So, we were hoping that we would be able to show you all ALL the hatchlings, but, it doesn't look like this was a very successful hatch. :-/ We had one die after it pipped, on that doesn't look like its going to make it, and absolutely nothing on the entire rest of the eggs, save maybe 2 or 3. We're going to give it until Monday, and hopefully SOMETHING will pop out! LOL We do still have our 3 ducklings that hatched at a friends house. One was a little weaker than the others, but she's doing just fine now! :-)
Anyways, we promised some pictures, so here they are!
And here's a little behind the scenes look. I was giving the little weak one some molasses for energy. (Then I found out that it wasn't the best idea because it's used as a cleanse... oops!)
And we did finally get our bunnies!!
Almost all of our seeds have come up, except the peppers and eggplant. I think it's not warm enough for them yet. I really need to get a heating mat for them, or build some sort of "warming tray" for them. We DID make a light hanger out of PVC pipe earlier this week. I will see if I can't get some pictures of that up soon as well!
Friday night we had candled all of our eggs. Candling means that we took one of the eggs into a dark room, and shined a really bright light into it so we could see what was going on inside the egg. We did this with ALL of the eggs in the incubator. One at a time, with the ducks first. Every time we would put a duck egg up to the light, the little forming duck inside would wiggle around and squirm. It was probably the second most awesome thing I've ever seen in my life, the first being seeing my own kids wiggle and squirm on an ultrasound. DS was there watching as well and he was just so excited to see these little "blobs" moving around inside the eggs.
We've got just under 2 weeks left before we should have a bunch of tiny animals running around in tubs in the bathroom. I'm really hoping that we can get our new coop built soon because we're running out of roost space in the coop! We sure didn't think out the whole "what if we get more" (also known as Chicken Math) thing well. We're going to build a big 17'x10' coop soon. The coop itself will be 10'x10' and then we will have an area where we will be able to store feed, to put our processing equipment, our chicken/rabbit first aid kit, have a "sick bay", and possibly a brooder box for any eggs we hatch. HOPEFULLY we will get some broody hens and they will do it for us. I'm not holding my breath too much tho. ;-)
We will candle again right before we go into lock down, which is the last 3 days of incubation. By then we should be able to tell for sure which chicken eggs are going to hatch, and which ones we should just take out. We're very excited about out new "fluffy butts," even tho most of them will be for eating. It will be interesting to see what we get, that's for sure!
So, the other day, I finally put some eggs in the incubator. I am SO excited about having some ducklings I can't stand it! LOL
Today was actually the end of day 2. I turned the eggs 3 times today, moving them around the incubator just to make sure that they were all getting adequate heat. We have 26 more days to go for ducks, and in 5 more days, I will add a few chicken eggs. Today, if I were to candle (meaning use a light to look into the egg) it would look something like this:
So, it's been WAY too long since I've updated the blog!! Sorry about that!
A LOT has changed since June!!
It turned out that Phineas and Ferb were both drakes, and Candace and Stacy turned out to be Candace and Steve! So, we traded Phineas and Ferb for 2 female Pekin from a local guy. He said they were both female, so we named them Zoe and Midna. It turns out that Midna is a drake as well!
We then inherited our neighbors Khaki Campbell, Lily, because they were getting rid of all of their ducks. Lily was DDs best friends favorite duck, so we said we would take her. It wasn't until after I said that we would take her that we learned that she had broken her leg, and they had never done anything about it, so we have Lame Lily Duck! Around Labor Day I gave a friend 6 duck eggs to try and hatch. I had no idea if they were fertile or not, and it turned out that all 6 were fertile!!
Then there was a mishap and the table that the incubator was on was rocked and only one egg remained. It hatched, and we named it Lucky. Since she was the only one, another friend gave us a Muscovy duckling (that we're debating is either a runner, or a Runner Scovie cross) that was about a week and a half older than her. So we had Gretchen and Lucky. Unfortunately, just the other day, Lucky choked on some food and we put her down. So, Gretchen is the only one who remains. :-(
All of our chickens are doing really well!! We ended up getting Buckeyes on 18June to replace the chickens that were lost in transit from Meyer. They all showed up happy, healthy, and chirping!
Robbie is our only rooster, thank goodness!! He welcomes the dawn every morning with a crow! He's fairly silent during the day tho. That makes me happy. We got our chicken coop done about a week before they were ready to go outside. Since at the time DH was traveling for work, it was just me building it! I did have a friend come over and help me with the initial build, but, after that I was on my own!
(yes, I know it's a little crooked... LOL)
The back is showing on this picture. I made it into 2 doors on the back, one large and one big, and the bigger door also has a large window in it. I'm going to be getting some better wiring to put over the openings, but, for winter I want to put some plexiglass, or something similar over them.
They seem to really enjoy it out there! They all free range in the back yard during the day.
(That's our neighbors RIR. They were have a West Side Story moment I think)
Recently a friend was moving and she had to get rid of all her chickens. So, we brought home 3 more hens, Boots, Lunch and Dinner. (I could only remember one of their names... LOL)
They're already laying, tho Lunch has just started a molt. Bad timing Lunch, bad timing!
Remember that tiny puppy we brought home?? Well, she's mostly grown up these days!! Here's some pictures of the little Annie from the last month or so.
Sam and Annie
Annie and Dusty
Annie dressed up with no place to go!
Our garden was mostly a bust this year. It was SO hot by the time the sun came out that none of us dared venture out there for more than a couple of minutes at most. Then our mower broke and we couldn't mow any grass, so the grass overtook EVERYTHING! (This was before we got the chickens and ducks out there to free range, they would have taken care of it.. LOL) At one point there was a deer sleeping in my garden! I scared it out when I went to feed the ducks and chickens. I didn't even see it! It just jumped up and ran off down the street! Oops! When we finally got everything fixed, it was just too late for the garden. We did find some interesting things in the back yard tho. Like this fellow:
Yes... that is a dead copperhead. We found it in the back yard. DS was moving the mower and it slithered out. He jumped out of the way and came and got me. Then he ran and got the neighbor and we cut it's head off. If it would have been in the back yard when it was mowed, I would have simply relocated it, or left it to leave, but with the grass being so high, I couldn't take a chance of someone getting hurt back there.
We've already got a few things planned for next year, and we have some things in the garden now, covered by hoop houses! Lets see if we can get those to grow in there over the winter! Lets hope for a mild one!
Hopefully it won't take me almost months to update again! Until then, everyone have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
I somehow managed to rope my friend Billy into coming to help me build this enclosure for the ducks. We THOUGHT it would only take the day of Saturday, and we would would have it done! Well... neither of us accounted for the fact that we are not the worlds best carpenters.
We got SLIGHTLY farther than this on Saturday. We managed to get all 4 walls completely up, the door in, and a support beam in the center. We then realized that it was going to start pouring down rain. We got all of the equipment inside about the time that the Heavens opened and the rain came down in buckets!
So, after church today, the kids and I went to our FAVORITE fast food place. It's called Cook-Out. You can get a main item, TWO side items, and a drink for less than $5. If you want a shake (which are some of the best in the universe might I add) it's $1 more. Today, I got the PB shake. It brought me back to Cincy where you can get the worlds BEST PB shake any corner UDF store. Haven't had one since then. It was DELISH! I may have a new addiction!
After lunch, we got back to work. We got the fencing on the outside, and the chicken wire on the top. I got most of it tied together, but the one section on the very outer edge isn't done. It overlaps quite a bit, and we don't really have many predators here, so I'm not super worried.
The only things left to do are: Get support beams for between the 12' sections, build a ramp of some sort for the kiddie pool, a cinder block or something so they can get OUT of the pool, and putting the chicken wire on the bottom of the inside.
I thought this picture was really funny because Lilly was watching them hard core! Dusty is infatuated by them and every time she goes outside she walks around it about 209 times before I go out there and get her. LOL
We also ordered our chickens today. I believe we're going to have to build another enclosure for the chickens. It just doesn't look like there's going to be enough room for both the ducks and chickens in that enclosure. We won't get the chickens until July. Unfortunately, in all the mock order that I put in with that hatchery, I never noticed that they had an option to pay when the chicks were ready to ship. I could have had them by now. :-( Oh well. It's all for the best I think. :-)
So, I realize that I haven't posted about the ducks in a while! They've continued to get bigger, to get more feathers, to be stinky, smelly, and as dirty as possible! LOL
Next weekend our friend Billy is going to come over and assist us with building their enclosure. It will just be a simple thing for right now. A simple 8'x24' enclosure with field fencing on the outside, and chicken wire on the inside and top. We will also be ordering 6 chicken hens and 1 rooster as well. We're not going to build a coop right now, because the ducks don't need it anyways, but we will probably build one the beginning of June. I'll be sure to post pictures of the process of us building the enclosure!
Here are the ducks last week.
The mallards (Phineas and Ferb) are starting to get their wing feathers now. I can see the blue, and even a bit of the white on Ferbs wing! I'm still hoping that we have 3 hens and 1 drake, but I would be okay with all hens as well. I just REALLY don't want more than 1 drake. That would be bad.
Anyways! Monk mowed the back yard today, so I couldn't put them in their enclosure after church. They got some time in the bathtub instead. They really enjoy bathtub time, but I can't say that I'm going to miss cleaning up after it!
I also will not miss my bathroom smelling like a duck, or pine shavings on my floor, or... dreaming my bathroom is really an oven because of their red light! I will sorta miss them... but only long enough to get chicks... and then the process starts all over! GAH! I'm a glutton for punishment I do believe! ;-)
So, today we went to TSC and got some step in posts so we could build a small enclosure in the back yard for the ducks to get some outside exercise time.
We made a pit stop on the way there at the farmers market. It was opening day. Too bad we forgot and didn't get there until noon!! While there we talked to one of the local apiaries about bees. He invited us to the bee group that meets once a month. I was also invited to take master gardening classes. (How cool is that!!) We picked up some local strawberries (ours aren't all the way ripe yet), some asparagus, and some local steaks! So, for dinner tonight we're going to have steak on the grill, asparagus, and baked potatoes. Then I'm going to make a strawberry shortcake for dessert! :-D (I'll try to remember to get a picture to share later.)
So, we get to TSC, Bug wanted more ducks. They didn't have any thank goodness or we would have walked out with who knows how many more!! She did try to talk me into bantams tho. I told her that I wanted full sized chickens, not midgets. Besides, we had our hands full with the ducks! She wants a couple more ducks, and a few chickens, so, I'm not sure what we're going to do right now. I know that we are only making the enclosure about 8x24, and I will probably have to do a 4x8 raised coop. I also plan on putting a couple dog houses in there for the ducks. I'm not exactly sure how I'm going to do it yet, but I'm going to do it! LOL I will probably put the nest boxes on the outside of the enclosure so I don't have to walk in to get the eggs, but I will have to leave the inside with the ability to open so I can clean it, as well as vents on all 4 sides. I know I want Sweet PDZ in the coop under the roosts so I'm not having to scoop the poop out so much, and it will keep the smell down as well.
Anyways!! We get home and put up the enclosure, which is nothing more than some step in t-posts and some old plastic "fencing" that we had. We had originally bought it to wrap around our cucumber teepees last year, but we took it off because it didn't seem to work.
But... I guess I've really went on long enough... and I'll show the pictures of the ducks now. ;-)
When they first got out in the pen.
It was like they didn't want anything to do with the light! They stayed in the shade for a bit.
This is Phineas. You can see where his/her feathers are coming in. I really hope either Phineas or Ferb are males and everyone else is a female!
So, I was sitting with the ducks again today, I seem do that frequently. I've noticed that they seem to be just growing so quickly! Babies of all species tend to do that tho, grow quickly. It just seems like you don't notice until you look back at old pictures. So, here's some new pictures of the ducklings.
This one was taken on 04April
And today 09April!
Far cry from the wee little things they were on the 31March, eh?? I just can't believe how QUICKLY they are growing! We're going to have to start building their enclosure as soon as we get our check! A friend of ours from our church gardening group has a fantastic set up that I think we're going to copy. They took 2x4s in 8' and 12' sections and built 2 8x12' enclosures. They separate their ducks and chickens, but I think we're just going to do one large 8x24' enclosure and put a short stock tank in for the ducks with a "deck" for them. This would mean that I wouldn't have to water as much, and that I can use the water from the stock tank in the garden instead of just dumping it in the yard like I would with a kiddie pool. This of course means that we're going to have to find one that is big enough for the ducks, but not too deep in case the chickens decide they want to try and have a swim. I found a couple of more shallow stock tanks online at Tractor Supply, lets hope that they have them here at the store or can order them for me!
On another note! We had a frost Friday night. Bug was spending the night with a friend, or so I thought. I got a weather advisory alert on my phone and was busy, so didn't see what it was. About 10, I got a call that Bug wanted to come home. I went to pick her up, she said that she didn't feel well and wanted to come home. I bring her home, put some medicine in her, came out to check on a few things in the dining room, back to check on her, and she was fast asleep in my bed! I then laid down to see what the weather alert was. I laid there for a second trying to remember where all the extra sheets were so I could at least cover my tomatoes that I had just planted a few days before that. I got up, got the sheets, covered my tomatoes, and brought in my peppers and eggplants that I hadn't gotten a chance to plant yet, and went to bed. Or so I thought!! I wake up in the morning, the dogs are bouncing all over the place as if they are saying "MOM!! It's breakfast time! MOM!! Lets go mom!!" I stretch, put on my slippers because it's chilly, and walk out to let the dogs out to potty and feed them. As soon as I walk into the dining room I notice that there are no sheets outside. Then it dawned on me... I had fallen asleep and DREAMED I covered all my plants!! *heavy sigh*
I lost all of the volunteer white heirloom cucumbers, all my eggplant, save 1, my 2 peppers, and 3 of my tomatoes. It's okay tho, I had 3 of the volunteers from last year, but I'm pretty disappointed that I lost all my white cucumbers, even tho I hadn't planned on having them. I restarted the eggplant and peppers, and I hope that they pop up soon. I'm just glad that we have a fairly long growing season. It's been a CRAZY spring I say!
I also planted pumpkins, watermelon, more cucumbers, yellow and green bush beans, radish, and even tho I know it's WAY too late, garlic. I mostly put the garlic in to try and keep the squash vine borers at bay. They completely decimated our pumpkins last year. Monkey was crushed! He was really hoping that he would get to eat some home grown pumpkins in his pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. Hopefully this year that won't be a problem. I checked all the plants again today and gave them a nice drink, and I noticed that the radishes are already starting to pop up! Hooray! I'm so excited! I LOVE radish, and I think that once my husband has a home grown radish, he will love them too.
I hope that you all had a great Easter! We had a great day at church, and then basically had a lazy day at home.
So, yesterday we needed more compost for the garden. Apparently ours is not done yet, so we cannot use it. I have used some in the growing of our newer tomato seedlings, and it seems to be doing quite well, but I CONSTANTLY have to pick pill bugs out of it, and lost a few seedlings to their tiny little mouths. Some say that they will only eat decaying matter, but, I know that there were no slugs or anything else in those pots, but I DID see lots and lots of pill bugs, so I'm pretty sure that's the culprit! Anyways! I finally got the whole family rounded up so we could go. They were having Chick Days at Tractor Supply, so the kids wanted to see the baby chicks and ducklings. Bug decided that she wanted ducklings. I kept telling her no, that we didn't have a place to put them, inside OR outside, so she turned on the waterworks. Of COURSE DH caves and tells her that she can have a couple ducklings.
So, meet Phineas and Ferb. DS used to be OBSESSED with this cartoon, so DH named them after the cartoon.
We also got the last 3 beds in that we will be planting in this year, tho that might be a lie because hubs and I were talking about putting in 2 more 4x4 beds, one between the blueberry bushes for Rhubarb and asparagus, and one in front of the corn for herbs. We've still got a little bit of cleaning up to do, but here is Ivy Hill for the 2012 growing season.
Last year we planted a 4x8 bed with strawberries. I let them get away from me last year, which is something I won't repeat this year. But, being 01April and having as many strawberries about to ripen as we do, I'll take it!
This is one that got out of the bed last year. I've got to figure out how to get it back IN the bed! Something I should have probably done before the growing season started, but the strawberry looks GREAT!
Last year, we got a few of the Burpees white cucumber. DH must have missed one last year because this year, we have them again! Once we get the cucumber bed ready, I will transplant them to where they will be this year.
Our grapes are back in full force! Doc (brindle), Dusty (red/fawn) and Lilly (white) are making their debut here at Ivy Hill! We just put these grapes in last year. DH insisted that these grapes be planted on the fence line because our neighbor had done something similar and he liked the idea of not having to build an arbor for them.
Our pear tree is doing quite well!! Last year it only had 1 pear. This year I think we will have quite a few more! When I told DH that there were "quite a few" and counted about 11, he said "That's not quite a few! That's not even a dozen!" when I reminded him that we had only put the tree in less than 3 years ago, and some people don't get fruit at all for the first 5 years, he decided that it was quite a few.
It rained all weekend so far, so I haven't been able to work in the garden much. I believe I will be hitting full force on Monday. A lot of the seeds that we started way back in January, didn't make it, but some did, and that makes me happy. I restarted quite a few, and THEY have made it for the most part. Next year, we're going to start everything with a grow light, so we won't have as much issues with being so leggy. We are still learning, so, I think we're doing okay for just starting. :-) Monkey got several potatoes to sprout, so we are going to plant those in used dog food bags for our potato harvest. A couple of the celery seedlings made it as well! Can't wait to put it all in the garden!
We got lettuce!! Too bad I don't remember which one this is. I planted both butter lettuce and mesclun and forgot to label them. DUH! In the very back of the picture is another potato, and a rouge tomato!
The apples and blueberries have JUST started to bud, each with a couple of leaves. The mulberry is just starting to put some green on, and the raspberries have just poked their heads thru the ground as well. Things are starting to really come together here in the last week or so. I can't wait to start updating more when things are really going. Won't be too much longer! :-)