Sunday, September 30, 2012

The duck dome that Grug built

Pretty much every morning, we're awake with the sun, and we peek out our window to see what we can see. Sometimes something's changed - a new flower has bloomed or there's another couple of buds on a tree - or the weather's a bit different or the sun's shining in a more summery way. It's always exciting, but this morning's excitement was a little bit extra because yesterday some new friends came to live on our land with us - 3 Indian Runner ducks

A few months back, while we were still in the throes of our insane hand-building-a-house-while-working-full-time-and-trying-to-raise-2-little-kids adventure, I answered a freecycle offer of a family of 17 muscovy ducks. I thought the offer was too good to pass up! Pretty much everyone I told laughed at me, except Pearl, who absolutely and very definitely told me that I was not to take custody of 17 ducks. Reluctantly, I let them go. But when the same guy offered 3 Indian Runners a couple of weeks ago, I wasn't going to be put off, so I accepted, and set the date for pick up, this time keeping the excitement to myself. Friday, while Pearl was marketeering, Olive and I built a duck dome. I followed Linda Woodrow's chook dome instructions (our dome will eventually house chooks) and thought I was doing a pretty good job of it too, measuring and drilling and reading the instructions word for word. When it was finished, though, it was more than a little bit wonky. 

In fact, it looks like something that Grug would build, which is, I suppose, fine, given that pretty much nothing here on our baby farm is very square or straight.
And the ducks don't seem to mind at all, even obliging us with an egg, only 12 hours after arriving! Olive is no novice egg collector, but she was more than a little bit thrilled by the surprise egg we found laying in the early-morning grass of the dome.

Olive, aged just-turned-six, thrilled to be holding the very first bit of produce made on her very own farm

Olive, aged 2-and-a-bit, thrilled to be holding the produce from her very own suburban backyard
The ducks are ridiculously cute, and we are all a bit smitten with them all. I am allowing myself to love - they're all past their prime, so none of them will be eaten. It's only their offspring who will end up crispy-skinned at some point down the line when we have the infrastructure to support ducklings (and a broody chook who will oblige us by sitting on the eggs - Runners are not the best sitters). And for now, we enjoy gentle quacking and regular eggs. Yay!

Muttley, our man-duck (also known in the biz as a drake) showing of his cute little curly tail feathers and lady-friends Bluebell (left) and Indi (right)

A little further along our orchard path, Olive and I made a stop at the beehive and, joy of joys, discovered not only 3 bars of the hive being busily filled with stunning, pure white comb, but some cells already filled with honey! 

Ok, Ok… it's not actually honey yet, seeing as it hasn't been capped and cured, but it looks bloody good, and my heart was beating pretty happily when I realised that there is some happy-bee-action happening in our hive.

The queen-cage, which now, mysteriously, has 4 normal bees in it, but no queen...

Pearly was feeling a little snotty headed and beleaguered this morn so she had a bit of a lie in while the kids and I roamed the farm. But once she was up we had the most delicious breakfast we've had in some time. You see, when we were on our duck pick-up road trip yesterday, we passed a teeny roadside stall selling asparagus, eggs and lemonade fruits. Ever the sucker for a roadside stall, I stopped the car and peeked inside the esky and discovered the most exquisitely fresh asparagus spears I had ever seen. They were so fresh and sweet that the kids and I ate some raw on the way home. To complete the deliciousness we ate a breakfast of grilled asparagus spears, soft boiled eggs and freshly toasted herby breadcrumbs sitting in the warm Spring sun under our soon to be finished pergola (more on this at a later date) followed by a breakfast dessert of homemade chocolate chip biscuits and lemonade fruit. Oh how good is this life?!


  1. Ducks! Bees! Asparagus spears! Turquoise jumpers with loveheart buttons! Gosh, you chaps fill me (complete stranger that I am) with vicarious joy.

  2. Yipee, so glad some bees have made a home in your hive! The comb looks nice and straight too which is awesome! We've had probs with the bees making comb at the angle and going across multiple bars, which means you can't lift the bars up to inspect them - but they're getting on track and making straight combs now. Many your beautiful bees bring you much honey and pollenation! How exciting to get ducks too! Indian runners are so gorgeous!

    Love and ladybirds,


  3. Oops. It really does have to be 20mm Class 12 PVC pipe, not poly pipe. Or, for a small one, electrical conduit works.