It’s been 20 weeks since we were given three Aylesbury ducklings and we had all but given up on them laying eggs, thinking we must have ended up with three males.
Well, we can safely say that at least one is female! Every morning I open the duck house and peer inside expecting to see nothing but straw (and duck poo) but this morning I had a pleasant surprise when I saw a lone egg sitting in the middle of the floor. Let’s hope this is the first of many.
Yesterday my eldest son turned 7 and we had an amazing carnival themed party. This was an idea I had back in February and after months of conceptualising, planning and DIY it was great to see it come to fruition – and even better to see how much fun my son and his friends had (not to mention the grownups).
Early in the morning I was out back setting up the stalls and giving the garden a fairground atmosphere with some bunting. We had 4 game stalls – Angry birds Tin Can Alley, Space Invaders Roll-a-Ball, Ball & Bucket a Shooting Gallery – a stand alone Hook a Duck game, and a snack stall.
Stalls and bunting
When the kids arrived they dove straight in.
Archery was very popular, and I managed to send the kids home with all the eyes they came with!
Face painting went down a treat!
And candy floss making sessions drew a big crowd.
Kids young and old enjoyed the photo booth 😀
But by far the most popular part of Backyard Carnival was Splash Dunk and the Wet Sponge Stocks. The kids loved soaking the grownups and each other in equal measure!
Lately I’ve been working on a new pallet carnival stall design for my son’s carnival themed birthday party. So far I’ve completed three with another two to go.
The original stall I made back in April was more of a fascia than an actual stall. I used a full pallet and fastened two posts to the side which supported a small marquee made from small pallet pieces. The two problems I encountered with this design were stability (the stall had a tendency to topple over, even when I attached feet to it that could be pegged in the ground) and painting (the gaps in the pallet boards were very awkward to paint).
The next stall I made was for a local youth centre who wanted a carnival style snack stall for their birthday celebration party in June. This time I completely dismantled the pallet and built it up again from scratch, making sure the boards were flush together to facilitate painting. I also included small sides to give it a more authentic stall look and added stability.
For my third effort I had bought a £3 striped table cloth to try as an alternative to painting the stall (undercoat and gloss are both time consuming and costly). With this method I didn’t need to worry about gaps in the pallets as the table cloth would cover them. I spent a couple of weeks bringing home the pallets I needed, some of which were used in full, others dismantled for the sides and marquee.
First I attached a couple of feet to a full pallet. Then I made the stall sides from pallet boards and blocks. Next, the marquee went up, using long pallet boards for the posts and shorter ones for the marquee frame. Then I painted the posts and finished off by stapling the table cloth (in two parts) to the fascia of the stall and marquee.
I’m really pleased with the end result – it looks much more like a bona fide carnival stall, and it’s much sturdier than the previous designs, plus it’s already proving popular with the kids! 🙂
Since my last update I’ve completed several jobs that were on my to do list:
- Completed the roof (now changed to a flat roof)
- Sunk the pool
- Attached side rails
- Laid turf
- Made and hung the coop door
- Finish painting the duck house
- Secure the perimeter, especially the doorway
- Finish off the surrounding area
All going well my next post on the duck coop will mark its completion (fingers crossed). For now though the remaining jobs will be put on the backburner while I focus on the Backyard Carnival project for my eldest son’s birthday in just a few weeks. I’m excited but also feeling the pressure, not least from my son and his daily reminders! 😀
A couple of months ago I had the idea of using pallet wood as a cheap lawn edging solution. Lawn edging is something I’d wanted for a while but with around 80m to cover the cost was always prohibitive.
When I first thought of using pallets I tested out some self made stakes along a metre stretch and really liked the results. So, for the last two days I’ve been making hundreds of pallet wood stakes and making my way around the lawn. I think the result is great!
The wood is untreated so it won’t last forever but since pallet wood is free and these stakes are so easy to install I didn’t consider the benefit to be worth the cost and effort of treating it.
The ducks are being weaned outside now so I thought I’d provide them with a watering hole made from an unwanted bucket.
I dug out a hole to sink the bucket, then used some chicken wire and weed barrier to reinforce the sides of the hole so that the bucket can easily be removed for water changes.
Sinking the bucket keeps it stable and prevents it from being knocked over by thirsty ducks. The height of the exposed part of the bucket means they can dip their heads in for a drink and a wash without being able to climb in and soil the water.
The duck coop is starting to take shape now as the walls near completion. There’s still a long way to go overall but we’re a few more steps forward at least. It’s just a basic frame at the moment but a few more pieces of pallet wood will bulk it up as things progress.
Other things on the to-do list are:
- Gable type roof (I’ve no idea how to do this yet
- Sink the pool
- Lay some turf
- Finish painting the duck house
- Finish the retaining pallet and brick wall
- Make and hang a door
- Finish the surrounding area with paving or gravel
Here are the ducks enjoying an afternoon outside.
Lately I’ve been afflicted by a deficiency of motivation and an excess of hangover, making progress slow and posts few and far between, so I’m breaking the silence with an update on the duckhouse. The door is now hinged, the roof felted, and painting is soon to follow (fingers crossed).
A new addition to the container garden. This is such a simple and attractive planter.