Monday, May 11, 2009

Livin' the Farm Life

This livestock raising thing is freakin' exhausting. Saturday morning, first thing, I cleaned out the duckling cage. In a word, disgusting. Everything was totally soaked. The ducklings are changing daily, and Saturday's trick to see how fast they could empty the waterer. I know it shouldn't be shocking, but these ducks totally love water. I thought they were drinking the majority of it. Until I came home at 11PM Saturday night after a babysitting stint to a lake of duck runoff in the basement. Too tired to do much about it, I laid down some news paper to sop it up. Then I went upstairs to read about ducks.

Sunday at 6 AM I woke up and began to devise and implement and environmental management plan. The platform the ducks were on had to be lifted off the floor - luckily we have lots of bricks from our chimney demolition 10 years ago (and no, you cannot have them). The platform went on bricks... Luckily we thought in advance to put a shower curtain on top of the platform then the cage on top of that. The cage also had to be lifted so that it could drain properly. I used the overhang of the shower curtain to create a gutter that drained the runoff into a bucket. By Sunday afternoon there was about 3/4 of a gallon. I am pouring it into the compost pile. Sunday afternoon, I had to go get a new gallon sized waterer because I watched the ducklings empty the quart one in about 45 minutes.

I got up at 6AM this morning, with some help from Kitty. I went and fed and watered the ducks and then did a few small chores while the feeding frenzy took place. The only thing sharks have over ducks in a feeding frenzy is teeth. It gets a little ugly and the ducklings are all covered in food and water by the end. When they settled down, I put some dry bedding in the cage and refilled the food and water for the day. I was a little worried that the gallon waterer might not be enough so I left work a little early and was pushing to get home, thoughts of gasping ducklings in my head.... When I opened the door, the smell of ducklings greeted me. All the way from the basement I could detect the sent. Not overpowering, but certainly recognizable.... I went down and found some water in the waterer (whew!) and set about to cleaning out the cage again.... If it were warmer, I would have opened the door and aired the place out, but with the temperatures falling, I didn't want things to get cool in the basement. I think I am going to have to scrub everything with bleach when they move out...

I think the ducklings are getting bored. I am devising a swimming strategy for the weekend when it is supposed to get warm. I think a little paddle and play time in the water will exercise them sufficiently, and provide some rockin' photo opps. In the meantime, here is a link to CHO's photos from Sunday morning. I think people are getting really tired of me using the word "cute". I will have to consult my thesaurus.

In other news, I am neglecting both the cat and the bees. The garden looks pretty good for the most part, the potatoes are amazing and one plant is actually budding already. I picked the last of the fall/winter chard as it was getting ready to bolt, and got some lettuce for a few salads this week. My arugula has already bolted. It is too cold for the tomatoes and peppers and eggplant to be doing really well. It is a banner year for slugs, which makes it an even better year to have ducks. I bought two whole flats of plants this weekend which I needed not at all and now do not know when I will find time to plant.

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