Getting My Ducks in a Row

I’m getting all my ducks in a row.*

In the upstairs of the garage I’ve got a single duckling (and the four impulse-buy chicks) – except for nice days when I put them outside.

There are 10 ducks and the two geese locked up in their brand new (Thank you Dad!!!) coop for the next few days until they learn to call it home. I think it’s going well but it’s hard to say.  Every time I open the door to check on them chickens try to jump in and I have to go get them back out without letting the ducks and geese out. This upsets everyone.

The remaining five ducks are all sitting on eggs in what is now once again the brooder house. And now that the other ducks and geese are out of the way, I’ve been able to close their small fenced-in yard so that the chickens stop dumping eggs in their nests.

The chickens are, of course, everywhere.

At least they all know how to go back to the proper coop at night. Well, except for the one that’s been sitting on eggs next to the house…

Yes, I’m getting my ducks all in a row, the chickens however refuse to line up properly.**

*Literally.

** Ok fine, figuratively too.

 

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The March of Dandelion

He marches through the orchard at a slow and stately pace. Head held high, he rocks sternly from side to side as he passes by. Often covered in mud but too proud to acknowledge that he may be anything less than feathered perfection, he carries on. Occasionally he trips over something that didn’t bow to his greatness and move out of his way. Sometimes that thing is a stick, or a log, sometimes it’s a duck. No matter, he marches on, ignoring anything rude enough to get in his path and expressing his disdain for them by refusing to acknowledge anything that creates a bump in his road and simply walks through it. Occasionally he falls down, but his head never bows, and I wouldn’t dare laugh for I suspect he thinks he’s the king of the orchard.

But, I have news for him, I’m the queen. And while he’s been an exemplary gander, he would do well to remind all his subjects that when I say “Off with their head!” nobody gets a trial.

Our pair of geese are just about a year old and we are hoping to hatch babies this spring. They have such different personality and attitudes than the chickens or ducks and I am so glad I was finally convinced to add them to our place. Don’t worry, I truly have no intention of getting rid of my gander. However my orders were carried out this past weekend on a few extra male ducks… It’s advisable to be on your best behavior when you are living under the reign of The Queen of Hearts. 

 

Happy Animals

I like to keep my animals happy.

I let my chickens range free, I open their mobile coop door in the morning so they may roam about all day and I lock them up at night to keep them safe. Except when I introduce new young chickens to the daily routine. Then I open the coop door every morning and crawl under the chicken coop catching and counting chickens every night. Those silly young birds take awhile to figure out that even if you can see your friends above you, there is no getting through the wire floor, you just have to use the door. Eventually they will figure it out. young AmericanaUntil then I figure that when I find myself under the chicken coop on one knee other leg extended for balance, one elbow on the ground because that hand is already holding a chicken stretching as far as I can for a second bird, well, that’s just an excellent ab hold.DSCN2973-(sm)

These chicken induced exercises will be slightly amusing to me for about a week and then I will be second guessing my “let’s have happy chickens” philosophy.

I also try to keep my dog happy. He’s my dog, I love him. So I let him out to run around outside with me whenever I’m out. The other day he scrummaged around in the woods for ten minutes while I watered plants. Ten minutes and he came back, muddy, wet, tired, hot, limping on a hind leg and smelling like he rolled in something much deader than than the freshly caught chipmunk he proudly gave me. happy Trip dogBut happy? Oh was he happy!Happy Trip dog

Me, I was second guessing my “let’s have happy dogs” philosophy.

I just got a pile of little ducklings and a pair of goslings. And so, because it’s been so nice out, I made them a little wire pen they can be outside in during the day in the front yard. I put the goslings in and they munched on leaves and grass and looked oh so happy. I put the ducklings in and they nibbled and explored, chased bugs and happily popped right out through the  holes in the wire. I then spent the next two hours babysitting my new babies and herding the occasional duck back in the pen while trying to think what else I had around that I could patch the holes up with. DSCN3067-(2sm)The shade was a perfect temperature with just a hint of a breeze, the grass was nice and soft and the little birds were endlessly entertaining.Ancona duckling

I’m pretty sure “lets have happy ducklings and goslings” is my favorite philosophy!

 

Camp Birds

Hello from Kansas!

We are camping (in a giant camper with a great heater) in Prairie Dog State park.  We have seen all sorts of wildlife in the park and very few people to share it with (just how I like it!), herds of deer, prairie dogs, and lots of birds.

We’ve seen some Canada Geese:    DSCN0164-(3sm)

Some Snow Geese:DSCN0228-(2sm)

And by some I mean lots of geese:DSCN0190-(3sm)

And by “lots” I mean that in the evening the flocks of ducks and geese create a ribbon of birds across the entire sky!

Also there are a few robins around:DSCN0182 (2)

And some Bald Eagles:DSCN0177-(3sm)

These are just the ones I was able to photograph with the kids before they froze, which didn’t take long. The high today was around 14 and the wind chills were below zero all day! The kids have been doing more exploring of the public library than the fields but the weatherman claims it’s going to get a bit warmer so hopefully we’ll be able to drag them along on a hunt or two before it’s time to go home.

In other news we have shot a few birds, but not lots. Cover for the birds is sparse this year making things tricky. Even so we’ve been eating turkey and have pheasant and quail just waiting to be cooked up for tomorrow!

Finally, just in case you were wondering, my dog is awesome…DSCN0162-(sm)

… and very tired!