Beeten by Ducks

It seems that every post lately has been about baby ducks.  Well…. here’s another one.  We found Molly sitting in the barn with a clutch of 19 little ones.  I’m not even keeping count anymore.Muscovy duck with babies

There’s one more (ugh.) momma sitting on her eggs and that is it.  No more Muscovy babies.  None.  Nada.  Zilch.  We’ve been snagging any eggs we find before they can decide to sit again.  We’ve got babies coming out of our ears.  Some are dinky and some are almost fully feathered.  Enough baby excitement for one year!  I’ve learned that Muscovy ducks are prolific layers and hatchers.  They make excellent mothers.  They are comical to watch, quiet, and come in all kinds of beautiful colors and patterns. Muscovy ducks And they’re friendly.  Molly and Jade (with all of her offspring) come up to us every morning and chirp once for a handful of corn.  We will be sticking with Muscovy ducks for a while.  They forage well and don’t like playing in mud puddles.  Pekins on the other hand, love water and mud.  The messier the better for them.  Not great at foraging.  Not broody.  Quite mouthy at times.  Only come in white (or brown if they’ve found dirt and water).  They are cute and have expressive eyes.  And if they know you have dog food they are your best friend!  Unfortunately the Pekins aren’t going to be sticking around for long.  For us it is more cost effective to raise Muscovy ducks than it is to have Pekin ducks.  Sorry guys!  One thing about Pekins though, they love storms!  These guys hang through the yuckiest weather.  Except for heat.  It gets warm and they start panting.  Muscovy ducks tolerate heat well and are pretty tolerant of the cold too.  Enough said.

Pekin ducks in garden

We finally caught a break from all of the rain that we’ve been getting around here.  It rained for days on end.  Then came the heat.  I don’t do heat.  Nope.  I wither.  I started my search for the perfect place to live again.  No temps over 80.  No temps under 35.  Not too much rain, clouds, or wind.  I like to enjoy all 4 seasons a little each year.  Anybody know of a place like that?  Anyway… with all of the rain it got a little mushy around the pond.  Big tractor, mushy grass, muddy banks and you get…

Wheelhorse tractor in pond

Yep.  The tractor took a dunk.  Luckily no one was hurt.  I know, you’re probably thinking that this was my doing.  Usually you’d be correct in that assumption.  But HAH!  Not this time!!!  This was my honey’s boo-boo.  (Okay, right now I’m giggling to myself because I just made what’s known around here as a “Mommy joke”.  Honey Boo Boo.  Get it?  Not that I’ve ever watched the show.  Mommy jokes are my weird sense of humor which sometimes I’m the only that gets it at all.)  Poor guy had just spent days servicing the motor, changing the oil, washing and waxing the tractor, and changing the air filter.  Then this happens.  Mind you, this wasn’t such a big deal because Todd did it.  Nope.  It happened, done and over.  HHhhhmmmm… wonder what would have been said if it was actually me that did this?  Just saying.  Like that time I hit the fence and broke the fence panel down?  Okay, I feel vindicated now!

Our garden has loved the rain.  I can’t believe how big all the weeds have grown!  I mean, plants have grown.  This is one battle that we may not win.  There’s always next year.  We got a large harvest of beets last week.  So I started canning.  Not a bright idea in 100+ heat and humidity with no air conditioning.  But that’s me.  Have beets, must preserve and persevere!

fresh garden beets

We gathered all the beets.

garden beets prepped for canning

Cut the tops off (used some for juicing – YUM!) and scrubbed all the dirt off.

garden beets prepped for canning

Boiled the beets for 10 to 15 minutes until the skin came easily off.  Saved the beet water to use for hot packing the jars.  Quartered the beets, put them into quart jars, added the hot water leaving 1” of headspace in the jar, cleaned off the rim, put on lids and…

pressure cooker

Processed the jars in a pressure cooker for 35 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure.

canned garden beets

We now have 21 quarts of beets saved up for winter.  There’s still a whole row of beets left in the garden for eating fresh.  But that’s for another day.  Right now, I’m beet.  (tee hee!  Mommy humor!)