I was about my handmaiden duties for The Matriarch yesterday (I was called the handmaiden way before the TV series) and for an hour I found myself sitting on a very comfy couch in a sun drenched waiting room. I had nothing at all to do so I went to sleep.

How about that for a perfect hour. After she had talked with all her people she came out to find her driver deeply relaxed, papers and plans and diary and phone and pens spread out on the couch and totally ignored.

My three injured ducks are all still alive – their heads are still very stiff and I am not sure if they are eating but so far they are still keeping up with the flock.

I got John to get the tractor out and dig their pond a bit deeper so they could swim and get clean. I filled it up for the first time this year and the able ducks were swimming gleefully but the three just watched. They stood in the shallows which was good but maybe they cannot float with stiff necks.

Last evening they all filed up their ramp and were locked into the stock trailer again for last night. All night Boo and I were on high alert. I had the window open beside my bed. We went hunting every few hours. Each time I took Boo back to the scene of the crime and he collected the scent and ran to the creek and back with his nose to the ground but we scared up nothing but starlight. It was a very bright night.

Today I am going to visit a town close-by where there is a company that sells prefabricated structures. I want to see if I can buy something. Do some kind of deal. This flock is valuable to the farm and it is only going to get bigger. I have a concrete pad which I can put a duck house on. So I will measure it and go talk to someone tomorrow.

Next week I will again be at The Mill at Janie’s Farm. The farmer – Harold who is farming The Swamp on the West Side for me, also has a mill where he stone grinds the grains he grows ( plus grains from other local farmers) into flours.


Next week I will have more talks with Jill the Mill manager ( more on that next week)  at that time I will take Camera House and collect some images for you. But for the moment and most excitingly – The Mill is now selling their flours in small packaging for the home buyer – until now it has been big volumes for bakeries and restaurants, etc.  The concept is still in development but you can order these flours on the internet right now. After next week I will be able to tell you more about my involvement with this enterprise but until then if your pantry needs stocking follow this link and buy some flour.  Tell them Cecilia sent you. Freshly milled flour is a game changer for baking. Plus it is exactly this flour  – the purge flour from when they change grains – that I am feeding to the pigs. Rye this week. You can eat as well as Sheila!

And in years to come you will be able to buy flours from grains grown right here on my own land.

I think all went well in the latter half of the night but I am going to be holding my breath every time I check the ducks until I get them into a good lock-up house.

OK – off to work for me.


WEATHER – 24F as I write.

Today – Mostly Sunny. High 52F. Winds SSE at 5 to 10 mph.


40 Comments on “CALM DAY

  1. I wish I could get some of that flour… I want to start baking sourdough, I don’t like ‘baking mixes’ that come with preservatives already in them. Sadly Janie’s Farm Mill is a bit too far for me to order from them. I’m glad the ducks are proving to be fairly resilient, fingers crossed they make a full recovery.

    • I hope the ducks make it. The mink dragged them by their heads and most of their problem is lack of mobility in their necks- so they reach for food but their long necks are not stretching back out. So I think the damage is there. Rest and sun might help.

      • Now don’t laugh, cause I’m dead serious; do you have an animal chiropractor in the vicinity? It sounds to me like those poor survivors could use some adjustment, if at all possible. Katy Speiwak is a human Chiro who does mainly dogs (in town at the local pet food store) and other small animals; but her love is going out on barn calls for horses. She has also adjusted birds: )

  2. Such good & interesting news today. High hopes in this bright new season. Happy to read it & look forward to more.

  3. Good to hear that the ducks are holding their own so far. You just never know how much injury they have sustained until they either get better, or they don’t. Fingers crossed!

    Great news on the flour mill! We have an amazing movement here in Maine for local flours, mostly grown in The northern part of Maine. Friends of ours got a community initiative together and bought an old jail and started Maine Grains a fe years back. It’s important to have this kind of thing happening everywhere!

  4. I’m hoping you can return to peaceful, sleepful nights again soon. But wonderful you were able to grab that hour! It sounds like you are ever improving your little farmy’s position in the scheme of things. Makes for great reading. Good morning!

  5. Super exciting that there will be organic grains growing on your own land! Well done!!! xo

  6. I make a salve/ointment for critters that works to heal fast and protect against infection: plantain herb, yarrow herb, thyme, oregano, extra virgin olive oil, bees wax. Gently heat a cup or two of olive oil (depending on how many critters you think you’ll need to treat). Into it put a handful each of the above herbs (I like to let my washed herbs rest overnight on a paper towel to let them wilt and get rid of excess moisture) into the oil in a double boiler and bring just to slightly simmering – do not boil. Let it simmer for an hour or so. Filter out the solids in cloth – I use muslin cloth bags I make but cheese cloth works too – once the oil has cooled off enough to handle the liquid. Squeeze the daylights out to get every drop. Compost the solids. Return the oil to the double boiler. Let it heat enough to melt the wax (I use the already fragmented but you can shave off a block of wax) and add the was a tablespoon at a time until a cool spoon dipped in the mixture. At this point you can add some oils like Grapefruit Seed Extract or Wild Oregano Essential Oil. Add the essential oil after the wax is at the correct texture. While still liquid, pour your mixture into tins or prepared jars. Keep in the frig until needed. Use this on any animal’s wounds or scrapes. Great for humans too. I make this up for my household. When my cat had a bad gash on his head last year which I didn’t notice until it was filled with puss. I cleaned out the wound then I used this on him twice a day. It quickly healed over, the swelling went down, and he recovered in a few days. Hope this helps.

  7. As an added – if you put vitamin E oil or Lavender Essential Oil in at the last step after the wax, it acts as a preservative with also healing effects. I always add this. Sorry I forgot to say it above.

  8. Glad to hear that the 3 survivors are hanging in there. When my dad was raising chickens he had a problem with something getting in and eating the eggs. (I heard mention of raccoons, I think.) In fact, he went to a guy to learn how to use a shotgun cause he was going to stand guard or something. They didn’t have a guard dog like Boo to hunt the beggars down. My mom must have talked him out of it cause we didn’t hear anything after a while about the shotgun but the chicken house got a better door and was closed up tightly at night.

  9. I live on the West Coast so not sure ifI can order some of his flour, BUT I will look into it! Glad you had a nice snooze yesterday!

  10. This IS exciting!!!! I’m so glad you shared the link to the mill so we can guy their flour. And I’m hopeful for your 3 ducks. Hope you can begin to sleep more easily soon.

  11. I saw a video recently about a fellow who uses a mink and dog team to eradicate rats in farm buildings. The mink was ferocious, it would gleefully drag a rat out of a hole, let the dog kill it and already be onto the next one. It squeezed into a woodpile and down rat holes. All the dog did was grab the rats that ran, or kill the ones the mink left it. But the guy could reach down and pick up the mink with no problem. It was very strange to watch. On another note, if the duck’s necks are swollen a little DMSO rubbed on might help.

        • They hunt rabbits with ferrets here (in NZ). A person will come out to a farm or property and let the ferrets loose. Nasty things for sure, but the damage the rabbits do isn’t great either, and the ferrets are certainly effective. Once they have done their job, the owner puts them back in their box and takes them away. I would prefer ferrets to poison on my property. Hope your ducks recover, and you don’t get any more attacks.

    • What’s “DMSO” Janice? I was also thinking of ferrets for hunting (but they’re not all vicious (perhaps it’s just while “at work”?) and do make very friendly pets.

  12. Celi I have been catching up on your blog posts from August to now. I feel badly about not commenting on your loose approach to putting up the ducks. They are so vulnerable to predators. I lock my 3 up religiously every night in a shed so nothing can get them. I nailed chicken wire over the one window so they have air during summer. I wish I had shared the info. So sorry for your losses. I would hate to lose any of mine.

    The story of you, Boo and the mink is very impressive. My condolences to the mink but he was hunting where he should not have.

    Love to you and all your crew. I particularly enjoyed your stories about Jude while I was catching up!

  13. How exciting! What a fabulous array of ‘real’ flours and polenta already !! A pleasure to read . . .Given time, as long as they can reach food, do hope that nature will slowly heal the poor ducks’ necks . . . .none of us know how much pain may be there . . .

  14. The television show, “The Handmaid’s Tale” is based on a book of the same name by Canadian author Margaret Atwood and published in 1985.

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