Why ducks?

In May, 2019 I never thought I’d be a poultry person – specifically a duck person. One look however, and I was besotted. I can’t imagine my world without them. Take a look –

Could you ignore such cuteness? Not me!

I set up a four foot by two foot tote with shavings in the bottom, waterer raised up and surrounded by a moat of shavings. A piece of chicken wire folded over the top, and my ducklings were home.

The cat followed their shadows on the outside whilst the dog took one look, sniffed, and with a disgusted huff, walked away. It was clear I was the one enamored with them.

Within no time we settled into a routine. A starter mash mixed with warm water into a revolting sort of slurry was gobbled up and between gummy dishes of feed and emptying the pan of sodden shavings and grotty water, I was duly initiated into the world of duck ownership.

Wet. Everything about a duck is WET! So, if you have intentions of getting ducks, be prepared.

In no time, these three ducklings looked like this:

And then, this:

Soon, they’d outgrown the tote and needed a proper duck house. I repurposed a three foot by five foot shell of a dog house. With hardware cloth underneath and covering the windows on either side, the front has a latched door and the back opens wide for easy cleaning. Two windows on the sides drop down in warm weather and latch closed during the wet or colder periods of the year. It works beautifully.

Within no time, the ducks were dibbling around the veggie gardens for tasty morsels – ie slugs and snails. Yay!

These girls fill my heart with joy. It gives me immense pleasure to watch them waddle around the property.

A year later, Clarence joined the flock. His mate was killed by a predator and his owners asked if I’d take him. They sent a picture of him looking sad and wanting company. Of course, I said yes.

He takes his job watching the girls seriously.

It goes without saying that of course I hatched some of their eggs. The accompanying two pictures show their offspring and two Pekin ducks I was asked to raise with them.

I think my favourite photos of the ducks are when they are “helping” me in the garden –  endlessly searching for bugs and waiting for me to turn over soil in the veggie beds, rocks, logs, anything in the hopes they’ll have a tasty snack.

And, of course, what would a picture of ducks be, without water!

I can’t imagine my life without these curious, fun, sensitive creatures.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little picture story.



Doesn’t get more exciting than this!

Test results came back last week. Sweet Iris and Alex test negative for Johne’s and CAE – yay! And, best of all, Iris tested positive. She IS pregnant. Yippee!

Expect update posts and pictures as she progresses during her pregnancy and around May 26th, expect kidding pictures!

Precious Iris. Love this sweet doe!

Stay tuned!

My journey to goat milk soap

Soap. It’s a funny, personal thing. Isn’t it?

Do you remember the ‘90’s and Gain detergent? I distinctly remember the first time I smelled it. I thought, “Ooh! How lovely!” I promptly bought it and used it regularly along with scented dryer sheets.

These scented products gave me a rip-roaring headache, and, increased the pain I felt in my body. I became more self-aware what my body was telling me. I began the search for products that contained purer, less harmful ingredients. At the time – they were only found at Health Food Stores. My education truly commenced. (And, continues).

Our skin is our largest organ. We wash our skin daily. What we wash our skin with, and put on our skin, should be top priority – along with nutrition.

My life’s journey has always been one of hope, exploration, learning, and progress. If I don’t feel I’m moving forward in some way, be it gardening (nutrition), living a sustainable, regenerative lifestyle that promotes well-being for myself (and the planet), then, I feel I’ve let myself down in some way. I set out to encourage myself to create my well of well-being on my tiny patch of land. My .6 acre.

My goats, namely, Iris, will play a major role here. Alex, a wether – gelded goat, is her companion. Iris’ mother currently provides the milk for all our soap.

Many soaps aren’t real soap. “Say, what?” Yup. Many soaps aren’t real soap. They use synthetic detergent products which can contain surfactants that can strip your skin of natural moisture and oils. Personally, I don’t like the sound of that.

Goat milk, in this case, La Mancha goat milk, contains all the healthful, natural, basic ingredients to promote a healthy, creamy, soap rich in both saturated and unsaturated fats ideal for soap production. Goat milk fats, namely caprylic acid, allows for gentle removal of dirt and debris without removing the skin’s natural fatty acids. Goat milk is rich in fatty acids and cholesterol, which make up a large part of the skin membrane. Saturated fats increase soap lather and unsaturated fats provide moisturizing and nourishing properties. And, the milk is a good source of vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin shown to have anti-aging properties. Goat milk is also a good source of selenium, a mineral shown to support a healthy skin membrane. Goat milk soap has tremendous benefits.

In our soap, per batch, we add one litre – 4 cups – of raw, organic goat milk plus plant-based oils like organic olive, coconut, and sustainable, traceable, ethically sourced palm oil and almond oils which increase the content of healthy, nourishing fats.

We make a creamy, gentle and conditioning bar of soap supporting a healthy skin microbiome. I’m all for a healthy microbiome, aren’t you?

Have questions? Please, ask!

Mid-January – already.

It’s been a wet January. We needed the rain. The two holes and channel are filled with water, much to the duck’s delight. This is their time of year. Want ducks? Think wet!

I’m pretty sure Iris is preggers. She hasn’t come back into heat, so I’m assuming between May 26 – 31st she’ll kid. This is an exciting time! She seems more affectionate and I can hardly wait to see her rounding belly and wonder the number of kids she’ll produce. I’m also anxious. Will she have an easy kidding? Not to worry about it at this early stage. I’m capable of worrying about it later.

I’ve a new list of goals. They seem attainable, yet I know that’s not true. Whether .6 acre or more, unexpected stuff comes up on a farm. Always does. One of life’s many motto’s – Expect the unexpected. That being said, over the next couple years I hope to install an irrigation system, a water retention system (cisterns), and a permanent waterproof structure for the firewood and tote of shavings. Now there’s a savings! Rather than buying smaller bales of shavings from the feed store, I’ve found a source for a 200 cu ft tote of shavings. It’s 4’X4’X4′, lasts five months, and is considerably cheaper. Also takes up less space. It’s awesome!

The indoor list for the house is longer, but, as long as I have a roof over my head, a fireplace to keep me warm, a stove to cook on, and working plumbing, I’m happy. The indoor stuff can wait.

I posted some pictures under the various tabs on the website. A couple of Iris and Alex, the ducks and Winston, A Hua Jiao blend I put on just about everything I eat. I’ll post pictures under the respective tabs on a regular basis, especially ones of Iris. I’ll be getting her used to the milking stand which aught to be interesting!

I’m not going to breed the rabbits until feed costs come down. Last year, a bag of rabbit pellets was $14.99. At this moment, a bag ranges anywhere from $21 – $28. That’s crazy. I’m waiting to hear about the Amrock chickens. They’re a dual-purpose breed I hope to integrate into my current small flock of birds. Fingers crossed. I think they’ll be a great addition to the farm.

Soap! I make batches of soap almost on a daily basis. Love the process. Brings out my inner geek. Watching the frozen goat milk melt when I add the lye, watching the batter thicken and come to trace stage, pouring it into the molds. I just love it! Soon I’ll be using Iris’ milk in the soap! How exciting that will be! Call me a crazy goat lady, but I love my La Mancha’s. I love their milk, and I think it’s the best milk for soap and cheese. For those with other breeds of goat, I know you’ll disagree with me!

At the end of the day, in a world that seems to have gone mad, I’m glad to be tucked away on my .6 acre. I love my life. I feel blessed and am grateful.

I’m attaching a video from a couple nights ago. The sea lions are creating a ruckus these days (and nights). Turn up your volume.

Until next time. Stay safe.