Posts Tagged ‘ducks’

Ducks & Daylight Saving

April 28th, 2010

Hazel

Daylight saving brings many problems and it is hard, when you are a duck, to get used to change.  It has been round about a month since we changed over and moved our clocks back an hour.  Everyone has got used to the winter hours now, except my ducks.  Now when I come home I find Waddles and Hazel crowding round on the top step quacking away for me to walk them over into the safety of their little duck house.  The neighbours are beginning to notice!  It is the afternoon that is the problem.  Waddles, Hazel & I have come to an agreement about the morning…they get let out at the same time as they did in summer.   It looks like being a long winter.  I have tried doing it gradual  …over a weekend, but the ducks will have none of it.  So, I struggle on.  I am sure we will get there in the end.  I baked a batch of biscuits for my neighbour, and explained the situation, he was very understanding.  It could be worse he said, it could be a rooster, they crow on the full moon, he informed me.

Hazel & Waddles when they were little

Yes, ducks are wonderful as pets but they do have their little habits and being locked up at 4 is one of them at the moment.  I should however get them used to the little change in routine by the end of winter.   Still, gardening with ducks is heaps of fun.  They love to be right in the thick of it when I am weeding, or doing just about anything outside.  They even mooch about at my feet while I do the boring things, like hanging out the washing.  They eat all the snails and slugs, while adding their very own fertilizer, just to be extra helpful.

We hand reared our ducks, brought them home when they were just one day old.  They have been lots of fun ever since.

Happy gardening!

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April Jobs

April 10th, 2010

Correa, the native fuchsia

Correa, the native fuchsia

There are many little jobs awaiting me out in the garden this month.  Bulb season is still with us, and the time to plant spring flowering bulbs can slip away if you are not too careful.  Can’t let that pot wait too much longer before I fill it with some pretty spring flowering bulbs.  I have a particular pot I save just for Hyacinths, usually I plant them & pop them in the back of some garden bed & just forget all about them until they shoot up in spring.  Then I get all excited & bring them up on the balcony, where the ducks can’t eat them, and watch & wait.  This little task never fails to bring me a great deal of joy!  Simple pleasures!  It is always best to try to finish planting your bulbs by the end of April.  I will need to head out to the shops to purchase some spring excitment in the form of bulbs! 

Did anyone say 'snail'?

Did anyone say 'snail'?

Waddles & Hazel  are looking forward to the rain because they know that the slugs & snails begin to appear as the soft rains of autumn begin.  This is the best time to get on out there and get on top of the weeding for me, accompanied with my two slug & snail hunting ducks.  Of course, if you don’t have ducks you might have to head out late at night with a torch & a bucket to protect any new seedlings you might have that look like tasty treats for slugs & snails. 

This month is also a very good month for planting violas and pansy! 

 

Garden -Dec09 044Outside of my own garden, April is the perfect month to visit other gardens in the hills and enjoy the beauty of the autumn foliage.  In fact walks are best in autumn, the crisp cool air and the colours of the leaves as they turn.  A walk through a botanic garden is a wonderful treat at this time of the year.  You don’t have to be a small child to enjoy scrunching through autumn leaves, speaking of which, they will be starting to fall very soon, so I need to dust off my rake.

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Garden Postcard

March 30th, 2010

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March is nearly over, and this month in Melbourne we have had a mixed bag of weather!  From grey damp days that made the garden subdued, or was it just me, to hot and relentlestly sunny.  To complete the mixed bag we had huge hailstones, that broke roof tiles and stripped all leaves from some trees!  The days leading up to the storm I had been hoping for some heavy rain to renew my flagging garden, but I had not wanted it quite so heavy!  Waddles and Hazel are still a bit spooked!  But then when you are a duck most things are a bit scary, especially at this time of the year!

GardenMarch10 007As we move from summer and the days shorten, the mornings are delightfully cool and it is a treat just to be outside in the garden early after a drop of rain the night before has made it all smell just wonderful!  Perhaps autumn is not quite here yet, but it is coming and the temperatures will soon start to drop.  It is safe to visit a nursery and buy something without fearing that it may burn up if you plant it out!   What bliss!  The autumn colour is beginning to show as I drive about the hills of home.

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I am just about finished clearing up after the storm, it took a few weekends, and I still have to do a little repair pruning on some bushes.  I needed to buy new buckets and a watering can as they were torn to shreds.  The creek out back turned into a torrent that Saturday and took with it a lot of my top soil and a couple of plants, but being sheltered in my little shady grove my tall trees protected my roof from the worst of the hail and all I lost was my sky light.  In fact hardly any Sky lights managed to cope and Bunnings have a waiting list, still. 3 weeks later! 

GardenMarch10 015So a very exciting month – weather wise!  What will April bring?  Well, I am off out to fertilise my azaleas, all of whom are looking much the worse for wear after a long hot summer, will they pull through?  Who can tell.  But my sasanqua camellia is covered in buds, the bulbs are all pushing their way up and I have plenty of room in my compost bin for those leaves that are about to fall!

Happy gardening!

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Getting into the swim

February 19th, 2010

Did anyone say 'water'?

Did anyone say 'water'?

Ducks love water.  My ducks like nothing better than to play about in their little water pool, but when they first arrived in my garden as little tiny ducklings they had to wait for a bit until they got a little older for their first swim.  I remember it well!  Of course I took heaps of pictures of the great event and I thought I would share some with you today!  It was a lot of fun esp for Waddles and Hazel.  They splashed about and chased each other around and around.  Lots of fun and games.

 

Learning the duck paddle

Learning the duck paddle

 

 

 

They took to water like….ducks!    Yes, it is true to say that their favourite thing of all things is water, although a tasty snail is quite a treat also.  That first day was sunny and pretty, just made for messing about in the water.

 

drying off

drying off

 But they did look a little bedraggled after!   A great deal of time had to be spent drying off and preening.  Well, a girl must look her best.  And then, back into the water for some more fun!

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Morning Tea with Mandy

December 29th, 2009

gentle joys in my back garden

gentle joys in my back garden

Morning in my garden. I am taking a few moments to enjoy all the morning sounds over a cup of tea. Please join me. Right down the bottom of the garden I can hear the creek as it burbles along. I can enjoy this sound at the moment, but I know that as summer draws on the little creek will dry up. That is when the plants will have the hardest time. The birds find it difficult too, and it is important to put out a bowl of water for all the birds that visit my garden.

Waddles & Hazel

Waddles & Hazel

Overhead I can hear the screech of the cockatoos as they fly over. Down under the porch Hazel & Waddles, my ducks rummage about to find grubs. They add so much atmosphere to my garden. Chuckles, the kookaburra, lands on the porch rail to see if there is anything for his morning tea today. But no, that is more when there is a BBQ, when he enjoys our company more, and has a little taste of our sausage.

You know, gardening is one of our oldest and most rewarding of hobbies.  People of all ages and backgrounds love their gardens and want to share all the new and exciting things they learn there.  A garden is a living thing and must be treated as such; mulched and watered regularly, it will respond so rewardingly.  I am just a beginning gardener.  But I have found that other gardeners are the most friendly people, always on the lookout for a chat and to offer advice.  I am learning new things all the time.  My garden teaches me so much.

Morning tea with Mandy

Morning tea with Mandy

Well, this old year is drawing to a close and 2010 is just around the corner. I hope it will bring many happy times for you. Happy gardening!

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A Duck Story

December 11th, 2009

At this time of the year it is nice to look back.  Think about how far we have come.  This time last year we had just added two new additions to our little family.  We named them Waddles and Hazel.  I was just today looking over some of the photos of when they were young.

how hard to choose!

how hard to choose!

Here is a picture from that very day.  The day our ducks were hatched and we headed out to collect them and bring them home to our garden.  They are Khaki Campbell ducks, and for the next few weeks a heap of work.  But they made up for it by being cute and fluffy.  What more could you ask for?  Here is a picture of them in the back of the car on their trip home.  They were pretty tired from being hatched and all, but they still made a lot of noise for such little creatures.

Tired little fluffy ducks

Tired little fluffy ducks

The Khaki is a breed developed in the early years of the twentieth century by a Mrs Campbell from Gloucestershire in England.  She wanted a more conventional looking and better layer than the Runner, so bred the latter with Rouen and then introduced Mallard into resulting offspring several years later.  They are very reliable layers and we now have 2 eggs most days.  In fact we all enjoyed scrambled eggs today for lunch.

I like the idea of Mrs Campbell with her ducks.  She did a good job and I love the results!  Hazel and Waddles make perfect garden pets.  The term ‘khaki’ was used for her breed because of the dull yellow-brown colour of the plumage, but it was also a patriotic way to acknowledge the brave men going off to the First World War.  The Khaki Campbell is a great little duck.  Now my two girls are much bigger, but I think they are just as cute.  They sure make a heap more noise!

The girls in the garden

The girls in the garden

We have certainly come a long way from last year.  We built a house and pen because they need a safe and quiet environment, in fact this is essential for layer breeds as they are very easily frightened or upset.  They just love to come out into the backyard to forage in the garden and they cannot be equalled for their enthusiastic and active slug and snail control.  They are not like the Muscovy who works a few hours and whiles away the rest;  they like to keep busy.  And they like nothing better than to be helping when I am weeding.  It is true that their help is not as productive when I am trying to plant anything esp. bulbs.  Unfortunately bulbs look a lot like very big snails and in Autumn last year I spent a great deal of time replanting the bulbs and Hazel & Waddles kept digging them up again.

Anyway that is the story of the ducks

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