The wind brought the rain and behind the rain, the air is moderating into something resembling spring. However, the heat of this past week has pushed almost everything into sudden panic. All the plants are like, “Summer already! So much to do! Got to get my blooms open. Got to make pollen and nectar. Got to make leaves. Got to make pollen. . .” It’s just stunning how everything is opening up all at once. Even the apples, so sleepy just a few days ago are now trotting out their full kit.
As I passed by the beehives today, bees were landing on the porches so laden with pollen that I noticed the color difference out of the corner of my eye. Normally, I have to look closely to see what colors of pollen they are bringing in. I really need to pay them a visit tomorrow. I am thinking either splits are in order or I should lay on honey supers.
The ducklings are now four weeks old. They’ve reached that fun age where water becomes an obsession. The coop was beginning to reek of rotting bog, despite my clever water segregation plan. Today, I evicted them. Although not fully feathered yet, they are now living in the igloo dog house underneath the cedar trees right off the front porch – where Moose can keep an eye on them.
I don’t have a proper duck house built yet. Heck, I don’t even have secure fencing for them. But I was pretty proud of my ingenuity at doubling up the poultry netting with a gap in between – no coon has arms long enough to reach through both strands of fencing, reel in a duck and bite off a duck head.
Then I put the ducks in. . . and they went right through weave of the electric net.
Doh! They are big, but not big enough yet, for the poultry netting to actually contain them. They didn’t wander far. They circled around the beehives and hunkered down next to the new heat pump while they watched me improve their new home. I stuffed boxes in between the strands to block ducks from one side and coons from the other. (The boxes I’d been saving to start new lasagna beds.) When I ran low on those, my husband suggested hay bales. So I started pulling down the bee wall – the hay bale wind break I’d made to keep the winter wind off the bees – and used them to lay a course of moldy, mushroomy hay bales around the perimeter of the duck enclosure.
Afterwards, it was surprisingly easy to herd the ducks into the enclosure. They were happier that their new home now had definite boundaries. I think their first glimpse of the world was a bit overwhelming and a smaller world was more comforting. It didn’t take them long to go into the igloo and hunker down. They did sample the waterer and the food dish, but they pretty much ignored the kiddie pool other than taking a few gurgles of water. Just too much world too quickly for little duckies.
But they are out of the coop now and after a little soap, water and scrubbing, you’d never know they’d been there. A nice side effect of insulating the coop with corrugated plastic political signs is the poo on the wall just slides right off with a squirt of the hose.
Now I can use the duck space for a broody hen. And I’ve got one. A Sussex, no less. Now that hardly ever happens. Tomorrow night, once the duck space has dried out a bit more, I will be putting that broody hen on 10 Dorking eggs that have been in the incubator for a week. 40 eggs went in. 20 were duds. That leaves 10 for the hen and 10 for the incubator, (you know just in case she decides motherhood isn’t her cup of scratch.)
After yet another scrape with the shedding blade, Ophelia got her muzzle back. Much to her displeasure and embarrassment. The grass is coming in quickly now and a fat, colicky horse is not something I need.
And no, no more tomatoes went in the ground today. No gardening at all. The frog strangler we got this morning turned the ground into pancake batter.
The farm is alive, awake and throbbing with energy. Fairy circles are turning up in new places. Buzzy things fill the air. Greens get greener every day. It’s quite suddenly a very exciting place to be.
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