Monday, September 29, 2008

A New Duck

Because Uncle Butch has been in the hospital, I've been neglecting other news around the swamp. A week ago, I acquired a new duck, a muscovy drake, all white, from a lady in Hubbard Lake, MI who has been raising muscovies for 25 years. He's a lovely fellow and is getting along quite well with my 2 ladies. I was told he was born this spring.

Thus far he mostly hangs around on the deck, in the front yard, or down by the garage doors. A couple nights he decided to sleep in the duck pen with the rouen ducklings, but generally he's been sleeping on the railing with the ladies.

One of my two barred rock roosters will be moving to the farm this week otherwise he would have been eaten. He'll probably panic when I catch him but he ought to be very happy when he discovers there are no guineas or other roosters to pick on him. Plus, he gets his own harem of white rock hens. They're older ladies, but he probably won't mind. I think my FIL is hoping to get some fertile eggs to replenish his flock before they stop laying entirely.

I call him Squash because last month the chicken door fell on him and squashed him like a bug except that he lived. He's my only named chicken. (The one I named Spin Dry as a chick stopped spinning so I have no clue which one he is now.) Squash sure squawked when it happened, and ran under the deck to hide for half an hour when I picked the door off of him.

Rocket and Luna are well. Rocket seems to be enjoying this cooler autumn weather, he has quite a spring in his step for an 11 year old boy. Luna turned 3 on the 11th but we didn't really celebrate as that was the day after Uncle Butch went to the hospital. They are both a little unnerved by the free ranging guineas and chickens, I suspect they'll be happy when the flock is thinned out before the end of the year. There's at least 2 more months of chaos till then.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Uncle Butch is Better

According to the doctors, his multiple strokes were the same one taking its time "finishing up". I've seen Uncle Butch twice since the last one happened about 10 days ago and he is doing much better. His leg is moving with help from the therapists and he's now able to make a fist. His speech is improving too. Yesterday I drove his wife to the hospital and we and a bunch of his sisters, a niece and grandniece took him for a spin around the hospital in his wheelchair.

Today his dog Yogi is getting to go up for an outside visit with him. I may bring Rocket up next week depending on the weather. He says he misses him, too.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Uncle Butch is Sick

He's been in the hospital a week now. He had a stroke last Wednesday and several more in the hospital. I thought the medical profession had come a little way since my dad's stroke back in 1993 but it appears not to have. I can't believe that he's having headaches and they don't seem to be doing anything other than pain killers. The first stroke wasn't that bad, but the accumulative 3 or 4 he's had now has been rather devastating.

There really needs to be a lot more research into this sort of medical problem.

I dog sit for his two dogs while his wife is at the hospital. This is really lousy.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Moved Some Birds

I've got 15 chicks and guineas moved into the coop now. They spent 2 days locked in a cage on the floor so they and the bigger birds could get acquainted without bloodshed. Today while the big guys were free ranging I opened their cage and let them wander out. For the most part everyone stayed in the coop though there was much flying about. Eventually 3 of the smaller guineas decided to look around out in the run. They ended up at the far end, dug themselves a little hole and sat in it for hours. Around 5 pm 2 more guineas made it outside and then all 5 wandered around a little more. The larger chicks chose not to venture outside.

When it was getting close to dusk I lucked out in that the little birds went back inside so I could shut the chicken door and re-open the run door to let the 6 big birds in. At one point the chicken door fell open on top of one of the cockerels who yelled very loudly in a sort of squashed yelp. I ran back outside to lift the door off him and he ran under the deck to hide for a bit. I had a hard time getting him to go back inside after that but he appeared to be fine.

The new birds decided that most of them would not go back into their cage so I waited to see what would happen. The big birds took a long time to head inside. In fact it looked like they would rather sleep on the ground outside, hunkered in the corner farthest from the door but still able to see inside. Finally, they went in and and when I went to check they were up on their roosts, the little guys were on the floor and everyone was minding their own business. The real test will be tomorrow morning when everyone wakes up and I haven't gotten out there to open the chicken door yet.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I Had to BUY Zucchini

I never have to buy zucchini but I did this year. I grew 5 plants in my garden, as of today there are 3 tiny, less than 1.5 inch long, zukes. Pitiful. Most of my garden was pitiful this year. The incredible amount of rain we got at the end of spring turned everything soggy. (I can only imagine the state of farms and gardens that really got hit with the rain.) I got a decent enough supply of snow peas, some green beans, skimpy spinach, and a fairly good supply of leaf lettuce, but cucumbers, zukes, tomatoes and peppers have been a disaster. So I bought 6 small zucchini for eating today and 4 large ones for shredding into bread. I also bought 3 tomatoes so I can have a BLT sometime soon.

Maybe next year will be better.

One of my remaining 2 muscovies is lame. The gal can barely put her weight on her left foot. I have no idea how it happened, I was suspicious there was something wrong yesterday but I couldn't get close enough. Today her lameness is obvious. Don't know that there is anything I can do, just wait and hope it gets better. They're both on the deck railing again for the night.

I've caught nothing in the traps though the live trap was sprung. The wire in that trap is spaced too large to hold a mink.

I went kayaking with my neighbors yesterday, and 2 of Uncle Butch's sisters went with us. They were a blast and loved every minute of it. We had a great time doing the McKinley to 4001 Bridge run, the wildlife sanctuary. Not a lot of wildlife, though one of the sister's saw an otter. I saw blue herons, loons, king fishers and ducks. The sky was a perfect blue, no clouds at all, and the air temperature was 86f. Nice way to end summer. We hope to get at least one more river trip in this year, at the very least a fall color tour.