Monday, June 30, 2014

Well now.

That's interesting. Turns out the duck that was starting to quack? Is still quacking... but it is most definitely a boy.  It's head is now starting to turn green as well. None of the others quack or anything close to quack. He's an oddball in more than one way.
Well, the green shows up well on my phone. Guess I'll have to try to get a different picture of my fine fellow this week to show you better. He is well into his adult molt now and in about 2 weeks will not be recognizable
from this bird. His chest is a deep dark burgundy already, and there are a few of the darker colored feathers coming in on his back as well. It's odd that his first set of feathers was so light and now his adult feathers are filling in so dark. Then again this one has been nothing but odd.

 I've truly enjoyed watching them mature and now that I know they are all drakes I have begun the elimination process as to which birds are in the running to stay, and which three will be making a long trip to Alabama. The drake pictured, while beautiful - is a trip maker. The lightly marked juvenile feathers are an issue for me. (See the other in the background, much darker)

It's remarkable how alike they are and yet how different. I can tell them apart by their feathering to some extent, and the sounds they make are truly different as well. Unique and the alike at the same time...well except the one who thinks it's a girl.
 While I'd like to breed to the standard of perfection, that standard doesn't specify the darkness of the bird. I prefer the darkest coloration available to help them hide and blend in to their surroundings. They will be on a large pond and the darker they are the fewer predators will take notice. (See the one with almost no brown in the middle? His lighter coloration makes him stand out.)

OK, yes I chopped the ducks head off - metaphorically, but better this way, than physically - no? ;-)
I just love the patterning on these guys. Look at that purple/blue wing speculum.  Beautiful.

I'm excited to be adding to the flock next weekend and I can't wait to show you pictures of the new little ones. But meanwhile the drakes are starting to change so rapidly I'm afraid I won't be able to pick out the one I've decided to keep for breeding when I introduce more into the flock. 
SO. As a solution I've decided to mark the one that I feel will suit my needs best. Of course once they have completed their adult feathering this could change, but as long as there is nothing glaringly wrong with him as far as breeding standard and coloration goes I am going to be keeping the one that tries to rasp or honk, but can't seem to make a sound. He's by far the best bet for a pet in my neighborhood. Nearly silent and non-flying are great attributes to have around here!

Once I started looking around at ways to mark my birds I realized that there were not a lot of easy and painless options out there. So, I found these...
They are almost like keyrings in that they are looped over themselves, but they are fairly flexible plastic and should be easy to get on or off the bird(s). I want to mark the one that I am keeping now, but when I release them on the pond in Alabama I don't want it mistaken that they are just some random birds. So the ones we take up there will be marked before they are let out of their enclosure. By marking their legs any person (poacher, trespasser) will know that the birds are not wild game. Not that it would stop everyone but the area we are in up there? It's got a pretty good honor system going. If a neighbor was to see someone with my duck it would be questioned and reported. Livestock is super important to life up there and the vast majority  of people farm for their way of living/feeding their families. I realize that if the birds do manage to settle into a nice lifestyle and keep away form the predators that they might some day have ducklings and I would have no way to mark them and that's OK. I figure that if they are able to produce a new flock then that's awesome and more than I ever expected. I'm just hoping that they  live the first year or two out without any major incidence. It's be so nice to see the family group all together up there when we go fishing and such. <3

Off to fill up the waterers...again.

See you soon!


Monday, June 23, 2014

Harvest Monday 6/23/14

Welcome back to Harvest Monday!

I am unfortunately still dealing with thievery and nastiness in my garden. I am ready to turn it all under and wait until fall to start again. That is a sad day, indeed. All of my harvests this week were wild ones...

Blackberry season is upon us. The blackberries at home? GONE. The berries are all gone and one of the plants was chewed through. I'm not happy with that, but I was thrilled to gather a few handfuls like this for desserts. No cooking or prep needed, just pop 'em and go!

This harvest however, well it needed quite a bit of prep work. My son is learning how to filet and how to prep pan fish. This guy was too large for a pan fry, and needed to be filleted. But he was part of a stringer that ended up being a wonderful dinner for 5. :-)

Ah, yes this also took a lot of prep work. all the meat on the right was from a regular rack of ribs, the meat on the left is all wild pig. YUM... this was all smoked on Saturday and what you see here is after 9 of us were finished. My fridge is full of leftovers now and that makes for easy meal prep this week. :-)

Thanks for stopping by. Don't forget to go by Daphne's Dandelions. She's got the scoop on what's happening in gardens around the globe.

See you soon!


Monday, June 16, 2014

Harvest Monday

Sent from my iPhoneIt's harvest Monday again! This is the majority if my harvests. Beans. And since these were harvested I now have something eating ever bean before I can harvest. Oh Joy!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


More like- honk....maybe. See for yourself. I apologize for the crazy video. My daughter is insane. In trying to determine if this critter is male or female you are supposed to make them QUACK... well  I'm not sure if this counts. (there is peeping from the other ducklings in one of the videos)

Monday, June 2, 2014

Harvest Monday 6.2.14

Ah, yes. Harvest Monday. I missed a few weeks, and didn't link into Daphne's place a few times so it seems I've been gone forever. But, I haven't. I've been harvesting little bits here and there. The last of the blueberries are in and I'm already mourning their loss. It's only been a few days since the last picking but my fridge seems empty without them.

Also harvesting tomatoes, beans, peppers and carrots. It's been a good couple weeks and I've had the best harvest ever of beans. These beans are a bush variety and thanks to ducks and chickens - well fertilized. :-) I don't know if that is the main difference or if the weather was just perfect for them lately, but this is the smallest planting I've ever done and I harvested almost twice as much as my Romas in twice the space. I plan on cooking them tonight to do a taste test and if they are nearly as good as the roma beans I will be letting them go to seed.

Here are the pictures for the week:

The ducklings are doing well and the chickens still hate them. It's something I'm going to have to deal with soon...they need to be housed together and soon. We plan on taking the majority of the ducks to Alabama on the 4th of July. But, the one that stays needs to stay in the chicken run. This should be interesting. I don't know what to do to help the situation as the ducklings where inside the run in a wire cage for weeks with no attitude change from the hens. I would think about replacing the hens at this point to introduce an entirely new flock together but it's not chick time at the feed stores anymore so I would be forced to buy from a hatchery and I'm not sure that is a good answer. I'd need to find homes for the rest of the chicks.. Ah well- so I keep trying. They do well together in the yard, but not in the run.
See you soon!