Friday, December 23, 2016

Water For Ducks

The trio of ducks we have are Khaki Campbell.  Ducks like access to water, as everyone knows.  A pond would be super but we don't have one (yet?).  A baby pool is a common duck pond, but I didn't want to deal with the pain in the butt of emptying it and the mud that would ensue.  It's pretty much as small as you can go for a "duck pond" but a wash basin will do the trick.  This is back in the summer...the lush foliage!  How I miss it!

Two ducks can fit in at a time (though it is tight) and they are able to splash water over their whole bodies.  They snortle and chortle (and sometimes mate) in the tub and then jump out and spend a good amount of time preening and fluffing and re-oiling their feathers with oil from the gland above their tails.  

I give them fresh water daily and the tub is small enough, I can just kick the dirty water over and it waters the raspberry patch and doesn't cause much of a mud pit.  It really keeps them happy and clean.  For me, the pros of this system are:

1) Their water stays clean since it is so easy for me to change it
2) The water isn't getting is watering the raspberries (and fertilizing them)
3) It's good enough for now.  Small water is better than no water or dirty water. 

Actually..... you can go a little smaller than a wash the winter a large dog bowl is even easier to fill when hauling water from the house is less than fun.  They seem pleased enough with it.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Winter Garden

The winter garden under snow.  The kale is still kicking and should hopefully overwinter.  I tried something new for our fig trees this year.   We shall see if it works. 

My largest fig tree - about 12' tall
This fig is tied together with twine, the space between the branches stuffed with leaves and then wrapped in plastic sheeting and a tarp.

Raspberry canes after ice storn
 Jason and I thinned out our raspberry canes this fall to avoid congestion in the patch.

Hardy Kiwi male and female (2 vines)
 This hardy kiwi is in need of some late winter pruning.  Ideally these would be grown on a super high T trellis and trained quite specifically.  Since this lower trellis is what we have to work with, I will definitely be experimenting.  The hardy kiwi experts say "Never let the vine wrap around the support" (note the vine wrapping around the support) and "Prune to one main trunk" (Note the multiple trunks).  The good news is, they are called hardy kiwis for a reason and seem to thrive on heavy handed pruning so they don't run amok.  I've got my work cut out for me with re-directing these young kiwis come February.  That's the fun though..."I'll try this and see what happens..."

Winter asparagus, shrubs, and apple trees

Gray Dogwood after ice storm

Kale patch still kicking

Winter Ducks and Chickens

We got our first real cold snap this past week.  Temperatures dipped down into the 20s and the ground froze hard for the first time this winter.  We got a beautiful snow that clung to the trees.  Then we got 3 days of temperatures in the teens during the days with single digits at night and wind chill below zero.  And last night came an ice storm that sadly broke some limbs off our pine tree.   For winter poultry care - the ducks' bathing tub has been downsized to a tiny basin they can fit in one at a time that is easy to fill.  Feeders and waterers are in a plastic hoop I built that I am hoping can double as a wee hoophouse for hardening off seedlings in the spring. 

Khaki Campbell trio preens and bathes

Winter duck bath

Poultry hoop
Winter feeders and heated waterers

Poultry Hoop