New Horizon Writers’ Group

Ducking the Problem

Bob Hirt

Duck Dynasty of TV fame has recently met its match. The Dynasty group, unshaven and often scruffy in appearance but no intellectual dummies, have graced television screens throughout the country with their quirky comments, their retorts and humor.

But now in the news is another rather humorous item for us to hear about. To preserve his grape crop in South Africa, a grape farmer recently embellished his vineyards with a new labor force—a flock of ducks; a special breed of ducks that works for the mere pleasure of it and without the need for a regular paycheck, sick leave or an expensive retirement plan. These ducks are a species that cannot fly, but, like most ducks, they love to just eat and swim.

It appears that snails and other pesky critters were having a hey-day—excuse me—grape-day each and every day, devouring these newly ripe and flavorful delights, leaving empty vines and, subsequently, an almost-empty customer parking lot. In truth, the market for this vineyard’s brand of wine had lost some of its appeal to a significant number of people. In the attempt to add appeal and bring traffic back to his estate, the vintner resorted to this now-obsolete method and, in the process, return to organic rather than chemical means to control destructive parasites.

The idea was a two-fold, win-win stroke of luck and clever marketing. The gentleman trained the several dozens of ducks for almost a month to stay in line as they waddle from their habitat to the vineyard three times daily and then, later in the day, to a pond where they relax and bathe. Sales of wine increased dramatically, and in the last year, visitor numbers more than quadrupled; albeit, some people came with only cameras to photograph the multiple waddling parades of these “quackers,” and their “manager” who controls their paths toward the vineyards and away from the pond on the property.

And to be sure, the restaurant there immediately stopped serving duck, lest diners allowed their imaginations to get carried away!

I can just imagine modern-day Huey, Louie and Dewey Duck of comic book fame protesting all of this, demanding union representation and the option of a purely vegetarian diet and the institution of paid holidays and sick leave. Even the duck species has come a long way!