Saturday, January 30, 2016

down in the crick

a little gray and drippy today but not too cold.  we got enough rain overnight and this morning to put a trickle in the creek.

Monday, January 25, 2016

first night

i recently finished the fully enclosed section of the duck yard.  it's attached to the duck shed on one side, with access to the inside of the shed through the shed's east door, and the other sides and the top are covered in heavy chicken wire.  the perimeter has corrugated metal sheet buried about a foot-and-a-half deep and concrete rubble (from the greenhouse floor) buried in the gateways.  to keep the yard from getting too muddy and soggy i built a 4"x4" frame and filled it with gravel for the ducks' bathing pool and filled the rest of the yard with about 4" of pine chips.  there are two gates, one on the east side that opens to the outside of the enclosure to give me easy access from the barn and the other opens into what will be the fenced pasture/forage yard to the north.

the ducks spent their first night in their new shed last night.  today i installed a plywood partition on the north side of the shed so that they would have a place to go to stay a bit warmer and feel more secure since they're used to sleeping in a much smaller enclosure and seem to like having somewhere to get in and under.

i hinged the partition to the wall so that i can flip it up and out of the way for daily cleaning and egg collecting.

i already miss having the ducks in the kitchen garden.  being able to hear them and see them through the window in the mornings is something i love and this morning felt a bit strange and lonely not having them there.  they're in a much safer and more comfortable situation now and i feel good about that.  and i'm happy that they seem like the place i've built for them.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

a beautiful gift

staal made me a beautiful collage from pictures he took of me with the ducks...

and while he was at it he made a frame for it too...

a beautiful gift from a beautiful, loving man.

green eggs

the ducks are slowly coming into lay.  we've been getting one egg almost every day since the first egg and yesterday i found two for the first time.  this morning there were three---and one of them was green.  i've been hoping we'd have someone who'd lay green eggs for us.  i think it might be brownie, our little chocolate duck.  it was quite a small egg and she's our smallest duck.  the eggs we've been getting have been chicken egg sized but they'll get larger as the girls get more practiced.


Saturday, January 16, 2016


a lot of people i talk to who know that i garden say that they don't because it's a lot of work.  i don't know if it is.  i suppose it all depends on how one goes about it and what one considers work.  i have spent many hours (days, weeks, months, years) in my gardens.  i don't think i've done much work.  i have planted trees and other perennials and sown some seeds.  i've built trellises and fences and dug and lined beds with wire to slow down the gophers.  i've researched plant varieties to see what might do well here.  i've hand-watered and mulched and set up a drip irrigation system.  i have been occupied in my gardens.  i haven't grown a single thing.  i don't know how to do that.  i do what i can to steward an environment that is favorable for the plants that i would like to see growing here but the plants grow on their own. 

last year's fallen seed left undisturbed, the january garden is full of volunteers:

Thursday, January 14, 2016

a woodpecker answers

beneath live oaks
an afternoon building gates
my hammer finds a rhythm
driving nails
like a message sent in morse code
high away in a pine tree
a woodpecker

Monday, January 11, 2016

happy anniversary to us (photobooth series)

3 years...

we hold together

the tray of nuts and bolts in the garage
a collection years in the making
your capable hands
put them to use
mending, joining, creating
building a new life in an old house
so much that needs to be held together
each piece does its part
each one half of a whole
and either on its own loses its purpose
some a bit rusty or tool-worn
but still they hold together
as we hold together
strong and sure

today marks the 3rd anniversary of the day staal and i got married.  we moved to our little house in the pines 6 months after we were wed and we've put a lot of work into making it a comfortable, beautiful, and functional place for ourselves.  
on saturday afternoon i spent a little time doing some stone carving---a craft i started teaching myself several years ago but haven't done much of recently.  i wanted to make a little something for staal for our anniversary, something that would symbolize us, our life together, and all the hard work, creativity, and nuts and bolts, we've put into it.

soapstone nut and bolt

happy anniversary, staal.  i love you.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

ducks to water

the ducks discovered the creek this afternoon.  they had a great time splashing and foraging and we had a great time watching them.

duck eggs and other marvelous things

we've had a couple of days of great rainfall.  this morning i went out to find the rain gauge completely full/overflowing, a light dusting of snow on the ground, and our first duck egg.