Hello, hope you all had a lovely Christmas. It was very peaceful here, so good to have a break!
It’s been full-on, with summer crops needing frequent harvesting. I was thinking this arvo, what happened to those morning hours when I used to get extra jobs done? Now the time is spent harvesting and cleaning equipment. But we live seasonally here, so that’s to be expected. I’ve started reading Grow, Hunt, Cook by a guy from NSW. Forgotten his name! But I can totally relate to what he says about living seasonally, and how it means working your but off for three seasons and then taking it easier in the winter…though he lives in a much colder part of the country than us…we can grow year round here…so winter is still a work season. Just not quite as busy as summer.
As many of you know, we have ducks for eggs, and last week we had a beautiful bunch of ducklings arrive. We had a hen incubate the eggs for us…2 hens actually. Lightning, the hen who started incubating, was kicked off the nest by Lavender, my hard-core-broody hen. She’d just hatched some chicks about 2 weeks prior, but obviously was still in the mood to sit, because she kicked Lightning off the nest and took over. That was all good and well until after the ducklings hatched. Our son excitedly told us three ducklings had hatched. We went to have a look, and a fourth was hatching! But by the time I got back out there to check on the progress, a duckling was dead! Bleeding from the back of the skull, and totally lifeless. It was heartbreaking when we’ve waited to long to hatch our own ducklings.
But I didn’t know it was Lavender who was responsible, so I left the other ducklings there while we waited for the next one to hatch. Then on the next check up, another duckling was killed. Same lethal wound to the back of the skull. Then I realised Lavender was the murderer! She has 6 week old chicks that still sleep beside her, and obviously she looked at these new babies and realised they’re no chickens…and started killing them. I felt awful for not getting the ducklings out of there sooner, but I had no idea she’d do that. We’d sold fertile eggs to a guy who had a hen incubate them, and it all went well for him, so I presumed it would be the same for us. Not so. Anyway, there was a 5th egg starting the crack, so I put it under another broody hen who’s far gentler. But she rejected it in the middle of the night, so it went cold and died. 🙁
The good news is that we rescued the two remaining ducklings, who are doing really well. They’re friendly little ones, and love to have someone nearby to play ‘replacement mother.’ They’ll cheep like crazy when they’re lonely, and all we have to do is put them on someone’s lap, or next to the children while they play, and the babies will be happy. So cute.
We’re open again from tomorrow (Wednesday 27th December). As I mentioned to a few people, if we took the week off, we’d have to throw out so produce! The garden is producing heavily right now. Tomatoes especially. I’ve been canning whenever possible (though I’m down to my last few vacola jars now!).
It’s a great time of year to look back at all that you have to be thankful for…