Monday, September 22, 2014

Dawn of the Quackers

 As the season progresses, the sun rises slightly later each morning - making it an interesting adventure waking the ducks up without freaking them out... or so I like to tell myself when I head out there in the dark. They are usually waiting for me & can't wait to get out & stretch their wings & get going on their day.

Monday & Tuesday are now 16 weeks old. Just today I saw Tuesday's little tail feather curl up!

We are blessed with 4 male ducks... Oh boy - the Terrors of the Yard are going to get interesting pretty soon...
Percy is 22 weeks old. A full-fledged adult duck. He seems to still be the ring leader in their activities, mostly because he likes to direct the other ducks around the yard. I wonder if one of the twins will step up & become a bit more bossy.

Horatio is also now an adult - 20 weeks old - & he's huge! He likes to walk up the stairs to the upper deck & visit with me. Good thing he doesn't mind when I haul him back down to the gardens. Currently he investigates my deck pots & leaves a mess of dirt & leaves behind him (as well as large piles of poo...)

I'm glad I'm a morning person but we've been lucky so far with no storms or rain first thing in the day. Am loving the summer that seems to be lasting forever!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Autumn has Arrived

Welcome to my favorite season: Autumn! I love the colours & the smell & the general richness in the air. Hopefully I'll get out during the early daylight hours for better photos of all the changes going on around me. Now is the season to reflect & pause & ponder & plan... Enjoy your gardens for a while longer!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Terror(s) in the Yard

~ Percy ~
Our darling ducks are growing still - more into the Terrors of the Yard... It appears we have 4 males & I'm afraid this adventure is going to end in heart-break & full stomachs...

Nothing has been decided!!

This is Percy. My paramour... a daily ritual & training session on how not to abuse my pant leg, my foot & sometimes my hand. I'm covered in bruises from this beasty boy. This is what he looks like when he's coming in for a good tail-wagging, pant leg pulling session.

I just don't know what to do with him! He makes me laugh & he makes me cry, but he's never going to lay eggs & he's much too aggressive to turn your back on him for very long.

Horatio (the white one) understands the concept of a fence. It's meant to protect all the yummy good things on the other side from the ducks. That just means they get crafty & work a bit harder to get what's on the other side...

The twins pay close attention & follow his lead. The boys are very mischievous but I sowed heavily this year & doubt I'll notice too much damage next year when things bounce back from their constant nibbling.

It will be interesting to see how they react once the rainy season starts in earnest & they discover the muddy drainage ditch on the far side of the property... they'll never want to leave it!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Today's Harvest

~ raspberries ready for harvest ~
The weather turned for the better today, which was great for the raspberries. They enjoy the cool nights & warm sunny days but do not tolerate too much rain when the leaves are still thick on the canes.

The ducks were begging at my feet, as usual & thankfully these berries are growing up at the very tops of the canes - some about 8 to 10 feet tall!!

The ducks received only a few that were bug eaten or over-ripe...
~ today's harvest! ~

I managed to grab some of the over-large pole beans & will shuck out the seeds tonight. I had a wonderful couscous salad the other day with bean seeds, black beans & sesame - it was a 'Japanese Edamame' salad & something I can easily recreate. It also doesn't upset the tender digestive system I've developed of late.

I just crave the fresh fruits & veggies out of the garden... Even if I have to pick quickly in order to not be eaten alive by the bugs!!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Slowly Saying Goodbye

 It's been a pretty busy couple of weeks with lots of life changes & challenges to overcome & new challenges on the horizon. The garden always provides relief & distraction.

The current blooms are covered in the last remaining bees & other insects & with today's small about of rain, they might last a while longer.

The grass was finally mowed after almost 2 months & it was honestly, done more so to cut down the dandelion seeds & flowers than to actually cut grass. But it does look better. It will be a while yet before the lawns turn back into vibrant green.

I have a few yellow zucchini left out in the garden & am seeking new & interesting ways to eat what's left - it was a good year for zukers. Wonder if I can grow them again next year....

The squash have a few more weeks of growing & ripening to go through. I'm excited to have winter squash again in my diet. These ones are very dense & have a wonderful creamy, nutty flavour when slow roasted. As long as the ducks don't find any more of them & peck away at their skin, they should last a few months in cold holding.

 The bright yellow of the Helenium & goldenrod is now over. Will take a day or so to cut it all back, but this year they required no staking - partly due to the lack of storms & also because I pinched back the stems. Will try that again next year!

I have more pole beans & runner beans than I know what to do with!!

I'll freeze a bunch for winter eating, but lately I've been feeding them to the ducks - who will stand by the beds & beg for treats of beans & bean leaves...

Good thing they can't reach the plants or else they would be gone in a day!

The fall raspberries are ripening again & the rain will bring on a larger harvest than I anticipated. Fresh raspberries first thing in the morning at this time of year are such an amazing treat!

Hopefully I'll have time next week to catch up on more changes around the gardens & with the ducks... Will be nice to slow down & say goodbye to summer properly...

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Darling Duck upDate

~ Monday & Tuesday ~
 Well, the little darlings are still growing & learning their way around the yard.

The twins are 13 weeks old - I see that they are still molting a few remaining 'baby' feathers & we are still really waiting a few more weeks before fully confirming that Monday is a boy & Tuesday is a girl.

The ducks this year are very chatty - so going on who is a noisy 'quacky' duck just is not going to work.

These 2 still do pretty much everything together - all the time...
~ Horatio ~

Horatio is very large. I'll have to work on my photo taking skills with the ducks - he will need to either be held or find something to give you an idea of just how large he is.

Plus he has no voice any more.

He just pants at us & sticks all his feathers straight up on his head. We are noticing that he is loosing the feathers around his eyes - he might end up with a red warty face in a few weeks...

But he is still rather gentle & loves to be pet. Definitely the most approachable of all the ducks, although he now runs really fast if he doesn't want to be put in the enclosure with the others - no amount of bribing works. I end up chasing him into a corner & picking him up. I think he might like that & might do it on purpose...
~ Percy ~

Percy is going through some very strange adolescent behaviour - he is 'aggressively amorous' to my pants & shoes. Umm - my duck is trying to hump my feet... not exactly PC but it's bizarre behaviour & while I make sure to always wear thick pants & shoes when hanging with the ducks, he does get in the way of chores & is frequently being either booted out of the way or even thrown up in the air to fly (not so gracefully) down to a different part of the yard to leave me alone.

One perk behind this amorous behaviour - he lets me pick him up much more frequently - I tuck him under my arm, chide him & put him down in a different part of the yard. Hopefully this ends soon as while I find it hilarious to have a duck holding onto my pant leg while I'm walking across the yard, I'm not sure what he would do with other people who come to visit or stay... I do have quite a few 'pinch' marks on my hands & legs to prove that pants don't always protect you from their bills...

Friday, August 29, 2014

Bountiful Harvest - with Bite Marks

~ veggie harvest ~
 I do have a few tomatoes in the greenhouse that are ripening up. They will go very nicely with the beans & zukers that are now ready.

I had mentioned that the ducks watch me closely for cues on what they can eat.

This pertains to my veggies as well.

I've mentioned before: 'never turn your back on a duck...'
~ Horatio sneaking a veggie ~

... Well, Horatio decided he would try the zuker & the beans...

At least I haven't seen him eat a snake for a while!!