WELCOME to Functional Rustic! Thanks for Stopping by. Reward yourself by seeing all that Functional Rustic has to offer. Explore Handmade Rustic Decor in the Store, Try a DIY Tutorial, Read Inspirational Quotes & Visit the Muscovy Ducks. So much to experience!
I’ve recently made a new friend, MsLuckyDuck. When she was a kid she had the privilege of living with a beautiful white, blind cow with blue eyes. Recalling her stories I immediately thought of her when I came across these videos of dancing cows.
I hope you enjoy the videos as much as I did.
Did you know that cows can dance? Did you know cows can skip?
Measures 3.5 in x 3.5 in x 5/8 in. The handmade Wooden Thank You Card by Functional Rustic is the unique thank you gift you didn’t know you were looking for until now.
The Functional Rustic Wooden Thank You Card is small enough to fit in your pocket and durable enough to take with you wherever you go.
PLUS, the Wooden Thank You Card is made from a salvaged wood shipping pallet and then hand painted with oil paints.
Every single Wooden Thank You Card is unique making each card a truly one-of-a-kind expression of gratitude.
I don’t need a reason to go outside and appreciate nature but it sure is great when I can find one.
Every morning I take a video of the sunrise over the pasture behind my barn. (Follow Functional Rustic on Instagram & Facebook and you can see it too!) I love watching the Blue Heron stalk the shores of the wetlands and sparrows dive bombing the tall grass to eat bugs. During the spring thaw there is even a family of beavers that can be seen swimming around the now flooded part of the yard.
In the back drop of it all is a towering forest. My impulse is to write “towering trees” but when I look across the yard every morning I do not see trees – I simply see a forest. It is not until I venture beyond the wetlands into the woods that I truly appreciate the trees for the forest. There is a whole ecosystem on every tree, stump and twig. Life is everywhere.
Part of the cycle of life in the forest is acorns dropping from the trees. I collect acorns and use them for crafts. Specifically I burn faces onto them. It was not until this spring that I got the idea to start collecting and crafting with acorns so the supply was minimal. But we’re heading into Autumn and the acorns are raining down. Literally, I get hit in the head with one.
I use the wood burner to burn faces onto the acorns. Well, I used to. Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of wood burner. I bump into things a lot and working with/around a very hot and flammable tool is not relaxing for me. All I see are the ways I will hurt myself or burn down the barn. Also, it takes awhile to burn those little faces on and I, apparently, lack the patience. Fortunately for me my husband LOVES to wood burn stuff. So, these days, I gather up the acorns and he turns them into the art.
I like to include an acorn or some other small trinket with any online order. It’s little extras in life that make people smile and this is how I chose to do it. Plus, the acorns are perfect for my product photos. They’re cute and help demonstrate the size of my items.
On this particular day (September 12, 2018) I went back into the woods to see if the acorns had started to fall. They are most definitely falling. I was able to fill an entire coffee can in under an hour.
This post isn’t about acorns though. I am writing today so I can show off pictures of the cool plant and animal life I came across while I was gathering the acorns. This one of those days where the journey is more important than the destination. Also, it is a testament to the things you can see if you just take the time to look.
I really need to start learning about fungi because they are everywhere. I knew there were several species but I never thought there would be so many in one place. If you can identify any of the species of fungi or insect included in this post, please educate me.
This first mushroom is what inspired me to specifically look for interesting things growing in the woods. This is a stump along the path to woods. I stopped by it in order to set down my coffee and that is when I saw the beauty pictured below.
These white mushrooms pop out in the dark floor of the forest. I hope these are the mushrooms that turn into huge white balls. I will have to check back in a few days to find out.
The mushrooms below remind me of bagels or some other toasted bread. I wanted to get them from different angles to show how thick they are but apparently there is a hornets nest in the ground about a foot away and they had other plans for me.
The red mushrooms on the stick though, absolute favorite fungi of the day. I’ve never seen that before – fungi on a stick. It’s beautiful. A decomposing part of a branch is now the foundation upon which this fungus is building it’s life.
I almost didn’t see the amazing creature in this next picture.
I thought it was just a cob web or perhaps cocoon of some sort. It was not until I moved the stick to pick up an acorn that I realized someone was on the other side.
Absolutely stunning. Who knew I had such a beautiful neighbor?!
That little green guy with his pretty blue spots was my favorite picture of the day. Meeting that creature was not highlight of the day though. The following videos was not filmed in the woods but rather by the garage where I was dropping off my coffee can of acorns.
I reached down to pull open the garage and saw two worm like creatures fighting. Yes, fighting. I have never seen bugs or worms fight. It is absolutely amazing. I’m not certain what the species are but I’m guessing the big one is a millipede? You tell me and we’ll both know.
I am so glad I chose to search for my acorns today. If I had just been going for a walk in the woods instead of actively looking on the ground for a small acorn – I likely would not have noticed all of the life around me. Sure, I saw that white mushroom from across the forest, but not until I got close did I see the texture and beauty.
Did you know Functional Rustic provides more than just a blog? Find out what others already know by shopping in the Functional Rustic Store.
Below are just a few of the handcrafted items available.
“Meow Spoken Here” Wooden Ornament
“Meow Spoken Here” Wooden Ornament by Functional Rustic is handcrafted from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted with oil paint. Twine is used to hang the ornament.
3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder – Orange
3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder from Functional Rustic adds a rustic elegance to any space. The 3 Tier Tea Light Candle Holder is made from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted.
Mini Chalk Board – Blue by Functional Rustic
The Mini Chalk Board by Functional Rustic is the fun and quirky handmade conversation piece you never knew you needed. The mini chalk board is made form repurposed pallet wood and hand painted with oil paint/chalkboard paint. Measurements: 19 in x 3.5 in x 5/8 in.
I live a charmed life. I am reminded of this fact every morning when I go outside. I’m surrounded by the tranquil sights and sounds of nature. After all, I basically live in the middle of the woods. Deer hang out in the yard, a Blue Heron is living in the pond and a family of Beavers call our wetlands home.
The cherry on top of the charmed sundae I call my life though, are my Muscovy Ducks and Bronze Turkey. Until a year ago I didn’t even know Muscovy Ducks or Bronze Turkeys existed, much less believed I would ever call them my friends. These quirky feather friends continue to take me on new adventures each and every day.
The birds teach great life lessons and are actually wonderful role models for me.
The ducks welcoming the turkey, Gladys, into their flock reminds me of the importance of welcoming others into my circle and accepting people as they are.
Seeing Amelia Air Duck build a nest in an empty box in the barn (instead of in the nesting box I built her) teaches me to think outside of the box. (Haha…a duck in a box inspires me to think outside of the box.)
And watching Gladys stay near the barn for over a month after she was attacked (neighbor dog ripped out all her feathers on her back and breast) instead of heading to the pond with her duck friends highlighted the importance of taking care of myself.
The Muscovy Ducks and Bronze Turkey of Functional Rustic teach me a lot about ducks and turkeys too. For instance, Muscovy duck eggs are twice the size of extra large chicken eggs and a bronze turkey egg is twice the size of the Muscovy egg.
Today’s lesson from the Muscovy Ducks was also about eggs – making the eggs that is. That’s right folks, I’ve got duck porn for you!
The morning started out normal enough. I was filming the sunrise and decided to get some video of the birds. Usually these videos are of them wiggling their butts, eating or swimming – duck stuff. Today though, I happened upon Brutus, Goldie and Amelia Air Duck in a duck ménages à trois.
So here is how I think this all happened. Amelia Air Duck started to lay eggs in an empty box in the barn again. Yesterday I cleaned out her nest so I could eat them. Realizing that her nest is no longer safe (someone did steal all of her eggs after all!) she needed a new, safe place to lay her eggs.
Goldie, the other Muscovy Hen, is currently sitting on eggs. I theorize that Amelia Air Duck decided that laying her egg onto Goldie’s nest would keep her egg safe. The flaw in that plan though, is that Goldie is not just gonna get off her eggs because Amelia wants her to. So, again I am just theorizing, Amelia just climbs on top of Goldie and lays the egg on top of Goldie.
However, while Amelia Air Duck is trying to pop one out Brutus sees a great opportunity to pop one in – so to speak. When I walk on the scene all I see is Goldie on her eggs, Amelia Air Duck on top of Goldie and Brutus on top of Amelia – duck humping his little heart out.
I still can’t believe how fresh that egg was. It was hot, not warm, hot. And wet. So fresh it had duck juices on it. I didn’t even know that fluids were involved. Now that I think about it though, I’m quite happy to learn that my little ladies have some lubrication to get their eggs out.
To round out the morning it only seemed fitting to get at least one video that wasn’t pornographic. The video below is a typical morning in the Functional Rustic Barn – birds eating while I fill the pool and hose out the barn. Once the coffee is made I fill up my cup and head out the barn see what lessons are to be learned that day.
Did you know Functional Rustic provides more than just barn stories? Find out what others already know by shopping in the Functional Rustic Store.
Below are just a few of the handcrafted items available.
“Quack Spoken Here” Wooden Ornament
“Quack Spoken Here” Wooden Ornament by Functional Rustic is handcrafted from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted with oil paint. Twine is used to hang the ornament.
3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder – Black
3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder from Functional Rustic adds a rustic elegance to any space. The 3 Tier Tea Light Candle Holder is made from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted.
Mini Chalk Board – Green by Functional Rustic
The Mini Chalk Board by Functional Rustic is the fun and quirky handmade conversation piece you never knew you needed. The mini chalk board is made form repurposed pallet wood and hand painted with oil paint/chalkboard paint.
Measurements: 19 in x 3.5 in x 5/8 in.
Oh No! There is a turkey on the duck nest! Before I share that video though, let’s explore the back story.
Goldie is one of the Muscovy hens of Functional Rustic. In the cold of winter 2017 Goldie laid her first clutch of eggs in the nesting box I built. Actually, the nesting box started as the first duck house I built for my feather babies. This was before I learned how huge these colorful birds grow. They grew out of that box within a few weeks!
I don’t have any pictures of the build process because I created it before I started Functional Rustic. The only power tools I owned at the time I built this was a drill.
I already had sheets of plywood that were 2 feet tall and 8 or so feet long. When I tried to saw them the plywood shredded though. Eeek – can’t have that.
My solution, bend the board back and forth near the place I wanted the board cut. I already had part of the board cut before it started to shred. (it was old, cheap plywood) Just as you might break a long stick in half by standing on the middle and then pulling, I did the same with the plywood.
It wasn’t pretty but it actually worked effectively. I did not need clean lines or the boards to be symmetrical. I just needed to be able to make 3 walls and a floor with it. I used my newly ‘cut’ boards for the bottom, sides and back of the box. I put 1 foot length of 2×4 wood in each corner and screwed my plywood to the 2x4s.
Duck enclosures need a lot of air flow and a way for moisture to escape. In the floor of duck house I drilled small holes so that water, duck poo and other liquids can drain out of the bottom. The holes allowed me to later hose down the enclosure when it needed to be cleaned.
For the roof of my enclosure I used a steel screen from a storm door. That screen top actually dictated the size of the house. I felt so clever when I thought of how to repurpose that screen.
My duck house was going to be inside the barn. I used to keep my ducklings running free in a horse stall in the barn but, I learned that small animals can still harm my feather babies in the stall and I needed added protection for small predators. Because my duck house was indoors I did not need a roof to protect from the elements, just small animals.
I liked the stiff metal top because the birds were going to perch on it. I later learned that they will also poop all over it and anything under the screen. Also, steel or not, with enough force everything bends. It was a learning process. Ha.
You’ll notice I am not showing any pictures…..it doesn’t exist anymore. These are some big birds. In no time their fat feathery butts managed to bend the steel screen and separate the walls from the 2x4s.
The front of the duck house was my crowing achievement though. Some of the scrap wood that was left behind when we moved in had grooves carved in them and enabled a sliding door to be built without any hinges or attachments. The top and bottom boards were attached to the 2x4s in the front corners and the “door” slid into the grooves perfectly and allowed me to open and close the duck house by just sliding the door.
My babies were safe at last.
But this isn’t a story about the duck house/nesting box. This is the story of Goldie defending her first clutch of eggs from Gladys the Bronze Turkey.
Goldie laid 12 eggs in the nesting box. I had no idea this was going on until long after she had been sitting on them for awhile. She was still a baby duck in my eyes and I couldn’t fathom my baby having her own babies. Also, it was December in Michigan and well below freezing.
I only figured out what was going on when I realized that I didn’t see her move from that spot for a few days. It was not until she got up to eat one day that saw the eggs. She actually hid them before leaving the nest, but I watched her cover them with straw so her plan was foiled!
The plan with the ducks was always to eat their eggs. I don’t want to be a duck breeder, just a mama. Well, like I said before, I didn’t know she had laid the eggs so I had no clue how long they had been sitting there. No way I was gonna risk eating them and finding a duckling.
So, I got on the google machine and learned a great deal. Apparently, Muscovy ducks are known for being broody hens. Broody is a term used to describe a bird that is nesting and sitting on eggs. Some ducks just lay eggs and abandon them or only sit on them for a short period of time and then leave the nest. The broody hen sits on her eggs all day until they hatch.
A hen cannot easily sit on her eggs and eat and drink and poop all at the same time or in the same place. She must get off the nest at some point.
Fun fact: a broody hen only poops once a day. Normally the duck poops several times an hour. She still eats similar amounts of food and water. She still has the same amount of waste product to expel from her body. However, when she is broody she drops all of that feces at the same time.
That is a big pile of poo. AND….that poo has been stewing and getting extra ripe all day. So, when it comes out you get the smell of an entire days worth of hot crap being shared all at the same time. Absolutely foul. Fortunately she knows it is gross and gets as far from her nest as possible when she does it.
When she gets up for her daily dose of diarrhea she gorges on food and water. My google search taught me that it is good to keep food and water near the broody mom to be to help her stay strong. Food rich in calcium is also suggested to help promote strong egg production.
I noticed that the longer she stayed on her nest the more orange her caruncle was becoming. By this point I found an amazing discussion board called Back Yard Chickens and started to go there for all my duck questions. There I learned that if a Muscovy is lacking in protein their red caruncle will start to lose color. This is normal, apparently, for a broody hen because of the limits on her ability to hunt for protein while nesting.
Even though I knew it was normal, I felt like such a bad duck mom knowing she was not getting all the nutrients she needed. I did give her, and the other ducks, some grass hoppers. That didn’t go as well as I hopped though.
When I gave them grass hoppers over the summer the ducks chased them all around and it was great show. However, it was below freezing. Did you know that grasshoppers do not live long when it is 15 degrees outside? Well, now I do. Seems pretty obvious now, but at the time I was excited to try and offer them an extra treat. The ducks didn’t seem to understand that the now frozen treat before them was a bug they were supposed to eat. Usually the bugs they hunt are fleeing for their lives.
So, Goldie is being a broody hen and spending all day every day on that nest. She doesn’t even get off the nest to shoo the boys away. And you better believe her tail shake brings all the boys to the yard. (hahaha….that’s funny when you know that Muscovy ducks communicate with tail wiggles instead of quacks. Also, jokes are always funnier when they immediately have to be explained. Ha.)
When Goldie is off of her nest and someone goes near her eggs she gets really low to the ground, sticks her neck out, wiggles her tail furiously and then charges at the intruder. It is quite a sight if you ever get the opportunity to witness it.
Well, Goldie is not the only broody hen in my barn. I have another Muscovy Hen, Amelia Air Duck, and a Bronze Turkey Hen, Gladys.
Amelia Air Duck tried laying some eggs before the weather got cold but she abandoned that nest shortly after starting it. She was no longer broody by the time the snow came. Gladys however, she wanted to be a mom more than anything.
One guy on the discussion board said his Bronze Turkey Hen would get so broody at times that she would sit on rocks if she was not laying her own eggs at the time. hahaha. Can you imagine that sight?
I can, apparently. Gladys did lay eggs, but not many and not for long. Her eggs were big, beautiful and delicious. Since there was no Tom (boy turkey) around to fertilize her eggs there was no point in letting her keep them. She was very upset that I took her egg each day.
She wont let a lack of turkey eggs to keep her from motherly instincts. One day, when Goldie got up for her daily “routine” Gladys confiscated the nest!! She strut over there with a purpose and plopped down immediately. Went into full “boulder” mode as I like to call it. That is when she grabs the ground with her feet tightly and firmly holds her wings in place so you cant move her – much like a boulder.
Gladys stole that nest like a boss. I couldn’t believe it myself. Goldie shared my dismayed. I realize I may be projecting onto the duck, but I swear she gave me a “WTF” look regarding the latest development. She was pissed.
Obviously, I want to find out what happens next. So, I squat down on the floor a few feet from the fray (really on the front lines of the battle) and filmed the great “Retaking the Nest of 2017!”.
Below you can see what unfolded between these two broody hens and how the victor tended the eggs afterward.
Be sure to follow Functional Rustic for daily inspiration and stories from around the barn. Don’t forget to check out the Functional Rustic Store to see what the ducks help me build in the barn.
I am fortunate to be able to share the sunrise each day with my best friend, Valencia Merble the Dog, and my feather babies, the Muscovy Ducks of Functional Rustic. It is easy in the hectic pace of every day life to forget to stop and take the time to appreciate the beauty and awe that is all around us.
I intend to inspire others to take a minute each day to appreciate the beauty of nature and the joy that comes with watching the sun rise on a brand new day. I already share minute long videos every morning on Social Media of the sunrise over the Functional Rustic Barn but recently I entertained the idea of sharing a blog post to go with each of the videos I record.
Within the first 24 hours of my new goal to write a daily blog to accompany my videos I learned why this was not a good idea for me. Ha.
I enjoy taking videos of the amazing sights and sounds around. I also really enjoy sharing stories of the birds around the property and the dog playing with wildlife. These activities promote relaxation and mindfulness. These activities encourage me to spend time in nature and around animals. All of these benefits are great for promoting good mental health.
That being said – I want to live my life, not document it. I want to share sights and sounds that inspire me and bring me peace on a daily basis. I wanted my new audience in the blog community to be able to experience the daily dose of nature the same as my social media audience does. That was why I intended to upload videos daily and share the stories behind them.
And then it hit me – my new website through WordPress enables me to add widgets to the sidebar that display my social media feed!! By adding the widget to the site my readers now have access to all my video posts without having to create another social media account.
Look to the right to see the social media widget on your computer or at the bottom of the page on your phone or tablet.
I upload sun rise videos to social media immediately after filming. If I followed through with my initial plan to write a blog about the sunrise and quirky things the Muscovy Ducks did that morning – that sunrise video wouldn’t be seen by my readers until late morning or early afternoon.
(For example, this blog post was supposed to be a quick paragraph explaining why I’m not publishing my videos in a blog every day and that they could instead be found in the side bar. Hey look, I didn’t even need a whole paragraph. Ha. Needless to say, I have a lot to say and a quick blog post is not likely.)
Lesson of the Day: Work smarter not harder.
My goal was to provide daily inspiration to my blog readers through sharing videos of the ducks and the sunrise over my back pasture every morning. Writing a blog telling the stories of the morning and describing every photo and video is the “hard” way to achieve that goal. Adding a widget to the side bar that displays all the videos in real time is the smarter approach to my goal. The smart way lets you see the sunrise as it’s rising.
Also adding to the ‘smarter not harder’ lesson – I identified early that my new idea was not as effective as I wanted and I immediately did something about it. This is a new concept for me. Ha.
Usually, I get an idea in my head for how something should be accomplished and will insist on that approach even long after it has proven harmful to myself. I do this because the world has taught me that hard work is stressful so the more stressed you are the harder you must be working.
It’s a faulty and unhealthy way of thinking. The new me, the person I am intentionally becoming, no longer needs to be stressed out to feel like I accomplished something. I will no longer simply work harder – I will work smarter.
You can work smarter not harder too by following Functional Rustic on WordPress and visiting the Functional Rustic page each day to share the morning sunrise with Valencia Merble the Dog and the Muscovy Ducks and Bronze Turkey of Functional Rustic.