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Rick English

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since Jan 31, 2015
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Central Pennsylvania, USA
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Recent posts by Rick English

Here is a good place to start with Tai Chi:

There are many more videos in this channel. I have one of the DVDs that is also quite good.
2 months ago
I second the concern over large eggs and egg binding. Did you see any signs of blood or extra goop on the large eggs? If so, you might want to make a vent check.

I am still very much learning with our mixed flock, but have now twice experienced a meat breed (like Pekin or Appleyard) when kept with more general or egg laying breeds, eats more than their share of food, leading to large eggs and prolapsed vents. We tried feeding less to the entire flock, but the meat breeds just ate almost all the food.

We were only able to get the egg size down by separating the meat breeds from the rest. Keep the in mind ducks are very social, and dislike being alone. A solo duck is often very stressed.

We lost both meat breed ducks, and now I am very careful to keep breeds that are more compatible from a feed standpoint.

There is probably a better answer, but just sharing my experience.
6 months ago
I used to drink a lot of black tea, but now stick to mostly green tea in the morning, and herbal teas in the afternoon.

Gunpowder green tea has a similar flavor profile to a black tea. Adagio tea has a good one that is reasonably priced.

Stinging nettle is my favorite non-tea. It isn't anything like black tea, but it's very robust in a good way. Also mixes well with other flavors like mint.

I also buy culinary bergamot oil (a type of citrus fruit) to make my  non-caffeinated teas into something a lot more like earl grey tea. Though not related, the the herb bergamot (or bee balm) is supposed to taste quite similar as a tea. It is even supposed to have a similar silky mouth feel. I haven't yet tried it myself, but plan to sometime soon.

Both stinging nettle and bergamot are considered medicinal, so you may not want to drink too much of either
6 months ago
Don't discount the sheer entertainment value of watching beavers do their thing. One of my most memorable experiences as a kid was getting to explore an area around an active beaver dam. Fascinating creatures that change the environment in positive ways at an epic scale.

Passive income idea - make videos of beavers doing beaver stuff & post them to YouTube to earn some coin.

It seems to be working for this guy:
10 months ago
Just also wanted to add it is pretty difficult to drown maggots in my experience with reusable fly traps.
1 year ago
I agree with Jen. I wouldn't punch holes in the plastic, mostly because I don't think you will get a complete solarization. You really want to kill the weed seeds.
1 year ago
My experience is that adult ducks don't need food and water overnight in their house.
1 year ago
Would also be curious if there is cover at the pond? My ducks often hang out in the shade under overhead cover of some type. They don't stay in at the water all day, but are constantly moving back and forth between our water and potential bug hiding spots.

Also curious, does the pond have food/life in it? I do sometimes see ponds that are fed by too much agricultural run-off and are wet deserts, with much life than I would expect to see.
1 year ago
For the slope in my yard, I did not till after solarizing, so the dead weeds/grass helped hold the seeds in place. It was years ago, but I am pretty sure I used a roller to help press the seeds into the ground for good soil contact.

I have a tendency to seed on the heavy side, and had no problem getting the meadow started.

My slope was moderate and easy to work on. If I had a steeper slope, I might consider a ditch, berm or swale at the top to help reduce water from running down the slope in big rain events.

Also, if you don't have a roller to press the seeds into the soul, your feet would work just fine, but might take a bit longer.

I am starting my third solarized meadow this spring, and I never tilled any of them. As long as you do something to press the seed to get good soil contact, I don't see the need to till. The meadow plants don't seem to mind the compacted soil, and loosen the soil over time.

Good luck! My wife & I both love the meadows, and we think the wildlife does too
1 year ago
We have been keeping ducks in my yard for the past few years. We have electric net surrounding  roughly a half acre for 6-ish ducks. We put them in a secure house at night.

Our most significant predator pressure have been from the flying kind. Even though we have fruit trees & berry bushes for cover, we also put up additional overhead cover. We also encourage songbirds in the yard which help deter the hawks, especially during nesting season.

Our ducks are very friendly and curious, so the idea for some guard geese may be a good one. Seems like most predators find duck mighty tasty, and the ducks don't always seem to realize they are on the menu.

Our duck area is probably half uncut grassy meadow, and the rest is mixed mulch under the trees and shrubs. The ducks eat some plant material, but their favorite activity is digging in the mulch for bugs. I suspect they would also like the forest floor for the same reasons.

I am curious how heavy the underbrush is where you plan to keep them. Ducks aren't the most mobile on land, so they may appreciate you opening things up a bit.

Also, the electric net may be tough to put out if the underbrush is too dense. Anything touching the fence reduces it's charge. During the growing season, you will need to keep the fence clear. Especially if you plan to move it. I startef with one string of mobile net which I moved every few days. I bought a second and then third section on fence, so I don't have to move it often now.

One other tip for ducks in electrics fence - keep their wings clipped, because they might be able to fly better than you expect & remember to clip them again after they molt.
1 year ago