Duck for Dinner, an Injury, and some Housekeeping

150728-Injury_duck_for_dinner-[squash_flower]-2We ate two of the drakes, roasted, for dinner Friday night. The two-month-old bird was scrumptious. The four-month-old was a little chewier, but still decent. We definitely preferred the younger one. We plan to try butchering some more right before the next molt, probably at around 12.5 weeks of age. As you can see from the picture, it was yummy enough that some of it was gone before I could even get my camera out.

I caught the tip of my boot while stepping over some three-foot-high poultry netting last week. I caught myself on my folding knee as I fell, and unfortunately my sternum took the bulk of the blow. I seem to have cracked or bruised my sternum or a rib in the vicinity. Deep breaths, extending my arms, and getting up or down are a lot less than comfortable. I’ve been treating it with ice packs, ibuprofen, kinesio tape (Mrs. D. calls me “my X-man” – sorry, no pictures), and as much rest as my stay-at-homestead-dad lifestyle will afford me. So my wife is chipping in with a lot of the lifting I would normally do, and my children have become my hands and feet even more than usual.

As mentioned in an earlier post, I posted at two different forums about the disappointing dressed weight of our Rouen meat ducks, in hopes of getting some feedback. I’ve had no responses at either forum, but deserves special mention, since, despite the lack of any overt policies against external links, “staff” came through and edited both of my posts and gutted them of all hyperlinks to source info. I had linked back to my blog post, and to an article that suggested 12.5 weeks as a butchering age that facilitates plucking.

While they do prohibit the use of their site to promote “competing sites,” presumably other poultry forums, all of my links were essential source material that related to the topic at hand. Having faceless “staff” strip hyperlinks (this is the internet, after all) from posts with no explanation or warning is a sad welcome on a site with as friendly a façade and user base as Backyard Chickens. It’s not like I was promoting sildenafil citrate for roosters or something.

In other news, I discovered last week that the Facebook “follow” button in the right sidebar of this site was not working. Apparently it’s only possible to “follow” individuals on Facebook – pages need to be “liked”. Anyway, I installed a working “like” button in place of the old one, if you want to follow our page on Facebook.

150728-Injury_duck_for_dinner-[squash_flower]-1A squash flower after the storm.


All Hail Breaks Loose

150724-hail-2Yesterday we had what will likely end up being our largest rain event of the year. A sudden onset of torrential rain was soon accompanied by large volumes of pea- and chickpea-sized hail. Our house sits at the bottom of our hill, and I knew that water coming down the hill wouldn’t drain terribly well after it hit our foundation. Yesterday it came down the hill in torrents, through the bare dirt near the house, and accumulated to a depth of several inches, getting up to the bottom of the siding, but not quite to the crawlspace vents.


I went out in shorts and a boonie hat and semi-frantically moved a dog-dig-barrier out from under a fence at the corner of the house, and then removed more dirt with a shovel to get it draining faster. After the storm abated and gravity did its job, the water along the back of the house had dropped by about an inch, just below the edge of the siding. An inspection under the house revealed a lot of seeping through the concrete, but no puddles, so it seems the ground was ready to absorb quite a bit of moisture – no surprise considering how dry it usually is here.


The bare area of soil behind our house is on the list for some TLC, and this event just highlighted the need to get on with getting something growing there. It is a frost pocket in winter, and I don’t believe that helps with keeping ground cover alive.

We had obtained four adult Blue Laced Red Wyandotte chickens the night before, and during the storm they weren’t quite sure where to go. They sought shelter under a ponderosa, but still got pathetically soaked. I managed to catch three of them, and Mrs. D. dried them off with a towel. We put a heat lamp in the coop in hopes of keeping them from getting chilled further. All are doing fine today. I was feeling a mite wet and chilly myself by the time I was done reacting to the storm.

150724-hail-4We have been leaving the van out of the garage, since the garage itself is seeing a lot of use. Moving bikes, toys, and various projects out of the way in a hurry while trying to get the van in out of the hail highlighted how much keeping things tidy helps when you have to respond to an emergency.

The tomatoes and beans seem little worse for the wear. Our summer squash leaves look like they were blasted with a shotgun, but the plants will probably make it. The storm did no other noticeable damage.