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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Happy Holidays to all

I see I have not updated this blog for quite some time.  Apologies.

Garden season is over now—it's cold and windy.  My garden did well, in spite of a slow start.  My carrots and beets were huge, and the zucchinis very prolific.  In August, there was a frost that killed half the zucchinis and damaged the pumpkin vine and tomatoes.  I trimmed the plants back and warm weather returned, with the plants recovering.

huge beets
frozen pumpkin vine
Huge carrots and 9 lb zucchinni
huge oddly shaped carrots

Sasha is growing some.  She still only weighs about 3 lbs but she's a bit larger in size.  For a tiny dog, she's very tough.  We found she does NOT like snow.  First snow, when we opened the door to let her out, she started at the snow and then ran and hid.  Finally got her out for a bit and she chased some snowflakes.  After that, any time it snows, we pick her up and put her outside.  She's very fast, however, and has been very successful at doubling back and getting back in the house!  Yorkies are surprisingly quick.  She's caught flies and killed them!

Sasha being feisty
Sasha chasing snowflakes

The great horned owl returned for a bit.  While he was interesting in the past, the ducks are now living in the garden and I was worried he'd go after the ducks.  We tried putting them in their pens and/or the greenhouse, but that was not working, so they are back in the garden.  In the greenhouse, Baby has to be separated from the others.  Baby was the duckling I found fallen over in the mud and brought in the house.  Against all odds, she lived, but does not know how to be a duck very well.  Baby does not really get along with the other ducks.  In the garden, it's not a problem since there's plenty of room for all seven of the ducks.

I'm throwing in a picture of fall colors and of the deer in the yard.  The deer are here often and raining down destruction on my trees.  I didn't get time to prune the bottom of the Russian olive trees, which is just as well, since they ate all the leaves off the new shoots.  I would have wasted my time!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Muscovy Duck breeding

I am putting in pictures of my Muscovy ducklings to show how they grow.  I want to note that most of what I have read about raising ducks is not really necessary and makes a lot of work for the owners.  Bleaching bowls, changing bedding if it's wet, etc all made no sense to me.  Ducks live in ponds and no one changes the bedding when it rains.  My Muscovies would roost in trees if I didn't clip their wings.  I wash out the bowls when they look nasty.  I add bedding when it looks nasty.  My ducklings (Pekins, Rouans) when I purchased them were put in enclosures at 60 to 70 degrees.  I did not have the facilities for warmer.  They all did just fine.  The ducklings my hen hatched this year have been cared for her.  I figure the duck knows more than I do about baby ducks.  In the winter, my ducks had a freezer for shelter during the day and heat only when the temperature dropped below zero.  

The one thing I did have to deal with is predators.  Since I clipped the wings on my birds, they depend on me to protect them.  In the past, the single most cause of duck loss for me was the neighbor's dog.  They now have covered pens that they go in at night and the losses have gone down dramatically.

We did butcher four this AM and will do four more tomorrow.  We don't have the facilities for keeping 16 ducks.  The babies that hatched were always destined for the freezer.  I wanted to know what the ducklings looked like as they got older. We started with adults, so I had no idea about the color changes as the Muscovies grew up.  We ended up keeping one of the new males and getting rid of the older one.  He was getting mean and beating up some of the females.  Perhaps a younger male will not be so inclined.  We hope not anyway.

Next year, if we let the hens brood, we will have to modify how they are caged and dealt with.  We need more free-ranging during the day, for one thing.  Otherwise, the growing ducks eat and eat.  We went through 40 lbs of duck food in no time feeding them.

Here are the photos I promised—a day late!

May 17, 2015  one day old

May 23, 2015

May 27, 2015

June 6, 2015

June 12, 2015

June 16, 2015

June 22, 2015

June 27, 2015
Mother duck and largest drake from the hatch July 2, 2015

July 10, 2015

July 23, 2105

July 23  Late hatch I took into the house originally

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


I see it's been quite some time since I last posted.  In the time passed, my pomeranian, Dusty died.  I was in the hospital four times with three surgeries.  That did not leave much time for blogging.

Things are better now.  I just got a new puppy—a female Yorkie that we named Shasa.  She's quite small—maybe a pound or so.  Her parents were small.  We had agreed that when Dusty died, our next dog would be a female Yorkie.  We were not having much luck finding Yorkies for sale in Wyoming and then an ad showed up in the paper.  It was a Wyoming breeder, which was good.  She's quite smart and socialized.  She knows what a pee pad is for, thought she may not always avail herself of the knowledge!  Also, in typical Yorkie fashion, she is clever enough to climb up on furniture and other no-no's!  We are actively puppy—proofing the house as much as possible.


One of our muscovies also hatched 11 babies.  Nine are still alive—one got through the fence and died.  Our duck pen is not baby-proofed either, it seems.  One is in the house.  I found him face-first in the dirt and felt sorry for him.  I never thought I'd bring a duckling in the house, but I felt sorry for him.  It's very, very cold here.  Today's it's 37 degrees with snow.  When I brought in the baby duck, it was barely above 40 degrees.  I didn't think it would survive, but after I got it warmed up it started eating and drinking.  This is the third day and it's still alive.  (I use "it" because I have no idea what sex it is.)

Muscovy babies

As noted, it is snowing today.  I had gotten all my cold weather crops planted and since then it has been really cold and wet.  Our highs are often only in the fifties.  I doubt anything has come up and it's too wet to walk in.  I can't mow and the grass is a foot tall.  We can't even use the dog yard because it's overgrown and it's too cold and wet to work in.  For now, Sasha uses her papers.  She's usually too busy sniffing around outside to bother to do her business.  Typical puppy!

We also had hail a couple of days ago, enough that it looked like snow.  There was a tornado that hit Torrington and very large hail in several places.  This was typical when I moved out here 32 years ago. It is possible that weather does run in cycles.  If so, winter will be long and harsh.


Right now, she's untying my shoes for the third or fourth time.

Had to put up a tarp to help protect the duck with the babies.  It is really cold and windy out there.

First May snow

Daffodils in snow

Deer are back!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Here we go again!

It has been a roller coaster season.  It jumps up into the 50's for a while, then back down to the 30's and below.  It's predicted now that it will be cold and snow.  Yesterday, I was out in a t-shirt and no jacket checking on where my ducks were.  I left them free-ranging, which I have not done lately.  Most days they go in the garden, where they are relatively safe from predators and wind.  However, since it was warm and not windy, I left them out.  They were showing great interest in something on the ground and in the sagebrush.  Later, when I came to check, they were in the freezer shelter in the garden.  When my hubby came home, the ducks had returned to the wind break and were foraging again.  At night, they have to stay in the greenhouse when it's cold because that's where their heated water dish is.  Most days I do let them out for a while, but if it's below 10 degrees, it's just too cold.

There's not much else going on here.  Winter is just not the exciting season it can be.  Hopefully, things will pick up, more snow will occur and things will pick up!  This is Dusty "plowing" about 3 inches of snow on her ramp to get to her yard!  She loves snow!

This is Dusty with her tail hair removed.  She was sick for nearly two weeks and her tail hair was always messy, so I removed it.  Now she really doesn't look like a pomeranian anymore.  

My small Christmas cactus bloomed again this year.  The larger one is not doing well, so I am going to repot it.  

So long for now!