Two of my ducks recently spent over a month sitting together on a heap of eggs. Last week, when the ducks had nipped down to the pond for a splash and refresh, I peeked into the shelter and discovered that the heap had diminished to only six eggs. We’ve been losing most of our duck eggs to crows and it seems that a pesky crow had also been raiding the nest as well.

The next evening I spied a duckling peering out from under a wing and it looked as though another egg was starting to hatch. The following morning, instead of staying on the nest as they usually did, both ducks disappeared to the pond with the others, which seemed a little odd as there were no ducklings with them.They left four eggs in the nest and a half hatched egg with a dead duckling inside and no sight of a live duckling. As the ducks showed no signs of returning (my ducks are terrible mothers) I took the four eggs inside. I deduced that two contained ducklings so I left them under a desk lamp and went out to get the half hatched egg so I could dispose of it. But, the [insert any expletive here because I probably used it] crow had beaten me to it.

day old duckling

day old duckling

A couple of days later one of the eggs under the lamp hatched to reveal a little black duckling. My daughter Ruth immediately decided she should have this duckling and that when it was older it could walk with her to work, spend the day on the pond and then walk home with her. To those of you familiar with the novels in the Gamache series, it will come as no surprise that I promptly named the duck Rosa.

Rosa and Ruth

We kept Rosa in the box on the kitchen dresser for a few days and Ruth took great delight in letting her swim in the sink or taking her outside where Rosa would follow her around. But Ruth seemed reluctant to take Rosa home and I was getting more than fed up with a duck in my kitchen, not least because she was a great distraction and time waster.

open farm sunday

Fortuitously, one of the ladies who keeps a horse on the farm said that her school would be happy to raise the duckling, provided that we would take it back when it matured. Before she could change her mind (though giving Ruth time to say her good-byes and Rosa time to do a little Open Farm Sunday promotion) I handed over the duckling so it can take its place in school. I’m sure the children will love her (or him) and it won’t be long before she returns.


Meanwhile, a much more exciting hatching – a gorgeous grandson. It’s a bit of a shock to suddenly become one of the “older generation” and I’m not at all sure that I’m prepared for it.

today …

The good and the not so good on the farm today. But mainly good.

fox in great forest

Look carefully and you can make out a vixen staring back at me, while just around the corner two fox cubs frolicked together. Lovely to see when they’re miles from home, but rather less welcome when they’re close to the yard and my hens.

wild rose in Great Forest field

Wild roses cascade from the hedgerow, reminding me of Alexandra Rose Day at school when pupils would raise money by holding competitions such as “guess the weight of the cake”

wild rose

and we’d pin a paper rose just like this on our blazer.

duck sitting on nest

Two of my ducks are sitting on eggs. This duck is amongst the stinging nettles in a nest made of down and feathers and every time she leaves to take a dip in the pond, she carefully covers up her eggs. The other duck is in the duck house, where she’s piled up a tower of straw and shredded paper that she sits atop. This morning I found two eggs moved from one of the nests, lying in the duck pen. One had been holed and the contents eaten, the other smashed to reveal a half formed duckling. Crow or rat?

nest containing blackbird eggsAn abandoned blackbird’s nest wedged between a rose bush and the wall of the house.

building an earth bundBuilding up an earth bund around the yard

new gateand installing a new gate to increase security and keep out unwelcome night-time visitors.

ox eye daisiesA sea of ox-eye daisies in the corner of one of the grass paddocks.

Best of all, the sun is shining!