Dawn and Dusk: We keep watch

Mink normally hunt in the predawn and dusk periods. Though this mink does not follow the rules.

Also mink should hunt close to their watery homes. In this case The Ditch that was a Creek. This mink has ranged right down to the house and into the barn.

We are missing ducks.

Three brown ducks eating on the grass.

The American mink is a crepuscular/nocturnal and semi-aquatic mustelid native to North America that generally concentrates activities at <100 m from the water. Thank you Aunty Google.

Crepuscular – cre·pus·cu·lar means animals that appear in the twilight (dawn and dusk)

Well, these mink went further than the allotted 100m (300ft) from water. Yesterday I found one duck dead in the garden and there are two more missing. Which means the mink had flushed a duck off her nest then killed it on the night of the storm. (The sitting ducks will not go into their night house with the others if they hiding on a nest so there is nothing I can do for these girls if I cannot find them). But they are – literally – Sitting Ducks.

I cannot say where the other ducks are. Maybe gone. Maybe on nests somewhere. But not with the flock which is now down to nine.

View through the kitchens garden under the trees and out to the wheat fields.

Boo and I roamed late last night and before dawn this morning. He picked up the mink scent by the chook house this morning but it was cold.

Today is full of sun so if my cloudy and rainy day theory is correct this means the mink might lay low for the day.

The creek itself is running very high and fast after the rain so it is also possible that the high waters will influence their hunting. They may drift with the current and float right away! We can only hope. It depends on whether the mink has set up her own nest or not.

Also historically we have trouble with minks in the Spring. So we just have to tough it out.To be fair the mink was here first – they are natives.

The good news is the 3 inches or more of rain in that storm has perked up the gardens no end. The glass house is still not too hot. (I wonder how hot is too hot with a fan and ventilation). The courgettes are beginning to send out buds.

The Fields

I was distracted all day yesterday. Shuffling between the key board and the fields. Still anxious about the loss of innocent, silly, sweet Nelson and the ducks and this continued threat.

The grass and forage in the fields is growing while I watch warm plus rain makes for lush fields.

Two cows laid down in the left hand corner of the field and a kunekune pig grazing screen right. Wheat fields in the background. Flat horizon.

I have been training with BooBoo to search from the verandah without me. I think he has a better chance of catching the predators if I am not with him.

The Weather

It dawned fine and clear this morning. No wind to speak of yet and a lovely temperature.

Weather central Illinois May 09 2023

I will sow more beets and some carrots today.


I have been called to California to help with family over there next week – just for a week – but I need to have everything locked down before I go so the farm minders and John don’t have any problems.

My NZ trip begins on the 26th of June. Mark your calendars!

Sheila cleaning
New Website – thekitchensgarden.org

The new website is coming along apace and I think we might meet our deadline of June. Hopefully.

Charlotte has created us a new Sheila logo. This is Sheila cleaning her Sustainable Home!

I love it!! More on that later.

PS SubStack: Letters To My Mother and The Early Days Podcasts

Cecilia at The Kitchens Garden Substack. Chapter four.

Below is the link to yesterdays story on SubStack. This is a really sweet story about the first time we really watched a television. And it was to see a man landing on the moon! At school. It was a pleasure to escape into the past after the events of Monday morning and the Bastard Mink.

I am writing these Letters To My Mother and developing my Early Days Podcast in an effort to make a little money so I can focus on writing.

Really focus on real writing.

Here is the link to The Man On The Moon.

And I am beyond grateful to those of you who are encouraging me to stretch my writing. You who are my cheerleaders and marketers and all of you who are sharing these story links with your own email lists. Word of Mouth (or in this case – Word of Keyboard) is simply the best. Thank you.

For the month of May the podcasts are FREE to all. My little Monday stories will always be FREE to all. The Early days on the Farm podcasts come out Wednesday and Friday. The Letters to My Mother Podcast comes out on Thursday. The Letters to My Mother is a paid subscription podcast. All are a Work in Progress and the work is growing fast.

I will continue to keep you in the loop.

Let me know your thoughts!


23 Comments on “Dawn and Dusk: We keep watch

  1. Good luck catching the mink. If they operate like racoons around here, once they know there is a food source they keep returning to it. And especially if they are feeding their young. We have lost many chickens to racoons. And ducks to coyotes. It is so difficult to lose animals you have raised and/or cared for.

    • Yes _ I am sure they will return – this is the worst we have had them in years. Boo and I just found one of their tracks so we walked all over it to leave our scent.

  2. Just to let you know that l am really enjoying your writings and readings. Thank you SO much for all of this. Enjoy N.Z, hope all goes well.

    • Oh you are so welcome Andrea! And thank YOU for your support. I will be writing and reading and podcasting from CA and NZ too (not for a few months yet) – but I think this is all a wonderful adventure.

  3. How stressful! I hope those ducks were able to hide somewhere – they should be able to fly a short distance like a chicken or wild turkey. My parent’s ducks were kiled by a fox in the duck house – they were sitting targets.
    That’s a fantastic drawing of Sheila!

    • Yes – Charlotte from Milan – do you remember her? She does not blog now but still helps me with that wonderful whit of hers when ever she can!

  4. I do hope the mink doesn’t take any more of your animals. I enjoyed the story about watching the moon landing at school.

  5. Oh wouldn’t it be a glorious day to find Boo has left you a dead mink outside the door! I love dear old Sheila, the sustainable pig 🙂

  6. I just read your moon landing story. I can’t remember it that clearly, but I think the nuns must have got a TV in so that we could watch it, since we didn’t get a TV till I was 14, when Ma broke her leg and was laid up on the sofa for hours every day. I was the same age as you, and for me it was summer, so I’d have been in my green and white striped summer school uniform. But like you, I remember being fascinated by the gentle, dreamlike bouncing of the strides and the vivid black and white landscape.
    As for the Bastard Mink, let Boo prevail and the ducks sleep safely on their random nests. I have my fingers crossed and much confidence in both of you as a hunting team.

  7. Good evening, c. Have you thought of purchasing or borrowing a “live trap” that’s appropriate for catching mink? They use bait to lure the mink inside, where it will be trapped. You can use chicken pieces as bait, as minks are attracted to the smell of fresh meat. Perhaps your local vet knows where to borrow one. At our previous house, the area had problems with mink – they escaped decades ago from a local mink farm, and multipied quickly. The vet had several live traps that people could rent by the week.

  8. … noted over the past 12 months killing in the middle of the day. I saw a fox running across the road as I drove home mid-afternoon, a common sight apparently.

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