Author Archives: heatherv11

Zumpkin and pumpkini update

What have I done? The plants themselves are all vining now like a pumpkin does but with the height of a bush zucchini. I appear to have created monster plants!

The Zumpkins have really taken off. The plants are about 6 feet wide now with the largest fruit about 6-7 inches in length. Each day the plant and fruit expand and I am left wondering how big they will get by the time fall hits… I am glad we had the forethought to plant them so far apart!

The Pumpkini is a younger plant so it hasn’t grown as large yet but I have no doubt it will catch up. The interesting thing is that the plant and fruit look so much like the Zumpkin. If I didn’t know better, I would think they were all the same! But i know without a doubt where each of the seeds came from. The first fruit on the pumpkini is finally growing and currently looks slightly shorter and fatter than the zumpkin. Otherwise it looks pretty much the same. I am amazed about that.

So far in this experiment, it appears that as long as the parents are literally the same(one pumpkin plant and one zucchini plant), the offspring turn out essentially the same whether the seeds are taken from the pumpkin or zucchini. So it doesn’t appear to matter which plant had the female flower. This is interesting. But they are still young and the shape can still change a bit as they grow. The colour of each one looks slightly different as well. Who knows whether the Pumpkini will still turn orange like a pumpkin?!

I am still also wondering when it is the right time to pick as one is a summer squash and one is a winter squash. Zucchini can be picked anytime but a pumpkin needs to get ripe first. Hmm….

Zumpkin – comes from zucchini pollinated by pumpkin pollen

Pumpkini -seeds came from pumpkin pollinated by zucchini

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Posted by on August 10, 2018 in Experiments, Plants, Randomness


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Duck Bites and Exploding Eggs

Today has been quite an interesting day. Trixie actually bit me which is new because none of my ducks have ever bit me before. I also made an egg explode. Accidentally. I swear. Lol

Lucy and Trixie are separate because they are both dealing with sore bums. They both have very little love for me currently as they do not like getting their bums touched and treated which is understandable. So I get a lot of hissing from both of them when they know it is time to have something done. But I have never had anyone bite me. I was a definitely surprised when Trixie tried to take a chunk out of my arm! For anyone who isn’t aware, they have strong bills and can draw blood and create some interesting bruises. Thankfully none of mine have done that to me yet but Trixie is definitely trying!

So apparently eggs really do explode in the microwave….oops. I cook softshell eggs (eggs laid early without a proper hard shell) for my cats because they love them and we rather have the hard shell eggs that are cleaner. They are totally safe to eat but we rather save them for the cats. Normally I cook one egg though and pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds. It comes out perfect. But when you have 2 eggs in one bowl…. well let’s say it doesn’t come out perfect or even in one piece. LOL I wasn’t thinking it through this time and just put it in for the usual 30 seconds with a cover thankfully. About 20 seconds in, my sister and I heard quite the explosion in the microwave that made us both jump! I was almost scared to look. Most of it shot up and stuck to the cover so there wasn’t too much clean up but I will definitely be more careful next time!

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Posted by on August 5, 2018 in Ducks, Randomness


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Zumpkin has a flower!!!

So this isn’t actually the first female flower my zumpkin (zucchini flower crossed with pumpkin pollen) has had sadly. The other day it had the first but there was no male flower open to pollinate it. I was so disappointed. This has been a year in the making technically and I am getting impatient. Lol But I didn’t have to wait too long because another one opened today!

The second female flower opened today, along with a male on our pumpkin plant. The flower was also quite large. It measures 10 inches across!

I am incredibly excited because I have been waiting for this moment since last year when I started the process of crossing the two together. Now the fruit will start to grow and i can find out what it will turn into! The waiting obviously isn’t over yet because I still need to wait for it to mature but it’s getting closer!

Below is a photo of the huge flower. It’s so pretty! It is a shame they only last for a day.

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Posted by on July 30, 2018 in Experiments, Plants, Randomness


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Zumpkin or Pumpkini?

This whole thing started out so innocently. Honestly. Last year I had both pumpkin and zucchini plants growing. I noticed that some days the one would have female flowers open but no male flowers. So I did a search whether one could pollinate the other. Then I saw the photos….

I am not sure if you are aware (I sure wasn’t) but you can cross different types of squash together to make some really interesting looking squash the next year from the seed you collect. Once I saw this, I knew I HAD to try this because I am always up for an experiment.

I have always loved doing experiments since I was little. Some were not so good for my parents. Like the time I asked if I could plant a willow branch in the ground to see if it would grow. My parents said sure, just stick it in the ground somewhere, bc they probably didn’t expect it to grow…. it does… trust me. My parents never let me plant branches “just somewhere” ever again. LOL In fact, they were a lot more careful about letting me plant anything just anywhere. LOL Apparently I have a bit of a green thumb. So when I saw that squash can be crossed, I knew what I had to try.

I have many questions that I need answered. Whether every cross will give the same result. Whether the cross affects the growth habit of the plant. Whether the parent plant will be dominant in the growth habit of the plant. How much the cross affects the plant and how much it affects the fruit. Will every single seed from the same fruit give the same result and will seed from another fruit give different results. What will the middle of the fruit look like? Like I said, I have many questions.

So I made plans. I saved seed from 6 different zucchini. I also saved seed from the pumpkin. We only had one pumpkin make it to maturity sadly but it was definitely pollinated by a zucchini flower. I knew for sure that one zucchini was definitely pollinated by pumpkin pollen because there was no male flowers open on the zucchini that day. The other ones are iffy sadly. I tried to beat the bees but I doubt that I did. There was likely a mix of pollen in the flowers. I am not sure how that will affect them either.  I numbered each baggie for each different zucchini the seeds came out of to help me with some of the questions I have.

Fast forward to this year. I have 6 different baggies of zucchini seed. I decided to plant from 3 this year because of space issues. So I chose #1, #3 and #6. #6 is the one definitely pollinated by pumpkin. I also planted seed from the pumpkin to see what it turns into and whether the parent plant is dominant in growing and the fruit. Up till now, everything has been growing and looking as it should.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. I checked #6 and was so excited to see tendrils that normally do not appear on the variety of zucchini I grow. Typically the zucchini varieties now are bush types without vines or tendrils but whether these varieties are hybrids and don’t grow true from seed is a question i have to look into. Up to this point, it hadn’t started growing vines like a pumpkin but time will tell. It could be all that I see show up from the pumpkin side if it is coming from the pumpkin. But I do know now that crossing the 2 does appear to affect the growth habit which is so fascinating to me. The fruit just barely starting to show up, as you can see in the photo below that I also took a couple of weeks ago, it appears to be more oval and not the typical long zucchini shape. So it is possibly going to grow into an interesting shape.

zumpkin #6

The plants from the #1 baggie seem to be looking more normal. The fruit starting to grow under the bud also looks long like a zucchini typically looks so it may just be regular zucchini. It may not have been successfully pollinated by the pumpkin. Yet it could also still be a mix where the shape is normal like a zucchini but orange inside like a pumpkin. Who knows!

zucchini #1

The plant from the #3 baggie is very far behind which is odd so I have no idea yet what it will do.

Lastly, the pumpkin seeds. The plant is still so young so it is hard to say what will happen with it. I had not seen any female flower buds yet to know what it will be growing. Time will tell. The plant is growing well so far though.

Stay Tuned!



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A stray cat

I have 2 cats that live in the shop named Jack and Chloe. They normally sit outside the back door waiting for me to come out and they follow me everywhere. They pretty much act as my shadow while i take care of my ducks and my flowers. But the other night neither of them were waiting for me. I went to go look for them and found them out by the green house sitting with an extremely thin cat that i had never seen before. When i say extremely thin, i would like to call that an understatement. I almost cried when i saw the shape the cat was in. Jack and Chloe came to me and the other kitty stood at a distance and watched.

I was glad that it didn’t run off right away and saw me interacting with my cats. I find it’s always helpful to show a stray that other cats feel safe around me. It helps them trust me faster.

I figured it had to be hungry so i fed my cats and set out some food in a box lid (all i could find quickly to set food on) out in the trees where it was hiding. I was happy to see that it ate it and allowed me to get close enough to take some photos.

I fear that it is another cat that has been dumped by someone who decided they didn’t want a cat after all. It isn’t uncommon to have this happen. I tamed a lot of strays while growing up that were likely dumped bc no one in the area had ever seen them before. Jack is actually a cat that showed up this way too. I tamed him and kept him. People seem to think a cat can survive on their own out in the country but it is often not the case and i urge people to please not dump cats. People like me end up with these cats we can’t keep and have to find a home for. If they are not fixed, they have kittens and contribute to the problem of too many stray cats and not enough room in shelters.

Today we were able to catch the kitty and put it in a crate with a litter pan and food and water. It is calming down now that it feels safe in the crate and has eaten a whole lot of food today. 🙂 the next step is getting it to a vet and getting it checked for a microchip and finding out if it is sick. I really hope that it is a cat that just got lost and has a family that will be overjoyed to get it back. But i fear that it has no one that is missing it. It is such a sweet kitty. I wish i didn’t already have 3 cats and could afford to care for another one.

I can update on here how the cat is doing and what happens with it. I have a feeling it might be a girl bit not entirely sure. It will be interesting to find out how old it is and the gender. Below are the photos i took the other night. The photos really do not show the extent of how thin it is. My dad had seen these photos and he still was surprised at how thin it really was when he saw it this morning.

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Posted by on July 18, 2018 in cats, Randomness


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I tend to compare myself to who I used to be…. Before I had to quit working in 2004. Even though I was in a fair bit of pain, I was still fit. I was working. I was riding my bike in the summer and skating in the winter. I was running a fair bit too. I was strong. I loved my strength more than anything. It made me feel so good about myself.

On Sunday, I tried skating again for the first time since before I started having surgeries way back in 2007. Yay! It felt great but it became evident quite quickly just how out of shape I have become. I didn’t realize how fit you need to be to go skating. I was out of breath within maybe a few minutes of skating. As I sat there catching my breath, I started to remember how I could skate before without getting slightly out of breath. I had no idea how fit I really was before things really went sideways and how much I clearly took for granted.

Of course, with this realization of how badly out of shape I am, I started to get really hard on myself as I often do. I know it isn’t my fault and I have tried to keep up with as much exercise as I could do but in my head, that was still not enough. “I should have pushed myself harder between surgeries” “I have been too lazy” “I should be able to skate for much longer” “I am so pathetic” are just a few of the many thoughts that were running through my head before I start to realize how silly those thoughts were.

I have been through 5 major back surgeries since the first one in 2007. The first being the hardest. It felt like I was having to relearn to walk again. I couldn’t get down on to the floor for months. The pain was excruciating. I was pretty much stuck in bed for close to a year due to complications. Through the past 10 years (almost 11 now) I have struggled with so much back pain that has made it hard to even walk at times let alone consider anything beyond walking. So I should be able to let myself off the hook right?

Yet even if I “let myself off the hook”, it doesn’t stop me from missing and comparing myself to the girl I used to be. I used to be into sports. I played soccer. I loved skating and skiing. I was physically fit. The girl I used to be felt like the opposite of who I am now. I miss her so much. I wonder if I will ever be that girl again.

Currently I am still dealing with back pain where I had the crack in my spine that needed to be fused again. I have si joint inflammation because I am putting extra strain on my lower back because my upper back is fused. It takes a lot to push through the pain to do basic stuff, let alone exercise. But I do push myself because from what I understand, there is a chance that it will help. So, every evening I push myself. The pain is horrible, but I do it anyways. I do it at night because it wears me out and then afterwards I can go to bed. I usually want to cry from the pain but apparently exercising doesn’t hurt anything, so I keep going. What amazes me is how far I can go beyond the point that I feel like I can’t push any further. I can still only last about 15 minutes though and it truly does take everything out of me. The girl I used to be, would have been running circles around who I am now. Yet, will pushing myself so hard bring me closer to getting “better” or just wear me out? Am I holding on to a dream that will never be attainable again? Is what I have now, my new normal? Is comparing myself to who I was before, leading to me pushing myself farther and harder than I should be? Am I being too hard on myself? I think I know the answer to the last question, but I really do not want to admit it.

If you are wondering, pushing myself so hard isn’t anything new though. I have always pushed myself. Some say I push myself too hard and need to relax. The truth is, I don’t know how to do anything else. I used to compare myself to other people which kept me pushing to be better and stronger. Now I just hope to become who I used to be because I know what it felt like and how good it was. Plus, apparently it isn’t good to compare yourself to other people. LOL

Maybe comparing myself to myself yesterday and even the past year, can be good because it can help me to see progress that I have made. Yet, comparing myself to who I was 10 years ago might actually be harmful. None of us are likely where we were 10 years ago. For some, it might be good we are not in the same position that we were. For others, it leads to feelings of sadness and loss for what we used to have.

There is a huge thing about comparing yourself to yourself to help motivate you to keep going. Although maybe it is only helpful if we look back as far back as yesterday or the past year to remind ourselves of progress we have made and not to remind ourselves of something we have lost like health or strength that we may never get back.


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The Duck who is in Charge

It may surprise you that the top duck in my flock is a girl but Martha is definitely in charge. Martha is many things and I could have chosen many titles for her but I think her best quality is that she keeps everyone in line. I would like to also share some of her other quirks as well because she has many. 🙂

Martha is a very special girl to me. She is one of the original group of ducklings that I started out with. The group that I made many mistakes with (like trying to read Tom Sawyer to them to get them to like me) and we all sort of learned things together. She was also the only girl in the group that I got. I named her Martha because right off from the start, I could tell that she was always stressing about everything and making sure everything and everyone was in order. It wouldn’t be until later that I would get more girls so Martha had a Mary to go with her. You can’t give the ducks food without Martha following right at your heels to make sure you are doing it right. LOL the poor girl will go nuts if you try to move the food dishes too.

Martha bonded with one of the male ducks early on and their bond is stronger than I ever realized a duck bond could be. I decided to name him George because it goes well with Martha. 🙂 I think she lets him believe he is in charge while she quietly rules everyone from behind. The other ducks know who is boss though. Poor George goes absolutely nuts if he loses track of Martha. He tries to keep up with her and follow her everywhere. Sometimes Martha gets away from George though because she is also an independent woman and doesn’t always need her man.

Which leads me to Martha’s next quality if I would call it that. It actually proves to be quite a problem for me. She is a master escape artist. If there is a hole, she will find it and escape. Not only that, she leaves poor George behind! Another sad part is that it appears she employs George to help her escape and then leaves him. I know though when she is loose because I can hear George going nuts because they are not together. It would be wise of her to take him with her I think. She does take Mary or Lucy with her though, whether by choice or not, I am not sure. The one photo I shared yesterday was Martha and Lucy on one of their escapes.

One last quality I would like to share about Martha is that she is absolutely beautiful (as all my ducks are! 😉 ) She is probably the only one that I would classify as close enough to show quality though for a Welsh Harlequin. Although she is quite feisty and would probably bite a judge if I tried to show her. LOL I am also not sure how George would handle her being away from her. So I will need to think about whether it is something I might consider. It could be a lot of fun though. 🙂

For the photos – 1st photo -here is one of Martha’s Mysteries. How she laid an egg in between the nozzle handle of the sprayer! I still can’t figure it out. I had a very tough time getting it out too!

2nd Photo – We like to call Martha a dirty girl. LOL But truthfully, all the ducks love the mud. 🙂 Doesn’t she look proud of being covered in mud though?

3rd photo – a close up of Martha’s face

4th Photo – Martha recently and what she looks like right now in her winter colour. After molting in the fall, my ducks got darker for the winter. Not sure why they would get darker but they do. Please excuse the poop. Ducks poop a LOT and keeping it clean is next to impossible. lol



Posted by on February 25, 2018 in Ducks, Randomness, Uncategorized


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