Wednesday, June 29, 2016

July is Just Around the Corner

Pretty much right after our Key West Trip our ducks finally came in!!  They are so cute and so different.  I’ve never raised ducks from babies but I can tell you I’ve been enjoying them a lot.  They are very, very different from chickens.  But, just like raising chickens, going from research to real life was completely different from what I was expecting.  I read all of these claims (massive amounts of reading) and then when it came down to it (once again), either I have a bird (green) thumb or other people have no logic/leave birds and don’t take care of them at all.
I would say the strangest thing that I read was a site saying not to give them water because they can’t swim/float for weeks.  Ummmmmm… have you ever startled a mother duck and her babies during the spring?  They always float into the water as a huddled group very quickly.  So unless they are packing secret hidden floatation devices under the water, all baby ducks swim.  Of course you don’t want to be a nincompoop (however you spell that) and leave them in something too tall to get in and out of.
So they swim, they swim good and they swim amazingly fast.  It’s their favorite thing to do.  It’s a funny routine.  They get some food, then walk to the pool and drink some water and make other weird noises with their bills.  Then after they do that a few times, it’s a brisk swim, some grooming and a nap.  It’s so adorable.
I think the funniest thing that happened is when I introduced them into the chicken coop.  Usually I’ll put a bird in there and the original residents want to come over to the new bird and attempt to let them know who is in charge.  The hens walked over, took one look at the ducks and just looked confused.  Like they knew they might not be chickens but weren't really sure.
Then I put the water in and the chickens were walking around and looking at me like “what is this for!?”  Then the ducks started swimming and it completely freaked the chickens out.  It was hilarious.  They didn’t run or anything.  They just stood in the corner and watched in awe with confused looks on their face.  I could not stop laughing.
I will say raising ducks might pose a challenge cleanliness wise.  Hens do what they got to do (bathroom stuff) but it all dries out fast in the sun.  They don’t play in water so they don’t make things wet.  So you have a nice, dry clean place that they rake and dig in so it keeps it dry all the way through to the bottom.  It’s really convenient.  They are pretty much self cleaning.
Now I have ducks that are making things wet.  For 2 days now I’ve tested out putting fresh hay in the wet areas to see if the chickens will help me get things stirred up and dried out.  It’s there thing.  They like the barn organized the way they like it so if I move hay around they will kick it back into place.  Which of course mixes it up with stuff I don’t want to touch and exposes it to the sun.
So far so good.  They’ve been mixing and keeping everything clean.  My backup is going to first be changing to litter if things keep getting slicked up.  After that I’ll have to consider putting the pool out of the run and the ducks will only be able to get to it when I release everyone to play.  And I hate to do that because they love to swim so much.  So I’ll keep an eye out and hope that one of the two first plans work out.
Besides that, the Silkies puffed up over the weekend when we were staying at The Raphael Hotel over at the Plaza.
Which by the way, I highly recommend.  They have Chaz on the Plaza right in the hotel so they do the room service.  We were getting Lobster Eggs Benedict sent up in the AM and dessert, cheese platters and port flights at night.  The room service is 24/7.  It was awesome.  The only thing that could put it over the top and make it any better is if they had a pool.  That’s the only thing I can see that they are missing.
While we were in the city we visited Lego Land and Sea Life Aquarium.  They were pretty cool.  One of those things everyone around here tells us you should go see once because it’s something you’ll hear about from everyone.  It's a local "must."  Then you really never need to go again.  And that felt fitting.
Now we’re just getting ready for the 4th of July and I’m doing some crazy household investments into organization.  It’s been a long time coming.  I’m basically trying to figure out how to work around everyone being messy.  I’ve been turning a blind eye since the kids were born and now it’s to the point where I need something to change.
Well, no one else seems to be trying any harder so I’ve decided to buy things to make everything look really, really, really good even though it’s technically a pile of million-year-old mail (for example, lol…).  I’m really happy with the results so far.  Some of the stuff I’ve purchased and it’s uses (and this could help anyone who is having a similar issue… these were amazing finds) …
I used these large woven baskets so that when I don’t have time to put away clothes, our room looks really nice.  Even though it’s technically lazy as all get out… haha.  I got a combo of colors and patterns and they make the room look all decorative instead of messy.
I got a large variety of boxes to organize things like our mail or mail piles that no one feels like going through.
I bought a ton of fabric storage cubes to organize underneath cabinets in a nicer way.
I bought a really nice wicker toy box for the kids so the toy area looks a little less ghetto.
I picked up a 5 shelf book shelf to make more sense of our bathroom area.  In our master bathroom we don’t have any type of closet so our things were scattered here and there.  I used an open book shelf to organize our stuff and that turned out really nice.
And it’s not one of the last things by any means, but I bought a TV stand for a clothes pile that is always lurking.  It’s nice because it’s a clothing cubby for now but if we ever do decide to put a TV in our bedroom we’re ready.
Then I’ve been knocking out getting things like dishes, silverware and other random stuff that just wasn’t matching.  I really let it slide.  I mean everything looked nice, but I knew how much I was digging to find round dishes so that it looked like we matched.  I’m in my 30’s.  Those days should have been long gone.
And last but not least, it’s been crazy hot here in the mid-west!

Friday, June 10, 2016

The Kids Birthday + Gifts + Birds

It has been some time since I’ve given an update so I thought I would fast forward to the most current time.  As usual we’re so busy hustling and bustling that the stories and pictures would be a bit much.  I’ll skip to three awesome current events.

1 >>> Key West Trip

The twins turned 6 in May so in honor of their birthday I took our family on a cross country trip from the mid-west all the way to Key West.  It was so much fun.  We stayed at Horse Cave in Kentucky then hit a restaurant I hadn’t been to in 16 years, The Crab Shack on Tybee Island.  I discovered it with my dad when we went to Disney Land fresh out of High School.  With him gone it was so fantastic to relive the memory.  It meant more to me than I expected.  We hung out for hours looking at the birds and the Cat Shack.

Then we stayed about 5 days in Key West and on the way back stayed at Okefenokee Swamp, then Graceland and did a drive by of Elvis’s place.  On the way back home we found this crazy little town that was so lovely.  It was on the Arkansas and Missouri boarder so we stopped at this little restaurant that had the best chicken livers ever.  I know, gross.  I love them, I can’t help it.

2 >>> Kids Birthday Party

For the kid’s birthday we had a simple little party with a French style cake that I had delivered from Neiman Marcus.  We cooked, hung out by the fire pit, did gifts and cake.  The usual.  It was a really nice time.  And yes, Parker did actually bite that cake and didn’t even care about it.  It was really funny and totally unexpected.  I guess he was really excited about the sugar that day.


3 >>> The Silkies

Our baby birds are doing great.  I think they are about 8 weeks old now so we have moved them into safety temp housing in our barn.  Basically what I’ve done is take our top open 3 feet x 2 feet extension cage and I put them in there so they can chill with the other birds in a controlled environment.  They can’t be picked on, the big birds won’t eat all their food and I don’t have to worry about them not being able to get back in the barn or something like that.

They are happy, have tons of room to play and are experiencing there intended final environment.  When I think they are big enough to get around, I’ll release them into my herd.  And our ducks will be coming in about 2 weeks.  Once the ducks are ready for the controlled outdoor pen I will release the silkies and finish off the same process with our ducks.