February 13

Dear Diary,
Spring comes early to Assam. Soon the “first flush” leaves will be ready to pick from the tea bushes. They are not as sweet or rich as the “second flush” leaves picked later in the year. But they are just as much work!

It is time to start hatching baby ducks! They will take almost a month to hatch, so now is a good time to begin. But raising these ducks is turning out harder than I thought. Runner ducks are very bad mothers, which is why we bought some hens to sit on the duck eggs. But now I have learned that baby ducks need the oils from their mothers to be waterproof when they are born, or they can drown! So I must keep the babies away from water for six weeks or get some other female ducks to raise the babies.  Our chickens can help hatch eggs, but they cannot make baby ducks waterproof!

Why do runner ducks have to be such bad parents?

Satura and I have enough money to buy one duck, so we are getting a rouen duck from Mr. Dipak. She looks just like a brown wild duck, but bigger. Rouens do not lay a lot of eggs like runner ducks, but they are good for nesting. I have called her Oma, which means “life giver.” I will let her have more rouen babies, too, so they can help with the hatching.

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