Saturday, August 31, 2013

When it Rains....

~ on high-eagle-alert ~
 Well, the ducks are learning lots on their own. Since my days off do not coincide with the hubby's days off, the ducks get the run of the property for 3 or 4 whole days! We open their gate in the morning & hang with them at odd moments through the day - if it's not nice enough to be out there the whole time.

They have this odd behaviour when it comes to predatory patrol; they stand stock still, cock their heads to watch & track the birds above & hope that their big white fluffy butts are not noticeable in the yard... Rather interesting... I have actually been in the yard when an eagle has done a low altitude fly-by & the ducks did come running for the nearest shrub, so I just have to hope that if I'm not outside when it happens again - they'll have the sense to do the same thing...

With the rains come the puddles - or pools, if there is something to dam the water up for a few hours. I knew the water flowed down this side of the property, but didn't realize that the installation of their little pond would aid in creating a rather deep puddle on the high side... This is one of their favourite spots during the rains.

I have no idea what they dig for - there can't be that many bugs that remain in there once they've gone through it...

I have another ditch on the other side of property that they like to wander over to during the later part of the afternoon - it's much bigger & will provide them with lots of greens & bugs through-out the winter. I'm amazed that they are able to remain so clean & not get completely water logged! Silly ducks...

Friday, August 30, 2013

Let's See if this Works...

~ beet sprouts ~
 So, last week I had the ducks help me remove the heavy landscape fabric from one of my veggie beds - what a back breaking operation that was! (and I have 2 more to do...)

I sowed some seeds, laid Remar down & watered daily - when it wasn't raining - which is has been for most of the week. I was rewarded with some sprouts! That's the easy part... the hard part will be to have them grow to harvest-able size!

~ radish sprouts ~
I planted beets, radish, a lettuce blend & parsnips. The lettuce is an easy thing to grow at this time of year & the radishes should produce in time. The beets & parsnips... well, we shall see what happens for September & October with sunshine & temperature, but I have high hopes!

Since I rotated the soil around, there are 'mystery' sprouts of who-knows-what popping up. I will let them grow just to see what's in the soil.

I now need to figure out how to attract the worms back into the soil from below. Just might have to buy a container in the spring when I add my compost & hope they stick around!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

A Little Late this Year...

My scarlet runner beans are finally starting to produce flowers & beans. It has taken them a long time to recover from their transplanting from pots in the greenhouse to the veggie bed. Actually, I'm not even sure these are the same plants as I know I put in a few extra seeds later on 'just in case'...

One thing though; they do not like to climb up slippery plastic pipes. I should have set up twine like I do for the peas & I'm sure they would have been reaching for the tree tops long before now.

I hope with the wonderful rain we've finally begun to receive that the beans will grow quickly - I'm missing the flavour of fresh-picked beans!!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Great Year for Raspberries!

~ red raspberry blooms ~
Yup, it's a great year for raspberries - look at all the flower blooms on that cane! We are getting much needed rain - which is great for the raspberries, but horrible for the blackberries. I don't think there will be a blackberry season out here this year - very disappointing as I dearly wanted to make more jam....

But the raspberries will grow & put out a lot of flower blooms, which the bees quite enjoy at this time of year & I'll be picking again in a few weeks.

Just hauled out the last of the berries from the freezer & will make several batches of jam today to make room for the round of harvesting.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Almost Speechless...

This is my favourite time of day - right now, in this kind of light, with nothing but the flowers & the bugs & smell of fresh cut grass & ducks quacking in the shrubs. This is my favourite light - low & warm, full of promise & quiet.

I need more of this...

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Crocosmia vs Montbretia - it Blooms Finally!

 Another wonderful flowering spectacle in the garden this year is my patch of Crocosmia - first time blooming since being planted as the deer have eaten the blooms every year til now!

This is a South African corm that does extremely well here on the coast. I've seen recommendations to dig it up each fall (like gladiolas) but it certainly doesn't need it here!! They require a lot of room - as you can see my patch has grown very well this year & reduced our walk-way by more than half.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Antique Hydrangea

 My gardens are in full 'deer-recovery mode' & are rewarding us with a few blooms this year.

A couple of my hydrangea cuttings have ventured to put out a few blooms this year.

They are stunning!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Adventures with Ducks

 Well, the ducks are now 13 weeks old! Their personalities are starting to show in interesting ways & they are getting a feel for what life will be like for them in our little 'Duck-topia'.

Some mornings they are full of beans & want nothing more than to run around the whole yard. We like to strategically place water basins around for them to use & when they see one being filled, they come running!! Some times they manage a bit of flight time along this run!
They went through a molt over the last couple of weeks which brought out more adult feathers (hence the power of flight) & they like to show off their wings to us, especially in the mornings when they are let out of their house.

 We are now a bit more confident in allowing them their 'free range' time since they are developing their wing muscles - should a predator come along, they have a better chance of escape to under a shrub, back to either their enclosure, or even just freaking out & finding us!

 Communication with the ducks is becoming stronger too. They respond to our whistles (they'll quack quite loudly to let us know where they are when we whistle!) &  we are working on a call. Nothing fancy - 'duck-duck' usually works to get them moving. Duck Rogers will usually lead the girls out & down the path to the front yard in single file.

It's quite funny to watch them waddle along, looking around & squeaking to each other if they see something new or interesting. The cool thing this week is that Duck Rogers has got his 'boy quack'! We thought he would have this strange 'squook' noise but it's developed into a definite 'boy duck' quack. He sounds like a wild duck versus the ear splitting quacks that explode from the girls!

I have the feeling that this week the ducks went through a few traumatic experiences that has given us all a bit of education into 'yard security'.

They have been pretty skittish & 'clingy' (if a duck trio can be that with their humans...) & I have the feeling that they had a couple Eagle Scares this week.

We leave their gate open when we are home - this allows them the option of running around with us when we are outside or coming & going at their own choosing. Lately, when we get home, we just open the gate & let them do their thing - they've got a couple really good foraging areas that have shelter for them to hide under, but the Eagles may have freaked them out. Now is the time of year that the salmon are running & we have resident Eagles in the large trees all around our 'block'. I noticed the other day that a couple of them were conducting low altitude fly-bys & I immediately checked on the kids - who were already in their enclosure (which has a full covering of bright orange commercial fish net over it now thanks to last weeks' renovation). Safe & secure, but freaked right out.

Then just yesterday, while the hubby was constructing a new bridge at one of our entrances, a DOG sneaked past him & ran right by him through the open gate & into the yard right for the ducks!! Freak out!! Well, the hubby freaked out more than the ducks & I'm really glad I was inside cooking dinner, or else said Pooch & Pooch's owners might not have left our neighbourhood in very happy spirits. (Boots & butts & fowl language). So, when the ducks are clingy after all that, I don't mind too much. Takes me away from cleaning the house.

So, speaking of clingy ducks - I think today they are in much better spirits because each time I check on them, they are in a new part of the yard they've not been in before (or flower bed....) so I just might have to put them back in their enclosure til I'm done my indoor chores... Sweet Pea is the one who leads them into new areas initially... should rename her 'Sneaky Pea'...