Saturday, December 31, 2011

December Update.

Not a lot happened here this month.  We are stilll mostly eating out of the garden but that is more due to the fact that we've not been eating enough fresh stuff this month I think.

I have not had any success with lettuce so far.  And the new lot of seeds and seedlings I put in a couple of weeks ago were scratched up and eaten by some escapee chooks.  So, sad to say I bought a lettuce.  And a 5kilo bag of carrots.  I know...Bad Barb.  I have more lettuce seeds to go in this weekend but not looking forward to telling daughter that the ??? (some special seed) seedlings that she gave me got eaten.  As did all the new silverbeet seedlings and the spinach that was just coming up from dropped seeds.  I have a couple of bigger plants that survived the scratching so still have something green.  And they got a few ripe tomatoes too.  Scratched up some of the garlic but I need to get that up and out anyway so no big deal wih that.

We can pick and eat tomatoes, capsicum, chillies, sweet potato, carrots, few different beans, silverbeet, onion, choco, cucumbers.
There are a few potatoes but not enough so I bought a bag to plant.
I'm not going to get any zuchinnis as the 2 seedlings that I was given turned out to be butternuts.  Oh well, they are doing great and the husband likes them better anyway. 
The garlic needs pulling but it wasn't a great lot this year.  It is kinda small.but there is enough for what I need
I have been given 4 cloves of a purple garlic so will get that going when it is time.

December was Apricot month.  We had so many and I have some in the freezer but sadly, they are finished now.
The grapes are starting to ripen and we are eating a handful or so at a time.  Wont be long before we have heaps as we have different sorts that ripen different times.  I'm hoping to successfully dry more this year so I wont need to buy sultanas.  Bleedin' chooks are jumping up onto the top of the fence and pinching too many though. 
Getting plenty of strawberries.  Still have oranges on one tree.  Pepinos are ripe.

I am down to a dozen eggs in the fridge so looking forward to being able to collect and eat the eggs again.  It's nearly a month since they were treated for Scaley Leg with the potion from the vet.  I had been told by some people to leave them for 2 weeks others said 3.  I'm going with 4 to make myself feel better about it all.

Son has brought out a few packs of meat throughout the month..  It's been on it's use by date but I cook it up that night and we haven't died from it yet.  He's also potted me a few rabbits so more free food there. I crumb it with breadcrumbs from the 15kilo bag he brought out.  It was the wrong size/texture for what his work needed, there was a small hole in the bag, it was going to be binned...I will mix it with bran for a better crumb but don't tell anyone.  People here say they don't like bran...Little do they know...

There have been no roosters to eat but I have 17 chickens of various ages so am bound to get a few from them.  More chickens are due to hatch this weekend so in a few months there should be rooster meat..

Hubby has agreed to a BIG challenge for next year.  It's not really decided how it will go yet, details will be coming soon but it has me a bit worried.  It will definitely be a challenge.  I'm not working next year though so I will have plenty of time to get it sorted and no excuses.

Friday, December 30, 2011

More on Scaley Leg.

A few days ago we picked up another drum of used cooking oil.  This one is full so 20litres.  That should do a few legs!

We still have a little bit of the other oil left but will soon need more so figure it's best to have it here ready for dipping the chooks legs in.  It makes me feel like a better chook mummy when I think I am helping them by using the oil to smother any mites not killed by the potion.  My hands end up soft, and slimey afterwards so you'd think it is softening the legs as well.
These yellow legs are in better condition than the grey legs below but they are looking better than they were a month ago.  The black on the yellow legs is dirt that has stuck to them because of the oil.
It's a messy job and the oil gets on me as well as on the feathers of the chooks.  I have a few Mixedbreed birds that are a light colour, a lavender Aracauna and a white Aracauna.   I need to look closely now to tell who is who as they are all the same dirty grey colour.  The black Aracauna looks the same, still black.
I was wondering if I should give them a bath but decided against it.  I'm not that good of a chook mummy!

I have planted some more Wormwood (Artemesia) cuttings.  I don't know if this will help much with the mites but it is supposed to be good for ridding chooks of worms in the gut and seeing as I have the plants here anyway it's not going to hurt to have more around and in the pens.

The chookhouses are cleaned out regularly and Lime and Diatomatious Earth is sprinkled around them.  I sprinkle DE onto the mulchpit.  I feed them Garlic but not as much as I think I should...

The legs are looking better now and I'm hoping I wont have to use the potion again but will do if I think I need to.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Thankyou for the Beetroot Seeds.

Jason from over at Zucchini Island was having a giveaway of some Beetroot seeds so I asked nicely to be included..
They came a couple of days ago.

Check out his blog and his new business.
I think it's a great idea and hope it works out for him.

Thankyou for the Gingerbread House.

A big THANKYOU to L, D, L and J for the gingerbread house.  And the chutney and jam.  I really appreciate you doing that for me.

Here it is in all its glory.  It looks like a lot of work has gone into putting it together.

And here is what happens if you unwrap your Gingerbread house when a certain daughter is around.  I *caught* her trying to coax a chocolate to come out.  She found out that the window was too small though and begged, yes begged! to be allowed to break it "just a tiny bit"
The house survived last night and is still intact but there are a few Smarties missing from the outside...
I love Gingerbread so this will be a lovely treat.  Daughter knows about it and Hubby is home too so I will have to share...But if I wait until Daughter goes away for a few days and I get into it while Hubby is outside...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

ThreeThirty Is Too Bleedin' Early.

I know that there are probably a few people that won't agree with this but I truly think that 3.30AM is too early to be woken up.  But Rocky the Rooster seems to think it's OK because he's been doing it for the last few weeks.

I like to wake up - get up around 5.30 but 5am is OK too.  7is too late, the good outside time is nearly over before you get to it then, especially when it's hot so 5-5.30...good time.

Rocky and his girls used to be in a pen further away, out behind the shed and he didn't bother me too much but since I moved him closer to the house...They have a shed in their pen but he likes to sleep out in the open.  No more though.  Hubby has time off from work and I think I will be putting in an order for a door to their house. 
If I can lock him in at night he might sleep longer but if he doesn't the noise will hopefully be muffled enough.

If that doesn't work I think Hubby will try something more permanent.  He says I have enough chooks now and we don't need him...The door idea better work.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Scaley Leg.

My chooks had Scaley Leg, some hardly noticeable but some had it quite bad and I should have gotten onto it sooner so I am a bad chook mummy.  But notice I said had...I am thinking I have it all sorted now.

I have a pen of Isa Browns, a pen with rooster and a few hens and a pen with my AussieRocks and the leftover Mixed Breed chooks.  Three pens but close to 50 chooks.  Oh and the chickens and their mothers so another few or 16 there.   I really am going to sell some, soon.  $10 for a young unsexed bird if anyone in my area is interested.

A long time ago, before I started with the AussieRocks, Daughter and her husband came out and helped me catch and Vaseline the legs of the Mixed Breed chooks I had..  I was suposed to do it again a few weeks after that but never did them all.  Only a couple that I could catch.  So I did know that it was here.  And that was more than a year ago.

A few months ago when I first noticed the legs on some of the AR looking scaley I rubbed Vaseline on the legs of the few I caught.  The idea was to smother the mite that gets under the scale and kill them and then the problem would be solved.  I only had a little bit of petroleum jelly here, not enough for them all so it wasn't enough to rid the flock of the pest.  I talked of calling around and seeing if I could get some old oil but didn't actually call anyone.  Until a month or so ago.  I called the local garage, they sell takeaway food, and asked if I could get some old oil from the fryers.  A lovely lady said yes and a went down and picked up 10litres.  Came home and dipped some legs. I did this to a few chooks, a couple of times a week, over a few weeks but again it was only a half hearted attempt.

After a few dippings the legs of the AR that I had managed to catch were looking better, you could see the old thickened scale starting to come away but the legs of some not dipped were looking quite bad.  
Then I got serious.  Went down to the vets, told them my problem and what I thought I wanted, they discussed things and he went off and mixed me up a potion.  I believe it is Ivermectin.  I needed to put a bit on the backs of the chooks neck.  He sold me a small bottle, enough to do all my chooks and they gave me a couple of syringes to use.  Too easy.  Or so I thought.  I was home alone but hey, I'm a clever gal, I could do this by myself.  And to be sure of things I would dip their legs in the oil at the same time.  Not as easy but hey! I'm a clever gal, I could do this by myself!

I started off with the Isa's because they are friendly and easy to catch.  The plan was to catch one, stand it in the tub of oil while I put the potion on her skin, then shove her through the little door into their shed/house. The first 6 or 7 were a breeze.  The next few needed some coaxing.  Then I had to go and get some food for them.  And then the net.  The last 3 were a bloody pain and it took a bit of chasing and swearing to catch them and there was none of them standing quietly in the tub while I syringed stuff onto them.   A 10min job took me close to 2 hours.  Never again, there has to be an easier way.

But one pen was done with and I was sure it would get rid of the mite and any worm issues with them.
In actual fact the legs of the Isas was not very bad at all and maybe the oil by itself would have worked with them but as I had the stuff I thought it would be good husbandry to do them all.  And good practice for doing the not so quiet ones.

The week after doing the Isas I thought it was hightime to make a proper start on the AussieRocks.  I had been catching and dipping the legs of a few in the oil but there were some I couldn't catch. 

I had tried a few times to lock the AR in their shed and catch them one by one but though I could catch and dip most of them not all of them were cooperative.  I didn't want to start with the potion in case I couldn't remember what was done and what wasn't, I didn't want to doubledose some while leaving some untreated.  This would have to be a job for 2 so I sweet talked the husband into helping.

We coaxed the chooks into their shed with some food.  I had the potion, the oil was in the tub ready, hubby was going to be the chookcatcher.  He caught a chook, I applied the potion to the back of the neck, he dipped the legs in the oil, I opened the door enough for him to shove the treated chook outside...Not really easy but it was a system that worked.  The last few chooks to catch were the smaller mixed breed unfriendly buggers.  We were having to grab them as they flew up the walls trying to escape and put up with their squarking while we worked on them.   Happy to say that they are now all dosed up, oiled and finished with.

That left the rooster pen.  I thought that Rocky would be a problem, he thinks he's a hero and is a tad toey.
We collected a crate, the net, some chook food, the potion and the tub of oil.  We netted him first.  It was a lot easier than we thought it would be, Hubby held him while I applied the potion, Hubby dipped him in the oil and then shoved him into the crate while I put a cover on to keep him in.  Easy.  It was then just a matter of catching the other birds and doing the same with them.  Once treated they were all put back into their pen.

I had done the mothers already, they weren't hard.  I didn't apply potion to the chickens but their legs were oiled.

Happy to say that all the chooks have been treated.

We won't eat any eggs for a couple of weeks.  Instead I will boil them up and feed them back to the chooks.

Over the next couple of weeks I will re-dip the legs of any chooks that I can catch.  It is not really necessary with the potion but it makes me feel better thinking I am doing something for them.   I can see that the legs do look a lot better and I believe the oil is helping with that.

The potion cost me $31 for about 100ml.  There is just under half left.  I need to ring and check if I should redo them all in a week or so but am hoping I don't. 

Over the next few weeks I will plant more Wormwood in all the pens. 
I sprinkle Diatanatious Earth and Lime in the sheds when I clean them out, I feed Garlic...I am picking up more oil tomorrow and will continue dipping legs, for awhile at least.    I'm hoping that using this potion will rid the chooks of this pest and that by doing all the above I can prevent it getting bad again.

Have you had any problems with Scaley Leg Mites or any other chook problems?  I'd be interested in how you dealt with it.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Clucky Chooks Galore Is On my Mind.

I had 5, maybe 6 chooks go clucky.  They were in the main chookpen and so the other eggs were being layed in the boxes and I had no idea what was what.

Last week Hubby said he'd build me some seperate nesting boxes in one of the netted pens and I could put them all out there.  That way the eggs being layed in the main pen stay fresher, the cluckies aren't being bothered by other chooks crowding in on them and when chickens hatch they are in a safe pen.  As it was the eggs were being sat on all day and were sometimes quite warm by the time they were collected.

He has done a wonderful job and I now have 6 seperate boxes.  I have moved a few cluckies out there and they are now on fertile eggs.  I did need to block their exit but as soon as they settle down, probably by tomorrow, the mesh will be removed and they will be able to get off for their food and water.

There is a chook in there, she has sat on her new eggs and seems to be settling in nicely.  I will take the mesh away tonight and keep an eye on her, and the others, tomorrow to make sure they don't abandon the nest.

If this works I am thinking that I might end up with too many chooks but as I already have a couple of people asking me if I have any to sell I will now be able to say yes and not feel bad about selling my main layers. 

The *On My Mind* theme is from Rhonda from over at Down To Earth 
Go over and read her and some of the people from her comment section.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

December Gardens.

We're still eating from the gardens, didn't buy any vegetables during November.  The photos below were taken a few days ago.

TOMATOES are coming along and there are heaps to pick, every day. I have different plants in different areas but most don't have name tags.   Hundreds  OK, not *hundreds* but  too many, of small cherry type ones that Hubby wanted me to pull up.  He says they are too small for anything but he likes the taste.  Grandaughter eats them off the vine so they are staying.  I plan on cooking them up with onions and freezing a pile that way.  No point in drying them again as nobody here eats them like that.  I only like fresh tomatoes cooked in something.  Not raw, not dried...They are an easy plant to grow though and I am going to try and get them established in the food orchard that we are working on.

The vine below is growing in a tank garden out the back.  The roots of it are 3feet away to the left from where the fruit is as it has climbed up through the Passionfruit vine and the Pelagonias.  Nice fruit and self seeded as most here are.  OK Normal tennis ball size fruit.

These tomatoes, below, were seedlings I dug up and rescued from the pigpen.  Small,
yellowy when ripe. Very prolific . 
 Four plants here in one of the fridge gardens, also unknown but bigger than the above ones. 

 There are more Tomato plants, not yet fruiting in various areas of the yard and I have dozens of seedlings coming up in an empty chookpen.  Some have been staked and will stay there but heaps will need to be to  transplanted to somewhere else and that is on this weeks list.  
These ones are, I think, Grosse Lisse.  Hubby likes them because they are big and easy to slice and put on his toast. These are the only ones he wants growing.  I believe we need different types to make sure that there is always something available.  With extra to freeze.  I win!

 I have 1/2 a dozen Black Russian, seedlings from the son in law that have flowers but no fruit yet.  We haven't tried them before so will need to keep some seeds for next year.  One Mystery Tomato, seedling from daughter.  Need to wait and see what that turns out to be.  One Tigerella?  Tigerello?  That's too shaded though and not doing very well.  Had a dozen of these but the slaters ate them.
There are a few plants out the front, also unknown but they have a decent size fruit on them and start earlier than the ones out the back.  Any plant out the front seems to have very little bug problems, I think because there are less and more diverse.

These are starting to look yellow but are growing differently to the other small type.  I should learn to like tomatoes straight from the bush but I try and try again later and I just don't.  These 2 bushes will be pulled up as soon as this lot is ready to pick.
 I managed to get a decent lot of carrots.  Then left them outside for a few days...They were still OK to bake but not too nice raw.
Cucumbers and a few more carrots in here. Cucumbers are doing heaps better than last year so will be able to make up some more Bread and Butter Pickle soon.

BEANS are producing heaps.  We don't eat many cooked, Hubby doesn't like them and I prefer them raw but I have some in the freezer and need to do more as there are too many to eat them the way I like.  I have left a few to get old so that I have something to plant next year but as I *forgot* to label them I can't remember what sort they are.  Daughter will be able to tell me when she sees the seeds.

They have bugs on them though and I need to go out a few times a day to get them off. The same bug is on the Tomatoes.  I call them Stink Bugs, they probably have a *real* name but I haven't learnt it yet
I know, crappy photo but that's how hard it is to see them on the beans too.  They suck the juices out and leave me with not too nice beans and tomatoes so I am out there many times during the day flicking them into a jug of water.  Sorry people, but they have to go and this is the easiest way for me to deal with them.

We are still picking silverbeet and as the daughter gave me heaps of seedlings I now have them in different parts of the yard we so should never run out.  

Silly weather has the Choko fruiting.  Yep, we have Chokos again, that will make him happy.  Not really, this is another thing he wants me to pull out.  He doesn't like them and can't see the point to having them.  I like them, he eats them, not always through choice though and they make nice B&B Pickles.  They are staying.  This vine *may* get removed when I have plenty of others around the place. 
Chokos are supposed to fruit during Autumn so I'm hoping this out of season fruiting isn't a sign of it's demise.

Apricots are falling from the tree so I have to get out there early to get them picked up.  We had a huge issue with fruit fly last year so need to be careful with this.  I love Apricots, another favorite fruit of mine.

Still getting plenty of Strawberries.  This is one lot growing in a fridge garden, there are other plots spread about the place.

 The foam boxes will get Spuds put in them and I plan on doing that next week.

I haven't got enough Lettuce growing, should have put more seeds in months ago but didn't.  Heaps starting to come up now but I will need to think and get more seeds spread around.

Sweet potatoes are still growing but I need to get more normal ones in.  I haven't been too worried about these as I'm not fussed whether I have them or not but in a  zombie uprising survival situation more would be handy.  Same goes for Pumpkin.  Not enough in yet but I do have fruit on the giant pumpkin that I am challenging myself to grow.  More on that soon.

Lots more out there happening and I will update again in the next week or so.  Need to go debug the beans now.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

November Happenings.

Interested in what's been happening here over the last month?  I'll tell anyway so you don't need to answer that.
We had loquats on the tree for the second year.  Last year I think we got 2 or 3, this year 13!  Next year, who knows, I may have enough to dry like the daughter did with here 3 massive trees.  She brought me a box plus some that she had dehydrated, brought me some more...I like Loquats, a lot.  Better than lollies.
I have more chickens and will start trying to sell some of the bigger chooks soon.  I have way too many so not sure why I keep putting eggs under the cluckies.  But the chickens are so cute!  I see it as a waste to not use the fertile eggs and if I can sell a few of the PoL birds it will help pay for their food.
Unfortunately some of them have Scaley Leg at the moment.  I have some vegetable oil to put on them but a few look worse that the others so I went down to my friendly vet and he mixed up a potion for me to put on them.  I will still oil them.  I asked the local fish and chip shop and they gave me half a drum of the old frying oil so I'll do that later.  It will be messy but I think it will help them.
Once they are fixed up I might start thinking about selling some.  That will be early next year now. 
Bloody fox came again.  Took a mother chook and left 7 orphans.  They are a few weeks old and seem to have been adopted by a lone chook that was in with them.  Lots of food is growing.  Apricots are ripening.  Too many for me so I am trying to dry some in the car.  I need to get the dehydrator back from the son.
Parrots are pinching the apples.  I tried netting a tree but I'm not tall enough so it's not very protected.  A job for next week when Hubby is home.
Probably lots more interesting stuff happened but I didn't write it down and now we'll never know...
We went away a couple of times

Better get out there and figure out how to oil the legs of 30 chooks.  Plus 16 chickens and Mums that have  attitude.  And a rooster that thinks he is boss...That one might will be a next week job too I think.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Thursday Night.

I was out at work all day yesterday and though I had half heartedly promised myself that I wouldn't get on the computer until my evening jobs with the animals were started and finished...I was sitting here when the phone rang 10 miutes after I walked in the door...How sad and bad is that!!!!

It was the daughter wanting to borrow my car so she could go to some Christmas thing in a town 20minutes away.  A town that I had just driven through and seen all the road closed and detour signs...
But as she is a revhead that is addicted to her phone and has been known to check it at the lights I said no.  Good aren't I.  But of course I couldn't deprive the poor lil grandkid of seeing the Christmas stuff could I.  So I had to quickly get out there and feed the chickens and pig.  Check that the fox that had been a couple of days ago couldn't get back in, drag the 2x40kilo bags of chookfood out of the car onto the trolley, pull them around the back to the shed and then scoop the contends into their bins, feed the chooks...Inside for a quick shower and something to eat...Out of here only 10minutes later than I told her.

It was a good night though.  We ended up at Edenvale listening the the Christmas carols.  I don't *do* Christmas but I do like the songs of the season.

After it was all finished daughter suggested some Christmas lights that were worth seeing so I drove out to them.  I like seeing all the Christmas lights too but hate the power that they use...Can't have it both ways though...Managed to find the lights and get out of the area again even though I couldn't see where I was going.  I HATE night driving but last night was a bit worse than I remember.  I *might* let the daughter drive next time....

It was a good night though, I didn't spend on anything unnecessary, apart from the candles for the carols...and the popcorn but that came from Coles with the drinks and the bug spray.   Mozzies are so bad up there that we had to walk down to the shop for some repellent so bought some snacks and drinks from there instead of the overpriced vendors.

Back home by 10 and then to bed...after an hour or so on here!...I did miss the bloody thing but geez, I need a bit more discipline.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


My computer guy has just left and as you can see...I'm back.  Did you all miss me as much as I missed being here?  Probably not.  I have missed it A lot!  Sad isn't it but such is my life.  Sadder still, it is bedtime and I am out all day tomorrow so can't get to have a play until tomorrow night.   Hopefully I'll be strong enough to get me after work jobs done first.  See you then.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Wet Weekend.

Looks like we are in for a wet weekend so everything I planned to do will have to be put on hold.  It means next weeks list will be longer but hey, that's not new.
I did an hours mowing yesterday and I bet by the time I can do more that lot will need doing again.

So what can I do when it's raining.  Well, the fire is going so soup or lentil mush will be made.  I made pizza for lunch.  I could tidy up inside again but Hubby is watching TV so I don't like to.  I don't like to anytime but at least today I have a workable excuse.

I will go out between showers and collect snails and slugs.  I always get a few after the rain.  And I could go tidy up in the shed...So a plan is forming.  Snails, look at the then it should be coffee time...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Been Away.

I've been away for a few days but am now home.  Had the daughter come out and lock the chooks up for me so they are all still here.  The grass has grown so much in the 5 days and I now need to start again to get it back under control.  All the gardens look OK.  I'm not home much over the next 2 days but am looking forward to getting out there over the weekend and seeing what's what.

Came home to a lovely tidy and clean house, big thanks to T for that.  AND a great tea.  She had been very busy, the meal was fantastic and we have enough left for my work lunches and tomorrows meal. 

Looks like the Slaters have had a feast so I need to deal with them.   We have a fridge full of eggs.  I need to sort them out and get more in the freezer.  Plenty of weeds to be pulled.

 Tidying up again as daughter had to deal with a snake...Only a small one but the chooks were pecking at it and then she lost sight of it in the weeds and long grass...Then she sees it again...I need the grass short and stuff put away so we can see where they go.

So much to do and I have the van back now and want to go awandering as well.  I'm so glad I don't work full time, I have no idea how people manage that.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


I'm doing more sprouts.  I have done a couple of lots since daughter gave me the lentils but thought I'd tell you all how I do them.  It's not hard, they are good for you and yummy to eat.

You don't need anything special so if you haven't tried it before why not give it a go.

This week I am doing Lentils and Chickpeas.  I haven't sprouted chickpeas before so I'm hopping they'll be nice.

You need a jar.  I'm using a different jar for each seed.  Something to cover the jar, you need to be able to strain the water out so stocking, cheesecloth, muslin...

*I put 2 soupspoons of seed in each jar.  The seeds swell up and take up room as they sprout so the amount you use will depend on the size of your jar.  I like to do smaller amounts more often..
*Cover with water and soak.  I usually soak overnight but this lot is being started in the morning so will be soaked until this evening.  I use a spoon handle to push down on the stocking as I pour the water in.  It lets the water through easier and there is less mess.
*After soaking strain water, into a bowl or jug.   Don't pour it down the sink, use it on the garden or potplants.
*Each morning/evening cover seeds with water again, swoosh around and strain.  I turn the jar upside down and prop it up a bit so all the water drains away.  I also use a spoon handle or something similar to press up on the stocking.  It allows the water to drain better.
* When the sprouts are the size you like, 3-7 days, put them in the fridge to keep them fresh.  I like to use them within a few days but have left them for a week and they were OK.

I have them with salad, in sandwiches, by themselves, add to stirfries...However you want.  Try them with everything or by themselves as a snack.

Day 1.
Day 3
Day 5.
  Ready to eat.

Use clean water for soaking and rinsing.  I use rainwater because that is what we have but would use tap water if we were in town and connected to scheme water.  Our house water is not potable so I wont use that.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Strawberry Season.

I usually manage to find a few strawberries to munch on while I'm wandering around the yard checking out all the different garden areas but a couple of days ago I had to come inside and get a bowl as there were too many to eat while awandering.

Add that plateful to the ones that were already in the fridge and I had too many to eat fresh, nice as they are.  We don't eat jam so how else can we eat them...Yep, add the mankyist ones to some milk, add a chopped up frozen banana, drink some, freeze leftover and tada... 

Wrap frozen icepoles in recycled plasic and put back in freezer until grandaughter or husband sees them.

Do the same in a few days because I haven't eaten the ones in the fridge and there are more to pick...

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Moving Sand

Thankyou for all the comments yesterday and the concern for me. 
When I was thinking about moving the sand I was going to use the big barrow to do the 3 loads but was a bit concerned myself as to how I would go.
As luck would have it the big barrow had bluemetal in it and I couldn't be bothered emptying it so used the *girly* barrow instead.  This one has a weight limit so I couldn't overfill it, not too much anyway.

 So the 3 loads yesterday were done without too much struggling.

As a few suggested, I will start off small, do the 3 for a week or so then move on to bigger and more often.  I will get the front yard filled in first as there are lots of low spots from when we shifted the fence and garden.

I have the grandaughter here this morning, the Really Really Free Markets at noon and working this afternoon so wont be home 'til tonight sometime.  I can't see too much being done here but will try for the 3 loads and the 30min mowing.

I have more chickens so need to clean out their nest and get them some clean hay, peas need picking, rat traps need checking and shifting...I need to water a few gardens...
Of course the house needs tidying again but I can't do it all can I! 

Better get stuck into things.  The GD can *help* with the sand and I will mow as soon as she leaves.  Chop chop...what, it's coffee time?  Gosh!  There's always something...

Finally we started.
Girl Power Rulz!!

 Some of us did slack off before the 3 loads were done but hey, that's what life is out here.  Fun and games...for some anyway.

Millipede, found in the sand.
Who's the King of the Castle.

After 5 loads we came in for breakfast. 
Time for french toast with organic honey and strawberries. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

On My Mind... Lots of hard work.

We have just had a load of sand delivered and I need to get it to where I want it out the back and around the yard.  There is a LOT of sand there.
I'm wondering how to handle it...I could leave it until we get the Dingo back and that would be easier but may be a few weeks away or if I wheelbarrow it I could count it as my Get Fitter exercise...But there is a lot of sand there and I'm not very fit or strong, it will be a lot of hard work, more than walking or bikeriding or mowing...

I'm thinking I could do a few barrow loads whenever throughout the next few days and see how I go.  I'm sure that there will still be plenty there when the Dingo gets returned.

This will be a challenge.  See how much I get get shifted by myself but do at least 3 loads a day.

It's too hot now though so it will have to wait until this evening.  But if it is too hard that means I'll have to do all 3 at once and not be able to have long breaks in between...Hmmm...better do one now to see what I am up against. 

Coffee first.  And though it is already 10.30 I haven't had breakfast yet so might do that first too...

On My Mind is something that Rhonda over at Down To Earth puts on each Friday.. 
It's fun. 
What's on your mind today?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pass Me The Grass Killer.

Or I could order in a truck load of concrete.  I want to do both.

I have been out mowing, the mower is making me cranky as it's not working properly and we have not long ago forked out money on getting it to...I will have to use the smaller *girly* 4stroke but I like, or used to like, this bigger 2stroke as it has a lot more grunt.

I have decided to mow and count it as my moving to get fit as there is so much to do and I feel bad when I walk and then don't mow.  Now I will mow and not walk.  The mowing is a lot harder.  It gets me pushing and using more muscle that the easy walks I was, or wasnt, doing.

I give the grass to the chooks, they eat the seeds, scratch around in it, poop in it, I rake it up and feed the gardens with it.  It is a never ending circle that goes on and on and on....

The grass here is thick and we never water it but it keeps on growing...and growing.  It never lets up but this time of year it seems to grow twice as fast.  Faster than I can mow.  It is a challenge to keep it under control. And in saying that, I am off to do another 30minutes.  That should get the back area finished.  Then it will be the front, then outside the front fence then the back will be overgrown again...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday Morning. Chook Chat.

It's going to be quite warm here today, around 30 and last night and this morning the Eastilies have hit with force.  Everything is being blown around.   When the wind drops though it will be hot.  I'm not very good with hot weather so should be out there doing me jobs now...but it's too windy for me.  Gosh I sound hard to please and really I'm not.  Hot coffee, good book, doesn't take much at all.  Just no big winds and hot weather please.

We haven't seen any sign of the fox since the killing but have been offered the use of a tried and true home made foxtrap and will get that next week and set it up out the back.   A big problem we have is that our chook pens are big and not all the chooksheds in the pens have a door so can't be shut up.  Because of their size not all the pens are netted over the top but they are high fences with wobbly wire that points outwards running along around  the top so the foxes can't climb up and over.

I have three pens in use at the moment.
*The one that we have just trenched and tinned, in use by my breeding chooks, not netted and wasn't trenched and tinned all around but hopefully safe now.  We are going to put a door on their shed so they can be locked up though.
*one with the HyLines in. The Hylines can be shutup but I don't always remember to do them
*and the 2 orchard pens that I have my AussieRocks in.  The orchard pens have a shared  shed that all the chooks get locked up in at night, but not all year round.  I start locking these ones up during early spring and hope I start before the foxes do.  I alternate the side of the orchard that the chooks can get to..
I also have 2 netted pens that I use for chickens, safe from crows and other things WHEN I shut the gates.

My problem is that by evening I am so sore and tired that I don't always think to shut the doors/gates.   The chooks don't *go to bed* until it's dark and by then I am usually finished for the day and ready for bed myself.   Really, because of my slackness in this area, we are lucky that we haven't lost more.  I did lose some a few years ago...We did a lot more work on the pens after that and seem to have been left alone since so I was lulled into what now has  proven to be a false sense of security.
If I only had a dozen or so chooks then a smaller totally prison-like pen would be easy to have.   I want lots of chooks so it means more work and some losses until we get it right.  Hopefully now we have.

It's still blowing a gale out there but I best be off...I need to make more coffee...

Friday, October 14, 2011

On my Mind...Fox Proofing.

On my mind today is something that Rhonda Jean puts on every week and today Flippin' Foxs' is on my mind.  Not actually flipping them though I would like to flip them to the bottom of the river but fox proofing a pen is on my mind. As the pen in question has not had a problem with any fox before we thought that it was alright and safe.  But no...this fox has come up into the yard and dug up my garden and gotten in under the fence and killed 2 of my AussieRocks.  The chooks I get the fertile eggs from.

The bleedin' thing even dug up my Jerusalem Artichokes and I was already starting to worry about those not growing.

Maybe I thought they wouldn't come in this way because we are in the area throughout the day so our people smell would be around, dogs run around this area, it's close to the house...All reasons that mean jack!
I probably made it easier for them as I cleared an area to plant the JA so it is soft plant free area...

So today we will be digging trenches and burying tin to try and stop them digging under again.

I have such a long list of other stuff that I need to get done but that will all be put off until we get this pen sorted.

I will also need to choose a few more chooks to put in with the rooster (*roosters?) as the lone definate chook that is left in there is looking a bit stressed.  As you would I supose if you see/hear your friends getting attacked...

* roosters?   I have 2 big birds in this pen.   One is definatly a rooster and always has been.  The has always been a big bird, part Plymouth Rock, but lately, after 2 years, it has started crowing so I do not know if it is a he or a she.  Maybe it doesn't know itself...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

And Again...

Another, or the same, fox has killed 2 more chooks.  I hear something early Tuesday morning, around 5ish, so got out of bed, grabbed the torch and went out to check.  All the gates were shut and I didn't hear anything else, didn't see anything, so thought it must have been something else...Went back to bed and kinda heard something, Hubby was snoring so I lie there listening, yep something.  It's 5.30 and I say to Hubby that there is something in with the chooks and we both go out.  Didn't see anything but heard *it*  And of course 1 chook is dead and it looks like the fox had been trying to pull it out under the fence where it has dug a small hole to get in..  I later found a second chook not far from the fence.  In the last 6 years this is the pen that I believed was the most fox proof.  One has come up near the house again and dug up where I have the Jerusalem Artichokes planted.  Bloody thing!  We had traps set last night and Hubby was ready with the gun but they didn't come back.  This is where I had put the breeding chooks as I was worried about them being out behind the shed.  The rooster is still there and I have other chooks that I can put in with him but these were nice looking chooks and good layers so I was getting enough fertile eggs to keep the flock sustainable.  The rooster is a bit *toey* but if I lose him I wont be able to get chickens for awhile.  Yes, I know I could easily get another one but this one was hatched and raised by us so I'd like him not to get his head bit off.

More work to do now, I'm out all day but luckily Hubby is home for a few days.   All the jobs on my list will be moved down as getting this pen fixed up is more important.

Monday, October 10, 2011

More *Frig* Words.

I went for a walk yesterday and saw a dead snake on the road, my first one for this season and thought that yes, now's the time to have all the grass short and the yard tidied...OK, I know I should have the grass kept short and the yard tidy all the time but this is me talking and as much as that I know I should and I do want to and I do try...This time of the year it really is a must.

I was in having lunch and thinking about what I need to get done this afternoon when I heard the AussieRocks going off their nut and knew right away why but I run out there, run back in and put me boots on and run out again.  It seems that I can run when I need to...And yes, there is a snake in their shed.  Of course with all these chooks having a go at it it slithers into where the Mumma chook and her 3 babies are...and they can't get out.  What to doWhat to do...I run (yes, again!) back in and grab the camera (what was I thinking!) and the phone, put the camera down and grab a shovel instead and phone the son.  The snake is in the chicken area and the mumma chook is going nutso so I keep one eye on the snake while I reach in and move a board so that she and her chicks can get out.  She gets out but 1 little chicken is trapped in with the snake and every time it tries to get out the snake moves around more, whether it's trying to get the chicken or not I don't know..
In the meantime the son leaves work and comes to my rescue. 

Thank goodness for people that can handle these things.  Hubby had left for work an hour earlier and if son wasn't around I would have had to call someone else but would have had to come inside for phone numbers and would have lost sight of the snake.  The 5foot, what looks like, Tiger snake.

All is now safe but there will be a next time so I think the next thing to do is look up numbers of who to call if there is no-one who can come and help.  Off to do that now.

Be careful People, it's snake season again.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Lone Survivor.

This is the 1 surviving chicken from the flooding and the fox attack
I have it in a box in the bathroom at night. 
Daughter brought the soft toy out for it and it sleeps on top of that at night.

 I put it out under the table during the day.   
This table was given to us and as it has birdcage frames connected to the legs it makes a safe place for any chickens that we have to get out on the grass and have a scratch for bugs. 
When it's a bit wet and cold out there I put a box with hay in with them for shelter and warmth.
If I am outside and able to keep an eye on it I let it scratch around the yard and gardens.

I'm hoping that nothing else happens to this little chick.  It has probably been stressful for it but it is also stressful for me and I don't handle stress too well.  So Little Chicky, stay safe.


I like Lentils, I mainly buy the split red ones and add them to lots of things that I cook.  They are cheap and healthy and though Hubby is not as keen on them he eats stuff I make for me that has them in.  So I figure...If I eat them I should grow them.

So, I'm going to try and grow some Lentils.  Has anyone here done that?  Any tips please?

 I had mentioned wanting to sprout some to the daughter, she said she had some whole ones, I only had the split ones and of cause they wont sprout.  Silly me! 
Now I have enough to try sprouting and growing them. 
How cool would that be, to be able to grow your own...

My daughter gifted me them yesterday, along with lotsa other cool stuff so I have no excuse and will find a jar and start on the sprouting today.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Busy Day Ahead.

It is a lovely sunny day here so far today and I have so much to do and feel like doing so little...

I had someone coming to get some eggs so thought I should do a quick tidy-up inside and did start but...She has been and gone so the rest will be put off 'til later...Or tomorrow...But only because I have too much to do outside and really would rather be out there even if I didn't have anything to do. 
But the fridge needs cleaning out so I can fit more eggs in there.  Quiche for tea I think.  Again!

I need to get more mowing done and plan on at least a half hour so I can add it to my *get fit* writings.  This means that I need to bag up the old clippings that the chooks have been scratching over for me so I can add this next lot to the GC area.

The chooksheds need cleaning out and fresh hay put in.  I have 2 or 3 possible clucky chooks that I need to sort out and maybe move.  But to move them I need to clean up the feathers and stuff from where the fox attack happened and put more hay in that pen.  I have a dozen fertile eggs so really need to make my mind up there and get things sorted.

More seeds need to be planted and I MUST get some Pepinos shifted to another area and though I now have the area where I will put them dug over and ready it's been a week and I still haven't done them. 

I am awaiting on some seeds from a giant pumpkin so should decide where I am going to plant them and get the area fed and ready.   They didn't come today so I now have the weekend but I'm sure the seeds will be here on Monday and apart from burying a dead chook in one possible spot I haven't done much else.  And it's supposed to be a competition!

I bought some Diatomatious Earth and need to get more sprinkled around the gardens and in the chook sheds when I rake them out.  A couple of days ago I tried a bit on an area covered in slaters  and the slaters aren't there this morning...I'm hoping they are dead and not just shifted places.  I need to go slater hunting.

The worm farm needs fixing, it is wet and near empty so I need to look up what to do about that.  These are Hubby's worms but it doesn't look like he thought to do them yesterday and he isn't here today.

I will have the little chicken with me while I am working around out the front.   I have it in a box in the bathroom at night and out in an under the table enclosure during the day but let it out to scratch around if I am weeding or just sitting out there.  It is becoming quite friendly.

Better finish me coffee and get started.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Frig, Frig and Frigging Frig!!

We had another night time visitor last night.  Hubby and I heard a noise around 1am and both get up to go see what it was.  I thought it was the chooks, he says the cat has the bandicoot.  He goes out the back door I go out the front.  He says again the cats there, something went in your garden still thinking a bandicoot.  I walked out the front towards where I usually see the bandicoot but know straight away that is wasn't that.  I smelt fox and sure enough looking around we find the feathers with blood and then I remember that I didn't shut the chookshed door or the gate to the chicken pen.  Go in the pen and see more feathers then find the black chook, dead.  No other chook, no chickens...

This fox has come right up in the yard near the house and through 2 open gates to get to these chooks. 

I feel angry with myself as I kinda knew that I should shut the gates...I didn't 'cause I was so sore and tired and in bed by half past eight and I couldn't be bothered getting up again and going outside.  Husband says they'll be right but I should have shut the gates. 

This morning we hear chicken chirping so I get up and I find 1 little chicken in the garden, all cold and alone.  I have it in a box but it will be lonely now and is at that stage of few feathers so now I may need to set up a light for it for nights and we don't have any of the globes that give off heat only those stupid new things.   So I'm feeling out of sorts for all kinds of reasons this morning.  AND!!  The crows are back stealing the eggs.  Not sure where from but I see them flying off with eggs and want to shoot them in the head! 

Off for another coffee and I think I need a *chill pill*

Friday, September 30, 2011

Night-time Visitor.

I am home alone but expecting husband to show up anytime.   Sitting here when I hear the front door move but then nothing, there should be more sound if it is him.  I turn the light on for him but still no other sound so I go in the bedroom and look out that window, nothing there, no-one anywhere...But a bucket has been moved and is on it's side.  The wind maybe, it is a bit windy...I decide it was the wind and not boogymens so go out and set the bucket up and put it away from the wind.  I happen to see a movement up the other end of the verandah and of course!  I remember we have a bandicoot that likes to get the chookfood from the buckets that I leave out.  So he must have tipped this one over, found it empty so went looking in the other one.  He didn't seem that fussed that I was there so I came in to get the camera and he was still there when I went out again and I managed to get quite close, within 4feet, of it.

Isn't it so cute.  I don't know how many we have here now but I'm thinking this is the one that goes between the chookpens, it digs under the gates and the fences and I am forever filling in the gaps so the chickens can't get out.  These are another reason I don't want to use poisons or snap traps for the rats.

September Veg.

We didn't buy any veg throughout September but were lucky enough to be given a couple of cabbages from family to add to what we had growing here.  I appreciate the stuff that we get given and realise that things would sometimes be a bit tight without this generosity of others.

It all helps the little that I am doing out there be enough to keep us fed which is just as well but how things will be over the next few months is anybodies guess.  There is a bit out there growing and if we can get on top of the slaters then we might make it through the rest of the year but I am not having much luck with getting these pests under control without resorting to poisons.

With the warm weather coming though we will be eating more salads so I think that another bag of carrots will need to be bought sometime.

The only fruit we have eaten from our garden is a few handfuls of Strawberries.   I really need to work on getting something producing fruit every month.  More trees, berries, something...More research in this area is needed.

There is still plenty of fish and meat in the freezers and some close to use by date meat had been gicen to us again so apart from a few feeds of liver no meat had had to be bought. 
Eggs have been eaten on a regular basis as we have plenty of them.

Three months to go and though things may be a bit lean I am still hopeful that we wont have to buy much but am really not too fussed if carrots are needed and bought.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Rat Traps.

I was concerned awhile ago about the rats out in the pen where the chickens are but I have been noticing more and more droppings out in the garden shed as well.  I call it the garden shed, it is more of a dumping area for my garden stuff like the mowers, seeds, chook-food, tools, pots, crap...There is no organisation and anything is anywhere.   There are 2 bench areas at the back, hard to get to because I have dumped stuff in front and these have become covered in droppings.  Big mouse, small rat, something not wanted either way.

But we have bandicoots here and skinks live in this shed so as poisons and snap traps were out I have been hunting around for humane traps that catch the *whatever* alive. 

I bought the 2 wire cages on the left first, $14+ each.  I was told that they were the last 2 and they wouldn't be selling that type again which was a bummer as they were the ones I wanted but I have found a shop in Pinjarra that sells them but they are a few dollars more.  I will pay the extra and get a couple next week, just to save  searching around for longer.  The 2 coloured ones in the middle are mouse traps from our hardware store, they were under $5 each and the mouse trap with the wooden floor is from the rural supplier in town here, $10  It works on the same principle as the first two but doesn't seem as strong and has a wooden bottom whereas the others seem better with a wire bottom.  Much easier to clean.   So at the moment we have 5 traps, all easy to set but the plastic mouse ones are a bit of a trap themselves as they go off but we can't see what, if anything, is inside them.  I want to know what I am picking up even if it makes me squeal.

The first week I had the wire traps set up in the shed and we caught 3 rats... Hubby was  home so he dealt with them.  He thought he had some rats in his shed too so put one of these traps in there and caught something on the second night.
Not a rat and just as well it wasn't a snap trap or this little thing would have been *snapped* 
He has been taken out the back and let loose.
If I am home alone and I trap a skink then I'll let it go out the back.  If it's a mouse or a rat I will...Don't know what I will do with it.  If I can bring myself to pick up the trap with a live rat in it then I will probably, maybe, take it down the road and let it out.  I'd have to make sure that there was no-one around as I know there will be some squealing and carrying on going on.  They are small rats and kinda cute too...But they do gotta go...somewhere, somehow...

I need to buy a few more traps and set them up in the chicken pens as I know there are rats out there and maybe be a bit more careful when getting the chookfood out.  Spilt chookfood brings rats and mice and rats and mice brings snakes...Rats I can handle but I'd rather not encourage more snakes.