I have just read a sharply-observed, well-written collection of stories that deserves to be on everyone’s summer reading list.
In “Don’t Name the Ducks and other truths about life in the country”, Wendy Dudley shares with her readers the charming, often humorous world to be found on her 44 acre property in the Alberta Foothills. Her companions are many: donkeys, a mule, horses, cats, dogs and several wild, uninvited visitors. Daily life is always interesting at Burro Alley where there is an abiding respect for each individual, no matter whether he or she is four-legged or two, furry or feathered.
Of course the best sections of the book, for me, were those concerning life with her long-eared friends. Wendy understands donkeys and mules (which is not to say that they should ever be considered the same) and as she lives with them day in and day out she makes the ultimate contribution to their lives: they are able to be themselves. Their endless curiosity, their playfulness, their common sense and, yes, their determination are all affectionately shared.
Through her evocative descriptions of the foothills environment, Wendy takes the reader right into her particular universe. With her, we move around the land, meet some of the characters in her neighbourhood, marvel at the great blue skies and experience the endless challenges – and changes – in the weather. There is a lot of heavy work to be done in such a place but the hard won contentment which comes from this rural, independent lifestyle is clearly satisfying.
It was a great pleasure to get to know Wendy and her companions through this delightful book.