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Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness (continued...)


Well, here’s part two…thanks for coming back! :)

You may wonder what all the first bits have to do with mists or fruit, but, please bear with me! I had to make the most of OH’s brawn in the few days I had him home…

I don’t know if you remember, but, a few months ago, I got two fluffy, little, yellow ducklings.

Here they were, in their 20cm flowerpot bed, back at the beginning of August…

And here they were, just about a month later…

My, how they’d grown! I had to give them a bigger bed, when only the rear end of one of them could squeeze into the old flower pot!

A couple of weeks later, they were even bigger…and, to be honest they were getting really smelly…

It was time to get them off the porch.

I was waiting for their wing feathers to come in properly…bearing in mind that I didn’t want them to fall prey to the same demise as the previous two…before putting them in with the other birds…

…and, we decided to delay the move until we came back from Blighty, just in case the mallard drakes, formerly known as Jack and Vera, picked on them…

Here are Jack and, the one now known as, “Terry” – frolicking in their sink, back in the spring…

So, the time had come and I took them over to the pen and watched to see what would happen…

They were so happy!

This is the shy, gentle one…

…and this is the bigger one, who’s getting very precocious!

Hmm…is she really a girl…I’m beginning to wonder…
If I’ve got three drakes and one duck, there’ll be trouble in paradise…
Anyway, more about that later! I’ll cross that bridge if and when the time comes.

At first, there were a few pecking-order squabbles…but, as you can see, they’re already as big as the mallards! So, they soon fitted right in…

…everywhere – except their swimming area! Four ducks into one sink will not go!!

Something had to be done…so OH got to work digging (with a little help from a friend with a machine)…

Et voila! A couple of hours later…a new duck pond!

It was a bit scary at first…

It is considerably bigger and deeper than their old paint-roller tray…

…but, the mallards took to it just like the proverb says!

They were soon encouraging the others…

I just hope those hens realise that they don’t have webbed feet…!

All in all, it was a great result! It still needs a few tweaks and more rocks around the edge…but, not bad going…considering it was all done the day before OH went back to work…

…and whilst the mini-digger was here…OH planted all these trees to enclose the pool…

I know what you’re thinking…the dreaded leylandii…

I’ve tried to resist…but, I don’t think I’ll live long enough for anything else to do the job, like these will! lol!

Elsewhere in the garden, there are things just waiting to be put to bed…

Although the tibouchina is just coming into it’s own…

…the bougainvilleas…

…the shrimp plant…

…and ornithogalum…along with many others…

…are all looking pretty tired and are patiently waiting for this!

My new greenhouse! Yay!
OH didn’t have time to build it, before he went back to work…but it’s his project for next time.

Is this the “mist” part of the blog title? Probably…
…the instructions look a bit complicated…

Let’s hope that not too many “red mists” descend during the construction process! lol!

And, finally, here’s the last of the fruitfulness…

My goji berries!

I planted three in the spring, not expecting any berries this year at all. I haven’t done anything to them, which is why the leaves are a bit mildewed.

But, they’ve grown like mad and, to my amazement, two of them have produced a small crop!
They are so pretty…like little jewels…

…but, I haven’t got a clue what to do with them…
…and I’m not even sure when to pick them!
Does anyone know?

I’ve only ever seen them dried…and at 13€ for 200g, needless to say, I haven’t tried them!

So, in the interests of science…I ate this one this morning…

It was sweet-ish, with a little bit of a bitter after-taste.

I’ve been on-line looking for recipes, but, what with them being super-healthy and super-expensive super-food…I can only find recipes for super-healthy lifestyles! Trail mix, muesli breakfast bars, power-shakes and the like.

Eternal youth aside, I was kind of hoping to have goji-berry jam…or crumble…

(…or, if all those ducks turn out to be drakes…
…Roast Mallard with a Port, Wine and Goji-berry Jus!!
-only kidding…I think!)


Seriously, though…I think I might have the pruning covered…but, does anyone know anything about harvesting, drying and cooking with gojis?

Any and all advice gratefully accepted!!! :)))

More blog posts by karenfrance

Previous post: Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness...(part one)...

Next post: So, that was the winter of discontent...



I so enjoyed this karen, thanks for taking the time to post it. jxx

3 Oct, 2012


Thanks Jane!
But, what do you know about goji berries? Could they find a niche in the spa??? Could they flavour cider,! :))) xxx

3 Oct, 2012


I won't be the one with the recipe advice that's for!!
What a great harvest you have had (both blogs).
I just love your duck(s) and drakes - how could you even type that sentence, Id be crying if such a thought entered my mind.
Hedge looks great - so long as you keep it trimmed the Leylandii should be ok, no????
Loving the duck pond - do you keep them fenced off and away from the dogs?

3 Oct, 2012


Oh, Scottish...even the thought of muesli bars and power shakes is enough to make me content with however long I've got...or not, as the case may be! lol!

You have to think about poor wee "gentle girl"...and three drakes...she'd be ruined (and exhausted) in just a few days...pare wee soul! I'm actually hoping that the mallards will hear the call of the wild, next autumn...

Although, I'm not confident...they're far too comfortable "chez nous", I think! lol!

They're all fenced (although the ducks can handle them) but, still not completely fox-proof...yet...

I'm not really going to eat them (although, my neighbours can't understand why! lol!). The only option (as I see it) to make the pen bigger...and get more of them! I don't mind...they make me laugh...but, I would like an egg or two along the way!! x

The leylandii is already ready for the spring trim...OH's! x

3 Oct, 2012


Wow loads done there Karen, they look really happy in their new pond.. amazing how quick the ducklings grow isn't it.. good luck with the trees although i'm not mad on them they do a job don't they.... sorry can't help with the goji's never grown them. :-)

3 Oct, 2012


Wow,how quickly the ducks have grown cute..hope the genders balance out a bit though..:o)
Your OH has certainly been busy ..great pond,and I'm not a conifer lover either,but as you say,,they serve a purpose...I must say,it was rather inconsiderate ..or good planning..for your OH to go back to work..before he had time to erect your greenhouse ! Lol..What about that muscle enhanced bronzed young man that used to help ?
not that I took a lot of notice,of course.....he might know a thing or two about Goji berries ..:o))

3 Oct, 2012


Your ducks are lovely - they must be fun to watch.

I have dried goji berries with oats for my breakfast. I love them! I think they are mainly used like dried fruit - raisins, sultanas etc. - so you could use them in cakes etc.
I believe they can be eaten fresh and are very good, but they apparently don't survive long and are very easily damaged so that is why there are no fresh ones on the market, or any recipes. Your harvest looks pretty impressive - if you like them, I guess you should just enjoy them as fresh fruit, or dry them.

Try this link for advice and more links:

3 Oct, 2012


Enjoyed your blog! Love your Bougainvillea - lucky you! I tried to grow a lovely red one here, but I think we have too much altitude with cold winters for it to have survived as it bit the dust during the first winter, despite being wrapped in fleece! Also love your ducks! They make me laugh too - especially Indian Runners but, like you, I'd be devastated if I kept some and they became lunch for a predator - and I must stop giving our neighbour's lambs names! We were presented with a leg of 'Lucky' yesterday - so named by me because his twin died several days after birth some months ago - not so 'lucky' after all!

4 Oct, 2012


Really enjoyed this second blog Karen. I can't help with the goji berries ....don't know if we have those over here in NZ. But I totally related to the ducks. I spent 6 years living in West Africa many years ago, & I rescued a huge white drake all trussed up & half dead from being carried around in the heat for hours, in the hope of selling him for food. I hastily got our gardener to build a large fenced area for him. He got stolen twice, & I cried so much that the compound watchman tracked him down both times & returned him to me! Then I decided he must be lonely, so got a pretty black & white girl duck from a friend. The gardener dug out a big pond & lined it & voila, the two of them enjoyed a blissful honeymoon. Not too long afterwards, we had 11 gorgeous ducklings running around. I was worried that a monitor lizard might get hold of them for a tasty snack, but they all survived. I got very ill & had to be flown back to England for treatment, & they all went to new homes ...... I imagine they all ended up on the table, which still upsets me to think about. So your photos & blog stirred up some memories.

4 Oct, 2012


Lol! OH was a star, SL. There's so much that I just can't manage on my own. I couldn't even lift those trees...and I don't really like digging holes! The birds were very appreciative, too! :)

It was a bit inconsiderate of him to leave the greenhouse, Bloomer! lol! Not to worry, I've got 6 whole weeks to think up jobs for next time he's home. The greenhouse might be fairly'll need a base, and maybe a floor... I think I'll definitely save that job for OH! As long as he's home before the first frosts... Now...what else, I wonder? There's that Bean Tree needs drastic pruning...Oh and the extension of the bird pen...! lol!
I'll get the big strong lad back next spring for you... ;)

This is my third attempt at Bougainvillea, Nariz. Like you, I've tried wrapping them...and failed. They're going under glass this winter...along with lots of other things I spend a fortune on each Spring. I did manage to keep a plumbago alive for a few years, but, it died the year that I broke my ankle and OH wasn't home to wrap it up for me.

I keep trying to convince myself that I have no problem eating my poultry...The trouble is, they're not poultry...they're my birdies. My neighbours, like yours, don't see it that way. Poor Lucky...born on the wrong side of the track... :/

The ducks are funny, Mel, and so are the chickens. I don't think I've got enough girls though...not a single egg so far! OH was going to get me some Indian Runners, Nariz - apparently, they are the best layers, but I want to wait until the pen is finally finished. Until then, I'll just have to put up with them not paying their rent!

I suppose I should buy some dried gojis, Mel...if only to find out how mine should taste... Do you pay 13€ for 200g???
Apparently, you have to shake them off the tree as your fingers can make them go black! Thanks for that link. I couldn't get it to work, so I'm off to look it up. I'll let you know how I get on! :)

4 Oct, 2012


Goji Gin!!

4 Oct, 2012


Hi Dwyllis and thank you. Our comments must have crossed yesterday. Gosh, we sent to West Africa too and I also came home when I became ill. Your bitter-sweet experiences brought to mind one of my lovely maid's sayings, which was, "Ma, this is Africa".
I found it to be a land of extreme contrasts, with cruelty, kindness and humour living cheek by jowel. We lived on the Badagry Creek, but I never saw a duck the whole time we were there. I saw terrified rams sitting, clutched, on the back of motorbikes, at Eid...but no ducks. I only lasted seven months, though. Life in our compound, in the docks, in Lagos was just too restrictive.
I had rescued an ailing puppy from a village up the creek and when we left, my maid took her home for her son. I know that they will look after her. Esther would have prized a pair of ducks, they would have made her egg-rich. I'd like to think that some of your ducklings found their way to someone like her.
Oh, some memories for me, there, too... you to think of that!
...hmm...alcohol which re-generates the liver, whilst you drink it? You could have something there... :)

5 Oct, 2012


Lovely blog, Karen ...
... good luck with the new greenhouse :o)

5 Oct, 2012


:) Nice one!

5 Oct, 2012


Thanks Terra...

...but, will you be willing to try Goji Gin....and Cornus Mas Gin?

I'll do it if you will, Karen! :))))

5 Oct, 2012


Goji tea ?

5 Oct, 2012


Pff...that's the healthy option, Terra! lol! :D

5 Oct, 2012


Goji gin sounds better!

7 Oct, 2012


Well, I've got the gin and the berries...might as well give it a go! :)

8 Oct, 2012


Love this blog, Karen - and love your ducks! I had a neighbour in Norfolk who couldn't bear to kill and eat her chickens so she swapped them with a like-minded friend so they weren't killing their "own" pets! I have to say we kept goats at that time and I had no compunction giving those billygoat kids a gambolling couple of months with their mums instead of killing them at birth as would otherwise have had to be the case, and then taking them to a (then permitted local) butcher's abattoir and eating the result... though it did turn my daughter into a vegetarian!

Here in France as you know if it walks and squawks (or bleats or neighs!) and you can shoot it, you can eat it... preferably in a luscious sauce... (and I must admit that if Madame Sanglier (boar sow?) had been in my gun sights the day after she and her 8 babies had wrecked my whole garden of veggies, I might have been tempted...)

19 Oct, 2012


Lovely blog , Karen .
The Lelandi will certainly grow fast , but you can probably trim them when they get too tall . The birds seem to love them ; they serve as appartment blocks for them .

19 Oct, 2012

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