Friday, April 17, 2015

Solo week

Kern and Anika have been gone all week at Nationals, so I've been holding down the fort!  It has been a weird week for weather... the forecast predicted storms and rain all week, but it hasn't produced much.  The lighting was really odd one evening and I got a few pictures.

A bit of evening sun after a cloudy day.

Check out the rays... it was like they were dark!

We got some very odd clouds.
I walked past a fig bush a couple of times this week, and was really surprised to see how much the leaves had grown in just a day!  The peach trees are loaded down with little marble sized peaches!!
Fig leaves that were half that size yesterday!!
The ducks kept going over onto the neighbor's property and I was afraid they were going to make a mess of his lawn as well, so after chasing them back to their territory a few times, I decided to move the fence that they weren't using near the duck house over to the property line.  The first time I didn't put in the long fence, and they simply waddled around it.  I had to try again with the longer fence.  So far it has kept them contained.

If you squint you can see the fence posts to the right of the trees here.  
Thursday morning I made a trip to Waxahatchi to pick up my next Zaycon order.  40 pounds of hamburger and 20 pounds of smoked ham.  I host a ladies' group at my home on Thursday mornings, and Kae had to get it going for me since I wasn't home yet.  She did a great job setting up coffee and playing hostess for me!  I got home just as the social time was finishing up.  After they all went home, I got busy processing the meat.  I cut both of the hams up into 3 nice sized chunks to put in the freezer.  Kae intercepted one and it went to the refrigerator for lunches.  Yum!  I cooked up half of the beef and filled the canner with 16 pints for tacos and casseroles in the future, bagged the rest of the cooked beef, and portioned the rest of the raw stuff into 2-lb packages for the freezer.  I had  enough to make two LARGE hamburger patties that also went into the freezer.
Headed for the freezer

Ping, ping, ping!!  I love that satisfying sound of sealing jars!!
A few days ago I planted some seeds that I wanted to get started, and on the third day, a bunch of them exploded out of the ground.  THIS is ONE DAY worth of growth!!  I had to take the cover off these cells because the little plants were pushing on the ceiling!!  These are long beans and loofah gourd starts!
ONE day from breaking soil to having to remove the lid!!  Crazy!
Funny story... This morning I opened the duck house at about 7:30, changed the babies' water, put out the food, etc.  The adult ducks were all 'hiding' in the back corner of the house, and I went to the side and tapped on the wall to encourage them out.  It usually works, but this morning, they weren't moving!  I figured they would come out when they were ready, so I went back into the house.  At 12:30, I walked back out there, wondering where they were, and the dumb ducks were still IN the duck house!! Five hours.  FIVE hours they stood there.  I had to go in and wave them out, which I hate to do because they totally panic and upset the little ones.  I keep reminding myself their brains are about the size of almonds, but BOY are they STUPID!!

I've been keeping the babies indoors the last few days.  Even at that, I'm noticing some weakness in some of them. This morning I thought for sure one was going to die on me today, but when I went to check on them again later, she was just fine.  Their feathers are starting to show me some patterns.  This little beauty let me take a picture of her beautiful breast feathers!  She's going to be fabulous!

LOOK at those gorgeous feathers on her breast!!
Kae and Toby came out to take a walk around the pond this afternoon.  Both dogs AND the outside kitty decided to tag along, LOL!  We went to see the bluebonnets on the far side of the pond.  I"m pleased to have a little patch here on my property!

THIS way, Mom!!  Shadow, Toby and Stella lead the way.
So pretty!

Before we walked around the pond, we had thrown some bread into the pond for the fish, and they were super active, so after our walk, I decided to throw a hook in.  I dropped my line in about 2 feet from the dock, and within 30 seconds, it was pulling like crazy.  I wasn't sure I was going to be able to land it myself but I managed to get my net into the water with one hand, held onto the pole for dear life with the other, and SOMEHOW managed to coordinate them to successfully swoop in under it and bring it up!  Made me laugh.  I couldn't even believe I actually got the net under it in one shot and without knocking it off the line! After that... not even a nibble.  I cleaned him up and stuck two nice fillets into the freezer.  (I'm collecting them until there is enough to feed the family, LOL!!)

22 inches!  I think I need to get a selfie-stick for the next time!
And how is YOUR week going??

Monday, April 13, 2015


Today I started 23 cells of artichoke, 13 cells of Loofah gourds, 9 cells of Dow Guak Yard Long Beans, 9 cells of Homemade Pickles Cucumbers, and 3 each of 6 varieties of peppers!

Water, water, EVERYWHERE!!

The weather was amazing last week, but at the close of the week, the outlook was not so bright.  At least the wonderful weather left us with a gorgeous sunset Friday night!  Sigh.  I wish I could capture the colors better.

So many beautiful skies here!
Walking the property with Kern, we placed the tree markers I made a couple weeks ago!  They look so cute!  I noticed that even the apple trees are full of blossoms now!  The nectarine trees are ALL looking like they didn't make it, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they are just super late bloomers.  What are the chances all three of them didn't make it?  They don't LOOK dead, just... bare!
Stayman Winesap apples-to-be.

Evenings are pretty laid back around here.  Unless you are a cat.  Then they are comatose.
Ajani modeling his sultry look.

I lost another duckling on Friday.  It's so frustrating!  I took that one to the vet to send off for a duckie autopsy.  I need to figure out what is killing them.  Ms. Gimpy is still with us.  I guess I should stop being surprised about that, LOL!!

The babies are no longer adorable little duckies.  Now they are awkward, pimply teenagers.  Their voices are starting to change to little honks and beeps and hiccups instead of the constant sweet cheeping  I love so much.  That's ok... I'm cherishing each and every stage!  Their feathers are becoming more evident, and it makes them look scruffy and rough and wet!  I've been keeping them in the duck house more since they seem to stay stronger in there.  When they go out to the playpen, I'm usually carrying several in as they are weak and can't walk.  Part of me wants to let them out and just say "Survival of the fittest, baby", but the other part wants to give them the best chances to get stronger, at least until the necropsy results come back and I find out if I CAN do anything to help them.  They WANT to go out, and they tell me all about it when I go visit with them.   I've been bringing them offerings of fresh clover and chickweed, hoping to appease them, LOL!  When they stay inside, I have to change their water at least twice during the day.  That gives me time to hang out with them.
Funny little girl!  Face-on shots of ducks always make me laugh!

See those little pin feathers?

Reminds me of an awkward teenager, LOL!

They almost look wet with those feathers coming in.  
So the weather.... The forecast calls for thunder storms for the next couple of days, one day of rain relief, then three or four more days of RAIN.  Sigh.. I'm going to need to buy some snorkels to get around the property pretty soon.  Good thing ducks can swim!  Now I need my trees to grow gills.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

April Showers...

...have made my yard wet again!

I can't believe it has been a week since my last post, but here we are.

I still marvel at the sky here.  The light was so beautiful one evening, with a full moon hanging high at dusk that I had to get some pics.  I just wish the photos did the reality justice.

We had a couple days break in the rain, and I finally attacked the back field with the mower.  First I had to spend some time cutting back mesquite, and when I had done a little over half the field, my tendonitis told me to quit, so I had Kern come out and finish the other half while I started to mow.  It was dusty work, and I felt bad about mowing down these gorgeous flowers.  I was able to pluck one from my seat on the mower to share with you.  After taking this pic, I put it into the brim of my hat.  It made me feel pretty!  I left some stretches over near the pond that are full of bluebonnets.  I just couldn't mow them down!

Does anybody know what this stunning flower is?
 After mowing for several hours, I got to spend some quiet time with the kids.  The quacky ones.  If I sit still long enough, they come to investigate.
Finally got a pic that showed off some of the gorgeous colors on my Quack Pack.
Easter was a ton of fun.  Some good friends from church invited us to go to his mom's house for Easter dinner.  What an amazing family!  There was food (OH, there was FOOD!!) and we ate ourselves comatose, there was an egg hunt for the kids, and Toby came away with an awesome basket with awesome toys and lots of candy, and there was singing and lots of laughter.  What a special day we had!   The day before Easter I had fun and actually SUCCESSFULLY duplicated one of my Pins from Pinterest.  After peeling the hard boiled eggs and separating out the yolks, I let the whites soak in a cup with 3/4 C water and ONE drop of food coloring.  Stirred them gently every 5-10 minutes for about 50 minutes, and they come out colored!  SO fun!
MOST of us love deviled eggs, and we gobbled them up for snacks and breakfast for a couple of days!
We were in Dallas for an appointment for Anika today, and we found a Thai restaurant nearby.  The food was excellent, and they had a parrot tulip on the table.  Kae painted me a parrot tulip for Mothers' Day a few years ago, and it made me smile!

Today also presented me with the first rose of the season on my bushes out back!  There are lots of buds, and I bet tomorrow will be glorious!

Of course, no update would be complete without a duckie report!  The Quack Pack (the adults) has been roaming the back yard, and I need to start watching them a little more closely to be sure they don't wander off into the neighbor's property.

The babies are growing daily.  They are STILL so cute!    They are starting to look a little scruffy because their feathers are starting to grow in, but the down on their breasts is still so soft.  Miss Gimpy is still with us, and she can actually propel herself along pretty well.  Clumsy as heck, but she's determined.  It seems like her left foot is still paralyzed, and she kinda crawls along on her knees.  She made her way from the playpen back to the duck house all on her own yesterday.  We did lose another one of her sisters.  We are down to 15 now.

Getting big, huh?

What a beauty! I can't wait to see her all feathered out.
 The goofy little things will take a bath in their water dish from time to time, then they have to spend some time preening, LOL!
Check out the incoming feathers!  

Sorry for the long post... I'll try to do better at  keeping up.