Thursday, June 30, 2016

big world for little ducks

after i let the ducks out to forage this morning i closed the shed door so they couldn't get back in and then i opened the safe to see if harpo and ducklings would come out (i tried this yesterday but they weren't ready).  harpo came out and had a good wing flap and a stretch and the ducklings followed soon after.  they did a brief exploration of the shed and came out maybe a foot or so into the enclosed run attached to the shed before heading back to their safe.  in time harpo will get more comfortable leading her little ones away from the nest and the ducklings will get braver and more curious as they grow.  it's a big world for little ducks.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

best seats in the house

everyone is looking good today.  the little ones have started drinking and moving about a little bit, though they're still happiest snuggled up with mama.

Monday, June 27, 2016

ducklings (3)

this morning's peeping turned out to be three beautiful ducklings...

i had forgotten how tiny they start out. 

it was a little dark in the shed and it may be hard to see the fuzzy little peepers in the video below... ducklings 1 and 2 are in the foreground and duckling 3 is tucked under mama's wing.

a few days ago i spent an afternoon modifying and rebuilding the safe (it's basically a plywood box) i housed the ducks in when they were ducklings after they'd gotten too big for the brooder and i moved them outside to the kitchen garden.  late this afternoon, after i was sure the hatch was done and everyone had gotten a chance to rest a bit, i moved the safe into the duck shed and then moved mama and babies into the safe to make sure they wouldn't be trampled or injured or get lost and chilled in the night.  

harpo was surprisingly mellow about being moved and the ducklings didn't fuss much about being handled.  it was a little stressful for them but they all seemed to be settling in fairly comfortably when i checked on them this evening as i was getting the rest of the ducks into the shed for the night.
hope everyone makes it safe and well into the morning.


seems we may have at least one new addition to our little flock this morning.  harpo has been brooding a nest for 28 days.  two days ago when i checked the eggs i could feel and hear activity coming from inside.  yesterday the shells of the brood eggs showed signs that the ducklings inside were working hard at pipping their way out and one of them replied with a string of muffled peeps when i spoke to it.

picture taken yesterday morning showing the beginnings of a hatch

harpo is protective of her nest (eggs/ducklings) but she hasn't been aggressive with me and allowed me to take a brief video this morning.  in the video you can hear mama talking first and then an answer coming from a little peeper somewhere underneath her protective body.

hoping to get a look at the source of peeping sometime soonly.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

the miracle of berries

the berries that i picked for you, love
are miracles
surviving the treacherous journey
from the garden to the kitchen
each of them so nearly joining the fate
of mr. williams's icebox plums

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


harpo has been brooding a nest for 14 days.  she started with 9 eggs but there have been a few losses and there are now 6 eggs.  i candled them with a flashlight today and they're all looking good.  i took a short video of one of the eggs while i was checking them out.  the shadow of an embryo is just visible moving around inside the egg.  pretty neat stuff.  

* not sure what the tapping sound in the video is.  may have been the ducks messing with something outside the shed while i was recording.

good morning, blackberries

looks like a very good year for blackberries.  looking forward to stained fingers and that sweet-tart tang on the tongue.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

good things in the gardens

i love being able to just step outside and find so many good things in the gardens.

fixin's for tonight's salad

5+ varieties of lettuce, arugula, green onion tops, cilantro, snow peas, calendula petals, and borage blossoms


fava beans



got quite a few cherries from the old cherry tree this year

we've got red and yellow raspberries coming on

very nice crop of blackberries coming on

the cool wet spring has been great for the berries and lettuces and other greens but it's been a little rough for the  heat loving veggies.  the beans, tomatoes and squashes have been suffering and sulking for weeks but with the consistent warm weather we've had recently they're starting to green up and put on some growth.  

beans beginning to find their way

along with all the berries, herbs, and vegetables we've also been enjoying an abundance of duck eggs.  egg production has declined a little bit in the last couple of weeks and i'm starting to find feathers here and there so the ducks may be starting to molt.  with the decline in production has been a increase in random egg placement.  during peak egg production the ducks were generally done laying by about 9am and i would find an egg for every duck in a nest in the shed.  lately the laying schedule has been a little irregular and i've been finding eggs in interesting places...

duck egg in one of the blackberry patches

fished this one out of the pool late this afternoon

a few days ago one of the ducks (harpo) went broody and i decided to let her set a nest.  she's got nine eggs under her.  runners are pretty small ducks and nine eggs is probably about the limit of what she can keep covered and warm.   i'm hoping she sticks with it.  it would be nice to have a few ducklings around again.  

i think it's going to be an interesting summer.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

magnificent creatures roam

deep within the jungle of my heart
such magnificent creatures roam
golden, guiding spirits
bright, luminous, lovely