Sunday, June 19, 2016

Friday, June 17, 2016

Countdown to Babies.... Hopefully


The duck eggs are due to hatch out in two days, and I'm really hoping everything goes well.

We had a power outage the day before yesterday when a storm ripped through the area. Normally the power company responds within the hour, but there was widespread damage so it ended up being 5 hours before they were able to restore the power.

I covered the incubator with a fleece blanket and closed off the room. I later lit an oil lamp in there to help boost the temperature even more. I was a nervous wreck!

The last 5 days are especially important when it comes to stable temperatures, and getting too cold can influence their ability to hatch.

When we finally got our power back I immediately checked the thermostat and it was at 82 F.

That isn't too bad considering the amount of time that lapsed, so hopefully they will be alright.

The eggs still have good movement, and it was especially encouraging to hear a little "peep, peep" resounding from the incubator this morning. They are due to hatch on Sunday, so we shall see!

Around the same time I set the eggs, one of the remaining Silver Appleyard hens at the farm decided she would show me up.


In the past, they have gone broody for a week or so and then snapped out of it, so I really wasn't expecting much.

This time she seems to be in it for the long haul. Maybe she sensed their dwindling numbers?


I haven't been keeping track of time, but those eggs should be hatching sometime next week.

The jury is still out on the two ducklings I brought home from the farm a few weeks ago.

I'm still holding out hope that the larger one is a hen, but I have that sinking feeling that they are both drakes. Their voices are just starting to crack, so only time will tell.


The runty one on the left won't be useful for breeding either way. It's pretty weak on its legs. Not a good trait to pass on.

They are enjoying living outdoors, now that the weather has warmed considerably. They are now residing in the ill-fated rabbit grow-out pen. 

It still needs to be covered, but every time we go into town, the store is out of deer netting. At night I close them up in the metal shed.

Even though it was a bit of a failure for rabbits, it is working out great for the ducklings. And I am very pleased to vacate them from my house.


In other news, I have been collecting feathers shed by the adult ducks over at the farm to sell in my Etsy shop.


The feathers are so gorgeous, I know there are creative people who can turn them into crafty awesomeness.

So, ducks galore! And more to come....


*UPDATE*

Shortly after publishing this post, I happened to be in the incubator room and hear a very faint crack. Somebody just pipped!



Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Latest Creations in Clay


I've been in super work mode the last couple of weeks, and finally seem to be making some headway.

I hate to keep people waiting, but quality is important to me, and if it takes me that much longer, then that's just how it is.

Luckily my customers have been very understanding in that respect.


Bradley the lionhead mix. He was a challenging piece, but I'm pretty happy with the way he came out. My camera doesn't take the best closeups, so it's hard to capture all the detail.


The customer was very specific about how she wanted him positioned, including his little tongue. One of his quirks is fastidiously cleaning his feet. It was a fun piece to work on.


Aurora the chinchilla mini rex ...



Oddie the Netherland Dwarf



And the memorial piece, Autumn Reid, a Holland Lop.


So that's 5 out of 12 complete, and all of this practice is improving my speed, so hopefully I can steadily crank the rest of them out in good time.

I'd better, because I'm getting new commissions all of the time!

I had a request for completing a piece in time for a child's birthday, so I sculpted it in record time - 2 
days!


Yay for grandmas! Otherwise, it would have been impossible.

I've also been sculpting the third owl in the collection of 3.


 



I have greatly enjoyed this artistic venture. After spending my life drawing animals, it feels fantastic to take my artwork to the next level. I can certainly see plenty of room for improvement, but I am looking forward to the direction I'm heading.

In other news, we've hit another big snag with the house renovation which will set us back even further, and the duck eggs are due to hatch later this week. Updates on both scenarios coming soon!

Meanwhile, I'm getting back to work....


Sunday, June 5, 2016

More Ducks and Fewer Rabbits


I'm in the process of trying to build our Silver Appleyard Flock back up.

The adult birds currently reside at my parents' farm, and after losses from predators, we are now down to 2 females and 4 males.

The female in the front/middle is the one that went missing most recently. Naturally she was the nicest of the ducks, and I was really hoping to hatch chicks out of her.
A couple of my parents' hens went broody, and each hatched one duck egg.


The hens were slacking at their duckling-rearing abilities, so I brought them home to make sure they thrived.



They aren't quite sure what to make of the kid, but he LOVES them. (And yes, he has no diaper on.)
They are fat and feisty, and I'm hoping I can move them outdoors (and out of our bathtub) as soon as possible.


Especially since there are more on the way!


It's looking like 11 out of 14 eggs are viable, so we will have a sizable flock before too long!


Unfortunately, things aren't going as well in the rabbitry.

The other night I didn't latch Colbert's cage back completely, and found him dead in the yard the next morning.


He was my last potent male Creme, and unless Turn decides to get his act together, my Creme breeding project will be put off indefinitely.

In addition to that incident, I have also lost my best New Zealand Red brood doe, Acer.


At least I held back two of her daughters.

While I am very disheartened, it does lessen our workload as we prepare for the big move.

So this season is going to be more duck-oriented.


And the countdown continues......