Week 7: first swim and cassaroles!

A few brave ducks had their first swim this morning.  We set out a crate of water to be their “intro to swimming” pool, and so far 4 that we know of have made the plunge.  The first duckling was taken aback and quickly jumped out of the crate, peeping an alarm.  The next few were quieter swimmers.  One lingered in the water for a long time swimming back and forth from end to end- he or she passed the swim test for sure and could probably take on the pond!  Today we’ll be checking in on them every hour or so to see how they progress.  They are certainly funny creatures- one of them decides to take a drink of water, and the rest follow.   It seems to us like they need a real mother duck to calm them down and show them around, but they are finding their way on their own.

The garden is exploding with new green growth, some interesting insects, and some very happy weeds.  We seem to be keeping up with it all, and learning from them.

The pasture (and increasingly, our garden) is filled with millions of grasshoppers- they sound like rain as you walk by them.  Dry weather means more bugs and lots of grasshoppers, so we are constantly identifying new pests and figuring out how to cope with them.  Most things only do a little damage and don’t need control- but some things we cover with row cover or hand-pick (the insects).  The neighbour came to cut hay this week on the farm- now the fields look ready for a huge soccer game and the air is filled with the smell of freshly cut grass.

Our trees are thriving, or so it seems.  We have small fruits appearing on a few –  1 Fig, a few artic kiwis, and a number of asian pears-hopeful tokens of the abundance that may come in a few years.

The bees are as busy as ever, foraging for pollen and arriving with legs covered in pollen at the hive.  They are beautiful little creatures, and even the cat seems to enjoy their company.  Mozzle, the cat, sometimes sits for long periods of time in front of the hives seemingly watching them.

We’ve been eating from our garden, delicious greens, a few peas and radishes.  Everything grows so quickly!

On a final note, some of us farmers have been banging pots and pans every wednesday night in the local town in solidarity with folks from Quebec.  People all around Canada are doing it, coming together to demand democracy and opposing two bills.  The first is Federal Budget Bill C-38.  This includes sweeping changes to a diverse range of topics all packed into one bill that will recieve little debate. Changes include gutting environmental protections, undermining charities, and weakening the EI system.  This will have a HUGE effect on Canadian citizens, and cannot go un-noticed.  This article explains some reasons to oppose the bill and what it all means: http://rabble.ca/news/2012/06/ten-reasons-oppose-conservatives-bill-c-38.

The second is Quebec’s Bill 78.  This “emergency” law passed with little debate limits democratic freedom by making illegal spontaneous demonstrations of more than 50 people.  This essentially makes public protest in Quebec illegal.  They started these demonstrations, now called “Cassaroles”- we’ve already broken two wooden spoons in our protests and had fun explaining what we’re doing to locals.

So here are a number of pictures from the last two weeks (click to enlarge)- the pigs outside, the ducks bathing, some bugs discovered munching in the garden, banging pots and pans for democracy, and more!

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