Tuesday, November 30, 2010

No Buy Veg Challenge, November.

Eleven months now and we haven't bought any vegetables for us to eat.  I think that is pretty good

We are picking Tomatoes now and the Zucchini is giving me so many, I love that plant.  We only have 2 and one of those is not very big but does have a couple of flowers, the other one is huge and could feed us for the rest of the challenge if we needed it to.

So we are eating Potatoes, Onions, Tomatoes, Carrots, Sweet Potato, Lettuce, Beetroot,  Zucchini.  All fresh from our garden.  Not a great variety but it is all fresh and you can't get any more local than your own backyard..
We still have pumpkin from last season and just as well because none of mine survived.  I have some Butternut seedlings in now and they look like they should make it.  Most of the Garlic has fallen over and we have had some of that.  Small but still good.

Fruit wise we are getting Strawberries, Pepenos, Passionfruit, the occasional Orange.   Still getting Lemons.
Apricots are nearly there too but that will be December fruit.

Free food that I *stole* from the pig...Pumpkin, potatoes, apricots, apples, bananas.  Not fresh and I don't know where it was grown but it's what the people in town were buying the day before.  There was plenty left for the pig

Some people are a bit disgusted when I say I eat the pig food but it is all still good and sometimes we wonder why the shop isn't selling it.  We have had crates of Bananas that were still yellow and firm.  Apples with a couple of marks but they were still good eating.   Son says that when the new stuff comes in they just empty the shelf of the old even if it is still good.   We don't mind, the chooks don't mind and the pig doesn't mind.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Don't Cry Over Spilt Milk.

I couldn't use my hands/arms yesterday so I'm not sure why I thought they'ld be OK early this morning seeing as they still felt *wrong* so I supose it's my own fault but...

We bought a box of longlife milk a week or so ago, on special for 89cents litre.  I don't drink it but Hubby does and he put it, still in the box, up into the bookshelf where I have a sort of stockpile going.

I picked a pile of potatoes last week but as my spudbox was old and yuk I threw it out just before hand.  So I needed a new box.  This looked the right size and I did ask DD to get it down for me a couple of days ago,  She forgot, I wanted it, I tried.  Knowing that it wasn't a good idea.  End result?

I hope I've wiped it all up but guess what...
I was having a bowl of cereal afterwards.  The cat wanted to share, he put his paw onto the side of the bowl...Yep milk and cereal to clean up.  HoHum, maybe it's a *read all day* day today.  Again.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Chicken Chasing.

I went out earlier, more than an hour ago, to feed and water the chickens and I have just now come in from out there. I gave them their food, cleaned out their water and refilled it and while some come and eat while I am there some stand back and make their little chirpy noise.  I could hear this other noise in the background though didn't think too much off it until I had left that pen and was checking the older ones in the pen next door and could still hear the noise.  After a bit of hunting around I saw a little chick huddling under the Strawberry Guava tree.  Every time I went near it though it ran to the other side of the tree and as all the branches are hanging down, some touching the ground, I couldn't get to it.  It wouldn't go in the direction of the gate to get out and I was just scaring it.  But the silly thing had to be back with it's mum as I think it is still too little to be by it's self.
I ended up cutting some of the bottom branches off the tree so it couldn't hide under there and I manoeuvred it behind a sheet of tin learning up against the fence but it just ran up the other end and I still couldn't reach it.  I blocked off one end, went in after it and after a few misses I finally grabbed the thing.  It is now back in with it's family but didn't seem thankful at all.  It just ran for the food dish and started gobbling.  Not sure how long it had been out for, poor little silly thing.

With the trees, I like them to hang down as protection for the chooks, Hubby wants all the bottom branches cut off so it's easier to see if any snakes or skinks are in the pens. 
He has a point and now 1 tree is already half done!  I might do the trees in the chicken pens as these are netted over the top to keep the crows out but leave the ones in the pens that aren't netted.
We get crows here and they steal eggs and would take a chicken if they could get one but as I usually put the chicks in the covered pens maybe the tree pruning in them is a good idea.  I also think that the branchier trees offer better shade and make things cooler for the older chooks but I would like to see if there was a snake in there...

Yesterday evening there was a crow sitting on top of one of the the netted pens eyeing off the chickens, I had to go out and throw something at it to get it to fly off but I know it will be back.  It's a pity the nasty things are protected but I couldn't shoot them anyway.  I see them and think of the movie *The Omen* and think that they will *come and get me* if I hurt one.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Potatoes and Onions.

 I've been told that I say *onion* differently to the correct way.  Apparently I say *ung-ion.*  It don't matter though how I say the word as long as I can grow the things.  And I can.  I do sometimes leave them in the ground too long but that don't matter either. They still taste good.
I have heaps that need to be pulled up and one day soon I will get to that.
I will plant seeds from last year soon as well.  I think we will always have
*ungion* of some sort growing.

I'm still having problems with Slaters and I have had a few containers of potatoes die off, a result of being eaten by these bleedin' things, so I dug some up.  We ended up with quite a few, not very big but lovely and fresh and yum.

We dug the dirt and mulch out and replanted with some old sprouty ones that came in a crate of  food for the pig.  Sorry pig but I baggsed them first.  We had a spare empty fridge so Hubby brought that around the back and put it near the others and we planted that with spuds as well.  I now have 2 fridges and 5 half 44 gallon drums planted with potatoes.  A couple of boxes and some spots that were empty.  Some newly planted and some still growing.   I think we will always have enough potatoes as I plant any sprouted ones that I get and we always seem to have some growing somewhere.  Even in places that they are not suposed to be.  Some are white normal spuds and some are red skinned ones.  I don't know what they are called just that if they grow they are keepers.
If nothing else grows, as long as these are in the ground we will not starve

This is one of the fridges, just been replanted with red skinned potatoes.
As they grow I layer them with dirt from the chook pen and grass clippings that the chooks have scratched around in for a few weeks.  The slaters usually end up killing them by eating through the stems before they flower so we don't often get really big potatoes but we don't really mind.  The smaller ones taste good and last long enough in the cupboard.  If we run out and want some we go out and bandicoot a patch, there are always some somewhere.

I have grown potatoes in the ground, hilling them when needed but I prefer to grow them in containers and use mainly mulch type stuff as a covering.  This way they are easier for me to get to when I want them.  By the time I am ready for the potatoes the grass clippings and other mulchy stuff  has usually ended up as nice soil.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Really Really Free Markets. Waroona. November.

We have these markets on again this afternoon.  I should be out sorting what to take but I think I will just load stuff into the car before I leave.  It's a bit cooler today than it has been so it might be OK down there.

I'm back...
There were a few more tables/rugs of stuff at this one and lots of people coming and going over the first couple of hours.  Twas good.
Half of the stuff I took down has gone to new homes and I scored  half a dozen books. (or 9, shh,don't tell)
I also brought home some Butternut Pumpkin and some Bolotti Bean seedling.
The yummy muffins and choc chip bickies were there again too.  Someone there is a good cook.

I heard someone say that the next one is a week before Christmas but the time may be different.  I will have to remember to check their information.  The one in Perth is sometime in December as well.  I don't know if I will go up to that one again though.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I Won! What A Lovely Welcome Home.

Sherrie, over at http://simpleliving-sherrie.blogspot.com/ makes and sells enviro bags and a week or so ago she had a competition with one of her bags as a prize.  She was asking how people cut down on using plastics.  A few people posted their different ways but I was the lucky one.  Thankyou Sherrie.  I am looking forward to receiving and using it.

Check out Sherries blog.  She has some great stuff over there  .

Busy Morning. Or So It seemed.

I've had a busy morning outside but no mowing or mulching was done.

I did pull out some more moth-eaten cabbages and I now have 6 of them soaking in salted water to try and get the caterpillars out of them.  If it doesn't get them to come out then it might kill them.  I'd rather eat a dead, salted caterpillar than a live one but maybe that's just me.  Not sure how I will use them.  More coleslaw. Maybe cook some up with onion, zuchinni and whatever else I can dig up and some rooster and freeze.  Dunno.

Raked out a bit of one chookpen.

Searched for and found the sprinklers and set them up in the chookpens to cool them down.

Most of the washing is done and dry but awaiting the fold and put away bit.

Cabbage free garden beds have had the soil loosened and wettasoiled.  I need to decide what I am putting in them and then get them manured and mulched ready for when I buy more seedlings.

Caught and crated some roosters.

Not a lot when you read it like that but it seemed to take me all morning.  I will start on the mowing this evening but in the meantime I have what looks like a good book to get stuck into.

Hubby culled 6 roosters and they are in the fridge awaiting the frypan.  That should make for quieter morniings.

Chooks and Gardens Survived Without Me. (might go away more often now)

After being away for near on 6 days we arrived home just before 5pm yesterday.  First thing I did was go check on the chickens and I am glad to say that they are all still there and looking none the worse for being fed and watered by someone other than me.  Thankyou to T&J and L for coming out and looking after things for me while I was away. 
The gardens also look like they have been well looked after and so far I can't find anything dead or missing.  Maybe I should get someone else to do the gardens more often!

The grass  must have loved my being away as it is about 8inches longer than when we left so getting that back down will be my main job for the next few days.  We are expecting some warm weather here over the next few days so I will need to get started early before it warms up too much but everything will need more mulch as well and that is also a big job for me.

So...I need to finish raking out the chookpens, mow grass and throw the fresh clippings in to the chooks, put the old clippings from pens on the gardens...All that, and updating my other blog, should keep me off the streets for awhile. 

Coffees finished so better get started.  Afterall, it's already after 5.

Wake-up Call.

We've been away and I have had the pleasure of waking up with the birds and just lying there listening to them talking to each other before getting up and on going my morning walk along the cliffs and beach.

Woke here at home this morning around the same time, 4.30am, and I am still hearing birds but it's not as nice.
The singing of the birds up in GreenHead was a lot nicer that the crowing of all the roosters here.
It's nice to be home but something has to be done about the 5 excess roosters.  And SOON!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Seedlings Bought and Planted.

Because I haven't been having much luck with seeds germinating I gave in and yesterday I bought some seedlings from the Spud Shed.  I bought 4 punnets for $10.  Red Onions, Broccoli, Grosse Lisse tomatoes, and some mild Chillies.
Lovely day here for planting stuff so I was out there at 5.30am getting them in the ground.  From the onion punnet I seperated out and planted nearly 100 single plants.  Not bad for $2.50 aye?  Same with the chillies and tomatoes, from a punnet with 8 cells I ended up with a dozen plants of each. 
I have done my best to protect them from slugs and slaters but we are going away for a few days so I am hoping that they are still undamaged when we return.
We are off up to GreenHead, leaving this afternoon or early tomorrow so I need to see the daughter that will be out here and let her know where everything is planted.  She/They will be watering the plants and looking after the chooks and chickens for me and it will be greatly appreciated as without the help of people like this it would be hard to get away for more than a couple of nights. 
Thanks T.  And you too L if you are helping.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


I few years ago I planted a Pineapple top.  I had it in a 1/2 x 44gallon drum and it was growing OK but didn't look like it would fruit anytime soon.  Where I had it was in the way and the leaves on it are prickly so Hubby shifted the pot into the orchard.  And I forgot about it for a few months.  Eventually I checked it out and noticed that it had a couple of smaller plants growing from it's base.
It took awhile but I finally got around to digging these out and left them in a bucket, I was going to plant them but *forgot*  As I do.

Fast forward a few weeks and I thought that I better get out there and plant the babies and guess what?  Yep!  The big plant has a pineapple coming out the top. 
So it's seems like it is good to neglect things as when
they think that they are going to die they try to reproduce.  

I have planted out the 2 small Pineapple plants and I have given the big one a decent drink and put some mulch around it as the chooks have been digging around it's base, and they all look good.

I now need to wait and see if the Pineapple makes it to maturity so we can eat it.  I will need to look up how long it takes for the fruit to get ripe.  I have heard that they should be picked during Summer as the fruit is sweeter then but I don't want to wait until next summer and it looks too small to be ready by this one.
Does anyone know how long I may need to wait?  I will do some reading up about them this afternoon.

Friday, November 5, 2010


I use a lot of onions and so have a few lots growing in different areas of the yard.  I need to get out there and pick them though as a lot of them are starting to go to seed.  A lot of the onions are way big enough and should have been pulled ages ago.  It is a job for this weekend.

One lot of onions grew from a couple of old onions that had sprouted and I planted them in one of the fridge gardens.  They grew and went to seed and heaps of plants grew from the seeds from them old onions.

They smell like onion and taste like onion but they are not round like onions which I find strange as the other onions were grown from seed we collected from last year and they are round and look just like like proper ones.  I don't know why these ones are different and not round but I don't really care as they are a good crop and it means I can use lots and not have to buy any which is what we are aiming for.  Any old sprouting onions will be planted  and hopefully we will never have to buy onions again.  We will let a few of these ones go to seed and see how the next crop turns out.  Even if they all end up with no bottoms the tops will still be able to be used for adding flavour. 

The onions that we grew from seeds we collected from some we grew last year are huge and round and look like real onions.  I will leave a couple that have started flowering so we can collect the seed and see how the third generation turns out.

Damaged Trees

I have a few Strawberry Guava trees in some of the chookpens.  They were bought for $2 each as small seedlings a few years ago.  They've been growing well but Hubby cut them down a couple of months ago as they were getting too high for the netting over the pens.  They were reshooting and looking good.  Except the one in the pen where I have the older chickens. 

I thought that the wind had broken the top branches but I was out there this evening, later than usual and I saw the real branch breakers.
The *chickens* are roosting in this tree and as they are now just about fully grown, and there are 11 of them, the poor tree is breaking under the strain.

Once the 5 roosters are gone and the females are added in with the Mixed Breed chooks  I will cut off the broken bits and give the tree a chance to regrow.  If I'm going to leave the chickens in this pen for so long then I may need to get some proper roosts built.  Maybe it's time to play the nice wifey again.Orange Mix

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Dog Sitting.

I'm dog-sitting again this week. 
Unfortunately it might be the last time as Smokey is old and not well. 
When I first started having him I asked the owners what to do if he died while he was here and was jokingly told to *let the crows eat him" 
This time though I was told that they had dug a hole for him up at their place so if anything happened then I could take him up there and bury him.  It seems that they kinda expect him to not be around much longer.  I know he quite often has to go to the vets for an injection to help him with pain and he is on more tablets than the last time I had him.  He does move around more when he is here though, more than he does when he is home.  He follows me around the yard and chases the cat. 

This is my cat.  It likes teasing the dog when he comes to stay.  I'm sure if the gate was open then the dog would eat him.      
I'm watching you, Cat.

So close, yet so far out of reach.

The owners are due home today but I don't know if they will come in and pick him up tonight or tomorrow.  I will miss him.

King Skinks.

We get a lot of King Skinks out here, some of them are quite big and they make you jump when they run out in front of you from the garden shed.
I have this ornamental lizard down in the garden in our *shade area* 
This morning the grandaughter was out here and wasn't too sure about it so we got her to hold it while I took a photo of her. 
Next step is to get her to catch a real one.  I'm sure they taste just like chicken. Too Funny

Monday, November 1, 2010

Don't Buy Veg Challenge. October

We have successfully passed through October without buying any vegetabels so that leaves us only 2 months to go before the end of the year and the end of the challenge.

We had plenty to eat even though I have too many bare patches out there and so much stuff either didn't grow or did grow but got eaten before it was ready for us.

We didn't get as many peas as other years, they are something that I need to work on as I really like fresh peas.  I won't worry about growing Broad Beans again.  Not sure why I bothered as we don't eat them and just use them as a *giveaway* crop.  I think I grow them because they are easy and look impressive when in flower and fruiting.  But no more.

Our cucumbers aren't doing much.  They don't seem to be growing as quickly as last seasons but this is my third lot of seeds so maybe it just seems like they are taking for ever.  Slaters ate the other two lots of seeds that I put in.    We need the cukes though as Hubby likes them in his summer salads.  I still have enough jars of Bread and Butter Pickles from last seasons crop but some fresh ones will be nice too.

We're getting plenty of Strawberries and Pepinos and the Grapevines have fruit on them but are still a while away from being ready.  There are still Oranges out there too.  I'm thinking about if it would be possible to to do a No Buy Fruit year.  I kinda think it would be easy enough as I am only buying Bananas anyway.  I do like Bananas though and we have no plants that look like they will fruit any time soon.  We got quite a few bunches last year but I can't see any out there yet. 

I need to get heaps more lettuce growing and am working on getting a tank garden cleared out and free of slaters, then manured and mulched.  We still have some growing but with the warmer weather most of the hearting ones have started to bolt.  I cannot gow hearting lettuce during the warm weather.

I think there is enough food out there so we won't starve over the next couple of months but I could be doing better and there are lots of things I need to work on if I plan on doing the same challenge next year.

Does anyone want to join me in 2011?  We need to get stuff in now if we're going to try it again.