We used to get cold winters in Agassiz to my way of thinking not from the perspective of some of the old timers in Agassiz who remembered the 48 flood like it was the water that carried the Arc in Biblical times and snow storm of epic proportions but cold enough to mandate mittens, toques and scarves oh and of course the warm boots.
Well on one of these occasions when it got really cold brother Doug and I went out looking for ice to skate on. We spent a lot of time outside when we were kids and although I do remember getting cold all the time cause I was so skinny you couldn’t keep us in the house.
Man if we could find a nice pond that had frozen over in the cold it was time to put on your skates and play hockey or just skate without playing hockey it was all fun and we enjoyed ourselves immensely. Sometimes along with the cold arctic weather you would get the brutally freezing winds that would freeze the water faster then just the cold alone.
The problem with water freezing when you had a strong wind was that you had much less area to skate on and the ice was no longer smooth as glass but rippled and bumpy. The skating on a pond that was rippled and bumpy was unbearable so when we had a cold snap around 1975 and the big pond out in Gus Loy’s farm field froze over it was no good to skate on because it was an open field and well I am sure you can figure out the quality of the ice from my prior description.
Being resourceful and not wanting to miss out on our chance to skate we went for a walk down Hardy road looking for some smooth ice to practice our pirouettes and triple sow cows. I think Hardy road was about a mile long and we walked about 8/10 of the way down the road looking for the glass that virgin ice. You know the stuff and the sound of the skate cutting into it and the sound of the ice cracking a bit under your feet not because it was going to break but because it was settling or at least that’s what we told ourselves.
Well on this particular day in question we hopped over the fence to get out to a new pond and we saw the most amazing and sad thing that we had ever seen. In the field was probably close to 60 or 80 ducks. The ducks in the field was not the strange thing but the fact that these ducks were all dead and frozen into the pond was pretty strange.
We broke one or two out of the ice and brought them back home. We came back after and got the rest out of their icy tombs hell eighty ducks would make a lot of duck stew and the feathers would make at least 10 feather ticks Mom made all of us kids feather ticks and they were pretty amazing.We were thinking that the ducks had been poisoned all in the same location and same condition I mean the dead condition so eating them was out of the question but the feathers and the down were there for the picking and picking we did until we filled plastic garbage bags.
We found out from the local experimental farm that the ducks had not in fact been poisoned but because of the strong wind and the cold weather they most likely set down in the field because it was getting dark and they were also probably close to exhaustion from trying to fly in that wind that they just froze to death in the water.
Sad But True.
Created: Oct 23, 2013Document Media