By Elise Schumacher; UVM Next Generation Food Systems Internship Program
Life at Boundbrook has maintained a steady, busy pace since transplanting began in June!
I am proud to say that we have successfully finished transplanting as many rice plants as possible into the paddy. This was a task that proved daunting at times. Broken parts, thick mud, and shallow water levels all offered their own challenges. The paddy is full of healthy plants now, which is a beautiful sight to savor when we take lunch on the back porch!
All the ducklings arrived safely, too. After spending a few weeks indoors to let them grow (and to allow us to finish prepping the fence) we released them into the paddy! It has easily been my favorite moment of the season. Each individual duckling went through their own process of fear and curiosity before diving off the ramp. After contact with the water, a shared sense of delight swelled through the flock as they explored their new aquatic home.
We are just finishing up the fencing this week. With 5.3 acres, this job has been much more time consuming than previous seasons. Duck safety on the paddy is a constant source of concern. Predators typically decrease the flock size by about half.
To address this, a new project we have been tackling this year is a duck house! With Erik's carpentry skills, three us of were able to erect a duck housing structure (or hotel, known as The Billton) with multiple levels in only a number of days. The structure allows the ducks safe haven from predators that typically grab a late night snack.