Sunday, October 30, 2011

Seasonal Employment

Because we have been doing nothing other than working on the milking cottage since this time last year (if you include the design/siting and the harvesting and collecting of materials in addition to the more obvious fabrication) I decided to take a bit of a break this fall on the garden. I did make a feeble attempt to get things going this summer, but it was so hot and dry that things really didn't germinate. I do have a small patch of carrots, some arugula and a few beets, but that is it. Because there is currently nothing in the garden that I am too worked up a bit, I have decided to put the ducks to work at their intended tasks...

We got the ducks as garden helpers.... do you remember? They were supposed to take care of bugs and not scratch things up like chickens. Actually, I have not had a slug problem since I got the ducks, even though we don't have them in the garden that much. The reason we don't have them in the garden as expected is because of the leafy greens. Wow, those ducks can put a hurtin' on the spinach and the chard. But since I have neither spinach nor chard this fall, thanks to Mother Nature, who knew I needed a break, I have set the ducks to task. The past year I have been plagued by these very annoying bugs that have ruined the greens and some of the brassicas. I also have a squash bug problem. All this is probably due to intensive cultivation and being a wee bit lazy about cleaning up in the fall.

I am hoping that the ducks take to the task. My plan is to leave them in the garden in the mornings with only a light breakfast. In the afternoon we will let them out into the bigger yard and let them swim in the creek. It is a good deal for them, because it means more forage time, and they do live to forage. The bad thing is that they are going to get spoiled rotten and think that they deserve to be out of the pen ALL the time. I guess we deal with that when the time comes.

I have also started to consider a flock of chickens. We have a section of the garden where we have been growing corn/beans/squash together. Unfortunately, this makes it pretty much impossible to weed. I need some good working chickens in a movable pen who can take that section down to dirt and eat every seed and growing thing in the top two inches of soil. I think some chickens are the birds for the job. While we don't need more eggs, there do seem to be folks in the hood who would be interested. I bet I could get rid of as much as we could produce in that department as people aren't as squeamish about chicken eggs as they are duck... And I don't have any trouble getting rid of the duck eggs.

Now it is all about fencing and a movable pen. And some warm weather. The first frost came in solid last night. Everything was crunchy this morning and the duck and goat water had a skim of ice across the top. Welcome to the Season of Frost.

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