Soon after I came downstairs for breakfast, Gill told me some interesting news: the duck is on its nest. This story goes back about two weeks. We have an area just outside the conservatory which is nearly always in the shade, it used to be where a coal-house stood, and it has a concrete base. I put a load of leafmould in there and planted ferns: it's our fernery.
So, a couple of weeks ago, we saw a pair of Mallard ducks investigating the area, and they pushed over a mushroom log. I removed the log, to let them continue their interest in the area. A few days later, I found 5 eggs in a roughly formed nest, which had been partly covered over with some fern fronds. But the duck was nowhere to be seen. The eggs were cold. I told Gill and we were saddened that they'd been abandoned. Then a few days later, another 5 eggs appeared! But still, no duck. At last week's City Farm event, I asked if anyone knew if wild duck eggs were edible and could I eat these abandoned eggs, and would they have a chewy embryo in the centre?
There was fortunately a duck expert there, who said that ducks laid eggs over a period of days, and they remained viable(and edible!) for a long time if kept cold, but in 'suspended animation'. They start developing when she starts sitting, and she will incubate them for about 30 days. I was advised that she wouldn't be able to look after 10 chicks, and up to half of them would become 'rat food'. However, I'm not a huge fan of eggs so I didn't do anything with them. And today, the incubation has started! Exciting.
Not sure what happened with the rest of the day... I did some work outside, Chris my Permaculturalist friend rang me and asked if I'd like some wood he'd just cut (he's a gardener) or he'd take it to the Council green waste recycling skips... well of course I was happy to have it. He thought it was Witch Hazel, and it had trunks up to 15cm in diameter. He brought me a car-full. At 11.30 Radio Leeds rang up and asked if I knew that Leeds was going to get trollybuses? Would I like to comment on that on the Radio live at 12.40? So they rang back an hour later and asked my opinion. I had a meeting at school at 1.30, and assorted parenting duties later in the afternoon. Before tea I de-twigged the branches, and cut up the thinnest sticks with loppers. The rest I think will cut easily with the bow saw.
A Freecycler in Burnholme contacted me... I'd responded to his offer of some wood, as he's having an extension built, so I cycled round and picked up a trailer-load of kiln-dried timber offcuts. Nice.
Gill had made a lovely tea, a stew, broccoli on the side, and garlic bread. I did a fair amount of post-meal tidying and sorting... the usual.