Ars Longa, Vita Brevis

It’s Spring. The garden should be going in. Instead the critters are sucking time and money:

Relaxed Elly Last weekend, Ella Mae developed a vaginal prolapse. We had the vet out on a Saturday farm call. We were supposed to make an appointment Monday and get her sewn up. He hasn’t called back to confirm the appointment. So this Saturday Lisa went to the annual meeting of the American Milking Devon breed association up in Tunbridge VT with pictures. The consensus of a bunch of very experienced breeders was to keep an eye on her, but as long as it was vaginal do nothing and keep breeding her. The old timers said she should be good for several more calves. They also said we have a very pretty cow.

New space for the horses The horses broke out last Tuesday, right after I left. The took the sheep with them of course. Lisa made them a new paddock in the newly cleared area with magic white tape (with no magic). This lasted until we had a storm Friday. They broke out. While Lisa was gone on Saturday, I got a fencer hooked up to put some magic in the tape. That evening they came up to visit us again. There’s now electronet under the magic tape, and it’s got juice in it. Today we bought more hose and ran it out so Lisa can water the horses while I’m gone. They’re getting at least some pasture out there. Their hay consumption is way down.

Newly planted onions Last weekend we rebuilt three of the raised beds. (Moving the trailer last fall was pretty hard on them.) Lisa put peas in one, and I planted our saved potatoes (twenty-ish pounds) in the new area. On Thursday she planted the onion plants in one of the others. Unfortunately nothing got planted this weekend. We also skipped sheep and wool this year.

Lisa managed to sell the old tractor, to a mechanic, which is exactly what it needs. We threw in the brush hog that we’ll never use. He came back to get that today. In two weeks he has completely rebuilt the beast and is thrilled. Go him. I’m glad to have the new one that just works, and with care should do so for the rest of my life.

I think the surviving hive is queenless. Hopefully I can suit up and find out tomorrow evening.

We haven’t seem mama turkey since Friday. She’d been living with the pigs since six of her eight poults vanished last weekend. Nobody else has hatched. The geese are overdue, the turkeys due any day. We sold 14, day old incubator chicks to a woman in Maine. There’s another batch in the ‘bator and a broody in the coop.

We’ve declared the pekin ducks an unsuccessful experiment. They’re yummy, and they lay well. However they don’t nest, just leave the eggs wherever and the drakes are awful: they could convince a vegan to try Peking duck.

I googled for the best brooding ducks, and got Muscovy, with lots of reassurance that even though they’re tropical they’re fine in the winter. When I checked the definition of ‘winter’ I got conflicting reports: one that they thrived in Wisconsin, another that he had to coddle them in Ohio. So. The best brooding Mallard breed is apparently Saxony. We’ve got thirty coming from Holderread Waterfowl Farm in Oregon. We also ordered twenty more white midget poults, this time from Whelp Hatchery. We’re quite happy with Murray MacMurray, but I’m going for genetic diversity.

In another building for the future move, I planted three kinds of hops by the pergola:

Wisteria corner: Nugget

Honeysuckle corner: Mt. Hood

Grape corner: Cascade.

The wisteria died, and we didn’t like the grapes. The third one had been slotted for the clematis corner, but it looks like some of the clematis isn’t quite dead yet, so I’ll let the honeysuckle slug it out with the hops.

Three vines is probably not even enough for us if I go back to brewing, but in theory we should be able to split, and split again. They were sprouting when I planted them three weeks ago, and nothing seems to have come up yet. Not encouraging.

Friday we dropped off four sheep over in Charlestown for summer lawnmowing duty. Anyone else have a field or three they would like reopened?

4 thoughts on “Ars Longa, Vita Brevis”

  1. Hi Guys,

    Just a little heads up, I have had Muscovy ducks off and on since I was teen in both Alberta an Ontario Canada, and they are both very good broody birds, and great mothers within reason, big birds, wonderful farm guards and some of the best bug control for a barn or yard you can get, on average, my ladies would give me two clutches per year, some years, three.. with 12 to 14 ducklings the average. So if they can do this well in Canada, I really think they should do well in your area..

    For ducks the one that has been the best in regards to being broody and a great mother is my little appleyard hens. Look forward to hearing what you think about your new coming breed. I have swedish for my laying ducks, and they are great but they don’t brood, most of the laying breeds won’t, its been bred out of them.

  2. Thanks Valerie,

    Alberta is the kind of place I like to hear about. Ontario, well I pay attention, but ask “where in Ontario?” We’re in a cold pocket here that gives us a Montreal-like climate. The ducklings come either this week or next.


  3. Hi Frank,

    Good point about where in Ontario, I am between ottawa and Montreal so would have a very simular climate to where I understand you to live, and yes, if they can do well in Alberta, they can certainly do very well where I live now in Ontario.

    I used to live in the far north (Yellowknife NWT, and Iqaluit, Nunavut) so I get your meaning, I used to do the same when someone would say, they lived in the north and they meant two hours from the city 🙂

    Say hi to Lisa from me and let her know the puppies are great and starting to head home this week..


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