|Posted by Gail on April 23, 2012 at 11:05 PM||comments (0)|
I successfully convinced the kids that the mallard derivative ducks, Sonny, Jayne, and Peepers, needed to be set free. The explanation I gave was that we have enjoyed them as pets for a year, but that now they need to go find girl ducks and make babies.
What I didn't mention was that now that they are a year old, living in a pen, they routinely prison rape each other. 0.o THIS is why you don't have an all male flock.
So today we took pics with the ducks and tried to set them free in the creek.
They wouldn't go in the water, but instead wandered along the shoreline. This evening, after dark, they came up onto the lawn and were wandering around quacking and chattering while they cruised the front lawn for bugs.
My neighbors were not going to be pleased.
So I successfully herded them back into the back yard, and then (with some help) into the pen. We'll try releasing them at a pond with ducks and see if that goes better.
oops. Domesticated ducks are domesticated.
(the kids won't let us eat them though and I highly doubt there is someone with an MD flock looking for three males of various style)
pictured: Jayne with Peaches, Sonny with Monkey
|Posted by Gail on March 16, 2012 at 3:05 PM||comments (0)|
But now I'm back. Sorry about that. Life got crazy, but mostly not on the permaculture front.
We did pick up new chicks today. I'm gonna take a risk that the dog has gotten the raccoon under control. We lost all 10 of our hens last year to a bored and destructive raccoon, and have since gotten a beautiful brindle pit bull who has taught that raccoon to fear the inside of my house. Hopefully she has also taught it to avoid the yard, but that is harder to confirm.
We'll know soon. The hard way.
So we picked up six two week old chicks today: three production reds and three barred rocks, and we'll be picking up four grown hens from Oma, who gave them to me for Solstice.
Here's hoping the racoon is gone for good. ~crosses fingers~
|Posted by Gail on June 19, 2011 at 9:59 PM||comments (0)|
I owe ya'll an update, and I'll get to it, I promise, with pictures and everything. However, this entry is just to take a moment and say: we have baby ducks!
Penny's brood hatched on Saturday. I'll show the story in pics, though you really had to be there to see the torturously slow joy of it.
HHatching has begun! See the tiny holes (and one bigger one)? The largest hole here is NOT the egg that hatched first. That little guy got all turned around and didn't open the narrow end like the others...he was actually fifth out!
We have birth! The first duckling tumbles into the world.
Then there were three!
Four, and almost five...
There's number 5, all wet and new.
Six and Seven tumble out!
See the tiny baby by her feet? So small compared to mama. She is staring down Top Chicken (who blinked).
Just about done. This is at 9, at that point I went in for the evening and didn't make it back out. This is while she went away to get a drink.
She was so proud of herself I just couldn't bear to take them all...but I knew I needed to take most of them to keep them safe from the ravages of Sarge and Top Chicken. So I watched them for a while and left her the one chick that was REALLY good about staying right under her when she walked around and doing everything she did, then stole the other eleven away to a place where they can eat and drink unharrassed. They are doing well, and she is still really proud of her remaining duck. Though she sure doesn't trust me right now.
I wouldn't either.
Three eggs that didn't hatch, and I don't even know what she did with the last one... :S I'll steal the duds tomorrow, I didn't want to ravage too much in one day.
So we have babies. And....Rosita is setting another nest:
|Posted by Gail on May 29, 2011 at 6:46 PM||comments (2)|
I noticed this morning that the dandelions have really flourished since that last summer shower we had (seems so long ago already), so tonight it was time for another summer salad.
The prize of tonight's meal was the gorgeous orange pepper recently harvested. Isn't it pretty?
I added to that some of today's harvest:
but not all of it.
So, dandelion greens, some arugula, a bit of mint and boxwood basil, a hard boiled hen egg, three or four cherry tomatos, half of the pepper, half a Black Krim tomato, and some Smoked Gouda cheese (the only part not from the yard).
Before bed I'll make the rest of today's mint harvest into iced tea to go in the fridge, so I'll have it available tomorrow while I'm painting. Later this week I need to take the time to harvest and dry some of the parlsey, basil, and fennel, since all of those are getting a bit out of control.
ETA: speaking of drying herbs: if I got herb jars, would anyone local be interesting in bartering or buying dried (or fresh) herbs? and if so, what would you be most interested in? (so I can plan next year's garden).
|Posted by Gail on May 29, 2011 at 3:49 PM||comments (0)|
Today was my first butchering session. I packed up K and Rooster and headed out to the Barn to meet up with LT and Oma. There we butchered Uno (the first of my three goats) and Rooster, plus one of their meat chickens.
I wasn't sure how I'd handle this. In theory I'm all in favor of knowing your meat, but I've never actually had the opportunity to kill it myself before. I knew that if I failed to participate, or felt badly, it would be a quick trip back to vegetarian world for me, and goodbye to raising ducks and buying chicks.
I need not have worried. I was able to milk Uno before we killed her, help with the tie down, and help haul her up into place, as well as assisting with the various parts of the actual "from corpse to meat" process. It felt...good.
What felt even better was handling Rooster. I held him (man, he was calm, that chicken was very used to being handled) and we cut off his head. Then I helped with the butchering, having assisted with the previous meat chicken so I didn't feel like a ninny.
I need to preface this next statement with a bit of information. I despise handling meat from the store. Hate it hate it hate it. I squicks me out. Every time I have to handle raw meat I briefly consider going vegetarian again. It's bad enough that I rarely buy meat anymore unless I "have to", and not just because I don't want to support factory farming or to bring home something resting on Styrofoam and wrapped in plastic. I just really hate handling it.
This felt completely different. It didn't gross me out, it didn't feel squicky, it just felt like handling food.I actually didn't notice it wasn't squicking me out until I got home and was transferring Uno from the big garbage bag into smaller containers to go in my fridge. Huh, I thought to myself, why is this not grossing me out.
Energy matters. This meat feels more...alive, for lack of a better word, than what is purchased at the store. I wait to see whether handling it when it is cold matters to my squick level, but during the process itself I was not grossed out at all, nor later when putting it away.
I also came home with some yogurt (made by Oma), and several quarts of goat milk. I look forward to trying that. I wish I had thought to ask for the milk I milked from Uno, but I didn't think of that until I was putting things away.
From now on, no more meat I didn't meet will be served in my kitchen. I consider this a milestone, and I will not backtrack from it. I am looking forward to the ducks being old enough to sell/butcher, as I can hardly wait to try fresh muscovy meat.
Thank you, Uno and Rooster, for your sacrifice. I am grateful for the nourishment you will provide to my family.
|Posted by Gail on May 27, 2011 at 5:27 PM||comments (0)|
Penny has been spending more and more time on the nest.
Top Chicken still thinks that nest is the best one.
So every day Top Chicken lets Penny know that it is Time To Move Right NOW, and Penny dutifully gets off the nest to eat and stretch and pick on the other ducks, while Top gets in and settles herself over the nest in her best matronly manner, and lays her Daily Egg.
Chickens are not as big as ducks.
The effect of this system is that if I want to get the chicken eggs out of the duck nest before they become incorporated into the egg rotation, I have to either catch them in the middle of a shift change, or go out when the day is hottest and Miss Penny is likely to be taking a break to let the eggs not overheat while she harasses the Rita mercilessly.
At least until Sarge hisses at them to cut that shit out.
|Posted by Gail on May 18, 2011 at 12:31 AM||comments (1)|
I'm very proud to say that my dinner tonight was almost entirely provided by the yard. I did add cheese and dressing to it, but other than that, a whole dinner salad (enough to actually BE dinner) and the tea to go with it.
Today's harvest, which should have included three more eggs, but I now know that someone with a hand tremor cannot hold five eggs and open a door.
Also not pictured: the herbs I harvested earlier for tea. Note that this includes the first Black Krim tomato of the season, along with the first bell pepper.
I used some of this, plus the greens harvested the last few days, and some of the homestead tomatoes (but not the Black Krim, saving that) to make a lovely dinner salad.
I'm pleased to say it was fantastically delicious. Knowing how much of it I grew right here only made it even better.
|Posted by Gail on May 17, 2011 at 12:29 PM||comments (1)|
I had a craving for fettucine. I had to make do.
You see, first there were Roma Tomatoes,
then there were sun dried tomatoes,
and in between was this step where I had to take the seeds and juice out of a dozen or so Romas.
So I mixed that with four cheese alfredo, added in some chives and basil, snipped fine....
poured it over wheat spaghetti noodles, added a sprig of parsly and basil flowers, sprinkled quartered cherry tomatoes over it, and some fresh grated ramano, then served it with a cup of mint/hyssop/fennel tea...because I am sick after all.
Now that was some tasty pampering, if I do say so myself.
|Posted by Gail on May 17, 2011 at 12:00 PM||comments (0)|
I'm having a sick day today. This appears to differ from a regular day in that I cannot get the cats to stop being on top of me. Cats do love fever heat.
Otherwise, things go on as usual, but with fewer kids, and more breaks. The Roma tomatoes that I started in the dehydrator last night are slowly finishing (I'm checking and removing the done ones often to try to avoid over crisping) and today's harvest was full of cherry tomatoes. Since I promised myself I didn't get tomatoes today (long story) and my daughter isn't here, I actually managed to get them into the basket and get pictures (usually she and I eat them directly from the vine, almost skipping picking them first).
Adding in the fresh dandelion greens (thanks, rain!), arugula blossoms and stems (almost as tasty as the greens), some healhty bits of chives, curled parsley, flat parsley, basil, and some mint, hyssop, and fennel for tea, it's a lovely harvest. I probably should have put the three yard eggs in there, but I did things in stages today due to the aforementioned sick and I frankly just now thought of that.
Now if only cat fur were edible....
|Posted by Gail on May 17, 2011 at 11:59 AM||comments (0)|
Since this is a new website for an old project, I've decided to make an entry that links back to the previous journal. This way I have an easy reference to go find budget items and link info that are stored there.
Chicken Pen Planning: it should be noted that later raccoon experience caused me to go back, remove the chicken pen we built, and instead use a pre-built kennel which I then added a screen top to and put a layer of chicken wire inside the bottom half of. This has (so far, knock wood) been a better design, despite being more expensive.
A note regarding compost with useful formula for calculations
Homeowner energy audit Please note that, in part because of this, I no longer have a dryer.
Rainwater formula we do now have rain barrels and spout diverters on all the downspouts. I'd like to double up and have two on each one, and managed to plan ahead enough that each spout diverter is set up for that. I just need to obtain the barrels.
Paper waste reduction link although at this point I barely get anything in the mail, having also called each catalog I recieved to opt out, so that now I get none, along with none of the junk mail from the companies they share with.
How to freeze eggs for use in the more egg-lean months
Natural egg dye for Easter/Ostara/Holi
Homesteading laws (at least where I live)