The Ducks are Growing

I managed to get some half decent photos of the ducks at long last!

They are slowly beginning to warm to us. Sadly we haven’t been able to spend lots of time with them, so they are a bit warey of us still, but they are getting used to us.

We are pretty sure we’ve got two boys and two girls in the ducklings, as they’re beginning to show off their adult plumage now. The boys are much lighter than the girls and they have a black hood. We’ve also realised that the girls quack and the boys rasp.

One of the boys is destined for Northamptonshire where it will be swapped for a girl. I have a friend who hatched some khaki’s around the same time as ours and she wants to do some more breeding hut needs an unrelated male, so I said I’d happily swap – it saves him from the dinner table!

I’ve also discovered that they probably won’t start laying until they are around nine months old, so it’ll be the new year before we start to see eggs. Hopefully myrtle will start before then, but I’m still not sure what the eggs look like, so when I’m hunting around their pen, I’m not rally sure what I’m looking for!

We’ve been very fortunate to have some pond liner donated to us by a very kind old friend. We are desperate to make a start on the pond, ready for when the rain comes, and I keep being assured it will come and when it does it’ll be here until spring! Unfortunately though other things have to be done first, mostly tidying up the jobs we’ve finished.

It amazes me how much rubbish you accumulate from jobs. I cleared a border the other weekend and I’ve been left with a mountain of perennial weeds that needs burning. And we’ve had some building work done on the house and are left with another mountain of rubbish that needs sorting out. Never mind, we will get through various mountains and then we can start on the duck pond. The ducks are happy enough in their temporary (although becoming permanent) bath. They run to it in the morning and scrabble over who’s turn it is in there. Then they scurry around in the long grass looking for grubs.

They really are very entertaining. I sat and had coffee down there this morning and watched them whilst the cat sat on my lap, grabbing a bit of fuss when he can. It was very peaceful, listening to the birds and the farmers in the fields.

The cows are back in the field too, they arrived this morning. I was going to take a photo, but they had vanished into the undergrowth by the stream and I could hear them splashing about and occasionally see a brach moving vigorously.

Right, I’m off to burn the perennial weeds now! Happy Friday all, and have a good weekend.

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Feeling Grateful

We’ve been here six months now and it’s fair to say, we’re loving it. It’s challenging at times, daunting too, but it’s a fabulous place to live. Everyone we’ve met has been so welcoming and very helpful.

We’re slowly getting used to our new way of life and I have to say I don’t miss the old one.

The last few days of summer are reminding us just how lucky we are. Me and Bumble the dog had a glorious walk this afternoon and I took some photo’s of where we live. It’s working farmland and they were busy cutting hedges and moving slurry today and the tractors have been busy tonight going past the cottage.

I like the fact that’s the landscape is worked, it’s not manicured, it’s honest and beautiful. Have a look and see what you think, hopefully you’ll agree.

This is the farm where the kittens were born. I love walking through here on our walks, there's always lots going on.

This is the farm where the kittens were born. I love walking through here on our walks, there’s always lots going on.

A stile into a field. If you walk down there the hedges are bursting with blackberries and sloes.

A stile into a field. If you walk down there the hedges are bursting with blackberries and sloes.

This is a view not far from home.

This is a view not far from home.

A water trough in a field.

A water trough in a field.

Field gate.

Field gate.

Update on the Cottage and the Ducks

Morning all, sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted anything. We’ve been busy finishing the duck enclosure, entertaining an endless stream of friends coming to visit and busy working.

The ducks are all doing fab, they’re fully grown now and it’s hard to tell Myrtle apart from the ducklings (still unnamed). They love being able to roam around in the ‘orchard’ foraging for bugs and particularly enjoy cabbage scraps.

We decided to try steps instead of the beautiful ramp that Mr Bumbleandme made for them, as they wouldn’t use it and we had to pick them up each night and put them in the duck house. This was causing them lots of stress and we didn’t want all the hassle of chasing them and putting them in ourselves for ever. So, I got some breeze blocks that we’re lying around and used some roof tiles to straighten it all up and they now have steps going up to the duck house, which they use! Hooray. I’m even more delighted to say that they put themselves to bed at night. We go down about six to feed them and they are all tucked up in the duck house quacking about when the humans are coming to feed them, and they get very excited when they hear us coming. The racket they make when we’ve shut them up at night is so funny to hear, listening to them eating their dinner – you’d think they’d never been fed.

Watching them come out in the morning is funny too. They haven’t master the art of hopping out, they seem to prefer to fall and sometimes roll a little down the hill. Very ungraceful, but highly amusing.

The cows are back in the field. Only three of them this time around as the others have had their calves. We keep waking up in the morning wondering if there will be a baby calf in the field, but not yet. The ducks don’t seem to mind they’re new neighbours, although the cows stare intently at the ducks when they are making a calamity, which is quite often.

Here is a photo of our first camping visitors. They made a really good job of setting up camp, it looks fab. The second photo is of the ‘orchard’, where the ducks live. I’m planning on getting some small bare root apples trees in the autumn to put in there, as I’d like it to be a meadow/orchard/duck enclosure. I’m probably wishing for way to much out of the space, but it’s worth a try.

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New doors arrive at the cottage

Good evening folks, sorry it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on here – we’ve been soo busy.

The Rayburn is fab – although we’ve only had it on a couple of times because it’s been so lovely and warm here.  We’re slowly getting to grips with cooking on it.  The radiators have also been installed, so when the Rayburn is fired up its toasty in the cottage!

But big news this week is the new doors that have been fitted – they look brilliant and will make such a difference this winter along with the other steps we’ve taken to getting this little bit of Wales toasty and warm this winter. I’ve been busy painting them this weekend while Mr Bumbleandme has been if fishing off the fencing for the duck enclosure – it’s looking like Buckingham palace! Can’t wait to take photos of them wandering around.

Anyway, I’ve digressed slightly, sorry.  The doors…

I would very much appreciate some comments because as I’ve been painting I’m unsure what to do with the door frames – should they be white of the same colour as the doors?? Having looked on the web it would appear the most popular is white, but why go with the crowd? I think they would look better white, but I’m not sure and would love to hear from anyone with an opinion to help us decide. I’ve posted some photos below so you can see what they look like.  It is only the first coat, so please   Ignore the patches.

The front door.

The front door.

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The back door. I’ve always wanted a stable door!

The Ducklings Are Growing

It is with great pleasure I can announce that all four ducklings and mum, Myrtle are doing very well indeed.

There has been one escapee so far, who was safely reunited.

They’re housing is still a bit makeshift, in that the fencing isn’t up, so we’ve made a temporary enclosure for them out of chicken wire bits and bamboo canes. The trouble we have at the moment is getting the ducklings back in the house. Mum happily hops out and the ducklings follow, falling out of the house and then quite happily follow mum around. But after about five minutes mum jumps back in and the ducklings, unable to jump just walk the way she went, under the duck house! If you recall, the duck house is on a slope, so it’s quite a drop from the duck house entrance to ground level. When mum goes back inside pandemonium breaks out as they get separated. It’s utter chaos as they attempt to walk up the hill, bumping into the breeze blocks. Bless them. So at the moment we’re having to pick them up one by one and put them back. Needless to say mum hasn’t been out since Tuesday evening for fear of loosing them!

The great escape happened one lunchtime when Mr Bumbleandme let them out and the usual panic was ensuing. He was carefully putting them back one by one. I think it was the last duckling that found a flaw in our temporary fencing and made a bid for freedom. He ran downhill neck up high, chest out, flapping his little wings as fast as he could. Mr Bumbleandme had to run in front of him and usher him calmly back up towards the pen. Luckily he managed to catch him and reunite him with mum and siblings.

As you will see from the photo, they have grown loads and we believe we have two girls and two boys, although one of the boys may be a girl. We’ve seen on the net that you can tell by their tail. Ladies will hold their tail up and gents won’t.

I think you’ll agree they are very lovely and we’re feeling quite proud that we’ve managed to keep them alive for a whole week, being total novices. I’ll keep you posted on their progress.

Have a great day all. Enjoy the photo.

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