Hippy Birthday!

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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!

Fiddy cent in da house!

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Check check it ouuuut! Fiddy cent in da house!

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Huh?? Well… More like on the house – my door and window to be specific ;). This lil guy comes every night to feast on the moth and bug buffet that I so generously provide by keeping my curtains open at night when the lights are on. I call him Fiddy because he’s only about the size of a 50 cent coin so he’s only little (about 3cm or 1.18 inches for those non 50cent havin folks).  And that’s me assuming it’s a he… um… no idea how to detect the difference if you get me. All pics can be clicked upon to make them bigger if you want to see him in his full glory.

peace(flippin a peace sign, so gangsta)

So last night he decided to drop by with his girl du jour (some hussy from the pond no doubt).

watching you(Do you feel like you’re being watched??)    

whadup (tappin on the window – check out my biatch yo)

I had to close the curtains because it was freezing last night but next to the window is my front back door which has glass inserts and they adjourned there for some alfresco fine dining. You can kinda get a bit more of a better feel for how big they are in the pic below too.

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I got up the nerve to slowly and carefully open the door to see if I could get a pic of their backs (I was having visions of them jumping off into the house or in my face! Thankfully they restrained themselves from doing that to me) and eh voila below is what they look like:

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No idea what kind of frog they are apart from cute. And I had no idea that frog’s eyes glowed in a flash until now. I can add him to the Spot the Wildlife list. I’m trying to get some pics of the Black Cockatoos (aka Pterodactyls) that have taken up residence in the pine trees nearby. They have the strangest bird call I’ve ever heard (hence the Pterodactyl) and a really beautiful shape when they’re flying as they have really long tail feathers. I think they’re yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos based on the sounds I’ve googled https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_Cr8uzwMPI as the red-tailed sounds a bit more shrieky than dinosaury hehe.

Weirdly enough I’ve had ‘Scribe – Not Many’ going round in my head writing this… wrong rapper (and probably better *gasp*, Youtube it 🙂 )

FAIL!

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Hmm so I guess you’re here to look at some more fantastic farm pics eh… Well looks like I’ve already failed at following through on this BUT I have a very good reason, it’s been bloody well raining all week! So much so that I’ve been flooded in for most of the week and only managed to get across to work today. I’m keeping an eye on the rain radar as it’s only about 10cm from the top of the crossing so I don’t want to get caught on the wrong side. There’s only so many pics of grey clouds and misty pics I can post before your eyes drop out of your skull in boredom. And of course the only awesome pic I did manage to take is on my other computer so I can’t post that either but I’ll make sure I upload it as a PS tonight.

This week I cranked up the fireplace for the first time this winter as it was freezing earlier in the week. I’m going to have a go at firing up the Rayburn cooker on the weekend too. I was too scared to last winter (no idea why, just a dork) but I’ve youtubed a bunch of videos on how to light it, maintain it and put it to bed overnight so we’ll see how it goes. What I do need to work out is a more efficient way of storing my wood indoors. Will have to percolate on that over the weekend.

One of the jobs I was going to do over the summer, and completely forgot about, is to build a better wood shed. The ones that I have are basically 3 half moons made out of a water tank which was cut in half covering the woodpiles (one of which blew over in a storm and I can’t get it back on so the wood is open to the rain!). It’s not very easy to get wood out of (or in I imagine) as it’s about waist height so you’ve gotta crawl in there. As I was typing all that I was thinking about how I could cobble one together for not a lot of money and just had an idea on how I could make one out of free pallets! Would just need a couple of tall star pickets and hey presto! I already have some corrugated iron I could use for the roofing. I wanted to make a concrete floor for it but I’m not sure if the concrete would set in winter (I know bugger all about concreting btw) so I might just have to use the existing bits of corrugated iron that lines the other ‘sheds’. I have termite issues which is why I need a better flooring for the wood shed btw.

Oh Google you wonderful thing you! Just googled pallet wood shed and this is sort of what I’m looking to make (only taller) AND it solves the flooring issue. AND it could be expandable to make it bigger/longer when needed.

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Only thing I’d be worried about with raising it up like that is snakes hiding under there. Maybe I can make a little corrugated skirt for it or something. I do have blocks I can prop it up on and I do need to shuffle wood around this weekend…. sounds like a project! Have a great weekend!

 

Farm Photo Friday – 17 April 2015

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So here we are on the first Farm Photo Friday! Hope you enjoy them. It’s been really misty in the mornings here lately and it makes for some really great pics. You can click them to view them larger if you want to bask in the awesomey goodness.

IMG_0695Sunrise mist pocket in the valley with the roos

IMG_0723Another misty valley sunrise

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IMG_0877One of the gorgeous side effects of the mist, jeweled spider webs

(click to enlarge as they don’t look blurry!)

IMG_0908The sun coming up in the misty trees

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The misty river crossing

IMG_0276And even though it can be a bugger when it gets flooded like this, the river crossing can still be beautiful.

Can you see why I love this place so much? Hope you enjoyed a lil sneak peek at things. And look! not one duck pic hehehe. Hope you have a great weekend!

Getting my ducks in a row!

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duck row

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.

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(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!

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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!

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A duck mandala!

Well wouldn’t you know it!

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I had a feeling that I’d have new ducklings yesterday afternoon and lo and behold – new babies!

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There looks to be 8 of them and interestingly another blond one. I don’t know if I just don’t remember what they were like the first time but these ones seem so much smaller than the other ducklings. SO tiny! And again the majority of them have black leggings 🙂 Mama is very wary of me getting close so I’m giving her space and letting her get used to it all. She’s still keeping them under the house which could be a problem, particularly if the goanna comes back as there’s no protection.  Hopefully she’ll take them down to the coop tonight so I can lock them up. Just thought I’d share this morning’s pics with you.

Baby Duck Tales

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Hmmm so it helps if you press Publish if you want people to read what you wrote eh? ohhhh riiiight… geeez… This has been sitting in drafts without me being aware of it… blond moment! Lets get started then!

So on the 9th of January Mummy and her 9 babies appeared in the carport emerging from the nest under the house. I’m assuming that they were a day or so old by that time as it was the first time I’d seen her but I’m taking the 9th as their birthday. 9 on the 9th. They all looked identical except for one which had a slightly lighter colouring. I initially had a mini freak out not knowing what to do or what to feed them how to protect them etc as I hadn’t really prepared for their arrival (bad grandma I know!). In the grand scheme of things there’s not much I can do apart from give them food and water as I can’t keep them in the coop (Mum always flies out if I’m late in the morning) and I’m not home all day to watch over them so I just had to trust Mum to take care of them and let nature do the rest as if they were ducks in the wild. And they’re thriving! She’d taught them to chase and eat flies after the first week and they’d spend most of the day out foraging in the grass.  I got some duckling crumbles for morning and evening feeds and they loved getting the veggies in with the evening feed (which I usually do for the older ducks). They LOVE peas! Peas are like crack to these lil fellas.  It took a while for Mummy to trust me near her babies as she’d hiss at me if I got too close but she slowly worked out that I wasn’t going to hurt them and now I can even touch them without her getting narky. In fact I had to protect them from Dad at feeding time as he’d peck at them to get some of their food so I started feeding them in two separate areas which kinda solved the problem. He still pecks at them a bit when I go to let them out of the coop in the morning but it’s probably cuz he’s a cranky ole bugger.

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(this was the first day she brought them out and everyone was allowed to meet them. I don’t normally feed them in the carport but she looked so tired and hungry and I wasn’t sure if she was going to keep them under the house or in the coop so put food and water out for her and the babies there – which of course the others tried to gobble up! Click to enlarge)

One weekend when they were about two weeks old I heard a massive commotion outside and went to have a look what was going on only to spy a giant goanna in my flower bed with one of the babies in its mouth 😦 It was already dead and the goanna was in the process of trying to swallow it whole. So sad. The drake and the other two gals were all puffed up and vibrating at the goanna so I think they’d been attacking it before realising it was too late. I couldn’t look away while the goanna was eating it – I was fascinated, horrified and so sad at the same time. A very odd emotion.  I had expected snakes or foxes or even the eagles that fly around the area but hadn’t even considered goannas.

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(the babies at feeding time, still quite yellow and little feathers just starting to appear. click to enlarge)

Unfortunately he worked out that he was on to a good thing and about 4 days later I came home to find another one missing from the brood. And then about another 4-5 days later another one was missing by the time I got home from work. When I went to herd them all down to their coop for the evening lockup they were all acting really weird and I couldn’t really get them down there so I went to investigate only to find scattered bits of duckling in the coop yard. So horrible. I thought maybe it was cats or foxes as the goanna had been eating them whole. I had to pick up all the pieces and sweep out the yard before I could get the family to go anywhere near the coop. Poor traumatised things I can imagine. That one was the lighter coloured duckling who kinda was my favourite for being the oddball. I was really dying to know what colour it would have turned out to be.

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(starting to get a little paler as more feathers come in, love their fuzzy faces and black leggings! click to enlarge)

Then about a week later, again on the weekend, I could hear this banging noise on my water tanks and the ducks making a ruckus so went to the windows overlooking the tanks to spy the goanna with a dead duckling in its mouth, thrashing about while Mummy was attacking it. Not much I could do but let it eat it, such a terrible helpless feeling.

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So I’m down to 5 from the original 9 now. They’re 6 and a bit weeks old now and getting so big! Mr Goanna has taken 4 but I think they’ve gotten too big for him so he hasn’t taken one for a couple of weeks now but he’s got a new snack… more on that in a sec. They’ve started getting their feathers and are starting to lose the baby fuzz. My babies are growing up *sniff*. I haven’t wanted to pick them up but they will let me stroke their fuzzy rumps with a finger while they’re distracted and eating. Their beaks have started fading from the full black and now have whitish tips and are starting to get pink around the edges where their caruncles will grow. They still look like they have leg warmers on as most of them have black legs and yellow feet. I think I have 2 boys and 3 girls. They say you can tell by body size and also the size and shape of their legs but I won’t know for sure for a while.

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(they’ve lost all the baby yellow fuzz and only just have a bit left on their heads and backs, beaks starting to turn pink at the edges)

One thing I’ve decided through all of this is that I’m getting rid of all of them. My stepbrother has a farm about 2 hours away from me and he’s willing to take the lot. It’s a hard decision but I really only ever wanted chickens and have a plan for the orchard enclosure etc and there’s no way I could do that with these ducks as they’re used to having free reign of the entire place and would just fly out all the time. It breaks my heart to part with the babies but I’ll still be able to see them grow up a bit as my brother has promised to email me photo updates. I waaaas kinda sposed to already have handed them over to my brother but I’ve been delaying it because I wanted to see what colour the babies turn out. And I just love how they come RUNNING up to greet me, lil wing stumps flapping, peeping loudly, every time I go outside. Fair enough they think I have food for them but it’s just so damn cute and warms my heart. They will probably be going this weekend though. Which leaves me with another problem…..

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(Dad the doofus lookin cranky but he’s not, that’s Joan in the background. Mum on a foggy morning and one of the last family portraits I have)

The broody biatch Maisie, who has gone broody 6 times previously, has worked out that laying eggs under the house in the same spot as Mummy is the clever thing to do if you want your own babies didn’t she. She’s been sitting on the eggs for just over 2 weeks so I’m going to have to go through all of this all over again! Not to mention that it’s starting to get a bit colder now so it’s not great timing. I haven’t spoken to my brother about whether he’s willing to take her and the new ducklings as well as he’s already agreeing to a flock of 8 (9 if she wasn’t broody) and then to have another adult and however many babies…. And I worry about the new mum coping without the drake around for protection for the babies. That’s if any ever hatch because ole Mr Goanna has started eating the eggs that she’s sitting on!

This last weekend I was cleaning the house when I heard bumping noises coming from under the house  on her side of the house and raced out to find out what was going on. Unfortunately Muscovies are really curious birds and the whole family were all heading up to that part of the house to also have a look, Mummy and babies included. Maisie was attacking the goanna under the house but I’m pretty sure it got one of her eggs as it’s an easy feed. So I can only assume that the ducklings are safe for the time being as eggs are an easier meal to catch than lil growing ducklings. Just makes me wonder if there will be any left at hatching time as I’m sure he’ll be back for takeaway when he’s hungry again. In a way it would be doing me a favour as I can just pack Maisie up in a cat cage and take her to my brother’s farm. I’m just going to have to play it by ear and see what happens. The third option is to just catch her when she comes out and leave the eggs to cool but I’m not sure I could do that… Will just have to see what my brother says about taking more babies on!

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So all of that was written about 2 weeks ago… And just to keep you updated, two weeks ago today a fox took one of the babies and left a massive pile of feathers and a mangled corpse by the front gate so I rang my brother straight away and he came that Saturday to collect them. Initially I thought it was Maisie as it was early in the morning and thought it must have got her in the night but on closer inspection (and a check under the house) I discovered it was a baby. Trying to catch them was a bit of a challenge as they’re not hand reared birds! But they’ve settled in nicely at his farm and are all doing well. Maisie is still on her eggs under my house and I’m expecting them to appear any day now if Mr Goanna has left her any. I worry about her and the new babies safety without the rest of the flock around but I have found a new home for them all. I’ll probably wait a week after they first appear and then get the new owner to come out to collect them. I’m going to start feeding them in a cardboard box  in the coop when they appear so that hopefully I can just scoop them all up one morning and make it easier and less stressful for them when it comes to moving day. Not quite sure how else to do it but that’s Plan A.

I miss the babies a lot, they didn’t make much noise but the place feels a lot quieter without them. It’s been a week and a half since they left and they’ve left quite a gap. Which I’ll be replacing with chickens but more on that later 🙂 My brain has been buzzing this week but I’m probably giving you eyestrain with this epic tale so I’ll pop it all in the next post (and remember to press Publish this time!!)