Sunday, April 12, 2009

An April Fool ??

I've been trying for, like, a week to write a post about sharing space. I would like to address the possibility that, in our future, we are likely to be either seeking shelter with family members or providing shelter for family members, and ways we might make the move comfortable for everyone involved.

Unfortunately, as we have spent the last two months playing host to some family members who were in "transition", anything I start to write about how to handle it starts to sound a little like ... well, whining.

At some point, probably several months from now when I can no longer smell the Essence of Cat (piss) all over my house, I'll be able to offer some good advice.

Anyway ....

On a positive note, maple sugaring season has ended.

Oh, wait. Maybe that's not a positive .... The season was VERY short.

We collected about a 100 gallons of sap and have about two gallons of syrup (we gave our neighbors each a quart in thanks for allowing us to tap their trees). It all ended up very dark. We're not sure why, but it tastes really good, and that's what counts.

I was also able to get my garden started. Last weekend, I planted peas, beets, lettuce, and spinach - all direct sowed in the garden -, and the garlic I planted last fall is growing. I dismantled my cold frame, because it had collapsed under the snow anyway, and I prepped the bed for something else. I don't know what I'll put there.

Probably cabbage ...

... or broccoli ...

... but probably cabbage, because the slugs really like cabbage, and the bed is in the backyard where our ducks will be, and they eat slugs. Maybe I'll actually be able to eat some of my cabbage this year.

Speaking of ducks, we picked up our first batch of broilers on Friday. There are eight chicks, and they're so tiny, but from last year's experience, I know they'll grow really fast.

But about the ducks ... I had ordered two khaki campbell ducks to be delivered with this order of broilers, but the hatchery did not send them. I'm not exactly clear as to why, but it has something to do with Easter, and the hatchery only sending Pekin ducks. The guy at the feedstore said he'd call the hatchery on Monday to see if he could get them to send my ducklings.

If you're interested in why I want ducks, as one homeschooling mom I met was, khaki campbell ducks are prolific layers and will provide almost as many eggs in a years time as a good laying hen. Duck eggs are really great for baking. Ducks are also good foragers and eat bugs and slugs without destroying the vegetables ... unlike chickens. The khaki campbell breed is reportedly a good multi-purpose breed, and duck fat is supposed to be incredibly good for you.

But my butcher doesn't do water fowl, and so my ducks are for eggs and pest control, and ...,

I've placed my second order for ten more broilers for the end of May, and we'll have the last eight scheduled for pick-up the end of June. That will give us twenty-six chickens in the freezer for the winter.

Last night, we cracked open our first bottle of beer. Oh, man! We brewed a Hefeweisen from a kit. I was never much of a beer drinker, until I went to Germany and discovered Hefeweisen. The stuff we brewed was as good as anything I had over there, and better than anything I've found since I came back. Brewing one's own ... HIGHLY recommended!

It's been busy here. Our "company" just left four days ago, which means I spent today "spring cleaning." I'm hoping things will get (somewhat) back to normal, but I haven't, yet, figured out what that is ... normal, I mean.

Planting season is here, which means that canning season is right around the corner, and then ... well, the wheel just keeps turning, doesn't it, and the key is to hang on for as long as you can.

Hopefully, I'll be back soon with some advice on how to handle stuffing eight people into a 1500 sq foot house with three dogs and a stinky cat ... but I need to put some time between me and the event.

Next time it happens, I hope to be better prepared, and if not, perhaps we'll still have some of our great beer ... and then, I won't care so much ;).


  1. Drive your ducks down to Jersey--I pass two live butcher shops on my way to work every day!

  2. I've been debating getting ducks even before I get chickens. I love the idea of a few ducks in the garden with their soft murmur. I don't envy you the house crowd, I'd go NUTS!

  3. Looking forward to your posts about your "guests." As if life isn't hard enough, trying to accommodate that many people must make for some interesting stories! I mean, lessons we should all learn! LOL

  4. Hi Wendy!
    It's great to hear you're getting ducks, but just know that they *will* nibble your veggies, poop all over everything, make a high holy mess whenever it rains, and lay for a shorter season than chickens. It's a good thing you're not planning on butchering them, because our experience with Khakis is that from a 3 lb bird, you get a pound of meat, a pound of fat and a pound of bones. But man, do they forage! They love slugs, but like earthworms even more. Even with all that, I do still love my ducks. But I am planning on transitioning to laying hens this year. ;)

    Anna, only the male drakes will softly murmur. My six girls love to QUACK, QUACK, QUACK!!! :)

  5. *chuckle* The "8-people, 3 dogs and a stinky cat" bit sounds like it carries some great stories, once you're a bit removed from the reality of it all!

    Best of luck with the ducks!!! And the cabbage! *wink*

  6. I look forward to your post about having others living with you. We're considering getting a few ducks. I'm not sure, I've heard they make a huge mess!

  7. So, during the period of company did you read the Sharon's famous brother-in-law on the couch post over and over?

    I think that hosting needy family is what we are supposed to be preparing to do but I'm an introvert and having my own parents (or hubby's) is a stressful event for me.

    And yes, I remember just once I left the back gate open while I was planting new spring flowers in front and the ducks (who had never been in front before) made a bee line through two gates ane ripped up flats of bedding plants.

    They do love all manner of bugs and as we were young and newly married and bored, we would turn on the back porch light at night and get tennis rackets and swat flying bettles and all manner of bugs out of the air down to the ducks who learned the "game" and would jump and grab them out of the air.

    The lay fantastic eggs. Not everyone wants to eat one fried but they're great for baking - no doubt.

    Peking Duck is an event to make.