May I present to you our nautical-themed duck palace! Ta dah!
For the past two years, the ducks have been penned in various places around the garden, the fence consisting of leftover chicken wire and hardware cloth from other projects. They did have a children’s wading pool, but that was hard to dump and clean, so they got downgraded to a ladybug sandbox. Between that and the scrappy fencing, it was the duck ghetto. I’ve wanted to do something better for awhile now, but it hinged on finding a free bathtub. Alas, when the need arises, there is a dearth of free bathtubs on craigslist. But! Serendipity struck in a different way. I found a free row boat! And on the very same day, a free mini dock (it had been a photographer’s prop). Woo hoo! Well, I scored the boat, but the dock got snatched up. But that was enough to spark my imagination, so I drew up plans for a magnificent beachy duck palace.
The boat was past its seaworthy days, but my husband managed to get the little holes patched and filled and then sprayed the inside with FlexSeal and gave it a new coat of paint on the outside. It took him, myself, and three of our children to carry this monster out to the garden yesterday. Oof. We are all feeling the effects of that. He installed a pvc drain pipe in the stern with a spigot on the outside so that we can just hook it to a hose when we want to empty it (and water the garden!).
On Monday, dh and I went to a salvage place and got the rope and the fishing net, and got the big poles at a farm store. The little seagull buddies, carved pelican, and river rock were all on the property when we bought it (but all in different locations). Don’t they look happy together now?
We built the fence out of regular fence panels ripped and sawed in half to make pickets and 12 gauge wire to mimic beach fencing. Once again, it took five of us to stand it up and set it in place, this time because it was so wiggly.
Dd #2 used the chop saw to cut all the pieces for the dock after ds #1 had measured them, then dh assembled it all in situ.
The house is the same house the ducks have been using – two doghouses that were left on the property that we cobbled together and put a metal roof on. But, it underwent a makeover, too! We flipped it around so that the double doors now open on the back – making cleanout and egg retrieval easy for us humans, especially since we won’t have to walk in their poopy pen to do it! Then dh jigsawed out a door on the former back/now front and attached it to drawer slides. All we have to do to let them out in the morning is to put a hand through the wire garden fence and pop the latch. Easy!
The now-front with the sliding door opening out onto the dock for easy pool access. The net serves the dual purpose of aesthetics and preventing the ducks from launching themselves out of the pool and over their fence. The little scrap of net on hanging into the boat from the dock was intended to give them something to grip when they want to exit, but so far they prefer just jumping out the back onto their beach.
And the back with the old “front doors.” Underneath the raised house are the water bucket and food pan, accessible by a hardware cloth door cut down from the gate to the last iteration of Duck Ghetto.
We did have to buy some new materials for this project, but I’m pretty proud of how much old stuff we reused or repurposed! After we completed it all this morning, I spent the afternoon just sitting out in the yard watching the ducks explore their new digs. I think they like it.
This handsome fellow is named Sir Francis. It’s only fitting that he gets to be captain of a ship!