Sunday, May 6, 2012

Meet Our Ducklings

A few weeks ago, we finally narrowed down our chick order. With our first flock (3 yrs. ago) being all Rhode Island Reds and our second flock (currently) all Barred Rocks with a few Dominiques (they look the same and are hard to tell apart), we decided to spice things up a bit with our third flock and order a variety of chickens. We all got to pick a few out, but Norah was set on a duckling (which was fine with Rob and myself...we thought it would be a fun addition to our little backyard pond). I asked to put a duckling into the order, but the lady at Murry McMurry told me that ducklings have to be shipped separately due to the fact that they're located at another farm. THEN, she told me the shipping cost to have that one, little duckling (who I think topped out around 5 dollars) shipped to our house...$40.00!!! I said that we would pass and began looking elsewhere.

We later found out that our local pet store who is owned by a family friend indeed had some baby ducklings in. They even had the exact breed (little Pekins) that we were looking for. That was a no-brainer!:) So, we all loaded up that day (I wasn't sure how long the few they had in would last) and away we went on our journey to get our ducklings.

They had 5 left and of coarse each child fell in love with the ducklings and wanted one. {sigh} I, the strong, non-pushover Mother, gave in and let each child pick out their own duckling as long as they were fully responsible for their food and care. Promises were made and for the most part have been kept up on their side of the bargain (I have in fact fed them a time or two, but that's it).

They are quite darling and my husband thinks they are definitely cute in our pond. I'm excited because using puddle ducks is a wonderful part of urban permaculture! We've been watching some great videos lately by Geoff Lawton (another hero of mine in agriculture, permaculture) talking about soils and how we have completely depleted our soils with synthetic fertilizers, stripping them of any microbial possibilities.

It's funny. I've never really thought of myself as a "farmer" (eh-hem!), but I guess if I were to put a label on myself, I would call myself a "Microbe Farmer" (...and mother, wife, teacher, maid, nurse, organizer, chef, seamstress, etc.). It's one thing to call yourself a grass farmer (which I used to say would be my title should the Lord move us to greener pastures where we run our full-circle farm), but it's going to a whole other level to call yourself a "Microbe Farmer".

Microbes are what sustain life in the soil and if you don't have good soil, you will never be successful in growing food. Any kind of food: veggies, fruits, orchards, meat, dairy, eggs, etc., etc., etc. I love getting our garden ready and watching our neighbors wonder what in the heck we're doing pouring leaves and all sorts of "trash" (aka: our VALUABLE microbe-building compost) into our garden beds. It's why we have such a great garden! Everything is juicy. Have you ever bitten into a "just-picked Sugar Snap pea pod? It tastes like candy! Candy, I tell ya. The kids, Rob and I just finished ours off an hour ago by picking the rest from our garden and eating them. They were loaded with nutrients! If you can "do" your soil right, you'll have great produce. Large-scale is what's the trick, however there are many methodologies to getting things right, in crummy, sandy, Florida soil and going big with a garden, but that's for another post.

Okay, so back to our ducks {taking a breath}. :) We're planning on running an underground hose from the pond to our front garden where I can have a spicket to turn on and off and fill up a watering can to water our plants with...adding more MICROBES!

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