Forgive the hodgepodge nature of this entry, but there has been so much going on this week
- It seems wrong to include this first category in an entry with more trivial stuff, but it has shaped my week and affected me more than the rest, so:
This week, we have been notified of three deaths : the doula who helped bring Farmer Boy and Ti'Loup into the world lost her husband. He died in the night in Cairo, we know not of what. A friend's son, who had been paralyzed and in a coma last year after falling from a roof, made a miraculous recovery only to die a few days ago of a brain aneurysm. Another friend's 20-year-old daughter was in a fatal car wreck on Thursday. So much grief. So many questions about how well are we loving those around us when we have no idea when our lives on this earth will come to an end. So much anger at myself every time I lose my temper with my own lively, hyper-alive kids.
- Our broody duck is down from 4 duck eggs and 3 goose eggs to one duck egg and 2 goose eggs. I thought the drake was stealing them from her because I saw him in the nest with her. We were prepared to harvest him because we can't have an animal that eats the eggs or young and it woluld be too hard to house him alone and only let him with the others for breeding purposes. So, we separated them and then discovered it was the mother duck eating the eggs. :( She is still on the three, and I don't know whether to take them from her and put them in the incubator (which I detest)or just leave them and see what happens. Sprout is devasted because it is her duck, and of course, what is good for the gander...or drake, in this case, is good for the duck.
The reason I haven't just moved them to the incubator---besides hating the thing--is that it is still occupied by one egg, which leads me to my next topic:
--Mr. Crude (as I call the man from whom J bought the duck eggs because of his penchant for sexual innuendo, which i often overhear) is either dishonest or not at all careful of his duck breeding. J asked him for Khaki Campbell eggs, and instead of saying he didn't know what that was or saying that he has a mixed flock, he sold J a dozen eggs, only 4 of which were viable. ( Granted, he was not selling them as hatching eggs, but J was very clear that that is what he meant to do with them.) Two ducklings hatched on the 11th, one hatched today, and the other should hatch tomorrow from the look of things, and so far, of the three, none of them look anything like KC ducks. Two could be Rouen or Rouen crosses, and one could either be a Cayuga or a Swedish cross...or something else entirely. Look s like if I want Khaki Campbells, we are going to have to drive an hour and a half one way and pay 2euros per egg for them.
- Just when I told frigg
that our hens were doing great on the hatching front, our latest clutch only produced 4 chicks out of 9 eggs. Two chicks were crushed under the mom, two mysteriously disappeared (no sign of them or their shells), and one egg never developped. Then the mom pretty much rejected them for the first day. The kids babysat the chicks in the warm greenhouse until we could convice the hen to mother them. All is well now.
- We finally got some rain, brought in on those lovely dark clouds looming over our daisy-studded field,
which we were able to stock until our pond liner finally arrived (the hole has been dug for more than a month). Yesterday J bought some geo-textile (whatever that is in English, see photo below), and we started to construct the pond in my potager today:
Everything looks a mess now, but that is all the better for comparison purposes of when we get it looking spiffy. The larger pond we dug on the other side of the greenhouse 2 years ago is not lined and therefore does not hold water year round, so I wanted a smaller one closer to the veggie plot to provide more reliable habitat to all our amphibian friends. This one should hold around 1000L of water.
-I have no idea what is up with the garden this year, no idea of how it will produce. Rainfall is so-so, temps were really high and now really low. Some plants look fine, others--like my cucumbers and noodle beans--look like they are not going to make it. :(
--The weather has been poor, so I haven't been to check on the bees that my neighbor gave me (we made a split and are waiting to see if they raised a new queen for the hive), but when the sun finally came out, I went to observe what was happening. I didn't hear any intense drone buzzing (indicating that there is no queen and workers have taken over the laying), and although there was not a lot of activity, I did see bees going in and out and lots with their pollen baskets filled. I do feel a bit guilty about having my first colony be the result of splitting up another colony because I do want to go the natural beekeeping route. I wanted to start my apiary with a caught (hopefully wild) swarm, but when my neighbor offered to give me bees, I didn't feel I could say no. Ah well, there will be time for swarm catching in other years. I also don't want to exclusively use Dadant hives, but I got one because it was free...and because I think it is not a bad idea to have the same hive as other beekepers for many reasons, but I won't go into that now.