Monday, July 16, 2012

Duckling, Bee, Fruit, and Vegetable Update

    The animals and the garden seem to have survived my weeklong absence at trek.  I really appreciate Linda taking care of the animals while I was gone.  I realize that is a significant daily chore and I know she had a lot of things on her plate. The ducklings have grown quite large.  Since they were hatched on June 20th they are a little less than four weeks old now.  That is an important milestone for ducklings as four weeks is when their oil glands start to work and they can start to waterproof their own feathers.  Obviously the chicken has been unable to fulfill that mother waterfowl function.  We've been very fortunate to have had relatively dry weather since they were hatched. Once they are capable of waterproofing themselves they can be moved into the duck pen with their real parents, Popeye, Olive Oyle and Sweetpea.  I'm moving the last of the Americauna chickens to the large chicken pen this evening so we'll finally have just ducks in the duck pen and chickens in the chicken pen.

The ducklings are now awkward adolescents

    Linda bought a bale of hay for the goats while I was gone. I thought that was very sweet of her to do.  I'm not sure what she paid for it, but I suspect it was more than the $4.00 per bale I usually pay for local grass hay. I was advised by my goat mentor not to feed really good quality hay to the goats.  The goats do better on the cheap stuff as good hay has too much protein. Now that the weather is dry enough for me to buy local hay I'm going to try and get my little goat barn stocked up for this fall and winter.

A Girl and her Chicken reunited

    The Tunnell children were visiting when I arrived home from Trek.  This allowed Britton to have a joyful reunion with Rose, her pet chicken. Sadly, Rose is a little less inclined to be held as she doesn't experience that on a daily basis while in the "Chicken Protection Program".

    The strawberries peaked while I was gone and we are on the downhill side.  I picked some of my black currants on Saturday afternoon and hope to finish the rest of them on Monday.  Black and red currants are both very high in vitamin C and very nutritous.  Black currants are somewhat of an acquired taste as they have kind of a resinous flavor.  They can be made into a pretty good jam or jelly but I can readily understand why many people don't like them fresh.  I've also had good luck juicing them with my steamer juicer. If it comes out a little strong I can always mix it with another kind of juice.  I have also dried them and put them into my oatmeal. I liked it that way but they still tasted like black currants.  We are picking raspberries now and some of the blueberries have started to ripen.

    As far as tree fruit goes, we had too much rain in June and poor pollination earlier such that the sweet cherry harvest has been minimal so far. All of the Rainier cherries cracked. The Bing and the Lambert trees produced little fruit, most of it cracked and the birds got it all.  I may still get some sweet cherries from my Lapins or Hudson trees if the weather will stay dry.  My little pie cherry trees had some nice sized and pretty fruit but there wasn't much of it.  The trees are fairly small yet so there wasn't enough cherries for a pie between both trees.  However, the plum tree is still looking very good. I expect the Shiro plums to be ripe within another week and there are a lot of good looking Obilnaya and Santa Rosa plums developing on the tree.
Lovely "Surefire" Pie Cherries. If only there were more of them.

    It is my turn to conduct Sacrament meeting in July so it is more difficult to be away on a weekend. I wish I could have spent more time at Sarah's but I always feel that way when I visit with any of my children.  I love doing the bee store but it does seriously cramp my style when it comes to visiting children and grand children. Being retired for real is beginning to sound pretty good. I didn't get to see Rachel at all during my visit and even forgot to leave the jug of honey I had brought down for her. I did manage to bring Luna, Lance, and Hannah back home with me.  We were able to bring them to church with us and we had a lovely campfire Sunday evening.

Lance, Hannah, and Luna roasting marshmallows around the campfire
Hannah Kang with Roasted Marshmallow Perfection


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