Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Today on the farm

"Mr. Duck" is now a regal adult male Muscovy duck who paces and hisses threateningly, seemingly 24 hours a day, every day.  His skull is draped in red fleshy apendages that I feel certain some male dinosaurs also boasted. Before getting his wings clipped and being rendered semi-free range in 2010, he attacked me like a freakin' raptor in 'Jurassic Park' as I picked Vigna beans one day that summer. The gashes on my forearms were long and deep. Nonetheless, I needed today to somehow confine him so I could move a clutch of eggs one of his wives had laid in a very poor place where racoons could easily reach them OR her, and where hatched ducklings would be easy prey for cats. So the fun began.....

First I shooed her away from the eggs by reaching over the fence and petting her. I placed the lovely warm eggs in a plastic flower pot, plus the few fistfuls of the breast fluff and dried grass she'd used to fashion a very minimalist nest. Then I opened the gate to their spacious area in the center of my backyard, clutching a plastic boat oar about four feet long, keeping a wary eye on "Mr. Duck", and placed the eggs in the hatching house I made a few days ago from a scavenged dog carrier cage filled with wood wool packing material, nicely shielded from the elements. It looked cozy enough to me but she would not approach it and I could not herd her to it with the boat oar.

So I used the oar to steer the Duck From Hell to an opening and quickly lowered over him a black plastic garbage can, laid a heavy log on top to insure my safety, then entered the duck pasture...even then I could not herd her to even close to the new location of her eggs. So I cornered her with the oar, a 5 gallon bucket and cardboard box barrier, near to where she'd the laid the eggs, and picked her up, clipped her wings, and put her in the nesting cage atop her still warm eggs, then closed the  dog cage door. I will likely leave her there until the morning in hopes she bonds to this new and MUCH safer nest site.

I gave a talk on roses for Florida this morning in St. Petersburg, but before I left I had the pleasure of painting the remainder of the concrete edgings of the revamped rose bed out front that same nice bright white...so very nice to see a whole new area of my front yard reclaimed from years of drought and weeds and the monster rose 'Mermaid', replaced by roses in buried Water Wise Container Gardens, plus fresh mulch and a new air of tidiness. There's hope for me yet!

Many thanks to the folks ordering seeds from me....I hope they thrive for you in your gardens.

I found the linked article below to be both encouraging and inspiring. Enjoy, John


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