April 1, 2019

  • The 3 ducklings, hitherto respectful of/disinterested in the fruit bushes, were going to town on two Sugar Pies and the older of the two goumi – even though the latter has thorns.
  • Would move the family back into the main bird yard, but the chickens are too trustworthy in their fledgling stabbage/pinfeather yanking. Elevated the two smaller bushes instead.
  • Took Robin to the farm, brought back a blue girl and an atipico.
  • Sent tempting photo of a blue or lilac to the owner of a brown duck I’d like to trade for.
  • Turned more of the compost. Papi jumped on top and helped eat worms. I’m pleasantly surprised that the chicken poop bedding isn’t too awful for worms – the more the merrier!
  • Compost has been sitting at 80f this week.
  • Dragged the satsuma out into transitional daylight 0 the damn plastic pot breaking more and more along the way.
  • Off to the farm for tacos and dumptruck purchase with G. L. as well as feed dropoff/egg collection/bird tally.
  • Sowed many past due flower bulbs from G. L. over winter today. Should have winter-sown them.
  • Hand-ripped some sod and grasses from around the shallower front beds, because the runner grasses especially just pop right into the beds.
  • Carrots out front went unmolested all winter. Consider another late season sowing out there – or parsnips anytime now.
  • Sown:
    • Wild Garden lettuces 2×3
    • Halblange parsnips,
    • Yukon gold potato,
    • Austrian crescent potato,
    • 2nd gen. red-skin/white flesh organic potatoes from Thriftway,
    • Makah ozettes
    • Touchstone Beets
    • Cascadia Snap Pea
    • Super Sugar Snap Pea
    • Oregon Sugar Pod II Snow Pea
  • Transplanted:
    • Cloth pot borage to next to concrete pad.
    • Pennsylvania Golden Pawpaw,
    • Campbell NC-1 Pawpaw
    • Unnamed PawPaw seedlings
    • Mint roots around the front window bed
    • Dug up and potted several very large red sunchoke tubers
    • Up-potted about 27 pineapple crush alpine strawberries
  • Bought and up-potted a Hinnomaeki red gooseberry from Kathy’s Corner, with the seed potatoes (Yukon gold and Austrian Crescent)
  • Groomed the bananas
  • First apple bud
  • Moved a couple more 20 gallon bags into the garden for potatoes
  • Moved the large haskap into the garden with the Sugar Pies and topped off its soil, and that of several other perennials.
  • Set up a weird trellis w/ xpen panels for peas and protected from ducklings and chickens with the screen previously over the potato onions and lettuce section.
  • Spent almost the entire day outdoors
  • Discovered a third of last year’s Echinacea purpurea in the front yard 4×4

March 31, 2019

  • Took the bird run down to bare soil level this week, finally. Rebedded with 1.6 bags of Gem white shavings, but it’s still not enough.
  • Moved carrot burlap to reveal sprouts and hung it to shade the paw paw saplings. Set cold frame upon trellis to protect carrots.
  • Experimented w/2 windows from old farmhouse shed /\
  • Planted the rest of the potato onions from the replacement shipment from VENDOR for a total just over 60 – I’ll recount when they sprout.
  • The 3 babies are incredibly bold and come running when I call them. The black female is just starting to pin on her bread, and all three have had little feathered tails for a while now.
  • 2 more Ancona egg broken – I inspected it and it appeared to be infertile – perhaps just a hot dud popping, but it didn’t smell rank to me.
  • 15 eggs now.
  • Hauled, arranged, and tidied many of the 20 gallon soil bags.
  • Rachel has been going outside for cat adventures.
  • Scooter is also brooding now, and two or three more gals have just started laying. Probably Utie, Blue Mama, and Greycie.
  • Raked the garden path mulches up a bit and some of the yard.
  • Spent quite a bit of time outside in the wee hours last night making a pair of raccoons uncomfortable. I went out to see/hear one scrabble back up the fence into the big bay laurel in the Danger Corner. Hit them with thrown dirt clods, driving them higher into the tree. Let both dogs out to make a display of large animals being fast and agile., and went out again later to make it uncomfortable for them to leave the tree as well – I want them to just know our yard as a Bad Time Zone. I ultimately let them climb down out of the tree (1am?), and they left with further help from the hose that I’d been spraying at them. They’ll be back, but I’m glad to have ‘won’ this encounter.
  • Got all feed secured and the feeder into the can. Moved the rooster, who’s been sleeping in the doghouse with some girlfriends, into the coop, and better-secured the door of the run.
  • Transplanted some of last year’s strawberry crowns to the front bed with the rhododendrons.
  • Need to sow: peas, lettuce, parsnips, hong vit, mache, golden beets, dill
  • Need to start beans, tomatoes, squash
  • Turned almost all the first compost bay over into the second bay – whoof!
  • Many perennials, etc. from last year that I assumed would have wimped out over the late summer, or winter, are resprouting – including the Echinacea purpurea in the front 4×4, and in the middle of bed A with the radishes.
  • Time to transplant chives, harden oca and mashua,and I’m moving the citrus outward.
  • A green lemon fell off the lemon tree when I jostled it on DATE

Creature Feature: Muscovy “Ducks”

Superb homesteading animal

  • Benefits
    • Eggs 50-125 per year, during their season. Birds will lay more if eggs are collected daily and they are not allowed to complete and sit a nest.
    • More muscovies
      • Consider even half of that number being offspring per year per laying Muscovy. They’re the flock champions of mothering and can pull off 1-3 large clutches (of up to 20 eggs!) per year.
        • Mulards & Hinnies
    • Meat
      • When not raised to obesity, Muscovy ducks are notable for meat significantly leaner and stronger-tasting than that of their mallard cousins.
      • Hefty carcass and unique meat flavor offset long, 12-20 week, grow-out period. Reviewers compare the flavor of Muscovy duck to roast beef, ham, and veal, varying by preparation method.
    • Feathers
      • The down structure of the Muscovy is the closest of domestic birds to that of the Eider duck, producer of the renowned eiderdown.
    • Fertilizer
    • Pest Control
      • Muscovies, possibly hence the name, can boast the ability and drive to snatch flying insects, most notably flies, out of the air.
    • Entertainment & yard company
      • I’ve always loved watching chickens, but these guys are on a different level. Intelligent and interested, without the raptor-like bloodlust thirst for flesh that chickens have. My drakes come up to me, tails wagging, arching and bowing their necks, and huffing up a storm, and will greedily eat from my hands. The females are more reserved, but Ankka will accept a nibble from me.
  • They are also said to be ‘silent’ ducks but, while quackless, Muscovies have a variety of vocalizations and are usually talking to me or to one another. My male, Oli, huffs with varying urgency as a response to most situations, and Utie and Anka chirp and trill. I also recently attended some sort of duck meeting, where they were all bobbing their heads, puffing their wings, and making a sound like geese whispering and croaking. Once in a while, one makes a single honk if startled or pecked by a chicken.
    • They are a good choice for a low-profile backyard flock
    • Draws fewer predators? Find citation of the noisy call ducks attracting predators in support
  • Strong foragers
  • All ducks resistant to disease/parasites compared to chickens
  • Lower water motivation
    • Runner ducks also not super into water
    • Less contaminated water better for multi-species situations and setups with smaller waterers
  • Good free rangers
    • Strong foragers
    • Competent fliers -ADDRESS FLYING YO. Trimming vs. pinioning.

Muscovies, along with turkeys, are one of two domestic fowl originating in the Americas and are, in fact, a distinct species from, Cairina moschata; often written CITATIONto be more closely related to geese than to the mallard-derived domestic ducks.

  • Producing less oil than true ducks (inside and out; the meat is also less greasy), CITATIONmuscovies are only slightly more water-resistant than the chickens, and are mercifully not compelled to bathe in any bit of water they see.

Background, Feral, Domestic

  • Used to hatch conservation species
  • American natives
    • Rio Grande Valley
  • Legislative Status
  • Kosher status
  • shared nesting, called dump nesting


David W. and Mildred M. Holderread. Raising the Home Duck Flock. Storey Publishing, LLC, 1978.

Drowns, Glenn. Storey’s Guide to Raising Poultry. 4th ed., Storey Pub., 2012.

May 15-16, 2018

Having another burst of progress. 2×2 patch of lettuces sown yesterday.

Yesterday, moved outside: owari satsuma, squash, tomatoes, pepper, tomtato, catnip, horseradish, goji, tea plant onto table in covered carpot area. Moved many to covered bed to hopefully harden off further, and not just cook and die.

Black specks that look like invertebrate/insect poop on many plant leaves, and the leaves of some of the covered radishes appear to have been nibbled. Strawberry plant was definitely nibbled.

Shifted trellis to straddle the peas, not the aisle. Easier access to the duck water for watering again.

Neighbor H. gave us a great deal of soaker hose yesterday – must learn how to get them in place ASAP to make adequate watering possible/not grueling.

Goumi in full bloom, saw a mason bee pollinating it, and then fly into the mason bee house over the gutter!

Sowed more of both chive types today.

I find the astonishing variety of the Wild Garden lettuce mix beautiful and awesome, and they grow so quickly-ish and gorgeously. I want to grow more, just because they’re so cute. Also food. Some are too cute to eat!

Eugene picked a beautiful giant pink pot for the owari satsuma. I plan to pot it in a mix of the garden soil, and either sand/vermi, or coir, based on what else I read about their needs. And some Down To Earth citrus mix.

I want to start a few onions, even if far too late, in the new good soil mix I made, vs. the garden soil the others are in, and see if it makes the same crazy difference as it seemed to with the lettuce. D

Ducklings spent most of yesterday and all of today outside. Very cute.

MAY 16

Still a warm week, though chiilly today, despite the sun.

Saw that the sunchoke I planted towards the front of the house has grown! must lavel, lest it be mown.

Muscovy ducklings any time now. It lookied like perhaps I was seeing an internal pip today.

More black grow bags arrayed. Planted purple viking potatoes. Organic yellow store potatoes and the blue apron multicolor potatoes are still to go.

Ordered Japanese Rakkyo (from Japan) from ebay.

May 8, 2018


It seems that the warm part of Spring has begun in earnest. The runner ducklings were able to spend much of yesterday evening outside, and have been outside most of today so far.

The bananas are throwing their first non-crap leaves.

Crows & ospreys nesting.

Put out birdbath & refilled feeders.

Set goji, bell peppers, and accompanying squash, and lemongrass outside.

Pulled tomato starts out of 10g – too tall! Many are very floppy. Relatedly, I realize I don’t know dick in a meaningful way, re: hardening off.

May 5, 2018

Ozette potatoes (first square, planted in march) have sprouted, about two days ago, while the sunchokes seem to just be coming up today.

5 “yezberry” sugar pie haskaps came yesterday – very small and packed without any love whatsoever, but otherwise apparently healthy.

We are perhaps the new potential “owners” of a super sketchy monstrosity of a camo pickup with Navy junk all over it, as well as a boat in the back. Intriguing, but v. questionable, and a free truck and boat are likely to be the worst kind.

Went to the garden club plant sale – but cash or check only, no cards, so I put my three things back and awkwarded away.

Purchased large coir brick, 25lb sack of starter mix from Down To Earth fertilizers, and a cow femur for Basie from Island Lumber.

Had a nice visit with A.W.’s mom.

Today also Ace’s annual we’ll-pot-your-plant event.

Did nearly as low as possible a dose of Starter Mix in beds A, B, F, w/ spot treatments in E & D (1 cup/8 ft)

Planted 16 of about 20 shallots from Kathy’s trip with dad.

Heeled in the 5 Jersey Knight asparagus.