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Thursday, February 26, 2015

This is for the birds

I'm a veg gardener and orchardist. Beloved is the stock owner and does all the animal chores here; but when she is away I fill in. 

Her system is simplicity itself. Let everyone out in the morning and gather duck eggs. Check food and drinking water and replace as needed. Later in the day, gather chicken eggs and wash any (mainly duck) eggs that got dirty, then put away in the cooler. Clean out and refill the duck pools twice a week. Replace the bedding as needed, hauling the enriched straw to the compost heap. Just after dark, close everybody in.

The young man often does the duck pools and bedding for us, which at our age are getting to be real chores. As we are on a small well, we have to conserve water and so he carries five gallons of the duck slurry to each fruit tree in the dry season.

I keep a stock tank in the duck-bathing zone and let duck water ripen there, with added blender-rendered comfrey and weeds poured in, to further enrich the slurry. It's too strong to go straight on the kitchen garden, though I have thought of putting a few hole punched number ten cans in the ground in the tomato beds, and pouring it in there.

Beloved and I squabble over kitchen scraps. I tend to put it all in the compost heaps, but she likes to save out the best stuff to carry to the barnyard. She'll put the trimmings from the broccoli on the end of the counter, give me a significant look, and say "This is for the birds."


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