Over the past year, I’ve found myself justifying all manner of what you might call nonessential purchases in the name of lockdown. I ordered a hand-knit cotton sweater from Spain and throw cushions from Sweden, but the most delightful and, um, let’s say, unusual thing I ‘added to cart’ was a pair of Pekin ducklings.
This happened last June, when my husband, Joaquin, my five-year-old son, Leo and I were in month three of lockdown. By then, I had long shuttered the charade that was our home school, and there were no summer camps and no playdates. If there was a play date, I was the playmate—and I was exhausted. Even our two cats seemed increasingly oppressed by our constant presence, pining for Precedented Times, when the house was their private hotel and humans would only occasionally pop in, like housekeeping.
So there I was scrolling Instagram, retreating into the seeming perfection of other people’s lives, when I spotted a friend’s photo of two tiny golden ducklings in her living room. I messaged her immediately. She explained that she was fostering the babies for a farm in rural southern Ontario. You can adopt the newborns and parent them as long as you like—typically, the farm explains on its website, the usual foster lasts a few weeks, until the ducklings waddle from their downy infancy into their more obstreperous, feathered teenaged fowl-hood. This programme helps fund the farm and, I told myself, generously provides us with what we’d been lacking: joy, spontaneity and fellowship.
“WE’RE GETTING DUCKLINGS!” I proudly announced. Joaquin replied with something along the lines of “What?”
I explained that the farm would bring us everything we needed—’chick Gatorade’, a heat lamp, food and bedding (a bale of pine shavings) and also an activity for Leo.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
The Benefits of Cuddling
Touch is actually good for us
ME & MY SHELF
After moving to England in the 1960s, Farrukh Dhondy seemingly did everything. He worked as a writer, teacher, a journalist and a commissioning editor for Channel 4. His recently released memoir, Fragments Against My Ruin, records the highlights of a very full life.
LET'S GO FOR A WALK
I discovered that this gentle activity supports healing for both body and soul
NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF MEDICINE
FREQUENT INTERNET USE: NOT ALWAYS BAD
MY PENNILESS JOURNEY
In 1998 I decided to walk 805 km across England and into Scotland with no money. Would I be shown enough hospitality to keep going?
EACH ONE A CHAMPION
India’s para-athletes made history in Tokyo, but the story of how they got there is a true lesson in grit
Within seconds, the car carrying four Dutch tourists was swept down the hillside by the raging waters
It Happens ONLY IN INDIA
“Will you please lend me ₹10,000? I will pay it back after I win KBC.”
Words of Wellness
The surprising reasons why reading is good for your health
Let's Talk About Sex
Why we need to rescue sexual health from taboo and misinformation
Down to Their Last Dollar
Businesses fail every day, from world-beaters (like TWA and Lehman Brothers) to sexy high-fliers (DeLorean, Enron) to Steady Eddie, old-school icons (Toys “R” Us, Sears). Sometimes, of course, market conditions simply turn Sisyphean. But often, when that boulder starts to roll backward, a leader’s grit, imagination, resourcefulness, and ability to conjure a little luck can mean the difference between a brave new chapter and, well, Chapter 11. Here, four businesses that went from nearly bust to total gangbusters.
Acoustic Blues Musings, Pt. 1
How to choose a blues box and strings.
LEO'S NESTING INSTINCT A TITANIC LIFE CHANGE!
LEONARDO DiCaprio’s swinging single days may be history, insiders said — after he put his Malibu bachelor pad on the market for $10 million!
TRAINING CAMP TAKEAWAYS
The X factor, Kadarius Toney is falling behind and The big tight end is back
WHY DO SOME QUESTIONS CONFUSE ROBOTS?
A COMPUTER can easily defeat a human at chess or even the quiz show Jeopardy. But questions that seem obvious trip them up. Read these three:
FIVE DECADE SLUMBER
Built in the ’30s. Forgotten in the ’50s. How a barn find 1933 Ford was resurrected as the Devil’s Coupe.
Leon Bridges eclectic third album Gold-Diggers Sound finds the acclaimed singer-songwriter further moving away from the ’60s retro-soul feel of his breakout debut
Madness on Campus
Helen Eustis’ The Horizontal Man
Falling Block Works Testing a .225 Winchester
The .225 Winchester test rifle was built from a loose Falling Block Works action. A 26-inch varmint barrel was added and the custom stockwork was conducted by a friend using gorgeous American walnut.
ROYAL FEUD BY THE NUMBERS!
Mixing mystic arts to explain the pain