They’ve all grown up! As you can see in the picture of the ducks, I have 1 female and 4 males, just like I suspected. One or two of the drakes will make it to the freezer.
Mamma on the left, baby on the right
The one little chick my hen hatched is almost as big as his mamma! Ya, I’m pretty sure he’s a rooster. Oh well, I’m willing to give it another try next year. I’ll tag this hen so I can use her again, now that she knows what she’s doing. She started out rocky but came through a strong mother hen.
All these birds are living together right now in the chicken coop. It’s not heated so I’ll be doing some juggling around and putting them in the barn with the other hens where it’s heated for the winter.
Rose petal tea
I took a walk around the property and found the wild roses and ladyslippers blooming. On the weekend when we were cleaning up behind the barn, my son found a bird’s nest in the tall grass. I didn’t see the mama so I don’t know what kind of birds they are, but aren’t they cute in an ugly sort of way? Can you count them… I think 4 or 5?
My grandmother taught me how to make rose petal tea. It tastes mild and is so fragrant. My researching has turned up the health benefits of the tea. It is an effective medication for the liver and enhances flow of bile, invigorates as well as purifies the liver and the gallbladder. It helps in alleviating problems related with lethargic liver like headaches and constipation. Rose petal tea is also capable of alleviating the problems of insomnia, do away with depression, drive out fatigue and also offer comfort in conditions such as irritability. Aroma therapists use the rose as a gentle sedative or tranquillizer, and an anti-depressant.
When gathering wild rose petals, be sure you are in an area that is not sprayed with pesticides. They offer their best qualities as fresh petals. Put several petals in a tea cup and pour boiling water over, and allow to steep for 10 minutes. Spoon out the faded rose petals and enjoy! You can add honey if you like, I normally add a small amount of honey in my tea but this tea is good without.
Nest in the woodshed
Word must have got around in the barn swallow community about our farm because we have more this year than I can ever remember! I counted 3 nests a few months ago. I knocked one down that was being started inside the goat barn. Once the babies flew the nest, I knocked down the one in the wood shed. I thought that would be the end of it but a few weeks ago my son pointed out a NEW nest inside the shed marked for demolition with MORE babies in it. Do barn swallows have more than one round of babies? Usually if I knock the nests down, they don’t swoop at you as much because they aren’t protecting a nest (I would guess). I didn’t expect them to build another nest! It’s almost dangerous crossing the yard now. One day I counted as many as 35 birds. I’m torn between knocking down the nests so they leave and just leaving them alone because I hear they eat mosquitoes and there are LOTS of them right now.
What would you do?
The barn swallows are back but there seems to be lots of robins around too! Our plum tree is in full bloom now. It’s a wild plum but so pretty. The crabapple tree is as showy when it comes into bloom. These are just a few of the things I love about this time of year.
The barn swallows arrived yesterday! There are several swooping and diving as I try to cross the yard. This means we can’t leave doors open on anything; the garage, the barn, the porch… or they will be building their nests indoors.