Soo…. my lil hiatus is officially over! Did you miss me?? So what have you been up to? How’s the farm and kids? What have you grown lately?
So I’ll be blooging regularly again. I’ve missed writing to you and quite frankly I’m not sure why I’ve been gone so long when we have so much to talk about. Here are some highlights of happenings while I’ve been gone:
Seriously though not much has changed since my last ramble. My place is still on the market, I’ve come close to getting an offer a couple of times but their finance has fallen through. I had an inspection last weekend with a really nice couple and I’m hopeful they love it enough to make an offer. It seemed to tick all the right boxes for them and it’s what they’re looking for so I’ll just have to be patient and wait to hear from them. I’ve got another inspection this coming weekend so that’s plan b I guess 🙂 One of the bonuses to having a house inspection is that my house is so sparkly and clean, it’s a really nice feeling.
Check out the sky the other day, it looked painted after the storm so I had to take pics 🙂
One thing that has changed is that I’ve started Geoff Lawton’s online Permaculture Design Course and totally loving it. I can’t remember if I mentioned wanting to do it here before (I’ll have to read my own blog!) but it’s turning out to be more than I hoped for and I’m seriously inspired and learning so much. I’ve had a few ideas on things to do around the place but I’m still going to move as there are too many things that just aren’t right about the place for me that even permaculture can’t remedy.
BUT I have found a new plot of land recently that would be just perfect to build my straw bale house upon. I’ve even come up with a name for it but I’m not going to share just yet as I don’t want to jinx it. And I need to sell this place first before I start looking too far ahead. I may or may not have looked up domain names and WordPress names for this place and contemplated buying a domain for it… again… trying not to jump the gun too much hehe.
Duck update: I’m down to two – Bruce and Blondie. I had 4 for the longest time and then 3 of them did a little disappearing act but came back a few weeks later after I’d rehomed the drake (Frank) who was left behind as he was stressed out living all alone. The two girls disappeared for a week a short while later and only Blondie came back so RIP Chicken, she always was a big ole scaredy cat. I was almost a grandmother again this year as Blondie went all broody in the coop again this last month but fate stepped in and the weekend that they were due to hatch, the eggs mysteriously disappeared. I have a feeling this big guy:
snuck in the coop and had himself a lil duck dinner. I’d seen him hanging around the house for a week or two and of course now that all the eggs are gone I haven’t seen him back. It’s also starting to get colder so that could also be why. While I love the ducklings cuz they’re so darn cute I really didn’t want them right now if I’m about to move out (depending whether the new owner is interested in keeping them of course) so while it’s sad that they were eaten, it’s also, selfishly, a good thing. The circle of life n all that.
Anyway I just wanted to pop my head in and see how you are, glad you’re well 🙂 I won’t be a stranger, I promise!
ffffffffftt fffffffffttt ooh sorry bout that… had to blow the dust off you. Hi remember me? 🙂 Still haven’t perfected that post from my head implant yet. Can you tell? Well so much has happened since my last post. Sadly Mummy and one of the boys (Doug) were taken on the same day. I found Doug half eaten and Mummy was just nowhere to be found so I’m not sure if she flew off and got lost or was taken away to be eaten in private. So now I’ve got two boys (Bruce and Frank) and two girls (Chicken and Blondie) left. I was going to post about it at the time but I think this blog was becoming The Duck Death Blog of DOOOOOM so decided not to. And I really felt the loss of Mummy as did the remaining babies, they were really lost for a couple of days. The other ducky deaths I’ve managed to kind of shrug off but I kept hoping every morning and afternoon when I went out to the coop that she’d be there, that she was just lost and found her way home. But it’s been a couple of months now so she’s gone 😦
Just one other duck update before I tell you about everything else that’s a bit more exciting that’s going on right now… You know how I was hoping that the girls wouldn’t inherit Mummy’s super broody biatch behaviour… This week Blondie started making a particular peep that the broodies do when they’re sitting on eggs and I’ve been watching the coop but haven’t seen any eggs yet so I didn’t think that they were laying yet. She was looking a lil ruffled and manky too and low and behold on Tuesday morning she didn’t come out of the coop for breakfast and was sitting on a feathered nest lookin all pleased with herself. BUGGER!! Luckily for me as I was driving off to work I spied her out of the coop so raced down and locked the coop up to try and break her broody. That afternoon I went to have a look at the spot she’d been sitting in and the sneaky bird had half buried her eggs and there were 15 of them! No wonder I couldn’t see anything. I’m not sure if they’re both laying in that spot or if it’s just Blondie but I’ll have to keep an eye on them now dangit. But the broodiness is broken for now PHEW! Also looks like there’s been a change in leadership as Bruce has always been the boss but since the spring Frank has taken over. He’s grown up to be the spitting image of his dad so it’s no wonder. And just as big of a doofus as his dad too (although he can fly pretty well suprisingly enough!) The boys get on OK for the most part but there’s occasional pecking order reminding going on. Them getting on with their sisters is a whole other topic that I won’t go into now.
But on to more exciting news…. my house is going on the market next week! You know how I’d posted that I’d have to wait and yadda yadda, well I met a neighbour who lives a couple of properties down from me and she mentioned that she’d had a real estate agent round (who sold a place in the valley recently within a month of listing) to give an evaluation of her place and she said that he already had a buyer lined up if she was interested in selling (which she isn’t). So that spurred me on and I contacted my bank to find out what the actual payout figure is to break the fixed portion of my loan and it’s WAAAAAYYYY less that what I thought and something I can definitely afford so I’m not going to wait a year. I’m going NOW!
So lately I’ve been busy packing and painting and doing little cheap cosmetic renos to make the place look really good and the same agent is coming over this weekend and I’m going to put it on the market. Fingers x-ed that buyer is still there at the ready but if not I know it’ll get sold pretty quickly. I found out yesterday that one of the properties that’s currently for sale on my road is under offer and it’s only been on the market for a month or two so my spirits are buoyed! It’ll be great to get moving on this dream of mine and I’m keeping an eye out on the land offerings. So yay for the new blog category “New House 2.0”. SO exciting! I’m excited but I’m still trying to remind myself of the patience lesson… I’ll post some pics of what I’ve been doing next post as I’ve just changed phones and all the pics are on my old phone 🙂
So a friend lent me a really fancypants Canon camera and I was going to take some superdooper pics of the babies and do an individual profile on each of them now that they’re teenagers with proper lil personalities… but then yesterday happened.
A MFKN WEDGE TAILED EAGLE GRABBED ONE OF MY BABIES!!! Yes!! AN EAGLE!
(not the actual eagle… photo from broomebirdobservatory.com)
This thing was HUGE! It had a wingspan of at least 6 or 7 foot! Here I was thinking that foxes were going to be the problem with the babies but nuuuuuu goannas and eagles. Who woulda thunk it…
The babies have worked out what those feathery things attached to their bodies are and spend a lot of time jogging and flapping around the yard which is just insanely cute. Some of them can get off the ground and fly a little ways (not the boys cuz they’re too big and goofy). So when I was getting dressed yesterday morning and heard them flapping around outside I didn’t really think much of it until I heard one of them quack. Now my ducks, being Muscovies, don’t quack at all so I had a look outside to see what was going on. I saw three of them flap flying down to the coop and bonk into the fence that separates the yard from the coop! I just thought to myself “silly duckies watch out for the fence ya doofuses!” thinking it was flight lesson time. I watched them a little longer to make sure they were OK and saw them continue down towards the coop so I continued getting dressed and out the door for work.
Just before I hopped in my truck I noticed that they were nowhere to be seen so must have been in their coop house (which is inside the fenced part of the coop) which struck me as a little odd as their usual morning routine after being fed breakie is to forage in the grass inside the yard. Just before I drove through the gate I caught a glimpse of a bunch of feathers out the corner of my eye so I stopped and got out to investigate only to see this GIANT eagle with massive wings take off over the fence, wind whoooshing as it flapped away.
My brain stopped working because I wasn’t sure what I’d just seen. A mfkn EAGLE!!! Almost pinched myself to check… I went over to where it had been on the ground and just found a lot of plucked feathers and realised it must have nabbed one of the babies so I went down to the coop and found them all scared shitless hiding out in the coop house. I cracked the door open just a little and counted them… 6 not 7 😦 I had a quick look at them all and worked out that it was lil Mabel. She was one of my favourites as she was the “guy’s gal”. The other two girls (apart from Mama) are dainty princess scaredy cats where as Mabel was a little bigger and always used to chum around with her three brothers and was a bit bolder than the rest. She was the first to really get off the ground and fly too.
I let them all be and continued on to work with my mind completely blown that a) I had just seen a giant wedge tailed eagle and 2) that it had taken one of my ducks. All day I was just in amazement at what I’d seen. Until I got home and the babies were still traumatised. Usually when I go down to give them dinner and lock them up they’ll meet me half way or up in the house yard but this time they didn’t really set foot out of the coop and seemed happy to be locked up. I gave them some peas (their fave) as a lil soothing treat. I went back to the pile of feathers and actually found the half eaten carcass so I’m not sure if she was there and I overlooked her or whether the eagle came back with her and ate her there.
This morning they were fairly happy in the coop when I let them out and fed them breakie but when I left for work a little while later they were all back in the coop house again so they’re not happy lil ducks. I’m heading home in a bit so I hope they’ve been out of the coop (and the coop house) so I’ll have to wait and see how they cope with this. Poor lil bubbys.
I really hope that this eagle doesn’t come back and pick them off one by one as the goanna did with the last batch. It nabbed her in my yard close to my house so it’s bold. I had a chat to a friend who lives rurally and she mentioned that “wedgies” are known to take little lambs, small dogs and chickens too! I’m thankful I got to know lil Mabel and happy that I gave her a good life while she was with me. I’ll still take pics of the feathered family and give you a proper introduction to them… just minus one 😦
Dun dun duuuuunnnnnn!!
I found these things on my pillow this morning, I think they may have come out of my ears!! I’m feeling a bit dizzy and scared out of my mind!
I joke I joke!
They really came out of my nose…
OK fine, I found my first mealworm pupa. But you gotta admit they do look alien freaky. Even managed to get one half way through shedding it’s last skin. They twitch and move around too which adds to the freakyness. Now I’ve just gotta wait til they hatch into beetles which are awesomely called darkling beetles. Then they can make lil darkling babies and we start the life cycle again. Ooh creepy alien goodness 🙂
Update 23 May 2015 – so umm I realised last night that the previous post about me buying 500 mealworms to start breeding them as tasty treats for the duckies back in May is still in DRAFT and not posted and as such unless you have x-ray vision or something you can’t actually read that so the above post might make no sense at all… far out blondie… Here’s a pic of them settling into their new digs, complete with executive cardboard residence (only the best for my wrigglers).
I just realised that it’s the blog’s second birthday! Bit weird to think it’s been so long as it doesn’t feel like it at all. And kinda appropriately I’m uploading a pic of two duck eggs that I meant to do as a PS last Friday:
I found these two in one of the wood sheds when I was carting wood in the house. They must be really old eggs as Mummy hasn’t laid any since the ducklings have hatched so they must be ones from the old flock. Just thought they were so gorgeous sitting there (haven’t removed them yet heehee). Silly ducks, told you they didn’t like laying them in the coop! Mummy has probably stopped laying for the winter as they weren’t laying when I moved in last winter. Probably a good thing as it was -1 last night – first minus temp of the year brrrrrrrr!
There they are, all in a row. Tick! Off the list 🙂 hehehe
Eeep! Just realised the babies are a month old… which means I haven’t spoken to you for a month already! I really need more hours in the day so if someone could organise that, that would be great. Or maybe an automatic blogging feature to plug in to my brain because I often thing of posts and then just don’t have time to type them out!
Anyway just wanted to update you on the babies. Luckily the weather has been turning so it looks like Mr Goanna has gone into hibernation somewhere. I did lose 1 duckling to a predator unknown when they were 2 weeks old and sadly one drowned which is my own fault. I felt so bad about it seeing what had happened but lesson learned. The remaining six are doing SO well! They’re getting so big and just devour any food that comes their way. This week they’ve gotten too big to slip under the coop door so they don’t sneak out to greet me every morning for breakfast (which used to give Mummy a cardiac and she’d be so anxious to get out by the time I walked down to the coop). They all look mostly identical except one guy who is almost all black and the blonde/white one. If I were to judge by size I think I have 2 boys and 4 girls as there are definitely two who are bigger and have chunkier legs than the others.
(the almost all black one and the blondie)
It’s really interesting to see how similar this batch are in behaviour as the last lot. The way that they run to greet me every time I step outside and how they follow me around. This lot follow me more than the last and I don’t think Mummy likes that very much as she has to race to keep up with them. They also make their distress call when they can’t see me which is interesting so I hope they’re not imprinting on me too much. They’re just starting to get the first dots of their feathers coming in and subtle colour changes. I’m SO curious to see how the ‘blonde’ one is going to turn out. I can see a darker undercoat coming out beneath the fuzz so may not be white after all. Ummm can you tell I’m thinking of keeping them? Haven’t decided yet and keep changing my mind!
Gotta love cute fuzzy duck butts 🙂
I’ve started taking more photos around the place and to keep a more regular blog schedule I’m going to start a Farm Photo Friday post with images from around the place. And I’m going to look into the WordPress app so that I can write mor posts! I really do have so much that I want to share with you so in those free moments I have and can’t get to a computer I think it would be a great idea to even just get a draft down.
Other than duckling news, things are starting to progress on the veggie patch. My idea was to make wicking beds because the “soil” is just hard shale and being on tank water I think it’s the best way to kill 2 birds with one stone as wicking beds are more waterwise. I’ve been trying to track down someone who has cheap IBC tanks for sale and might have 2 soon. I was also talking to the girl at the stockfeed store and she said that they might be getting in some moldy hay soon which I want heaps of to start making some actual soil on top of my shale.
I got fined by the council for not dealing with my noxious weeds 😦 Basically I’ve been too broke to do it but I’m going to have to bite the bullet and get it done before I get fined again. I’ve got to do the serrated tussock over the winter months and have the blackberry and st Johns Wort done by 1 Dec so I have a little time to take care of the others. It’ll help to split up the payments but I’m worried about the chemicals and the ducklings as they forage around the place. I think I’m going to have to get the guy to do everything except the house yard and just try and take care of the house yard by hand. I really HATE the idea of all the chemicals but I don’t have another option. I even looked at goats and whether they could take care of it naturally but they don’t make a big enough impact on the tussock to prevent future growth. I wish there was a better way to take care of it but my hands are tied apparently. just gotta get it over and done with!
I’ve also had some ideas on how to make a bit of extra cash while letting my creative side roam. But more on that another time 😉 See you Friday!
A duck mandala!