that I needed to do something about it NOW. I decided I’d just take a big trimming shears, cut down ~half of it and then attempt to dig out the roots, leaving the back half intact. (Then, my plan was to fill in the new open space with some nice, new landscaping rocks to match the rest of the area, hopefully creating a cleaner look.)
I don’t have any “before” pics, but after I started chopping, here’s what I discovered:
AHHH!!!! What the heck is that!? I was like, “SHOOT. I just accidentally uncovered some sort of nest of…..chicken eggs? No, that can’t be right….Must be duck eggs.”
Come to think of it, we have seen some ducks in the yard, but I thought they were just passing through. (We have a pond a block away, so ducks aren’t uncommon.)
Keep in mind though, this spot is at the base of my mailbox. And obviously, mailboxes are a couple feet from the road.
Previously, mama duck had the nest perfectly hidden from view….and now, thanks to Miss Happy Homeowner with the Cutting Shears over here, her private nest is completely exposed. To the street, people, predators, passing dogs, the mailman… 😫😫😫😫
I felt terrible. I love ducks! I love all wild animals. I talk to our squirrels! I scoop spiders from my basement into a plastic cup and take them outside! So I was feeling very upset by the fact that I potentially jeopardized this sweet mama duck’s nest!!
I did a little online research, and it didn’t look like moving the eggs was a viable option.
After doing some brainstorming, I decided to try to re-create the grass that was there (until I cut it down…). I pulled some old pots out of our shed and basically planted the cut grass pieces in them. Ivan had just been trimming some bushes, so I grabbed some of those heftier leafy branches and spread them around, too.
Then, I made a “CAUTION: DUCK NEST” sign to attach to our mailbox, in hopes that the mailman will be very careful!!
I’m not sure if that grass will hold up to wind and rain, since it’s just sort of stuck in some dirt. No roots, it’s just blades of grass, really! But I’ll keep an eye on it and hopefully can replenish as needed to keep the area protected.
Good news so far- Ethan went out to check this morning, and mama was there, sitting on her eggs! She flew away when Ethan approached.
Apparently it takes around 26-28 days for the eggs to incubate, and then she will lead the babies to water within 24 hours.
This is so not an ideal spot, though! We have plenty of other areas in our yard that would have been WAY more private than on the curb of the road! Ugh. Poor mama. She didn’t know…. 😦
I am grateful for lemon bars. Ethan made some yesterday. Yum.