Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The ducklings' first swim - video premiere!!

Ladies and gentlemen, the world premiere of :

Ducklings’ First Swim 2013




Stand back and behold the cuteness!!


And in case you have trouble viewing it abroad, try this:

video

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The all-duckling blog!

I'm having a busy week (extracted another 100 or so pounds of honey yesterday, and there's waaaaaaaay more to come), but here are a few ducklings to tide you over. I promise to blog about something else. Eventually.


What's going on here?



She's getting ready to catch water drops falling from Mama's beak!

I give Mama a bucket of water to drink from several times a day. I can't leave it in there right now because the babies are still young enough that they could conceivably get in the bucket, not be able to get out, and drown. I have another waterer they use (and so does Mama) but Muscovy ducks really need to be able to get their nostrils under water to clean them out as they drink, so I made sure Mama has some deep water to drink from.



Squeeeeeeee!


I think the babies are about ready for their first swim. Time to get out the video cam!



Monday, July 29, 2013

Pass the Listerine!

I harvested my garlic on Friday. 140 heads, give or take a couple!


They are now hanging and curing in the granary for a couple of weeks. Then we'll be eating them until the next harvest. I never buy garlic anymore. Sure, it starts to sprout a bit by the next spring, but I still use it!


Sophie would prefer me to toss her ball for her rather than dig in the garden!

Meanwhile, down in the duck nursery...


Everyone had some grass clippings!







OH SO CUTE!




"I like this green stuff!"


Mama's got an itch to scratch!




"I am way cuter than any duckling. Way."

Yes you are, Alex dear.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Sweetness all around

Okay, before we get into ducklings, I am sharing this yummy dessert I made the other night. Raspberries are in season right now around here:


I got the recipe out of Coup de Pouce magazine. Allow me to translate it for those who don't speak French:


•••••
Little Raspberry Creams with Coconut Milk

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups (375 ml) fresh raspberries
2 large eggs
1/3 cup (80 mL) sugar
juice and finely grated zest of 1 lime
1 1/2 tbsp (22 mL) melted butter
1 cup (250 mL) unsweetened coconut milk
2 tbsp (30 ml) ground almonds
2 tbsp (30 mL) cornstarch

PREPARATION
1. Spread 1 cup (250 mL) raspberries in the bottom of four heat-resistant 250-ml (1 cup) jars (I used Mason jars) or ramekins. Butter each jar.  In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar until the mixture is smooth. Beat in lemon juice and lime zest, melted butter, coconut milk, almonds and cornstarch. Divide the mixture among the four jars.

2. Bake in preheated 350 deg F (180 deg C) oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cream has set. Cool. (You can prepare the cream in advance and cover. They will keep up to 2 days in refrigerator. Allow to come to room temperature before serving.)

3. Just before serving, sprinkle with remaining raspberries.

4. EAT!

•••••


So easy, so yummy! I garnished them with coarse sugar and mint sprigs from the garden.

And before we get to more sweetness, I ask you this: WHY? Why did I climb into bed last night only to discover the back half of a chipmunk gracing the comforter? And there were two very content cats snoozing on the bed. Now I know why Emily and Naomi didn't eat supper.

Gordon was my knight in shining pajamas, and came to take away the body. Or rather, half a body.

This also explains why the cats were staring under our basement freezer yesterday. I just figured it was a mouse but no, apparently we had a chipmunk in the house again. Ah, country living! It's a good thing I'm not squeamish. This morning I found a big bloodstain on the basement floor. I'll be cleaning that and laundering all the bed linens today!

And now, sweetness:


I'm betting that little guy in the front  left, turned sideways and with lots of brown, is a boy.I can already see the difference in the boy/girl profiles. We'll see if i'm right!



I wonder what Mama was saying to her kids?



I have a plastic lawn chair in their run and the babies like to hang out underneath it.


Aerial view! Looooook at that widdle beak!!!


Meanwhile, I threw Mama in the swimming pool yesterday. She had a big long bath and seemed very happy with me babysitting the kids while she cleaned up.



Shake it off!


But the babies missed her.


"Mama! Why are you on the wrong side of the fence?!"



That's better!

Have a marvellous weekend. I'm extracting honey this afternoon.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Beaked cuteness, day 3!

Look who moved into the duckhouse nursery today!


Seven little sweeties.



Hello little one. Who's your daddy?


Karène is the calmest duck mama I've had. I put all the babies in a bucket today to carry them out to the duckhouse. Normally when I do this, the mama duck freaks out. She throws herself at me, then chases after me as I carry her babies out. Occasionally she is waylaid by a sex-craved drake en route. 

Today what happened? NOTHING!


As I carried the babies off in the bucket, Karène sat quietly and watched me leave. When I returned for her, she was sitting there with a slightly bewildered look on her face. I took her out and reunited her with her babies.



Don't get me wrong. She's a good, protective mama. If any of the other birds or the dogs come anywhere near, she goes ballistic. But for some reason, she really seems to trust me with her ducklings.  None of the other duck mamas have been this calm around me. It's very sweet and makes life easier. 

Today I stroked Karène's head while she was sitting on her babies, and she drifted off to sleep. They are all so CUTE!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Ducklings!

Karène's babies started hatching yesterday! A seventh duckling just hatched this morning. We'll see if any more hatch today. There were 13 eggs but I think at least a couple were duds.


They really are the cutest things on earth!


Squeeeeee!


Karène is a good mama, but she lets me pick up her babies without freaking out. I took her some kale yesterday and she ate it out of my hand while sitting on her nest.

Once all the babies have hatched, I will move everyone to the "duck nursery", a separate little house we use every year for mama and babies.

I just love this whole process. So sweet!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Lap chickens and other wonders

Gordon and I relaxed behind the barn again yesterday. The stinking heat and humidity has finally gone away (it was 34C/93F with a humidex of 44C/111F on Friday!) and there was a lovely breeze in its place. Charlotte the chicken (who turned 4 on July 9th!) just wanted to sit on our laps...


She was there with Gordon for over an hour, getting off once to poop and eat a little grass, then jumping back up.


Charlotte loves to hang with people!


She sat on my lap for a good long time too!


She's grown in a whack of new feathers and is looking quite fetching these days!



Sophie surveying her domain.


McGuinty the Chantecler rooster, on a mission




Double-decker hens!



Zyedco the Partridge Chantecler rooster, no doubt in pursuit of feathered booty.



She looks right at home there!


Guinea on the loose!



Georgiana, who is 3, has also grown in a new set f feathers and is looking mighty fine!


The this poor Ameraucana hen, who still needs a name. is being hotly pursued by Jams the rooster.


In no parrticular order: Widget, Fidget and Gidget. The guineas are getting braver! They came within two feet of me this morning thoroughly checked me out.



Beaker, who is missing some tail feathers. We nearly had a Beaker tragedy last weekend. Somehow, he managed to get himself caught upside-down in the chicken wire lining the baby duckling enclosure. I don't know what happened, but Gordon came down to find him there in the extreme heat, unable to free himself. After extricating him, we checked him over. He seemed to have strained his leg so we confined him for a few days. He is just fine now but we have no idea how long he was hanging upside-down in the hot sun. We also don't know what happened; maybe he got in a tiff with another rooster and managed to get caught in the wire during the kerfuffle? Who knows! I'm just glad he's okay.



He's a cute little Silkie mix and we really like him.

Meanwhile, Charlotte actually went to sleep on Gordon's lap!



Lavinia checked me out. 



There are a lot of animals in this pic!


And the duck parage (Bianca, Moishe and Twitchy) wandered by while Charlotte kept an eye on Gordon.



She's an amazing chicken!


Meanwhile, in the duck coop, the eggs started hatching yesterday. The arrow points to the first crack in an egg.


I went to check on Karène this morning and there is at least one duckling under her! I didn't want to bother too much, so I left her alone for now, but as soon as I have cute duckling photos, I'll post them!


She's a first-time mommy and is doing a great job so far!



All in all, a lovely day. The corn is getting quite high. The native grasslands were seeded a couple of weeks back and things are beginning to sprout. You can see green patches appearing in the dirt in the pics above. The brown strip of land at the back of the photo have all been planted in grasses and wildflowers for Bobolink and Meadowlark habitat. 21 acres of fun!

Hope you are having a great weekend.