I don't know about you but it feels as though winter has been hanging on forever. With 13 gallons of maple syrup and 2 gallons of Black Walnut syrup for sale, we are looking to the spring growing season with excitement.
This is curly dock. It's an alien invasive weed. Because it's not poisonous, some websites refer to it as an edible weed. IMHO, just because it's not poisonous, doesn't mean I should eat it, especially when I have much more tasty things growing in the high tunnel. It's root, if met with a tiller, slices up into pieces that rapidly take root. We want to suppress these weeds and prevent them and other weeds from competing with our vegetables.
Remembering the smell of spring lavender and the image of our two female ducks nestled in the huge bush just outside the farmhouse, it's difficult to believe that those little hatchlings survived and matured. But here we are at the end of October and our population of ducks is healthy and relatively happy.
In the image above,our one and only male duck is pictured in the middle of all the females. We've named him Mr. Beret for the white tuft that isn't quite centered on his head. Mr. Beret is a lucky duck. His chivalrous manner did not go unnoticed, and he was chosen to be the sole surviving male out of the four, er, five males hatched this spring. You see, we weren't sure about the sex of the youngest member of the brood, one calico duck that we'd grown fond of, until we had chosen Mr.Beret to have the opportunity to sire more little ducks. One day we found an amorous Mr. Beret and the calico both mating with a female. His anatomy confirmed what we really hadn't noticed before that incident.
The dilemma: whether to process the calico or Mr. Beret. We contacted a farmer friend and asked if she had a need for a male duck. She had taken another male off our hands when he had gotten too aggressive with the females and babies back in the spring. As fate would have it, that duck, who is named Son of Chuck, was shooting blanks, so the farmer was happy to trade for a new young male. Son of Chuck had followed in the footsteps of his father, Chuck the Duck, who also had a very aggressive nature until he found himself in hot soup. Now upon Son of Chuck's return, he would become dinner and nourishment, providing some good to the world.
So both Mr. Beret and Calico (now renamed Smiley) have an opportunity to procreate, producing ducks that provide eggs and sustenance in times to come.
Take a moment to enjoy some of the sights on the farm in August.
At the end of July two baby ducks were born on Red Sunflower Farm. In order to keep them protected, the ducklings were put in with the chickens. They now have a mother who shows them where to forage. They follow her everywhere. She adopted them, fostering them as if they were her baby chicks. She calls out with a chicken's cluck and they tweet softly back to her.
Roselyn "Rose" Roark has joined us this summer, all the way from San Francisco, CA, to learn about sustainable farming practices and homestead operations here at Red Sunflower Farm. As an English major from UC Berkeley, she is also using her downtime to work on her first fiction novel inspired by her ancestry from eastern Kentucky.
Rose is helping us with day-to-day field duties, along with CSA-related harvesting and distribution, while also experiencing the rewards that come with living closer to the land. She is incubating her first batch of duck eggs, collected from our farm's resident duck family, and we hope to meet the little ducklings just a week before she leaves in the middle of July.
If you pick up your CSA share from our Wednesday Farmers Market in Bellevue, be sure to give Rose a warm Kentucky welcome!
If you're interested in a farming apprenticeship here at Red Sunflower, visit our Invitation page for more information.