The Ducks’ New Pen

After a beautiful weekend, the weather turned rainy Sunday night and cooled throughout Monday. On Tuesday we even had periods of snow, but it only lasted a couple of minutes at a time and nothing stayed on the ground–unlike Michigan’s Upper Peninsula which just got about 10 inches of snow. I’m glad we didn’t have so much snow because I’m ready for Spring now–although I don’t get upset when it snows in April because that’s part of living in Michigan. Besides, I like different kinds of weather, and I’d rather have snow than sweltering tropical heat.

The gate

The temperatures were still quite warm on Monday morning, so despite the damp and occasional rumbles of thunder, I went outside and worked on the fencing for the enlarged duck enclosure. Since I decided to make the enclosure more permanent, I installed a gate. I used the fencing, two wooden posts, and the gate from the old dog pen that we had dismantled last year. I used short t-posts from our supply for the rest of the fence. The gate and wooden posts already had a latch on them, so I had to position them just right so the parts of the latch would fit. It took me several tries. I will need EJ’s help getting the screws holding the gate in. I got them most of the way in, but I need EJ’s greater strength and skill to get them all the way in.

Ducks on patrol

The pen will contain EJ’s raised garden as well as the ducks so I tried to make the area as big as I could with the fencing I had so that EJ could add more containers if he wants to. My plan is that the ducks will eat the insects that would menace our garden–and they already seem to be doing their job. I watch them walking among the raised garden beds gobbling up whatever they find.

Before I got the area completely enclosed, I dragged in the old dog house and positioned it on the side furthest from the coop so the ducks would have some safe shelter to run to if they are threatened by predators. A few weeks ago EJ had dragged it from where the old dog pen had been to behind the house. I only had to drag it from there a short distance into the new pen. The roof comes off so I first moved the house and then the roof. The roof is shingled and very heavy so it took a lot of effort to pull it to the new location and then lift it onto the dog house. At one point the roof fell on my foot, which really hurt and now I have a nasty bruise. I think I’m fortunate that I didn’t break any bones in my foot. I put some straw in the dog house and some old straw at the entrance as a sort of ramp for the ducks.

Lily examining the dog house.

While I worked, the ducks kept busy exploring the pen. Before I got the fencing completely installed, two of the rouens got out through a gap but they quickly ran back in when they saw me coming to shoo them. Finally I got the fencing all up. The ducks examined the new dog house and gave it their approval.

The view from the window

I’m satisfied with my work. I like that it is just outside our bedroom window so I can watch the ducks. They are so funny and interesting. They are better than television–like my own reality show.

 

A warning?

Later on Monday, I went outside and had a big scare when I found an old deer skull just outside the fence. It wasn’t there earlier when I put up the fence. It felt like a scene from a scary movie–like a warning not to enter the forbidden forest. However, I’m quite sure Danny had dragged it there when I let him outside. Silly dog. He sure pranked me!

I’m thinking about using two 10 foot panels from the dog cage (which is different from the old dog pen we dismantled) to extend the chickens’ pen so they have more area. Their area isn’t as grassy as the ducks area, but they might be able to find more insects to eat. We had used the dog cage, which a co-worker had given EJ, to contain the chickens and ducks when they were located in the garage last year.

I spent Monday afternoon preparing our Passover seder. I wasn’t sure if Passover was on Monday or Tuesday, but I had it on Monday so JJ could participate. Mondays and Wednesdays are the only days he doesn’t have either school or work. It was nice.

I tried to grow herbs in pots during the winter but most of them are struggling…or mostly dead. My herbs do well when I grow them outside in pots over the summer but I haven’t had much luck with trying to keep them alive in the house in the winter, which means I had to buy a bunch of parsley for our Passover seder. We had plenty of parsley left over so I put them in our food dehydrator to dry.

Yesterday evening JJ came home after a day of school in great excitement. He said that he had seen a bald eagle eating a deer carcass alongside the road only a few miles from home. That is SO AWESOME! Maybe I will have to get out the binoculars so I can use them to see if the birds flying overhead are eagles.

The birds were checking out these houses and the suet feeder.

This morning I’ve been watching the wild birds busy looking for nesting places. A chickadee flew into the new dog house to check it out. I’ve watched a couple of birds check out some of my birdhouses, which is exciting. I have five birdhouses that I had set up near the windows of our old house downstate. I loved watching the birds building their nests in the houses and raising their young. I brought the houses with us when we move and installed most of them at the edge of the forest. A couple of them I put on the post where I hang the feeders in the winter. However, none of the birds up here in the north have shown any interest in my birdhouses, which has been a bit disappointing, although I really can’t blame them for not using my houses when they have a whole forest to nest in. Still, it’s exciting that some birds at least appeared interested in them this year. And I saw a chickadee land on the suet feeder that I filled with Danny’s hair for the birds to use for their nests. That was satisfying.

I am considering setting up my own website to sell my crocheted projects. Both Etsy and Facebook charge an extra fee to “promote” a seller’s items. I don’t make enough to make the extra fee worthwhile, but I think that those who don’t promote their items sort of get overshadowed by those who do. Plus, there is a lot of competition at Esty. I’m thinking about it.

JJ has gotten a job as a sort of park ranger. The job pays a little more. He begins in mid-May. They told him that they want him full-time so he will be leaving his current job. We don’t know if “full-time” means he will be working year-around or just 40 hours each week during the tourist season. If the job is seasonal, he can find another job in the autumn.

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4 Comments on “The Ducks’ New Pen

  1. Hi, I just wanted to say I enjoy reading your blog. If there was a like button I would push it each time. Tell Eric I am happy he is free from the mag plant. I have enjoyed my 4 days off since January. Hope all is well with you. Ken (3208)

    Like

    • Thank you so much for your words of support! I appreciate it! I will pass your message on to my hubby.

      Like

    • Thank you! I’m learning all sorts of new things since moving to Northern Michigan…like putting up fences! I’m not an expert at it or anything, but as EJ often says, “It looks good from the road!”

      I love watching my poultry from the window.

      Like

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