If you have "no place to go," come here!

The rain in the lane stays mainly undrained

So, we got a little rain today: officially 12.99" in less than 24 hours (what, they're superstitious about the number 13?).

I'm sure the second-highest rainfall here in recorded history has nothing - nothing! - to do with catastrophic climate change. Besides, we can always just pass another law.

Great weather for ducks:

gardens, not so much:

But hey, have I got great drainage or what?

This is what it looked like just 24 hours before, as I was preparing for my next garden brag post (sigh):

I was looking forward to grilling fresh homegrown veggies on my patio later this summer, and even hoping to get a good enough crop to maybe even save a few dollars over what I would have spent at the store. Good thing I was thinking of this as a hobby and don't actually have to rely on a backyard garden for food.

We're expected to get more like this tomorrow and Monday. I'll let you know if anything survives.

Meanwhile, even the ducks are scoping out higher ground:

No votes yet


Bryan's picture
Submitted by Bryan on

The official airport reading was [drum roll...] 13.13 inches.

It does look a bit damp over there. We only got a couple of inches. We had that kind of rain when Georges crept by north of us, and I would prefer not to see it again.

I noticed at the PNJ site that the SUV crowd was out on the roads creating waves to wash into people's businesses and homes.

Try to stay dry.

Update: OMG that's a Muscovy duck! Exterminate the suckers or they will eat your garden. They are a domesticated species that some clown imported from Brazil and allowed to escape. They breed like cockroaches and eat like locusts. They roost in trees or on your car, and the world in their 'litter box'. There is no official help of any kind in getting rid of them. Look them up. If you have ever encountered them, you won't forget as the paint on your car will never be the same.

Submitted by hipparchia on

i've noticed that this particular flock of muscovies seems to have a fairly quick turnover in personnel....

Salmo's picture
Submitted by Salmo on

Muscovy's are just delicious! They are an exotic, not a game bird. But, be careful about where they may be originating. I have a friend who raises domestic ducks and geese in his back yard as pets. Once in a while one of them gets away. His wife would not easily forgive the neighbor who grilled her pet instead of calling her to come get it, please.

The easy way to prepare one is:

Skin it - plucking is good, but very time consuming. When you skin a duck, a lot of the fat that people don't like goes with the skin.

Split the breast - kitchen shears will cut the breast bone cleanly and safely, and split the ribs along the back bone.

Marinate - I like teriyaki, but my brother prefers italian dressing.

Grill it.

Same thing with the legs, but without the splitting.

Submitted by hipparchia on

like skinning vs plucking, just in case.

several of my neighbors keep backyard ducks and chickens and i'm too fond of the fresh eggs to take any chances on killing one of the creatures that may be providing me with delicious omelets.

Salmo's picture
Submitted by Salmo on

Since they are domestic birds, they will come readily to poultry food. A sparse trail leading to a small pile on the trigger of a standard box trap (Haveahart or its equivalent) will easily catch any that are intruding on your garden. I finally bought a trap like that, but if you don't know someone from whom you could borrow one (about 1' to 15" high), my local hardware store rents them for $1/day - maybe yours does too. The Maine Audubon Society used to be my source when I lived nearer to the coast.

Looking through our swap and sale rag, muscovy ducks are relatively pricey. Those bird raising neighbors would probably take them, and either keep them or return them to their owners if they know where they came from. I have found that the duck people have their own network, so the likelihood that those birds are from a known source is pretty high.

Submitted by hipparchia on

although all my cats are indoor-only, some of them are still feral and can't be handled or lured into ordinary cat carriers [or kept there], so i've got the necessary hardware if it turns out to be needed.

in spite of all the resident hawks, ospreys, possible eagles, and [outdoor] feral and pet cats here, my immediate area is overrun with rats, mice and squirrels. it's always possible the ducks will move in later to feast on whatever survives, but - so far - the rodents and the rain have been the bigger threats.

do hawks eat ducks? i've been wondering why they haven't been keeping the rodent population in better check, but if they're feasting on ducks instead, i can see why mouse tartare might be less appealing.

Salmo's picture
Submitted by Salmo on

My son and I went out with a falconer once. It was mid-January, and really cold. The black ducks (a dark variation of a mallard) were holed up in some tidal pools in one of the marshes. The guy that took us out had a peregrine falcon. Our job was to flush the ducks, and get to the dead ones before the falcon could eat enough to refuse to come to the falconer's lure. So, we walked around the edge of the marsh, and on the signal, my son and I ran towards the pool, flapping our arms and screaming. The falconer released his bird and the ducks just would not fly. They were afraid of us, to be sure, but way more afraid of the falcon. They knew that thing was death. Even though it climbed so that it was just a tiny spec in the sky, there was nothing we could do that was going to be enough to put those ducks in the air. We eventually found a pond with dumber ducks. We got to the kill promptly, and all was well.

I have also had red tailed hawks strike my duck decoys on a foggy morning more than once. It puts quite a gash in them. The red tail was obviously used to picking the ducks out of the water. Once the sun is up and the hawks can see a little better, my decoys are not good enough to fool them. However, in the foggy half-light of dawn, the good Soule cork decoys evidently look a lot like what is normally meant by sitting ducks (the plastic ones, not so much).

So, yes. Although I have never seen a hawk eat a duck, I am quite sure that they do.

Hawks and owls are pretty efficient predators. They eat a lot of small rodents - maybe three to five per day per bird, and more when they have a nest full of babies. I found a reference that said a pair of barn owls, with babies, will consume 20,000 mice per year. That is about 27 mice per adult per day - wow! I have watched a great blue heron feed in a horse pasture. In a half hour, it got 9 mice. That was evidently enough to make it full and it flew off. It was a surprisingly good mouser. I am sure it did not run out of mice. I would bet those sandhill cranes I see in Florida's pastures are doing the same thing. Your raptors are doing their part to keep the rodent population down, and they are probably getting competition from other predators. Despite all that, mice and rats thrive because they are even better at reproduction. As you note, there are a lot of them.

Submitted by hipparchia on

i had no idea herons would hunt mice.

i've got friends who tried to keep a koi pond and eventually gave up because it was just a giant bird feeder for great blue herons. i would gladly put in, and stock, and restock, and restock, and restock... a koi pond if it would lure mouser herons to my yard.

wonderful stories! thanks for sharing them.

insanelysane's picture
Submitted by insanelysane on

Did I miss the location of all this rain?
Where was this?

12.99 inches in under 24 hours is incredible.

If we got that, foundations would be undermined and
hillsides would slide.
Your veggies look remarkably good.
Yes, you have incredible drainage.
( A hallmark of great gardens)
It all depends on what comes next.
Sunny days or 12 more inches?

I see your are growing the 3 sisters plan.

My garden focus this year is COMPOST.
I am in the process of building the ultimate compost.

Submitted by hipparchia on

blog it! i'd like to know more.

i swear, all the rain in the entire united states dumped on this one spot on the florida/alabama border today. i'm not sure when the rain "officially" started, but everything that fell on my garden happened from about 4am to about 4pm today. if the wind had been howling, i'd have thought it was a hurricane.

last i heard, we're in for another day or two of rain, but probably not as much of it.

Submitted by hipparchia on

yes. i've always wanted to try it - this is my first attempt.

i took the flashlight just now and went and checked on them - some of the plants are already picking themselves up off the ground, so we'll see....

Submitted by lambert on

I met somebody at NN and asked for a personal take on the Gulf Coast and got word that:

1. Nobody's eating seafood from Louisiana any more, only Texas and

2. There seems to be a permanent mass of oil covering the sea floor at least near the coast.

Anything like that over where you are? I don't know the lay of the land...

Submitted by hipparchia on

the florida / alabama border coincides roughly with the eastern edge of the worst of the oil mess, so:

1. people here are sort of divided on eating gulf seafood; fish and shrimp from just to the east of us are probably ok, and fish and shrimp from just to the west of us are questionable. i've stopped eating gulf seafood, but none of my friends who fish a lot (and eat what they catch) report anything unusual.

2. still some tar balls washing up on the beaches - less than right after the spill, but still, anecdotally, more than we used to get in the past few decades. many long-long-long-time residents say we've always had tar balls here.

3. the local university recently went out and did some field work and pronounced the oil gone. this is the same university that was founded in the 1960s, and was once noted for its commitment to the environment, but has now gone full-bore for public-private partnerships so we're probably pretty much stuck with a combination of anecdata and old-timers memories here.

jumpjet's picture
Submitted by jumpjet on

Better a deluge than a desert. Even with all the devastation flooding brings, I'd take it over the drought that wracked my Texas last year.

Submitted by hipparchia on

that drought was heart-wrenching (i'm actually a transplanted texan).

one of the expected results of global warming is extreme weather becoming even more extreme. so the florida/alabama border, which gets like 70"/year rainfall normally, can expect even more, and huge swathes of texas that already get small amounts of rain can expect much less.


Submitted by Lex on

But not nearly that bad. I haven't seen a rainfall total, but i think it was around 3" in an hour or two. We also got hail, big fat hail. I was still at work. I was sure that my 80 hr week was going to end with my garden destroyed and my new-old BMW dimpled like a golfball.

Garden was relatively unscathed. BMW lightly dimpled. Betterhalf's Honda got it pretty bad. But maybe we'll get a new roof for the cost of our deductible.

Your plants will probably perk right back up.

Submitted by hipparchia on

hail, been there done that, complete with dimpled car and broken [house] windows. no fun.

no hail here this time, that i can find evidence of. and the torrential rain came in waves, with probably that kind of intensity, punctuated by bouts of steady non-torrential rain.

the squash and beans seem to be recovering mostly, but only a few of the corn plants are standing.

my biggest consolation so far is that i was waiting until this coming weekend to try my third garden, so at least all that dirt didn't get washed away. :)

Submitted by Lex on

Stand the corn up and be patient. Unless the plants are actually broken, they'll generally make a full recovery.

Submitted by hipparchia on

some of the corn stood back up on its own, the rest i stood up and repacked [gently] the dirt around. none of them look broken and all of them look happy sofar.

some of the squash plants seem to have been totally smushed into the dirt, but that's ok, as i was planning to put in more squash in my along-the-fence garden #3 this weekend anyway.