Sunday, April 10, 2011

Strawberries, grapes, and duck eggs

Yesterday afternoon 9 year old granddaughter helped with some of the outdoor chores.  She pounded two t-posts in with a post pounder.  She planted two grapevines and 36 strawberry plants.  When she planted the strawberries she stepped on one of the grape plants and broke the vine off down to the ground.  I expect that it will still grow.  I also took the part that she broke off and stuck the end in water and then in a rooting agent.  I planted it in a 4 inch pot so maybe we'll get another grapevine out of it.  I know that you can take a grapevine and push a stem down to the ground, secure it, cover it with some soil, and in a year it should have rooted from that spot.  You can then cut it off and plant your new grapevine. At some point I'll do this to expand our "vineyard" of six grapevines.  We have two Thompson seedless, which are the regular green grapes and are also used for raisins, two Red Flames, and now two Concords (plus hopefully the additional one will root).  I want to plant about 8 more in this one area and am hoping to get some good end of bareroot season deals.  Perhaps I'll end up planting more grapes somewhere else on the property if I can get a hold of a lot of plants. 

I never bothered growing grapes before because there was a huge vineyard right behind us with about 50 acres planted in grapes.  The landowner had said we could pick what we wanted so for over 10 years we did.  We harvested enough to make juice, raisins, and to eat fresh.  Unfortunately, last year they killed off the entire vineyard.  Our next door neighbor has over 100 vines.  He said we could pick some last year, which did provide us with some grapes but their grapes were so small that it was a hassle to even eat them.  We need our own. 

I checked on the lambs and they are all doing fine today.  They seem to have forgotten the banding from yesterday. 

We have two duck nests in the barn this year.  One nest is in the same spot as last years nest.  The other is behind the hay bales.  I think the same duck laid both nests.  Just today I saw her sitting on the nest by the hay bales.  I suppose she is abandoning the other nest.  I like the location of this one better, it's more out of the way.  The other one is in the animal pen and could get smashed by the sheep.  I'm surprised that she built it there last year or that we had any ducklings hatch.  Yes, the new location is much better.  Yesterday I counted 12 eggs.  I was wondering when she was going to start sitting on them. 

I just learned recently how the duck or chicken can lay only one egg at a time yet all the eggs would hatch at the same time.  It's because an egg doesn't have to be kept warm at the beginning of the nesting period.  If the mother doesn't sit on the eggs for a week or two it's ok.  She lays a certain amount and ignores them until she lays enough, in the ducks case, 12, and then she sits on the nest.  This way the eggs will all hatch at the same time.  The eggs can sit out for several weeks prior to being incubated. 

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