And we’re back at it again. The tom turkeys are strutting their stuff and sometimes I think they’ll pop, they puff up so hard! Our two wild turkey hens have gone off to their nests. I’m hoping they were setting when that snow came so the eggs weren’t damaged. That old hen has never shown us her babies, other than the year old daughter she brought home last fall. We sure would like to see the little poults.

The chicks and ducklings have adjusted well to their new coop. I’ll admit I was nervous that first night they were out there and was real glad to see them happily scratching about in the shavings, come morning. They’re doing fine and today some have learned to fly up on the roosts, so I don’t think it’ll be long before they’ll roost at night, not huddle in a corner. I don’t have to tell you how glad we are to have those smelly birds out where they belong!

The chicks and ducklings seem to love their new coop even more than we love having them out there.

Will and I had a big, no huge, surprise on Tuesday. David came home from work and brought two heavy boxes out of his truck. What the heck? Then we read the labels. They were from a priest in Wisconsin. Ah ha! Father Grubba! He had bought several packets of Bear Island Chippewa corn from us and had written that he had been gifted with a whole bunch of heirloom corns and other things and wondered if we’d like it to plant and continue saving. Of course we said yes! Holy cow, what a wonderful surprise. There were big bags full of corn, many varieties we’d never even heard of. It wasn’t long before I had six varieties in moistened wash cloths, in containers, to germinate test as it was pretty old corn. Hopefully, the previous seed saver had kept them in a freezer. We’ll see in a week …. Wow, what a precious gift that was. We are now studying and researching the varieties to learn as much about them as we can. (Will get out Old Yeller and bulldoze me more garden!)

Here’s one of the two boxes we received — jam packed full of seeds.

— Jackie


  1. Jackie, hope you can and will consider donation to other seed banks so there’s more than one source for that precious corn. Native Seeds SEARCH may be interested in it, as well as Seed Savers Exchange. You might also contact Will Weaver although the varieties may be out of his geographic range.

    • We will certainly share the corn if I can get it to germinate. We’re holding our breath right now… Native Seeds/SEARCH is only interested in Southwestern and Northern Mexican Native corns, unfortunately. But we’ll pass on our treasure if we can. That’s what seed saving is all about.

  2. I am glad to see someone got their early lettuce, onions and peas in. We have had so much rain that garden has not dried out in a couple months. Just mud!
    I learned something new just from comments. Keep shucked corn in freezer.

    • That’s shelled corn, as in dry corn seed. It keeps nearly forever when stored in the freezer!

  3. wow what a gift of seed, I hope they germinate! Here the weather is slowly improving, this am 38 but high of 60. Potatoes, onion, peas planted. My chickens like the longer days and sunlight (7 months old) and are laying well. Buy all the land around you that you can. I can’t believe how destructive some people are of the land. Your stewardship is a great legacy. It was a good spring for maple syrup here. I hope you get the ? 40. Stay well.

    • We are set to close on the new, or Pine, 40 acres tomorrow morning. Our land is our inheritance, not only to our kids but the world, we hope.

  4. What a wonderful surprise gift to you! Glad the new chicks and ducklings are doing well outdoors.

    • We are really excited and holding our breath until that corn germinates. (Please God!!!)

  5. The Toms are quite entertaining. When they fan their tails, its makes a “whoosh” noise. They aren’t too skittish but the hens are. Lately, I only see the hens when they make a quick trip to the feeder areas. Couple of years ago, a hen had 11 poults, 9 made it. I couldn’t catch the two that had leg issues – we have a wildlife rehab center in the area. The center has a number of animals and birds that can’t be release back into the wild. Regardless, I was quite impressed with the hen and her family.

    That same summer, we had wood duck momma with 4 or 5 ducklings (hard to count as they walked really close together and at a pretty fast pace). I think some are still in the area as we’ve seen more wood ducks this year.

    We’ve got a male pheasant hanging around. Don’t see many these days, over hunted for sure. I hoping he has a mate.

    • Cool, Selena! We also have Wood Ducks in our beaver ponds and a pair of Sandhill Cranes which are doing their mating dance. We raised some pheasants to release and had them around for a few years but haven’t seen them lately.

  6. I didn’t know about putting ducks and chickens in the same coop. Do you keep them together when they get older.

    I like to keep ducks. They have a pen at night and then spend the day on my pond.

    • Many book advise against it as some diseases will cross over. This didn’t have much, if any, impact on my chickens, ducks, and turkeys as I had some that insisted on visiting with the others every stinking day. I say stinking because one person truing to separate a single bird from a flock of birds usually ends up falling with the usual results of a stinking person and laughing birds.

      • You’re so right. The books do advise keeping them separate due to disease but in all my years of homesteading I’ve never found it true. I believe that’s more for huge commercial flocks in reality.

    • Ducks are messy critters and we don’t keep them with the chickens and turkeys when they get bigger. Then they go to the duck house and pens. Right now, there are just two ducklings with 18 chicks in a relatively large coop so the mess is minimal.

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