Thursday, April 6, 2017

Slater Traps

I want to get back into growing most of our vegies again but am having trouble with too many slaters again.  Every now and then I notice that they have built up in numbers again, seedlings disappear, tomatoes get eaten,
This year we planted a whole pile of assorted seedlings.  Twice.  Both times I have gone out the next day to water and they have all been gone.  Eaten by bleedin" slaters.  We get slaters here.  Lots of slaters.  Some people say that they are not a problem, they only eat rubbish stuff, they help clean up the gardens.  I say no, they are horrible little critters that eat any newly planted plant.  They can eat out the inside of a rockmelon from the bottom up and you wont know until you go to pick the rockmelon.  They eat potatoes.  Tomatoes.  Chockoes...

They hide under mulch and sneak out in the dark and gobble up anything green.  So I have removed most of the mulchy stuff and because they seem to  love Choko leaves that is what I am using for traps.  I pick a dozen or so leaves and put them around the gardens.  Overnight the slaters go to the leaves and start munching away. 



The next morning I come out early and lift the leaf and give the slaters a blast of flame from the gas gun.  I hope it is quick, I try for it to be because even though I don't like them eating all our food I do want them killed in a humane-ish way.  So quick is the aim.






This is one job that I get slack on though.  If I come out and there is only 1 leaf of the 2 in the trap left then I know numbers are dwindling.  But I also know that I need to keep up checking, laying down leaves and blasting any slaters under them. 

Without using poisons how do you rid your food garden of these pests?





Sunday, April 2, 2017

Plus 1

Add 1 more chicken to the list. 

We had a chook sitting, on lots of eggs as, I think, other chooks would keep laying in her hidden nest.  At one stage there were around 14 so we locked the other chooks out of this pen and let this chook sit.  We waited.  And waited.  But nothing.  I decided that after so long, way longer than 3 weeks, that the eggs were not fertile and that I would remove them and lock this clucky up to de-cluckify her.
But there were no longer 14 eggs, only a few...I removed them anyway when this chook was off getting food.   I intended to catch her and lock her up in a small cage for a few days.  But *forgot*   Husband and I went to Tasmania for 3 weeks.  This chook was sitting on eggs again as some of our chooks jump the 6 foot high fence to get into this pen.  Daughter found her and named her Mango, as she was in the yard with mango trees.  We were away for 22 days.   Came back and she was still sitting on eggs and this time I was sure going to remove her eggs and lock her away.  But I promptly forgot about her again.  A few days ago I saw her out getting food and she had 1 little chicken with her.  I looked in her nest and there were 4 cold eggs in there.

We caught her and she was so light...I am a really bad chook person to let her sit for so long.  But she is now safe, in the covered chicken pen with the other mumma chooks and their chickens.  

I am so glad that she ended up with a baby after sitting for so long but I really need to check hidden nests and under bushes and trees as most of these chickens have come from hidden away nests that we knew nothing of until we saw the chickens out with their mum.

I wonder why the amount of eggs drops off, I look around the pens, under bushes, under trees, in the long grass...but I find nothing.  This morning husband has a look and finds 2 hidden nests.  Eighteen eggs.  That could have been fertile as the rooster is with these chooks...We need NO more chickens though so I removed the eggs and will feed some to the dogs and the rest back to the chooks.  And I have whippersnippered the area so there is less places for the chooks to nest.  A bit more to go but that is the Boysenberry area and the runners are everywhere so if I go in chopping it all to bits then it will spread even further into places we don't want it.  HoHum...A big job for later when it cools down a bit.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Get Chooked! Not More Chickens.

More chickens! How many chickens does one yard need?  Not 4 + 11 + 13 + 3...

All up, way too many chickens and I already have too many chooks.  But only 1 rooster. 

I think I need to get rid of some chickens, maybe put an ad on the local FaceBook Buy and Sell page.  Dunno what a chicken is worth though.  I need to get a small pen put up so this new mum can be safe from the crows so something else to do now...HoHum, and I was doing so well with clearing up inside and wanting to get that clear and clean(ish)  That will have to wait a bit now as once I stop it is really hard for me to get motivated again and now that I am hot and sweaty from chooken catching I may as well do a bit of mowing before it gets much hotter out there.

Oh yeah, looks like I'm back here again, what a useless Blogger I am.  Just as well it's not that important...haha  Back soon.  If a month or three is soon...

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Welcome 2017.

Well.  Here I am again.  Hello.  Welcome to 2017.

I have heard so many people saying that they are glad 2016 is over, what an awful year it was, so much bad stuff happened...My  2016 was pretty good and I know 2017 will be good for us too.  I just know it!  Yeah bad stuff might happen but there will be good stuff in there too and the way we deal with the bad stuff will determine how the rest of the year is.  Dwell on the crap and I think more crap will happen.  Focus on the good and that is what you will get...

Reading that over it sounds all airy fairy and new age mumbo jumbo, stuff family and friends believe in but I don't...Or didn't?  I woke up this morning to hear the rooster crowing.  4:30am.  Still crowing at 4.45 so 4.45 seems like a good time to get up and start my busy morning.   Others would whinge about how early it was, the noise the rooster that is not ours is making, how far behind we are today, how we will never get everything done before people start arriving...Me, I am up and coffeeing, facebooking, blogging! and will start by 6.  That will give me 4 hours to get ready for a "Welcome 2017" lunch for friends.  A lunch where there will be way over 24 people and I am the one with "no friends"  I'm the one that has a lunch and needs to get the "rent a friend" bunch in...but 24+ people!  I didn't know I knew that many people!  It's going to be a great day.  I hope yours is too.

So welcome 2017...Happy New Year!!  I hope to be here more often, I will be here more often.  I hope everyone has a fantastic day and a year filled with more happiness and good stuff than not. 


Saturday, October 1, 2016

October 1st 2016.

Haha, told you I'd be back in a few months!  I didn't really think it would be that long though, thought I was just being funny.  haha seems not.  Seems like I am not really very good as this blogging thing anymore.  I will work on it as I used to have fun here and am sure I can again.

The gardens are wet and soggy.   Chookpens are wet and soggy.  And it is always cold outside.  I am feeling the cold!  It is now October, we should be having cold mornings but lovely sunny and warm days, that's not happening.  It is still like Winter, wet, cold, miserable.  I usually like Winter and prefer it over Summer but as of 2 weeks ago, I am over it.  I need me some sun.

I do have plants in though and food is growing, thanks to daughter T that bought lots of seedling for me.  Once the sun comes out they should really take off.   We can still get a feed from out there. Can dig up some spuds whenever we want them, sweet potatoes too.  Cabbages and broccoli.  A few capsicum.  Chooks are laying so I am eating lots of eggs.  Cauliflowers aren't doing much even though they have been in the ground for a few months.  We are still getting oranges but not much other fruit, some lemons but I can't eat those like a proper fruit snack so don't count them.  .The apricots are forming fruit, peach tree is covered in flowers, grapevines are shooting, strawberries are covered in flowers.  Apple are too.

The bees don't do much over Winter but husband and I had a look at them last week.  They are starting to get honey in the frames so we should be able to do an extraction in a couple of weeks.  Husband wants to do a bottom box inspection before we extract though, just to check there is no disease and the queen is still going strong.  I do need a nice warm day so I can get out and give the extracting shed a decent clean before then.  It's dusty and messy as it hasn't been used in a while. A proper clean will make it, well, clean! 

Off to read about what some others are doing then it will be bedtime.  It's blowing quite hard outside but the fire is going, the house is warm.  All is good.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Hello, it's me...

Hello. Remember me?  It has been a long time since I came here, a long time since I had anything to say.  Haha, I still don't have anything much to write about but thought I'd better get off Facebook and see what was happening in the land of Blogs.  And you know what?  Some people have fantastic gardens that they eat from every day.  Some people are healthy and fit and doing what needs doing to get and stay there.  Some people are travelling the countryside and having adventures.

What have I been doing?  Umm, let me think.  Not a lot I don't think but I have been busy.  Doesn't seem like I have achieved much and that is another reason for my checking in here.  If I can get what I have done down on paper, so to speak, then I will see that I have achieved some things and can tell myself that I am not the fandl person I sometimes think I am.  Well, I am fandl, that hasn't changed yet but I'm sure that I have done stuff too. 

I am still planting stuff though not a lot and not often enough but I could go out there and pick enough to eat for the rest of the week.  So that's good!  Not going out there just yet though.  It's 7:30 and still a tad too cold outside for me. I am sitting inside with the fire burning having a hot lemon and honey drink as I think I have been subjected to granddaughters cold germs.  My lemons and honey though so yeah, I still got it!

I have lemons because it is Winter and citrus time.  Loving the Oranges straight from the tree and have a pile inside here that need juicing.  I will pick some more later and put them out the front and see if anyone wants to buy some.  Need to work out what to do with the lemons too.  We only have 1 tree now, a Eureka I think.  Husband chopped down and pulled out the massive bush lemon that fruited always and hid the house from the road but was dangerous with 2inch spikes everywhere.  And we didn't need that many lemons but the chookyard looks bare.  He "trimmed" some other trees too...sad face.  I have honey because husband help me extract the hives...oh months ago now and I still have some left.  My poor bees have been unloved and uncared for and I am not sure what to do with them now.  I want to keep them, want to be able to go out and check them every week, want to be a good beekeeper.  But I "forget" about them and husband gets cranky and does the checking himself...This is something that I need to get better with, especially with Spring coming up.  If I don't make an effort and they swarm then I may have to get rid of them.  But I am going to make an effort, prevent them from swarming, get off FB and back outside...

I am still with Vinnies and still loving it.  I have been busy there instead of here as we don't have enough volunteers and as Manager I am the one that steps in if I can't get someone else to fill a shift.  I was there Monday, usual day.  Tuesday as a fill-in.  Thursday is usual day and I may have to be there Friday but hoping not.  Rules are we need 2 volunteers but sometimes people go on holidays, get sick, have appointments...The small group of volunteers that are there are brilliant and a few have stepped up, a big thankyou to them, but we will be short for all of July.  And, much to husbands disgust, I have taken on another role and am now a Commissioned member of our Conference.  This means that I help out with the Welfare side of things now too.  So Volunteer Manager of Retail, which sounds more impressive than it is, and Conference Member.    I'm liking it but it does all take up a lot of time and I'm not very good at time management so seem to be just bumbling along with everything.  With the house and yard and bees missing out because of me wasting the time I do have on unnecessary thing like Facbook!  HoHum, not much different to normal really.

Anyway, I'm hoping to get motivated by reading a bit more before I go outside, coming here more often, and actually doing stuff. 

See you all in a few months time! haha.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Not Much Honey.

 
I did check the hives, I was sure they would all be full and need extracting and I'd be busy jarring up tons of honey.  I was wrong.   Husband came out to help and he was a bit cranky with me as they really should have been checked regularly...and they weren't.  But I think he was a bit surprised with how little honey there was in the hives.  Out of 4 hives, 9 frames in each hive, we needed to extract only 8 frames.  That is not good.  Three frames from1 hive and 5 from another.  Two hives were not doing very well so we left all the frames in them.  Husband did check the bottom box on all 4 hives, said it looked like a couple had requeened themselves but that there was plenty of brood so that was good.  He probably explained it all to me but I don't remember.
 
So all up we extracted a bit more than 10 kilos of honey.   I jarred it up, cleaned up the stickiness in the extraction shed, this time right away, same day.  So much easier!  I have put the price of this lot up to $12 kilo because there is so little there, only 8 x1 kilo tubs and a few 400gm glass jars.  Not much but if it all goes then it's still a decent wage for a few hours work.
 
I am selling it via Facebook and a rough roadside stall we have set up out the front. 


Monday, February 22, 2016

Bees. Hives need checking.

I have been slack with the beehives.  I know, who'd have thought!  But I know that I need to go out and have a look at them, I *know* they will need extracting.  I keep saying it's because I am too scared but maybe, probably, most likely, it's because I am too lazy.

Husband is away and I want to get it done before he gets home but keep putting it off and now the weather has cooled down and it has been raining and they might be a tad grumpy so I have again put it off.   And now he will be home before I get it done and wont be pleased if he has to do it!  And rightly so.  My hives, my hobby, my job.

I don't know if it's bad for the hive or the bees to be left alone for so long but I do know that I have run out of honey to sell and people are asking for it.  That in itself should get me out there...but hasn't.   I am a bad beekeeper.

I have tidied and cleaned the extracting shed though so that is ready to go when I do finally get-out there.  We bought more jars a while ago and they are cleaned and boxed up ready.    If I leave it too long though the place will need dusting again!

I was going to have a go this morning but it's been raining and is too cool.  Maybe tomorrow otherwise Thursday for sure.  Unless I need to go in to Vinnies then it will have to be Friday....see this is how it gets away from me.  I was going to do it 2 weeks ago but it kept being put off for one reason or another...And now it's nearly a month since I've even been out there to check on them!   Bad beekeeping.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Spaghetti Squash.

A long time ago I went to some markets and was given a spaghetti squash plant. It had a tag saying it was in fact a SS.  I planted it, it grew a bit and I ended up with 1 fruit. 
This morning I went to a garden SSS meet up and brought home a Spaghetti squash.  The woman that grew it, and several hundred others! said that it was in fact a SS.

Hmmm.    Are these actually the same thing?  Is one just malformed?  Or not ripe yet?  Or something completely different to a Spaghetti Squash?

I will cut them open sometime this week and see what the insides look like but thinking mine isn't *quite right*    But maybe it is *quite right* for what it really is...

Someone will know and that someone will tell me.  I hope.  And thankyou if that someone is you.

Update.  I knew someone would know!  I have just been told "Green Hubbard Squash. It's a pumpkin, Cucurbita maxima species." It's ripe and I eat it like pumpkin.

SSS and visiting another garden.

I am going to a neighbours house this morning.  She is having a SSS morning so I am hoping to get all inspired and interested in the gardens again.    The SSS stands for Swap, Share, Shuffle and people will bring something garden related to SSS and we'll have a look around her garden and talk gardens.  I'm looking forward to it in an I can't really be bothered doing anything today way.  But I need want this, I need want to get me gardening mojo back!

I feel I am getting old and I'm not, I'm just eating too much crap and not doing enough.  As I do HoHum.  I need to get interested, need to do stuff, need to challenge myself again.  Today is the start of all that!  And as I write and think about it it is looking like a fun way to spend a few hours!

Have you heard of SSS days?  Do you have gardening friends that you visit and talk with?   It should be interesting.

I have yet to decide what to take though.  I have lemon balm that needs thinning and that grows easily and the sweet potato grows from slips so decision made, I will take some of that as well and hope others take it home with them.   

Last evening I weeded all the half 44's along the driveway then mulched them with the composting grass and weeds from the chook pen.  They look much better and are ready if I bring anything home.  It's always better for any plants I bring home if I have a spot ready and they can be put in right away.   Some poor plants have to wait a few weeks and then they don't do so well.

If you have any ideas on finding lost gardening love, let me know them please.