Monthly Archives: December 2014

Death of a Quail

Yesterday, one of the quail died.  It was first one that I ever hatched, the female who I originally named Hatchepsut, but who later became known as Mama after she became broody and raised a clutch of babies for me.

She didn’t appear to be sick; I just went out and found her dead in the pen.  I looked her over, and couldn’t find any signs of trauma or injury either, so I’m suspecting perhaps the online experts are right that the average life expectancy of a quail is 2-3 years.  Mama would have been three, this Spring.  I have four other quail the same age, so I’m keeping a closer eye on them, but so far everything seems normal.

The difficult thing is that now I have a solitary male again, my white quail, Peabody.  He’s a problem.  Really, he’s always been a problem.  I had to take out his other females because he was being mean to them; Mama was the only female he got along with.  I was hoping he’d die first, and then I could have just shifted her to one of the other male’s cages.  I can’t put two males together.

So right now, he’s by himself, and not very happy about it.  I’d consider hatching him out some more females in the Spring, but with his past tendecies of being mean to girls, I really don’t want to keep him in my colonies.  Plus, I’d never really intended to have three separate colonies of quail, and would love to downsize a little bit.  Sigh.  I may just have to cull him, which makes me sad because because he is such a little personality.

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Dreaming of Green

It’s always right after Christmas that I start hungering to be out in my garden.  The seed and livestock catalogs start arriving, and I find myself browsing Pinterest and placing seed orders.

Yesterday, I ordered the second one-year-old pear tree I’m going to train as an espalier.  The one I planted last year is doing splendidly.  This one is a variety called “Seckel”, and the fruit are tiny, tiny little pears with a sweet flavor.  So sweet, they are often called “sugar pears”.

pear_seckel2I have also tracked down a local supplier of honeybees, and ordered a replacement package and queen for this Spring.  At least I’ll be able to ensure that the queen is alive and all is well with the bees before I take them home, so hopefully they will survive this time around.  I loved having the bees around last summer.

Two of the major projects this Spring will be building a greenhouse and a duck coop.  I will be getting three little Indian Runner ducklings.  I’m really looking forward to the arrival of the ducks, because if there is anything cuter than ducklings, I can’t think what it might be.

ducklings

The greenhouse was originally going to be a really small one, just barely large enough to stand inside of, but I’ve reshuffled some plans, and found a location where I can have a larger one.  Like this, sort of:
greenhouseI’m hoping to keep one of the quail colonies inside it year round, if I can get the temperature regulated enough to not to cook them during the summer.  Having birds in the greenhouse will help control aphids and other pests.

The Chickens are helping with the pre-gardening.  I released them out into the garden yesterday for a little judicious slug-egg hunting, and they took to the job with great zeal.

Besides dreaming of gardening, I’m also seriously into holiday planning.  I just bought this gorgeous handmade hemp hat for wearing in Egypt.  I’d been looking for a durable, packable, awesome hat for months now, and as soon as I saw this one, I knew it was the one.

travelhat

Dexter is about 5 months old now, and completely wonderful…except when he’s being completely naughty.  He’s so gorgeous.  I love him to bits.