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Turkey Stole the Ducks Nest! A Functional Rustic Barn Story

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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.

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Goldie the Muscovy Hen with some of the Muscovy Ducklings of Functional Rustic.
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Gladys, the Bronze Turkey of Functional Rustic.

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!

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Goldie, Muscovy Hen of Functional Rustic.

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.

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Goldie, Muscovy Hen of Functional Rustic on her nest.

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.

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Goldie, Muscovy Hen of Functional Rustic learning the window isn’t open. Ha.

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.)

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Goldie, Muscovy Hen of Functional Rustic, sitting on her first clutch of eggs.

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.

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Amelia Air Duck – the first Muscovy Duck of Functional Rustic to fly.

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.

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Gladys, the Bronze Turkey of Functional Rustic.

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.

Enjoy!!

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.

Written by Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

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.

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder – Silver

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. Free Shipping.

$15.00

“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. Free Shipping.

$10.00

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How Can I Share the Sunrise over Functional Rustic?

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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.

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The Functional Rustic Barn.

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.

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Valencia Merble the Dog #valchog laying in the barn with the Muscovy Ducks of Functional Rustic

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.

You don't know this new me; I put back my pieces differently.
You don’t know this new me; I put back my pieces differently.

Written by Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

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.

 

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder – Silver

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. Free Shipping.

$15.00

 

 

“Bark Spoken Here” Wooden Ornament

"Bark 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. Free Shipping.

$10.00

Posted on 11 Comments

Appreciating the Sights and Sounds of Functional Rustic

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Appreciating the Sights and Sounds of Functional Rustic.Functional Rustic

Every morning I wake up, grab some coffee and head out to the barn to let the ducks out and watch the sunrise. It is a truly magical way to start each day. I still can’t believe that I am fortunate enough to be able to experience this beauty every single day.

In the rush of day to day life it is easy to forget to appreciate what is around me. The beauty of nature, the ingenuity of humans and how both intertwine to form the world we live in. There is so much to appreciate.

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Winter Sunrise Over the Functional Rustic Barn.

When I lived in the suburbs I dreamed of living in the country. I wanted a quiet place in the middle of the woods away from the hustle, bustle and noise that accompanies life.

Circumstances presented themselves that I was provided the opportunity to start my Happily Ever After life in my thirties. Only as they were reaching retirement were my parents able to follow their dream to live in the country.

The fact that I get to start my life off in my dream environment instead of working my whole life to earn it is humbling. I feel obligated to earn the privilege of living here. I have everything I could ever ask for laying before me – the possibilities are endless.

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The view of the Functional Rustic Barn from the woods beyond the wetlands.

I pledge to maintain and improve the extensive ecosystem that calls my property home. I will approach each homestead project with enthusiasm because its a privilege I have that others do not. I will do my part to make better the lives of all the creatures I encounter in the magical world that is Functional Rustic.

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A deer visiting Functional Rustic on a cold, snowy day in Dryden, MI.

Most of all, I will share my good fortune with others.

Since I moved out to Dryden, MI in 2017 I am making a concerted effort to live intentionally as the person I want to be. Part of that process is waking up early and spending the morning with my Muscovy Ducks and Bronze Turkey.

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Gladys – The Bronze Turkey of Functional Rustic.
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Amelia Air Duck, Muscovy Hen, looking down at the Muscovy Drakes of Functional Rustic.

A bright perk of being up early is being able to actually watch the sunrise. Living in suburbia, even if I wanted to wake up with the sunrise the view was ‘eh’. Functional Rustic is anything but ‘eh’.

Being in nature is therapeutic. The therapeutic aspect is a key reason I wanted to implement an outside daily routine. I guess going to and working in the barn are outdoorsy but the barn isn’t nature.

I know that I’m a creature of habit. My old habit was laying on the couch to ensure it didn’t run away. My old habit was making sure that cable companies did not go out of business from lack of viewership.

If being in nature is going to be my new goal I need some re-enforcement to maintain the new habit. That is when I started filming the sunrise. I am watching it anyway.

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Stunning sunrise views from the back of the Functional Rustic Barn.

More importantly, on days when I am in a rush to get in and out of the barn for whatever reason, it is really easy to not take a minute to absorb the beauty around me.

To force me to take a moment to smell the flowers, so to speak, I take minute long videos and upload them on social media every day. I made enjoying nature a part of my daily routine and built in accountability by promising to continue sharing the experience with others each day.

Even when I am in a rush, spending 60 seconds every morning to document the wonderous sights around me is now a habit instead of a goal. Recording the video enables me to put an actual time on it. I am guaranteed at least one minute of peace a day.

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One of the Functional Rustic Ponds in the font yard.

Now that I have a  new blog platform on which to share my story I will share those videos here as well. I already upload all my videos to YouTube each week but, daily sunrises deserve to be enjoyed daily not weekly.

I am still working on how best to present the videos and what time of day is most effective to publish them. I have a lot of ideas coming together at the same time (very, very exciting!) and as they are implemented I am learning how best to adjust my time management.

Below you can watch the videos from the past two weeks. Please let me know what you think and if you have any special requests for the kinds of videos you want to see.

Until next time, Enjoy!!

Written by Sarah Palmer, Owner – Functional Rustic

Did you know Functional Rustic provides more than just beautiful sights and sounds? Find out what others already know by shopping in the Functional Rustic Store.

Below are just a few of the handcrafted items available.

 

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder – Silver

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. Free Shipping.

$15.00

 

 

“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. Free Shipping.

$10.00

Posted on 6 Comments

Functional Rustic Moving from GoDaddy to WordPress

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Build Your Dreams with what Your have in Front of You. www.FunctionalRustic.com

I am new to the blogging world (ish). At the same time I was getting started with writing a blog the website host I use, GoDaddy, developed a Beta blog program. It was a no brainer to use the blog already featured on the site.

When I first started writing the GoDaddy blog program was more than sufficient for my needs. However, as my blogging and coding skills improve so must the features I want in a blogging platform.

To GoDaddy’s credit, they are constantly making changes that improve the overall blogging experience, but they just haven’t made the changes I need in the time frame I need them.

Mostly, GoDaddy Blog does not allow comments or the ability to embed videos. A large part of what Functional Rustic publishes is DIY tutorial videos. Having to send a blog reader to YouTube in order to experience the visual part of the tutorial is annoying. Also, I want people to come and stay on my website, sending them away defeats the point.

And not allowing comments? I’m trying to build a community of people that share my fondness for learning new things, hanging out with cute animals and seeing the beauty in life. Community is difficult when no one can interact with each other.

Needless to say, I am in the process of transferring my blog posts from GoDaddy to WordPress. Oh yeah, another annoying GoDaddy feature, they do not allow you to electronically transfer your content to a new webhost. For that reason, unless I renew my website hosting with them in October, all the content on www.FunctionalRustic.com is gone.

For that reason, I will be republishing all my previous blog posts from the original Functional Rustic Blog here to the WordPress blog.

New content will still be published regularly but you will be seeing quite a few posts from 2017. I’m looking forward to reading through them though. I shared the techniques for how I planned to build my business and am looking forward to re-reading what I started out doing to see what worked and what didn’t.

As I head off to transfer more content, please enjoy some videos I have EMBEDDED below. 🙂 Feel free to COMMENT on them too. Haha.

Written by Sarah Palmer, Owner – Functional Rustic

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.

 

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. Free Shipping.

$15.00

 

 

“Baby It’s Hot/Cold Outside” 2 sided Wooden Ornament

“Baby It’s Hot/Cold Outside” 2 sided Wooden Ornament by Functional Rustic is handcrafted from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted with oil paint. Twine is used to hang the ornament. Free Shipping.

$10.00