Should I Raise Ducks In The Backyard?

[Update] It is not illegal to raise chickens in San Mateo, California. No word on ducks.

[Update] My current preferred duck species is the Khaki Campbell (pictured below). They are good in the water, are hardy and lay more eggs than a chicken. I do not know how loyal they are.

Khaki Campbell in hand

I want to raise a flock of 5 ducks and keep them in my backyard. This is a surprisingly common suburban practice, although more people do it with chickens than with ducks. There is even a Yahoo group called Silicon Valley Chickens for people doing this same sort of thing in my community. If I raise ducks from chicks I’m told they will fly and swim in my lagoon, and return home at night.

Why I want to do this:

  • I miss having animals around. I grew up in rural Minnesota and worked on a sheep farm in Switzerland
  • Fresh eggs are yummy
  • Being disconnected from our food sources is not healthy
  • My backyard is too perfect for ducks not to take advantage of it
  • How cool would it be if they swam alongside me at Aquatic Park (file this idea under “amazing pipedreams”)

coop

Things I’ve figured out:

  • I want ducks, not chickens. Ducks are quieter, and like to fly and swim
  • I want a coop with an enclosed run to keep them safe when I’m not able to watch them

Things I am still working on:

  • What species duck? My criteria are #1 loyalty, #2 egg laying ability
  • Who will sell me 5-6 duck chicks? Hatcheries sell ducks in 25 chick lots
  • If I let them out for a fly/swim how do I “call” them back home?
  • My landlord and local ordinances

Stay tuned. And please email me if you can help.

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Goal = Get iPhone

Huge news, I got my sweet invited into the Cisco corporate iPhone pilot. I’m pretty excited, but am also leery that as soon as I get this iPhone 3GS the iPhone 4G will launch and make my new fancy gadget look like a stone.

While the cartoon is funny, here’s my thoughts on it. 3GS is the upgrade to 3G. 3GS has video recording. As for MMS, I feel like the Facebook app solves this. The memory criteria is just not relevant given cloud computing trends. That said, the cartoon is smack-on with the video call capability, and apparently this is reportedly coming in iPhone 4G.

Why is it a goal of mine to get an iPhone? Well, 100,000 apps cannot be wrong. My Blackberry Bold is/was good but it has only a couple dozen applications. Blackberry apps pale in comparison to their iPhone counterparts (e.g. Webex, Scrabble, Gmaps). And there are loads of apps that do not even exist on the Blackberry, even Chipotle has an iPhone application. A man’s gotta eat!

Source: Journaldugeek

iphone-vs-stone

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Panorama of San Francisco After 1908 Quake

desktopThis desktop panorama is just amazing. If you have double monitors at your desk try spanning this image across your desktop. It looks amazing.

I’ve stared at it’s detail for the past 20 minutes waiting for a work telecon to begin. It was taken from a flying gunship overlooking the waterfront and the Golden Gate (before the GG bridge spanned this gate). The picture was taken just after the 1906 earthquake that destroyed much of the city.

What I noticed:

  • Most the buildings are still standing, even after the quake. Reportedly, this mid-week quake struck on Wednesday and was huge,  7.8 on the Richter scale
  • After 100 years of urban development the only recognizable landmark is the Ferry Building, which survived both the 1906 earthquake and the 1989 earthquake with amazingly little damage.
  • The other landmark are the San Francisco piers, but they were different in 1906 when San Francisco was an active port. Now the piers are a tourist destination with a small crabbing and fishing operation based out of Fisherman’s Wharf.

1906-SFquake-panorama

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My experience with Lasik (surgery #2)

Tangible Goal = improve my sight so I can work into the night without my eyes going blurry.

Some of my friends have asked me how Lasik went. It went well. Last Friday I got my got Lasik on my eyes for the second time. Originally I was +3 (farsighted). After my first Lasik I was +1.5. Now with my second surgery I’m intended to be zero, or without prescription. This means I can work later into the evening without my eyes getting tired. This correction puts at risk my ability to see far, to some extent, although I have not experienced that yet. My close-up vision is noticeably sharper, it’s as if I just traded-in my Sanyo for a Sony Vega.

Here before and after pictures. A small subconjunctival hemorrhage is visible in the 48 hours picture (at 11 o’clock on the eye). This harmless side affect will resolve in a few weeks. It was caused by the suction ring applied to my eye to cut the flap. The eye flap is folded back so the laser can reshape my stroma. Details on wikipedia.

The Lasik procedure is painless, but eary, especially since I knew what was coming. I had my first surgery in August 2008. I’m glad it’s done. It’s 15 of the worst minutes of my life. The body/mind is very defensive about the eyes, for good reason.

I’m anticipating the side affect of dry eyes. The doctors treated this last time with a lower tear duct block, which may or may not still be in there. Time will tell.

Before Lasik
Before Lasik.

After Lasik. 2 minutes postop.
2 minutes after Lasik.

After Lasiks. 2 hours postop
2 hours after Lasik.

After Lasik. 24 hours postop.
24 hours after Lasik.

After Lasik. 48 hours postop.
48 hours after Lasik.
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Maui Jungle Flora

We went on a day hike on a plantation in North Maui. Along the way we found waterfalls, a swimming hole and some very interesting plants. One plant featured protective leaves that turn inward to protect itself from insects, and another had a flower that tasted exactly like mushrooms.

If you have help me identify these plants I’d love it.

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