DOWN ON THE URBAN HOMESTEAD

Recycled concrete curbing from old driveway

Recycled Urbanite

We’re reusing nice chunks of concrete curbing from the old driveway to make a bed alongside the north side of the house. Yesterday the guys spaced out the blueberries where they wanted them planted.    The blueberries did exceptionally well back in 2005 but had to be removed in 2006 because of the construction on the house. Now all the homeless and misplaced plants will one again have their permanent growing grounds back.

Baby, It’s Cold & Windy Outside

After the holiday heat wave, the Santa Anas have whipped up bring cold high winds through the mountain passes.   Quite a drastic change from the other day when we shed our winter layers for t shirts and bare feet.   This morning, before going out and doing the animal chores, we bundled up like a babushka.

Pile of seed catalogs

Edible Temptations

It’s that time of year when stack of seed catalogs are piled on the dining room table to be rifled through and dog-eared dozens of times over. New varieties tempt us to try them with their explicit descriptions as we dreamily visualize planting and harvesting these enticing, mouthwatering varieties. In the catalogs I spot papers with list of sku numbers and pages scribbled on the page.

Young ducks

All grown Up

Urban Quackers

Our new batch of quirky khaki campbell ducks have finally laid. Well, one is laying that we know of.    The new ducks have bonded with our other khaki campbell and are one big happy duck family.    Once the ducklings were about 3 months old we introduced them to the other ducks. There was suspicion on both sides and it took awhile for them to get to know each other.   Just like a kid in a new school, the new ducks hung out in their little clique and the old ones in theirs.    Of course, our older girls would be suspicious of these young hussies, even Mr Duck had his doubts over the new babes. Over time, the new ladies have spread their charm and have finally won him over and Mr Duck has been ducky heaven since his harem has increased.

Back in 2003 Jordanne wanted to expand her backyard farm animal repertoire and ducks were on the list. At the time there wasn’t much information online about backyard ducks and, after months of research, concluded that khaki campbells were most suited for our urban situation.   KC are extremely reliable layers; they’ll lay 300 eggs a year or more — up to 340.   Even better, unlike chickens, KC don’t get broody, and that’s why they lay so many eggs.   KC are considered “land ducks” and you don’t need a “pond” instead a kiddy pool or large shallow container will suffice for their daily bathing ritual.

Now, here’s where journal categories would really come in handy.   I could refer readers to any related ducky entries we posted these last seven years – about raising, eggs, etc.

One of the questions most folks ask is this– are ducks loud? Ducks are relatively quiet – males ducks are even quieter. If you have both male and a few females the females will get a bit excited when doing their mating dance.  They do, however, get a little quacky when seeing us in the morning and when bringing them greens from the garden.   Ducks are entertaining and apractical edition to our backyard farm menagerie.

Readers & Html

Wow! I see we continue to have some longtime readers. We are extremely humbled and grateful. Even more so, it’s wonderful that we’ve kept your interests for so long.    Also, like to extend a hearty welcome to new readers who are taking the first steps on their journey towards a more self sufficient life. Thanks for stopping by and making PTF journal such a long running (seven year.. and more?) success.

Also, thank you to those who kindly took time to offer some suggestions on how to get rid of html in all the older journal posts so I can easily add entries into a WordPress format.   If I have time (going over to a friend’s house later), I’ll fool around today with it and see what method works for me.   Thanks for your offers to help – that would be soooo wonderful!

No Comments

  1. connie in nm says:

    Been out of town for Christmas and am catching up on your posts. Thanks so much for taking the time to do them. You are truly an inspiration to us all even if all we do is read about raising ducks instead of actually doing it.

    I can’t tell you when I started reading, but it has been years and years.

    Happy New Year to you all and many blessings in 2008.

  2. Danielle says:

    I’ve been reading for a couple of years, from Sydney, Australia. Our climates are similar so I find your planting info useful (taking into account the 6 month time lag!), but what I like most about your yard is that as well as being intensely practical, its really beautiful. I also find the family focus and simple life style inspirational. Thanks for generously sharing part of your lives with us.
    Danielle

  3. Lauren says:

    I really love the ducks. We are planning on getting some and I think we want KCs as well. I don’t suppose you’re planning on selling fertilized eggs?
    And do you know if they can they cohabitate with chickens, or do we need to build them a separate house?

  4. Lauren says:

    er, chicks, that is. HATCHING fertilized eggs and SELLING chicks.

  5. P~ says:

    Anaïs~ I loved seeing your concrete work update and thought I’d let you know how you guys are making a difference. Early last year, I was trying to do a little out of the box thinking to find something that I could use as a landscaping edge for my home. I searched around the internet, and found your site. In particular I found the image in your gallery dealing with recycling that had a picture of some other concrete edgeing that you had used. I was inspired and did the same at our home. I am very pleased with it, as is my wife. Thought I’d say thank you and perhaps encourage others to do the same. There is so much concrete that ends up in the landfills that could have better uses. Keep up the good work.
    P~
    Here is a few pics of my finished products.
    Process
    Finished product

  6. Nathan says:

    I found PTF in…um…I think it was 2001. Your site was brand new, IIRC, and I think I found it by looking up “homesteading” or some such thing. I have been living in little tiny urban apartments since then, doing what I can, growing what I can on patios and mini-yards, and constantly refer back to PTF for inspiration and ideas. I love what you guys do, but your how-tos are my favorite! For example, when you put in your cobb oven…I love that series of pictures! Thanks for all your hard work – together we can do it!

  7. Jason says:

    I occasionally visited the site and read the blogs in 2001 and 2002. It wasnt until 2003 when i began visiting regularly, and now it’s been incorporated into my daily routine. I always enjoy reading the latest with your family and homestead.. it’s inspirational and educational.

  8. Nick N says:

    I first heard about PTF when I visited an environment-themed art show at the Art Center’s South Campus 2 or 3 years ago and saw your display (and URL). I’ve been checking your journal ever since. I have a similar sized property here in Pasadena, and visited your house on the city’s Earth Day tour last Spring (I got the Anais tour).

  9. Steven Carper says:

    We have added a drake to our two girl ducks. The girls are loud and preening constantly; they won’t shut up! We are hoping they will settle down and return to their quieter, humbler lives. We don’t want to “tick” the neighbors off, as we are in an urban area.

    Are they just doing a mating dance and they’ll settle down shortly???

  10. Anais says:

    Hello Steven

    Thanks for your questions. Were your girlie ducks loud prior to the introduction of your male duck. When we added a male duck to our flock we noticed that the girls got louder as they vied for his attention. They may quiet down, but we noticed that during their mating rituals there’s always a ruckus or “running commentary” by the female onlookers.

    Ducks we have found are relatively quite; however, all that changes when mating season arrives.

    Hope this helps.

Leave a Reply to P~ Cancel reply