5-14-14 – Crooked Acres Wednesday

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Sights from around Crooked Acres.

This tree, in the back forty, was hit by some serious wind back in 2011 (when the tornado went through half a mile south of us). It kind of leaned a little, but it looks pretty happy. (It’s pretty much the only real source of shade in the back forty during the middle of the day – and having a tree that size cut down will be pretty expensive – so we’ll let it stay for now.)

When the roots lifted, this hollow was created, and one day last week Fred realized that the girl ducks were going under there and laying their eggs. We decided to fill in the hollow with dirt so that we didn’t end up with a bunch of baby ducks running around (the other places where the girl ducks lay their eggs are much easier to reach.)

Saturday afternoon Fred could see one of the girl ducks out running around, but not the other one. Which meant that she was under the tree. We waited and waited, but she didn’t come out.

So we had to go make her come out.

When I got on my stomach on the ground and looked, I knew right away that I wasn’t going to be able to reach her. She was about four feet back, and my arms aren’t that long. Fred went and got a hoe, and I hooked it behind her and pulled her forward a little But then she moved to the side and I couldn’t see her.

Fred ended up reaching in and grabbing her, and pulling her out. There were about 20 eggs back there, in a pile.

I reached under the tree and pointed the camera upward because I was curious to see what it looked like. I didn’t actually know it was hollow up inside the tree!

You can’t really see it in this picture (click on the picture to see a bigger picture over at Flickr), but there was a spider, right of center, glaring down at me.

This is the good (creepy) picture. See all those bugs up inside the tree? ::shudder::

Fred dumped a couple of scoops of dirt at the base of the tree, and we spread it and filled in the hollow, and then put a huge stump over it so that the ducks couldn’t dig their way back under the tree.

Gracie supervised the entire time.

They thought it was funny when a cave cricket landed on me and I gasped loudly.

And did their best to stay cool.

Meanwhile the boy ducks dirtied up the water dishes.

And Fred sprayed them with water, which they like a lot.

Check out that sashay.

They always think the fresh water is for swimming in. They are WRONG.

There’s a bird’s nest in the wood shed, and these baby Robins hatched a few weeks ago.

Yesterday I was standing out by the wood shed (which is next to the garden), and one of them squawked at me and then flew off. They grow so fast!

The garden, last week. There’s watermelon and cantaloupe growing on the far right, then two rows of corn, and a partial row of green beans. On the other side of the green beans are squash.

This past weekend I planted my cucumbers and about half of my tomato seedlings; I’ll plant the rest of my tomatoes, peppers, and herbs (basil and dill) this weekend or next. Then a few okra plants, and the garden will be all planted.

I intended to only do one row of tomatoes, but as it turned out ALL the tomato seeds I planted grew, so I’ll have two rows of tomatoes. 50 plants. For two people. That’s okay – we eat a lot of tomatoes, and I always make a lot of tomato sauce and salsa. And of course the chickens love getting any extra garden produce.

Blueberries! We’ve got two bushes in the back yard, and they are HAPPY.


Tricki takes care of my daily nap time exfoliation.

She is such a licky girl! But you know how some cats lick and lick until they bite? Tricki never bites. She’s just a peaceful licker.

I managed to catch Livia and Dennis having A Moment.


Then Livia got bitey, and Dennis stomped off.

And Livia took a snooze.

Pretty girl!

There she goes, curling that tail again.

Thomas, before he went off to Petsmart, keeping Fred company in his office.

Tricki, greeting Livia.

Livia, taken aback.

Thomas went off to Petsmart just fine, meowed a few times on the way there. But he’s such a laid-back boy that he was more curious about the cat room than worried or freaked out. I left him with instructions to get himself adopted quickly. I snuggled Orlando, Angelo, and Mariette, and gave them the exact same instructions. They need to turn on the charm!


Joe Bob likes to keep an eye on me when I’m filling the bird feeders, to make sure I’m doin’ it right. (He didn’t tell me otherwise, so I guess I did an okay job.)


2012: No entry.
2011: No entry.
2010: Doesn’t he totally look like a Buster?
2009: These kittens love their sleep.
2008: Kara and the babies are continuing to kill me with the cute.
2007: Stupid weeds.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.



5-14-14 – Crooked Acres Wednesday — 31 Comments

  1. Uhh.. how many eggs do ducks lay in one day? or was the 20 an accumulation of both girl ducks over several days until you realized they were going under that tree? also, what do you do with those eggs if you don’t want them hatching? are they edible? do you throw them in the garbage/compost? inquiring minds want to know!

    • They lay about one egg a day, so that was several days’ worth. Duck eggs are edible, and I use them to bake with sometimes, but don’t like the taste of them straight-on.

      If we have a lot of duck eggs and I have no plans to bake, we’ll leave them out near the (cat food) feeding station for the raccoons and possums.

      • No wonder you have the possums with the shiniest fur far and wide! Your service for the local wild-life is amazing.

  2. So I turned brave this year and planted some habanero peppers in a large pot. I like to cook curries (Asian and Caribbean) and the supposedly “hot” peppers I’ve been getting in the grocery stores have no heat whatsoever! I took some small bites of the last habanero I bought at Publix and felt nothing (but yes, I probably have Fred-level heat tolerance). So I’m hoping I can grow some that actually have a kick. But even though my nursery had them, I stayed away from the ghost peppers!

    • The ghost peppers were even too hot for Fred! The year we grew them, I had to grind them out on the front porch, and even then (and wearing gloves and a mask and being very very careful about handling them), I was coughing for the rest of the day. Those things are nuts!

      I’m on the other end of the spectrum – even jalapenos are too spicy for me. 🙂

  3. I know that you’re doing what you have to do but I’m picturing those girl ducks frantically quacking and digging at the filled in dirt, trying to get to their nests and eggs.

    I wish that I had the luck with gardening as you do. Mine keep cooking in the heat of my patio. Even chili pepper plants.

    • As far as I can tell, they just kind of shrugged and moved on. I think they’re laying their eggs under the coop for now. They seem to move where they lay them, and I live in fear that we’re going to end up with a flock of little ducklings.

      • I’m glad the girl ducks aren’t distraught — I, too, imagined them worried about their missing eggs!

        And, oh, Dennis, you are a pretty boy!

  4. Good thing you were paying attention.. otherwise you might have woken up one day to 24 ducks in your yard.. 🙂 and yes fresh water is for swimming.. just because you don’t think so doesn’t make it wrong 😉

    I envy you your enjoyment of gardening.. I hate it so, but oh would I love fresh produce in my back yard.

    • I wouldn’t call it enjoyment, really, just something I have to do to get what I want. I wasn’t terribly sad to take last summer off from gardening!

  5. Ducks are terrible parents; even if you’d let poor Mrs Duck have her nest most of the babies would have not made it to adulthood.

    • Fred said that the catfish would probably pick off any baby ducks who ventured onto the water. I wonder if their bad parenting is why they were laying so many eggs – if you start out with a flock of 30 baby ducks, maybe a few will make it?

  6. yipee !!! Crooked acre Wednesday !!!! I’m with some of the others. I envy your gardening skills. sigh ! I did not inherit my Grand-parents’ green thumbs. I do love fresh produce from a garden. Nothing better !!

    Do you think the ducks laying their eggs in the tree is their way of saying “quit taking our eggs !” ??

    Godspeed Thomas,Mariette, Angelo and Orlando !!!!!

    OK Robyn and the L&H community I have a dilemma and a question for you !!!
    I was doing my dishes today and noticed a neighbor lady putting out a large bag of cat food (AGAIN!) for the cats in our area. I fully understand why she is doing this. She is trying to help the many strays in our small town. I do also know that most of the cats that partake in her free feast are NOT strays. They have homes to go to. Our town does not have a trap and neuter program. So here is the big question and my even bigger dilemma. Since she has the food in the next yard they use my yard as their litter box and the un-neutered boys spray my house and cars. How do I approach her to let her know I am not happy about my yard being used as a litter box. They do not use her yard as she has three large dogs while I only have indoor cats. Who by the way think the “smell” is very interesting when we open the door. I am very afraid they will get territorial and begin spraying inside. HELP !!!!

    Sorry this was long winded.

    • Louise, I’m going to post this in Friday’s post, hopefully there will be some helpful suggestions!

  7. How the heck has Livia not gotten snatched up yet? She’s sooooooooooo purty!

      • It looks as if she’s slimmed down a bit during her stay with you – having more room to move and play must have been good for her health. She was looking very porky when she first came back! Have you put her on a diet, or is it just being more active that did the trick?
        Livia looks like such a sweet cat. Some people have no taste!

        • I was going to put her on a lighter food, but Tricki’s got a sensitive stomach, so they’re all eating sensitive food for now. I think that being able to move around (and not eating out of boredom) has been good for her. I’m wishing I’d weighed her when I brought her home, so I’d know for sure, but she definitely looks smaller to me.

  8. Tricki is SUCH a pretty girl, and the peaceful licking only makes her more appealing to my mind. I have friends who had a cat called Spooky who was a peaceful licker. He would sit in your lap and just gently, quietly wash both your hands all over. He also had some of the softest fur I’ve ever petted, more like a rabbit than a cat. They live in England and I haven’t seen them for a while, and the last hand-washing I had from Spooky was many years ago, so I expect he’s gone to his eternal reward by now. I remember him with great fondness.
    He actually wasn’t remotely spooky so I don’t know why he was called that. Perhaps he was a rather eerie kitten.

    • I think Spooky must be a popular name for black cats and dogs – my mother had a black dog named Spooky. Maybe it’s a Halloween reference?

      • This Spooky was white with marmalade patches, though. His mystery endures.

          • I thought the same thing! Maybe he was a skiddish kitten and was spooked by everything?

            • Maybe it was a tribute to Mulder from The X-Files, although of course this cat looked more like Scully.