Friday, September 4, 2009

Lucky Duck

My favorite snack this summer has been a chunked up tomato with a sprinkle of salt. Good thing, because we our tomato basket overfloweth. Tim has canned them a couple of times and this week made a huge pot of spaghetti sauce with home-grown tomatoes, peppers, and shitake mushrooms. Yum-alicious!

The big news for the week is the ducks came in yesterday. The post office called early in the morning and Tim picked them up. They shipped them in a little box, maybe 15” x 15” x 6 or 8” tall with air holes everywhere. They came with instructions, including dipping their bills into their water as they were released into the box so they could find it easily. They ran around, figured out how to eat and drink water, and did a lot of intermittent sleeping. When they sleep, they completely collapse and their heads loll sideways so their box looks like a duck battlefield littered with fuzzy yellow corpses.

I barely stood it through the day at work yesterday, beside myself wanting to get home and see them. And they are adorable (when they’re awake)! In our particular variety of duck, the males have dark bills until they are a few days old. By our count, we have 3 males. We got lucky on the perfect ratio of males to females (1:2 or 3) inspiring the new name for our farm: Lucky Duck Farm. I’ve always wanted to name our place and could never think of one that grabbed me. Lucky Duck grabs me. It’s snappy, descriptive, and I feel lucky to live there. Now, I get to design a logo.

We did have a bit of misfortune, losing one of the females last evening. The rest of the flock seems healthy today so I think she was just a weakling. In fact, Tim did a head count and McMurray Hatchery sent us an extra duck because we still have 10. They must expect some loss. Seems like I read in message boards and maybe even on their site about them throwing in extra chickens with orders. They must do the same with ducks. I have no illusions about naming the ducklings and treating them as pets. Although the ratio of males to females insures that we won’t eat any of the initial flock, there are just so many of them that they look like a swirl of pastel yellow with tiny webbed feet and black eyes. I can’t focus on one, much less name them and figure out who is who.

So that was the week in my little corner of Rockingham County. I plan on getting to the Farmers’ Market early tomorrow to get some more of A.J.’s eggs and veggies other than tomatoes, squash, peppers, and okra (which Tim is harvesting daily from his garden). The weather is blissful and I have a long weekend ahead of me. I’m one lucky duck!

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