Saturday, May 12, 2012

Hurry Up... And Wait!

Hurry Up and Wait seems to be the name of the game for us today. The rain (finally!) cleared out to give us beautiful sunny skies. Even with the wind picking up, which disallowed us the possibility of the small bonfire I was hoping for, it promised to be a good day for working. We had an orderly list for this Saturday's work, with (maybe) some odds and ends to finish up on Sunday afternoon. It looked like this: 1) feed and water the animals. 2) feed ourselves. 3) pick up some peppers and new soil for the raised garden beds. 4) get the riding mower started. 5) Sonja mow and Sean roof the chicken coop 6) burn the things in the burn pile while these activities are taking place. 7) build some "A" frames for our peas 8) get the peppers, peas, onions, & carrots planted. Somewhere around item number 4, things fell apart. It is now 3:00 pm and so far, we have done a lot, but accomplished nearly nothing!

While Sean switched out tires to the "new" old riding lawn mower in the hopes that I could mow, at least, the back yard today, I cleared out the dead foliage from one of the large planters by the deck steps and replanted some pretty flowers in it. That accomplished, I walked the back yard for any items that needed moving before I could attempt to mow; among these were several 12 foot 2x6 lengths of wood, a few 12x12 landscaping tile pieces, and some metal clips which belong to the chain link fencing. These I put away in their respective homes. Once the tires were finished, we next needed to start the mower, which... did... not... work. Sean tried his battery charger and also to jump start the battery, but no success. It looks like we may need a new battery.

While Sean was valiantly trying his best to get the mower started to the taunting sound of one of our neighbors out mowing his lawn, I checked the incubator temperature and moisture content. I researched the logistics of moving the duckling eggs inside to finish our their hatching. I also brought the containers of patio tomatoes to our deck, along with six 6-packs of sweet and hot peppers and watered all of the tomatoes we are growing. We have ten 6-packs of these, all needing to be replanted, already! Visions of delicious homemade salsa, marinara sauce, and boursin stuffed grape tomatoes make me excited for  the day when the fruits of our labors are realized and the cooking and preserving begin! But, that will be a story for another day.

One of the things on our mind for this weekend, was to try to solve the problem of the duckling egg nest living inside the pig enclosure. We've been debating the "pros" and "cons" of waiting for the eggs to hatch to take the baby ducklings inside with us until they fledge versus leaving them in the nest to be cared for by their Momma. We are concerned about the possibility of the ducklings hatching and getting promptly eaten by Patches, Ebony, a field rat, or some other predator. Another problem of letting the eggs remain as they are, is that the baby ducklings will be small enough to roam outside the chain fencing, but Momma duck, isn't. Naturally raised ducklings will also, by nature, be less friendly to human contact and more difficult to catch, ducks being a rather skittish sort. We also discovered at least one egg that may have a dead duckling inside, already. (It strongly resembles one of the pictures posted online of an egg that began developing, and then, died. This particular egg is also slightly cracked on the surface.) In the "Pro" column of leaving the eggs with Momma Duck, we won't run the risk of the incubator malfunctioning and all the eggs not hatching properly. It would be just terrible for the baby ducklings to die inside their eggs, unable to hatch and that sad outcome IS a real possibility. Many people online seemed to agree that keeping ducks with the pigs would be disastrous to the ducklings. So, we are going to move them to the incubator, watch them, and HOPE we did the right thing!

As I write this, Sean has gone to Bucksport to bring the bags of soil we need to top off the raised beds in the front of the house. I declined to go along. I am watching the empty incubator's temperature and humidity level... and writing this. When Sean returns, we MUST pause on the lawn mower and START the roof for the chickens. Right now, it looks like planting will be saved for Sunday, after all.

It is now 6 pm. The lawn mower has a new battery living in it and has had it's belts checked, engine compartment opened, spark plug sanded, gas and oil levels checked, and various other things done to it. It wants to turn over, but the diagnosis is that the spark plug is bad and needs replacing. This late, the local store is closed, though. So, maybe tomorrow after the meeting and before our volunteer work begins. Sean is putting the machine back together and picking up his scattered tools from the ground around it.

Kristen and Meaghan just returned home from their Dad's house. Meaghan and I went to retrieve the duck eggs from Momma Duck to inspect the eggs and place any that seemed viable into the incubator. I guesss whether we are doing the right thing or not, is moot at this point. We discovered that since this morning, when we counted the eggs while Momma Duck was eating, something stole 5 eggs from the nest; 2 chicken eggs and 3 duck eggs! The only viable suspects to this horrible deed are the pigs or a rat. We left the lone chicken egg and the cracked duck egg in the nest. Momma seemed to appreciate it and settled back into sitting on them. We'll still watch the duck egg for any sign of hatching, but it seems unlikely.

I did get 2 of the 7 front raised garden beds weeded and fresh compost added and mixed into the beds in anticipation for some peppers to be planted therein. And, Sean is now ready for my help with his roofing of the chicken coop. Kristen and Meaghan ate at their father's house, but, at some point, lunch or dinner must be gotten for Sean and I, I think.

I hope you have all taken advantage of the day and its sunshine!
Sonja ♥

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