Well, our five ducklings made it through one night successfully. They are a in bigger 4×4 brooding pen and there’s no straggler getting denied food or water. They’ve all got good energy and nice down. They are only a couple days old, though. Most of the big changes start to happen around the one week mark.
We are initiating what I have to term the New Agrarian protocol with watering, as I’ve not seen anyone else on the internet follow such a process with new ducklings. Other folks make their own waterers to prevent frequent fouling or swear up and down that their ducklings never hop in the water to play and poop in it. Right now, for us, it’s easier to follow this system of 4x a day waterings with storebought waterer than to make something special to reduce watering frequency. Thanks, random fellow agrarian on the internet!
Here’s their current brooding pen, it’s made from what used to be raised beds when we lived in suburbia and what will return to being raised beds when these little (mostly) gals grow out of it.
And here’s another blurry picture of the little flock. Still learning how to use my fancy smrtfone.
So today we went down to one of the local feed stores to get ducklings. It’s family run, less than five miles down the road, and it’s kind of like a PowerPuff Girls live action movie. Very chipper, confident young ladies running the place. A knowledgeable and very professional girl who looked about ten or twelve was manning the chick zone. She certainly knew her poultry breeds and how to handle the babies just fine.
If you live rural, you know that the feed stores generally put out baby poultry around this time of year. The feed store had baby chicks, ducks, turkeys and geese. All were in nice setups with plenty of light, starter, water and room to scamper around. There was even a very sleepy duckling who had just hatched earlier this morning. Anyway that was the chick zone. Other times of the year other stuff is in there, but right now it’s all chicks, all the time.
And here they are! The Cayugas are the black ones.
Probably once I find the receipt I will do a boring post about costs, but that’s for another day. Time to go party with baby ducks!
As is occasionally the case with country living, accidents will happen. In this case, a stray spark led to a small brush fire, scorching juniper that had run wild over the landscaping (which was a nice side effect) but also nailing our plum and cherry trees (which was a not so nice side effect). We got to meet the fine folks of Snohomish Fire District 4 who arrived very very quickly and immediately got the fire under control. It looks bad from the road, but it’s a fairly small burn.
Here’s some pictures of it all
Desolation of stupid is my husband’s name for the burned area. The Juniper Burn is mine. It looked worse than it is. The grass is likely to come back, it doesn’t look like anything was burned to death, but with no leaves, the juniper will be much easier to clear out and replace with fruit trees or bushes. While the fire was going on, it was stressful, but it was over quickly. I took the girls and kept them out of trouble. My oldest was thrilled and wanted to help the firemen. My youngest smelled the smoke and was scared and unhappy. Funny how personality differences come through even at very young ages.
Anyway, due to this accident, we’re going over our property and will be working to clear fire hazard plants out now while there is still frequent rain. And if things go very well, we’re going to go ahead and throw some sheep out to graze down some of the brush in the next week or two. Sheep are great at eating plain grass and also knocking out underbrush. Their dining habits blend cow and goat, skewing more towards one or the other depending on breed.
Life is a strange business, but we’re glad to have good neighbors and firefighters.
We are finally preparing to plant and we are starting with something easy– potatoes. The glory of potatoes is that you can just plant a sack from the store and get back several more sacks even if you forget to weed some weekends. You can also in this climate leave them in the ground if you don’t want to harvest all at once. So it’s a nice break-in crop.
We have some native plant life around and about. Out here in more rural Snohomish County, the native plants have not been pushed out as much as is the case in even fairly remote bits of King County. Thus, we have lovely salmonberries that will soon fruit and make for delicious snacking when the kids party outside in the wonderful summers Cascadia has to offer.
However, there are still a few places where noxious invasive plants crop up, like English Ivy, which can create “ivy deserts” where nothing else grows.
Conveniently, the junipers in that picture are coming down to allow for enough sun for the taters and other stuff we want to plant, so the English Ivy will be gone baby gone soon enough.
It was nice to start digging in the dirt. Hopefully we can have lots of planting through the late spring and early summer.
That sums it up. I knew there would be interesting obstacles cropping up on our way to some animals and vegetables (and cherry and plum trees), but I didn’t know what specific ones they’d be. Turned out to be various social and work things. Probably a picture post tomorrow or Thursday. We start planting this weekend and go until late May and we’ll get some sheep and ducks in May and June. So we will likely have an eggy summer and fall wool and late fall lamb. And I will take advantage of the recently lovely weather to get back into the swing of things.
Just a bagatelle for now.
We had random snow, it came and went in a single day. Welcome to Cascadian microclimates.
This has been a very brief Post A Pic Tuesday.