Tuesday, April 24, 2007

greens in the ground & ducks running round

Coop (my hubby) got the garden space looking so nice. Tonight I planted 7 rows of greens and radishes to start with. The tomato and pepper plants I started from seed are doing well and growing hearty. They have about a month to go before planting. I have enough going I will likely have to sell if not give the extras away. I've started three organic varieties; Beefsteak, Brandywine and San Marzano plum style for sauces and salsas.

Now that the weather has warmed and Spring has really sprung, I am getting so anxious for fresh veggies. I could practically live off tomatoes in the summer time. Yum! Not to mention summer squash, green beans, etc. Looking forward to a productive garden and lots of canned goods to put away for the winter.

The ducks (from left to right, Bruce Almighty, Thelma and Louise) are so much fun now that they are free ranging. We'll direct them to the creek tomorrow so they know where the fun is. These three are Muscovy ducks from South America. They're totally unrelated to the North American ducks and different in many ways. They fly, which is what gives them their meaty large breasts, they have talons and can climb fences and perch. They love to perch. They have the weird red flesh around their faces, especially prominent in the males.

When we got them we kept them penned for a couple weeks. We just used an old dog house for their shelter and fenced in a small pen around that. Since they can fly and climb, it was necessary to put some netting of some sort over the top of their pen. We just used some old plastic snow fencing we had on hand and that worked great. We tarped one end so they would have a shady place to sit and added a roost for them by running a narrow board through the holes of two cement blocks, one on each end. They were hesitant to leave their space the first day we opened the gate. Finally Coop shooed them out. They require little if any feed when free ranging because they will eat plants, bugs, etc. Which reminds me, we better get that fencing for the garden by the time to greens come up!

We decided on this breed (and got them free, love that freecycle!) because they are virtually maintenance free, smart and supposed to be the best ducks for eating you can find. Ok, so I'm not going to eat these three, but when the hens start laying we do plan on raising a few for the table freezer. They are very low in fat and have a lot of white meat. I've read that they taste like veal, so we shall see.

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