Saturday, September 30, 2006

Clyde's A Mum

How special is this???Clyde is a mum to these 3 little ducklings for about a week. Then I have to break her heart and send the ducklings to the pet shop. This by that time will break my heart as well.

Banjo, Bonnie & Clyde between them hatched 3 of the 4 duck eggs out yesterday. For some reason Duchess' eggs are not coming to anything. I have 1 or 2 of her eggs still under Banjo & Bonnie who are left to sit on the 12 other duck eggs, due out mid next month.

By letting Clyde care for these ducklings, it will help her to come off the brood. Better for her to miss the ducklings for a few days, than have her in a cage for a week or so, to bring her off the brood.

With the next load of ducklings I am hoping the same will happen and Bonnie can care for those ducklings and this will hopefully get her off the brood as well.

So for the next few days to a week, I will have 3 ducklings to fuss over and take stacks of photos of.

So keep an eye out for updates on how we are all coping with 3 babies on Lucky's Duck Farm.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Baby Ducks Are Hatching

No photos yet, but I have, well........... Banjo, Bonnie & Clyde have 1 fluffy little mallard coloured duckling and 2 eggs piping as I type this.

I popped one of Duchess' eggs under her, but I don't think they are fertile. One of her eggs didn't hatch out from the first hatching for this spring season. And by the looks of it, the egg for the second sitting is going the same way.

While I was checking the duckling and eggs, the 3 mothers made quiet noises letting me know they weren't impressed.

Oprah was making more noises than them and she looked evil as she glared at me from her nesting area on the top of the cupboard. I am not thinking of setting her at this present time. I have enough hens and if I do set her, it'll be duck eggs as well.

Not sure how Oprah would go sitting as she is only a young hen herself, not even 12 months old. I'll see how she goes and maybe I'll try her if she stays broody for a few more days. Then I have to see if she'll sit on eggs as well.

So hope to have in the next 24 hours some photos up here of the ducklings for you to see.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Ever wondered why ducks never look old??? Maybe it has something to do with the mud packs they treat themselves to.

Milly and Roz love to treat themselves to a mud pack on their bills, when ever they have their pond cleaned out. Later on I saw them all clean and their bills were lovely and smooth and mud free...................

Maybe it does work???

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Windy Weather & Duck Eggs

This morning I set Banjo again with another 12 duck eggs. Having to boot 2 broody silkies and 1 broody duck off the nest caused a bit of noise and Pat was wondering what was going on. They do like to carry on to the max when disturbed.

I removed the 2 eggs that didn't hatch and checked the other 4 eggs I gave to the silkies.

Twinner was nice and comfortable in the tyre with straw tucked around her and 1 egg under her. Going from how she carried on, she's thinking of going broody as well. So now I'll start to save eggs for her and will set Twinner towards next weekend.

I am wondering if Milly will go broody as well, as last year both Twinner and Milly hatched out ducklings at the same time.

Other news, we had 3 mm of rain overnight along with some strong winds. I was woken through the night with winds howling and rain on the roof. Still windy here this morning with the odd shower of rain. Think this is the last burst of winter before the warm weather is here until into next year.

So far this month we have has 21 mm of rain.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Care In Your Garden

Have you been wondering why I am not posting on a daily basis of late?? I know I have been missing the idea of telling you what I have been up to on Lucky's Duck farm.

Sunday evening on dusk I was walking shredded paper down to the compost bin when I saw my son and his mates sitting out the back.

So I changed direction and headed over to say hello to them all. What I didn't see was a green metal rabbit hutch on a green lawn under the clothes line. I use this hutch on nice days to pop Cadbury in, so she's on the lawn.

So as I fell over the housing end of the rabbit hutch I lurch forward and didn't stop until I reached the old desk under the veranda I use when doing my seeds. By then I had blood running down my leg and I was crying as the pain was so intense.

So off to the medical clinic Pat took me. I can home with the lower part of my leg dressed (no stitches thank goodness). I have to keep the leg raised and not walk on it, this will keep the swelling down. Pat took me back on Wednesday to have it redressed and then again today and I still have to go back on Monday next week.

Because the injury is at the front of the leg, the doctor is concerned it could develop into an ulcer or abscess if I don't stay off my leg. The length of the 2 scratches from the corner of the hutch is from just under the knee to the just above the ankle.

So I am only going out into the garden when I need to feed the chooks & ducks. Pat is looking after my bunnies and Amy's 2 guinea pigs.

What did I learn from this??? To make sure Cadbury's hutch is packed away by the people fence when she's not using it. Make sure the tetanus shot is up to date (it was) and to watch where I am going.

I have also learnt there are only so many DVD's a person can watch a day too, before they get on one's nerves.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

My Broccoli

Broccoli almost ready for eating, if you look in between the leaves you can see the heads forming. I do hope they don't all need picking at the same time.

I have never been able to master the blanching technique and so I like to cook it fresh.

I have to say though, these broccoli plants are in the no-dig garden and I really do believe this has increased the size of the plants.

In the background I had a few left over broccoli seedlings earlier this year and the plants didn't do anywhere as good in size and harvest quality. The broccoli heads were only the size of a tennis ball if I was lucky. Still tasted as good as home grown can, but lacked so much in size. This was due to not preparing the soil beforehand with old manures & homemade compost.

By preparing the soil before hand, this will not only feed the soil and keep it healthy: it also feeds your plants. When I plant out seedlings of any kind, I always pop a handful of worm castings into the hole and then the seedling goes in.

As I harvest the heads, the rest is pulled up with leaves fed to the chooks, ducks. Stalk is cut up and fed to the rabbits & guinea pigs. Not much is wasted in my garden including any green grubs as I hand pick them off and feed to the chooks for protein.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

First Ducklings Have Hatched

What a lovely surprise when I went out to feed the animals this morning and there to greet me were 8 little ducklings. I only saw 1 to start off with and thought I'd wait until this afternoon to see how many had hatched.

But I had to go out and look,who can wait until the afternoon??? From what I could see there were 6 little faces poking out from under the silkies wings, while 1 was happy to sit on Banjo's back.

With so many little faces I figured they had hatched overnight and so with Pat's help we removed Banjo, Bonnie & Clyde and collected 8 ducklings and their broken shells.

There are still 2 eggs left over from Banjo's setting plus the 4 duck eggs I gave Bonnie to sit on.

As neither Bonnie nor Clyde wanted to sit on their eggs away from Banjo, all the eggs were mixed together.

I have the ducklings inside so I can make sure they get some water and chick crumble and are healthy enough for the pet shop tomorrow morning.

Friday, September 15, 2006

My Front Garden

I am so pleased with the front yard and the showing of flowers I have had so far. There are still a few daffodils to flower and the ranunculus are just coming into flowering.

Back about 10 years ago I won some bulbs through the Gardening Australia magazine and the Dutch iris bulbs have started to flower. The tulips have over the years have slowly been lost in the soil.

Back a few weeks ago I emptied another 2 wheel barrows of mulch from my composting bins into the front yard again.

Going from the warm weather we have already had so far and talk of more water restrictions coming in October if we don't get the rains, I'll need to add a couple more wheel barrow loads to make sure the plants are okay through the summer months.

I have a packet of portulaca seeds to be sprinkled in the front yard, near the front where the rocks are. These are one of Pat's favourite summer flowers and I wanted to spoil him with a summer display.

I can't get over how much the roses are booming along with the warm weather and the winter pruning. Though when pruned there were still leaves on some bushes.

It was winter last year that we moved the garden from the right side of the footpath the left hand side. That was so Amy had some where to park her car.

1 rose bush I thought was going to not be much good, as it was over 7 years old when we moved them across the footpath. But this year its just a mass of leaves and like all the other rose bushes, a mass of flowering buds are forming.

When we transplanted the rose bushes I lined the most fragrant bushes along the footpath. This should be a lovely way to greet people when they call in and walk up to the front door.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

How Are Your Tom's Doing????

First tomato seedling to be planted on into a bigger pot. This seedling will now stay in this pot until late in September or early October, when it will be planted out into the tomato area.

I have homes for the spare seedlings I am not going to need for my own garden.

When transplanting the seedlings into the next size pot, I have used a good quality seed-raising mix as well as some worm castings.

I will not feed them anything else until the flowers start to set on the bush and then a fortnightly feed of potassium and worm wee, until the end of harvesting. With a bit of seasol thrown in, as seasol is a great strengthener and disease resistance helper with the roots and stems.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Straight Leaf Spring Onions.

Straight leaf spring onions are one of my favourite plants I love to grow in the garden. Yesterday I transplanted 35 clumps of seedlings I grew myself, using seeds from my own seed collection.

I prefer to grow the straight leaf variety due to the leaves not laying down and bending over in the soil when they get bigger. The odd leaf will fall over but not like other varieties I have grown.

In the photo you can see the flowers starting to develop. I will let a couple of these flowers develop and then collect the seeds for the following season. In the background you can see the leeks I grew from seeds as well. As I have no leek seeds left in my collection, I am hoping the spring onion seeds will be finished and collected and when the leeks go to flower those seeds can be collected.

Close up of the flower head. Those black spots in the flower head are in fact seeds. Bees love these flower balls.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Photos Of More Daffodils

Can a person have too many daffodils flowering in the garden?? In my books no! So here are the 3 latest varieties to flower.

I'm counting down the days and in 2 more sleeps I'll be at the Adelaide show, and at the J.N. Hancock & Co stand ordering more bulbs for next year's display.

This one does look similar to one that I posted earlier on last month, but this one has a ruffled petticoat where as the other one wasn't ruffled.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Soils Ain't Soils

This area has been sitting for a while now, wish I could remember so I could tell you. Have to be close to 6 weeks at a rough guess.

There had been sheep manure, compost and straw from the rabbit hutches piled into this area and then left to rest. Now the soil is ready for the seedlings to be transplanted into the area.

First to go in, will be the spring onions seedlings, grown from my own seed collection.

Close up of the soil from the area ready for use. This is where making my own compost and recycling all that animal litter has paid off. Seeing this soil teaming with worms and goodness for feeding the up coming plants, has made it all worth while.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Gardening Of The Restful Kind.

This morning was so lovely outside that we started our day with bacon & eggs for breakfast on the back lawn. While Pat was sitting out the back resting due to his asthma playing up, I started potting around in the garden.

I didn't have anything on my weekend list of things I wanted to do, so I just sort of moved from 1 area to the next doing anything that needed doing.

Letting the chooks out to run in the duck run lead to some great excitement. Ducks became chooks and chooks became ducks as they explored each other's areas. I must admit the FABLESS 4 were very good today and I only busted 1 over the people fence digging up the no-dig area.... Doesn't that hen know what no-dig means????

I turned the compost bin again, even though I only finished filling it through the week. Neville my ex-lawn mower man called in with a bin load of lawn cuttings for the duck run. So after he left I raked up all the old lawn cuttings laced with duck manure and composted that and then spread the new lawn cuttings round.

So after turning the compost the chooks thought they had hit pay dirt with being able to scratch round where the bin was sitting before I moved and emptied it. I couldn't get over how much the compost was heating up, steam was greeting me with each turn of the garden fork.

Twinner took to some of the hens and was having a tussle over the compost area, as that is "her area" after the compost bin is moved. So when the fights would start Manny would tear down to protect his wives and then I'd see Twinner take after Manny cranky as anything and Manny would be running as fast as he could to get away from Twinner. Hell has no fury like a cranky mallard duck!

By now it was lunch time and after lunch Pat headed inside as the wind had come up and his asthma was getting worse. I stayed outside and continued on my merry way in the garden.

After looking at the carrot/beetroot area I decided it was time to thin them out. As I was thinning the carrots I was thinking it's a shame to do this. But one thing I have learnt, by thinning the carrots out, I get a better harvest. Longer, straighter and bigger carrots than if I don't thin them out.

I fed some of the seedlings to Amy's guinea pigs and the worm farms. The last handful was put into the fridge for Cadbury & Nibbles tea tonight.

I don't transplant carrot seedlings as being a root crop they hate their roots being disturbed. So they are used for animal food so as not to be wasted. The seedlings I sowed were called "All Seasons" and their roots were already lovely and long. Due to the good condition of the soil.

Next came the beetroot seedlings. Now I have transplanted these seedling before and they have taken quite well. So I picked out the nicest looking ones and transplanted them between the original row and the back fence. I am hoping these will take as I will have twice as many beetroots to eat. The left overs were added to Nibbles & Cadbury's bag in the fridge.

All thinned and transplanted and finished off with a watering can of rainwater with some seasol fish emulsion this is to help with transplant shock and root disturbance.

I then tidied up 1 of the rows of rainbow chard. Amy tends to raid it and isn't the best picker of leaves. The other row will be done tomorrow. The leaves picked today along with the naked stems of which leaves used to grow on, were fed to the chooks (this got them back in their run and the gate shut), Flossy my 3rd bunny and the ducks. Then a feed of worm castings mixed in a bucket of rain water and watered over the leaves.

So that was my day out in the garden. Restful and very rewarding.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Strange Bed Fellows

We go through this every spring and summer. Banjo my duck goes broody and before the ducklings have hatch..... Bonnie my silkie sees Banjo sitting on a clutch of duck eggs and then the next thing Bonnie is nesting with Banjo.

Bonnie is the darker hen on the left and Clyde is the lighter hen on the right. I did give Clyde a girlie name but everyone kept saying Bonnie & Clyde and so I gave up on her original name.

So as it stands, Banjo has 10 duck eggs, Bonnie has none and I think Clyde was just laying her little egg and wanted to do it in the nursery box.

Bonnie will be set within the next 7 days with some little green eggs from Milly & Twinner my 2 mallard ducks. I don't need any new chooks, so Bonnie can sit on some duck eggs.

I sell the ducklings and so Bonnie may as well earn a living as well as Banjo.

If I leave Bonnie & Banjo with a couple of ducklings when I want them off the brood, they are so funny sharing the mothering between them.

I am not sure how many people experience this with 2 different poultry breeds, but I like to think my little patch of heaven is special and unique.