The sunset this evening was just beautiful. Look at those colors! I can't even do them justice with my camera. Sunsets like these remind me of the opening scene in "Gone With The Wind" when the camera pulls back and you can see Scarlet and Mr. O'Hara silhouetted against the setting sun. "Ah, but you're just a child. It will come to you in time, this love of the land."
The moon is huge tonight and since there is no breeze its reflection in the pond is undisturbed. The ducks are using it for a night light and are refusing to go to bed. I can hear them outside the window whispering secrets to each other. Part of their evening routine includes waddling from their daytime area to the yard next to the house. As they do, they walk along the beach in a Pass and Review formation. We try to get out there in time to watch the parade, but usually we aren't fast enough. No matter, they make several passes before deciding it really is time to settle in for the night. They nibble the grass as they go and chase after any bugs they stir up. Occasionally one will salute with a long wing flap.
They have done such a good job of cleaning up the coon tail in the pond we can now see the gravel in the bottom of the shallow end where before we could only see green goop and coon tail! Amazing! They work like little underwater vacuum cleaners, sucking up all the bottom material and filtering it through their specialized bills. Have you ever seen the inside edge of a duck's bill? It is very similar to whale baleen. All the mud and silt slips through the tiny ridges while the crustaceans and pond weeds remain trapped inside. What a brilliant design! I've done an unofficial head count and it looks like I have 3 hens and 5 drakes.
The chickens are laying 8-11 eggs each day now. Only one pullet isn't laying...Ollie. I was at the store today before I picked Derek up from football practice and noticed that they had overripe bananas on sale. I got six for 48 cents! I used them to make two loaves of banana bread which I will share with my mom and in-laws. Having all these eggs on hand has made it easy for me to do a lot of baking lately. Yesterday I made a carrot cake. I've also discovered that all the male-types in the house love egg salad sandwiches. The first time I made it last week I used 8 eggs and it was gone that night! I'll have to use a dozen this week! It's such a great feeling to be able to gather these wonderful eggs each day and use them to feed my family. The icing on the cake is that the chickens aren't eating much feed right now, so the eggs are essentially free! And those organic, free-range eggs are wonderful.
A friend at work gave me three pheasants from a batch of his birds that he butchered last week. I will roast them this week and give him an evaluation this weekend. He's so proud of his birds. I love my birds too and it's nice to have other "bird people" at work to swap stories with. I never realized how much I would enjoy having the chickens and ducks on the property.