Monday, January 31, 2011

Snake Update.

I haven't seen the snake/s since Thursday but I still have the trap out near the pens.  I will shift it tomorrow and put fresh milk in there.  What I will do if one decides to get in there though I have no idea.  Leave it for someone else to deal with I think. 

The trap that we are using is a square metal box thing with 4 entry points, 2 each side.  The idea is that the snake goes in a cone shaped spiky opening and can't come out again because of the spikes.  The live snake can then be relocated.  It will be good if it works as it was quite expensive and was bought after having 3 snakes here within weeks of each other late last year.

We get quite a few snakes here but I still let the yard get messy and the grass and gardens are, more often than not, overgrown.  We also walk around without shoes and I garden without gloves.  We know the dangers but don't seem to take them seriously.  Which is dumb really. We get Tiger snakes and Dugites, bites from both are deadly if not treated and still we ignore the risks. 
I suppose I trust in their fear of us and luck to not get bitten.

I have spent a few hours out there today though, getting the long grass around a few overgrown areas down.  I mowed and tidied around the house on Friday and will be out there again tomorrow.  Mowing grass here seems to be a never ending job, I cannot seem to keep it under control at all.  By the time I finish one area another needs doing again.  It does make me jump though when I step near a stick and it moves!

We haven't had any in the house yet but mice and skinks can get in here there is no reason why a snake couldn't.  Maybe I should tidy up inside as well...just in case.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


I am still worried about the fox from last night and the chooks have been noisier than usual so I have been going in and out to them all morning.  It's just happened again but more so.  So I hear the cjhooks going nutso in their house open the door and see the last 2foot of a Dugite going out into the food forest part.  Bugger.  I know it was a Dugite because of the olive green colour.  Anyway the grass is too long everywhere and I lose it.
I go back in to check the house and see a stick along the back wall, what starts to move.  So, OK, not a stick.  The snake must have come back into the house but looks smaller.

That goes into the pen where I have the chickens.  I'm starting to freak out a little bit.  I remember Hubby bought a snake trap which also is supposed to catch mice and he has it in the shed. I go get that, no mice so I need some snake bait.  Milk!  I go inside to put some shoes on, thought I'd better, get some milk and come back out and a snake, NOT THE SAME COLOUR, is where I want to go!! 

I have put the trap with a tray of milk in where I last saw a snake.  A different colour one to the one in the shed.  This one was a light, milky colour.  Can snakes change colour?  Please tell me that they do otherwise I have more than one snake out there. 

And Hubby is right, If I didn't have so much shit laying around the place they would have nowhere to hide and probably wouldn't stay.

I know I have to go out there and find out where it is and...what?  Chase it away?  Yeah, right.  I can't get to the chicken pen though as the snake was last seen in the area just before it and it is full of bags of mulch, pots, bin of potting mix, chicken cage, crap...

So now I need to mow the grass as well as everything else. 

Might have a little cry first though.

Friggin' Fox.

I am usually up by 6, I think 5 is a good time to be getting up.  This morning I was up and out *fox hunting* at 1.30 so I'm blaming that for the 7.45 wake up time this morning.  I mean, 7:45!!  That's insane. I'll have to get a move on soon to get things done before it gets too hot.

But back to the fox.  We have had foxes here before.  They have killed a lot of my chooks and my ducks in the past.  Hubby has fixed fences and built me fox proof ones and last year we had no trouble at all.  This year I could smell something out along the front fence and me and the son both reckon it smelt of fox but they haven't got to the chooks at all.

So last night I hear a noise, thought one of the chooks that insist on roosting on top of the fence had fallen and got itself caught so go out to rescue it.  The front light gets turned on, I get a torch and go have a look but no there are 2 chooks on the fence, so the bugger has got one to join it.
I see a movement in the driveway and think the cat is coming so I wait so it can come in the door instead of walking around to the cat flap. I know, soft cat owner here.  But the animal that walks up my driveway, past my van towards the front of the house where I am with a torch and the light on is a fox.  It walks past the end of the verandah, less than 5metres from me, up between the house and shed heading out the back.  I walk towards it making a lot of noise and the thing stops, turns towards me and makes a noise at me, not realing a growl but it worried me so I backed off.  It then stops out the back where I had left a bag and chews on the strap for a bit, I throw a potato at it but miss but the thing still doesn't run away.  I grab a *weapon* in this case a scoop net that was laying on the ground but by then it is walking out the back and I lose it in the paddock.

But I have chooks around behind the shed so I have to go check on them but now I am scared of this fox, do foxes attack people?  Maybe not normal ones but normal ones don't walk near houses that have lights on and people around.  Do they?  It was quite a big fox, skinny  though so it must have been foxes have diseases that people can get...

I go back to bed but was up at every little noise.  So I sleep in and now I will worry about this thing coming back and getting the chooks.  We are away this weekend too and though the chooks can be locked up it's hard to get them into their houses before dark so not really nice to ask the daughter to do that.  And they don't all have fox proof pens.  But I worry about my new AussieRocks.  I will be so sad if they get taken.

I have set up solar lights in one of the pens thinking they wouldn't come near the lights but that theory just got shot to pieces.  Hubby will ask why I didn't shoot it.  I would have had plenty of time but I don't feel safe loading the gun and am not a good enough shot anyway.  What are the chances of it coming back for the chooks.  It could have gotten into the pens I think, if it really tried.  The pens out the back are not foxproof at all.  I'll need to fix those before we go away so another job for today.

I'll be up with every little noise tonight too but I think I'll leave the shed wireless on, that might help deter it. 

I could spend the day practicing with the gun and target shooting but I don't think I could bring myself to shoot an animal.  Even one that should be.

A long time ago when the son was 12/13 he used to go camping and I warned him to be careful of foxes and other *critters* 
People used to mock me for being a worrywort,.with something that I never said.  "You'll get seriously killed by that fox"  Last night as I was out walking in the dark I was wondering if it was a premonition and would I be the one found with bits chewed off of me. 
It was late, there was a wild animal around, I was tired...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Book 2, The Valley of Horses.

The second book in the Earth's Children series was just as great as the first one.

It tells of Ayla's life after being banished from the Clan and of her wanting to find *the others*, people like her. Of her not knowing where the others might be and finding a cave and how she goes about setting up home there by herself and gets prepared to spend a winter there alone.  It tells of her having to learn to go against Clan beliefs so she can survive.
It also tells of Jondalar who undertakes a journey with his brother, how they meet another group of people and stay with them, what happens with them, why they leave and how it comes about that Ayla rescues Jondalar from Baby, a cave lion that she raised from a cub.
The two people then spend time in this valley, learning about their different ways, until they decide to leave.

How this women spends a few years in this valley by herself is a great read and her meeting and having to learn the ways of a stranger adds interest.

Summer Rain.

I love it when it rains during Summer.  It cools and refreshes everything and the gardens seem to shoot upward to show their pleasure as well.  Unfortunately the grass does the same.  I need to rethink *mowing the grass* and start thinking *collecting chookfood and mulch* but it's easier to think the negative when I am out there trying to push the mower through the thick, long stuff.

It's been raining here on and off yesterday, most of the night and is still raining now.  Not a lot but we have puddles everywhere and I had to wear a rain jacket earlier when I was outside. 
I have put the chickens in a pen and though they had plenty of shade I had taken the tin that sheltered the last lot during winter away.  This morning I worried about them so went out and set up another dry area for them.  They probably couldn't care less, they all seem to like being out in the rain but it makes me feel better knowing they have a dry warm spot to go into if they want.

I lit the fire this morning, not because it is cold but it will get me up and cooking stuff.  I will do a pot of lentil and veg mush but I mainly want it to make up a batch of Zucchini Pickle.  Hubby tasted some at work and asked for the recipe and I now have that plus everything else needed for it so...That is what I will be doing later.  He says it is something that makes Zukes taste good and as I have a few bigger ones here I will use some of them up for this.

The rain does mean that I will be inside most of the day.  And I have the new computer.  And my arms are sore so I won't be able to do as much book reading as I want.  Which, if you can read between the lines, basically means that I will have a near wasted day on here.  But it is Monday and Monday is MY Day so it doesn't matter, today I can do what I want and not feel guilty.

Do you ever have a *your day*?  What do you like to do during your time?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Book 1. Clan of the Cave Bear.

A few months ago daughter L was talking about a book that she had read, it sounded interesting so I borrowed it from her.  It was one of the best books that I have read in a long, long time. 
There are a few books in this "Earth Children" series, written by Jean M. Auel, and all are available from my local library.
The books tell about life on a glacial continent of the last Ice Age.

The first book in this series is "The Clan of the Cave Bear."  It is the story of Ayla, a 5 year old girl who is orphaned because of an earthquake, survives alone for a few days but is injured and found by a different race of people and raised by them. 
It is about her life growing up with people who are so different to her.
At the end of the book she is a young person still when she is banished from the Clan and has to leave.

Ayla has to learn how to communicate with the Clan as they don't talk with words but use sign language.  Ayla thinks differently to them and it causes problems for her.  To the Clan she is a child of the Others but they raise her as one of their own.

This is a great book.  It was one that I found hard to put down once I had started it.  I found it so interesting that computer time was given up so I could read the book.
There were times that I had to put it down as I was worried about what was happening but within minutes I was back into it again.
I found it interesting, exciting, sad in places...I couldn't wait to finish and start on the next one.

I thought it was a great book and would recommend it to anyone. 

I read the paperback version, 588pages.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Out With The Old, In with The New...Computer That Is.

My computer leaves here this morning and when I get it back it will be bigger, faster, get the drift.
I will be able to be on here for more than a few minutes before it freezes or shuts down, I will be able to upload photos again, I will be able to go back to reading ALL the blogs I like and not just a few, I will be able to *reseach* more stuff...I will probably be back to wasting more time on the thing but as my book is nearly finished I can use that time.  Can't ride the ex bike while on here though like I sometimes do when I am reading but not all things happen the way we want. lol.

I have been told that it may be gone for 3 days!!!  Just imagine all that I will be able to get done in that time.  If I don't start another book that is.  I have a list so we'll see.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Trotting The Day Away.

For the last few months I have been noticing a sign on my way to and from Pinjarra, A sign saying when the next meeting is and that entry is free.  I must admit it was the big *FREE* that first made me interested but the fact that I hadn't been to the Trots for near on 30 years also got me wanting to go again.
They are no longer called Trots though, it is now Pacing but the horses still pull the little cart behind them.  I presume that is still called a spider but things change and they may have changed the name of that as well.

So yesterday we went.  I suggested a budget of $20 each to cover food, drinks and bets.  Hubby said it couldn't be done but accepted the challenge.  I enjoyed it and Hubby says he'll go again too.  The fact that he had a few wins helped there but I would have gone again regardless.

I am a very conservative better and 50cents each way is my kind of betting but I did go all out a few times and bet $1 each way.  Hubby was putting $4 on some races but I wasn't game enough.  Mind you he always got more back than me, except when he picked the wrong horse and I collected my 60cents winnings.

These meetings are less than 20 minutes away from here and start around lunch time so next time we go we will take an esky and a rug and have a picnic there.  Hubby spent a third of his budget on drinks and he is right when he says that taking his own next time will allow him to bet bigger.  Hmmm.  Still it's all fun, it's not like we're risking sheep stations or our last million.

Some people study the form guides, take notice of trainers and drivers and compare past results.  I looked at the names of the horses and picked funky sounding ones.  Sometimes I was lucky, sometimes I lost a dollar.

Hubby came home with more than he went with but I was down half my money so it looks like he had the better system but I think I'll stick to my way.  It was fun.

What new, fun thing have you done lately?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Tomotoes Are Done.

I have enough jars/bottles of Tomato Relish to last around 5 months.   I ended up pureeing most of it and I will use it instead of Barbecue sauce.  We don't eat a lot of pasta but I would use it with that as well though my SiL says it's not really a pasta sauce. 

Today I had some with savory pikelets for lunch, Hubby had some over his spuds that he had with his tea.
I did modify the recipe I used, I added zucchini and capsicum to one lot, I just can't seem to follow a recipe as it is written.  Tastes good though.

I tried drying some in the oven.  I knew that I should have put the timer on or not gone on the computer but hey, you get that.  And as a result you get burnt dried tomato.  Some of it was OK. lol.  The second lot I put in the oven when I was finished with the fire and it was going to be going out. I forgot about that lot too and when I remembered them the following day they were dried but stuck hard to the tray.  Still tasted OK but there were bits that had to be soaked off.  Gee I'm good!

We have more outside ready to be picked and a few manky ones inside that I will curry and freeze for Hubby.

All in all it was a successful saucy afternoon and something that I will be more inclined to do  now that I know I can.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Really Really Free Markets.

These are coming up again.

I was too sick to go to the last one but heard from people that did about something that I would have liked. 
I have to go to these ones in case it is there again.

Oh...and I have some stuff that needs a new home.  And there are usually some yummy muffins on offer.  And the idea is great and needs the support of more people.  And it gets me off the computer for a couple of hours.

I hope to be there.  Maybe I'll see you there too.

Tomatoes is on my mind.

I have lit the fire, the kettle is on and while I was over at
checking out her Tomato Relish recipe I saw her post about this..thought I'd give it a go, so here we are.  Another post about tomatoes. How lucky are you guys!!

I have a few recipes that look good but I will also get the dehydrater out and try to dry some again.  Last time I tried this though they can't have been done properly as they went mouldy.   Idiot!!  I have the stove going so I should be putting some in the oven not using power.  It's all a thinking thing isn't it.

Daughter was here last night and they had been over to Spud Shed and she had bought a box of tomatoes.  Silly Girl, if she answered her phone sometimes she would have known I had heaps.  More for me to play around with...but there are so many...and am not a good cook...and there are so many...
I made a really nice tomato sauce recipe, years ago, but cannot find the recipe now so anything I do today will be new so I hope they taste OK. 

I don't like following recipes but I supose that for this I should and then next time work on some changes. Like adding zuchinni.  I have heaps of that too.

'Nother thought, make different batches, write down what I think and pick the best for next time. 

I better go search for those jars that are *somewhere*.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


We are picking lots of tomatoes, too many to eat fresh so I have been freezing a few bags to use over winter but thinking that I should save some to make chutney or sauce with.

Son brought a crate of food for the pig out yesterday so I shoved him out of the way had a peek to see if there was anything good for us.  There usually is and we're not too proud to eat pig-food.
The crate looked like it was full of bags of tomatoes.  A closer look showed that they were in pretty good condition, not sure what was wrong with them really.  So I told him to leave the crate and I would *feed the pig* later.  Yeah right.  But I now have over 20 kilo of tomatoes to cook up and do something with.
Under the bags of tomatoes was a pile of carrots, still firm and clean so I baggsed them as well.   Tried out my *new* juicer and made some juice with some of them and some other stuff.  'Twas nice.

I'll have to light the woodstove tomorrow, we don't have a gas stove, so I hope it's not going to be too hot.  I'll have to find a recipe to use so might do that tonight.
Last year Daughter L. made tomato chips, dried them in a car, and they were so nice. I could try that.

What would you do with 20kilo of tomatoes?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

January, 2011.

We are still growing enough to eat and I have just been out there and started thinking about what we will be eating this month and what I need to get in for the months ahead so thought that I'd come in and write it down somewhere easy for me to find the information at a later date.  This be the spot.

Asparagus.  This is more or less finished though I did just have a couple of spears while I was outside.
It looks like a lot of the stuff that I got from M awhile ago has died off.  One of the tank gardens that I put some in is really dry and sandy so I will need to fix that and one lot in a half 44gal drum looks like it is waterlogged so that's not doing too good either.

Tomatoes.  Picking heaps of these.  One plant in a half drum has died for some reason.  I have 5 plants out the back that we are picking from now and younger plants in the tank garden with flowers on them.  Two more half drums with a plant in each, big with flowers.
I need to make up some chutney or sauce or something but without a stove I haven't done it yet.  Was thinking I might light the wood stove but it's been pretty warm.

Capsicum.  We are picking plenty of these, green as well as red.  I have 4 plants and that seems to be enough but they are a few years old now so may need to get some new ones in this year.

Peanuts.  These are growing good and have flowers on.  Soon they will start growing down under the dirt.
I want to make some Peanut Paste this year.

Potatoes.  I have 2 fridge gardens with these in, 4 half drums, 3 small *spare spots* and a few stray plants coming up in other places where they weren't planted.  I bandicoot them as I want them and always seem to have enough.

Sweet Potatoes.  I have a patch of these, about 16sq foot and dig them up as I want them.  I also have some in a half drum and 3 lots in pots to see if they do better than in the ground.  Too early to tell what is better yet

Broccoli.  8 plants, growing well.

Butternut pumpkins.  These are young but have tiny pumpkins on them.  I have 6 plants growing.

Corn. This was a failure this season but I kept trying and have a couple of dozen plants in now, only small but looking healthy enough. 

Cucumber. Not happy with these.  We are getting some but 1 plant has died off and another is looking pretty sad.  I have 2 healthy plants that have fruit and flowers and 3 seedling coming on.  I wanted heaps like last year so make bread and butter Pickle with so hope we get enough for that.

Celery.  I have an old plant out there, going to seed and a few young plants that have come up because of this.  I don't eat it but we could pick and eat it if I wanted to do so.  Hubby eats it sometimes so I am keeping it for him.

Beans.  3 plants in.  I am eating them now, off the vine, they are young and taste like beans but they are not a *proper* bean.  I think they are a Bolotti or something like that.

Beetroot.  8 or so in a half drum, ready to pick and a dozen or so more seeds planted a couple of weeks ago that are a few inches tall now.  Not nearly enough as I need to pickle some more.

Carrots.  One half drum with them in.  I don't have much luck with these, they are something that I need to improve with.

Onions.  Heaps.  Quite a few went to seed and I have collected those and sprinkled some over an empty patch.  Lots have dropped off into where they have been growing as well so they should get going in there.

Chillies.  All my red chili bushes died.  I bought some yellow ones and the 6 plants are growing well and have fruit that we are picking.

Zuchinni.  Two plants, producing heaps.  I need to use them better though, a few have been fed to the pig as I have left them too long as there are so many.


Passionfruit.  Lots of green fruit, no ripe ones so far this month.  I have lots in the freezer though so if I need any I have it ready. We have 2 vines that produce heaps and 2 vines that need *talking to*

Strawberries.  I have dozens of plants in various areas around the place and can always get a few but a few patches are not doing as well as they should be.  I need to fertilize and mulch them.

Apples.  We have about 9 trees of different sorts.  We are eating red apples from one tree, I don't know the names of any though.  Three other trees have fruit on but it is not ripe yet and the others are doing nothing.

Oranges.  We have maybe 7 or 8 trees in, different sorts.  We picked from 4 trees last season but 2 were only new and didn't have a lot.

Mandarins.  Young tree, we had 4 fruit over winter but that will improve.

Lemon.  Our main tree is a bush Lemon and it had so many lemons over winter it wasn't funny.  I know we didn't get many fruit the year before last and we were told that it only fruits every 2 years.  I should know but I have never taken any notice and can't recall.

Grapes.  We have 6 vines in, and 2 are producing now.  Black seedless but I don't know the name.

Pepino.  I have 1 plant in a drum, surviving and it has a few fruit.  One plant in the front garden is massive and is covered in fruit, we are getting a few ripe ones from this.  I planted a couple of rooted branches in this garden and they have taken off and also have fruit.  I planted half a dozen cuttings out the back a couple of months ago and 4 of those are now growing.  This is an easy plant to grow and the fruit tastes a bit like Rockmelon.

Apricots.  Two trees  One tree had one fruit but the other has been producing for a few years now and had heaps.  This fruited during December but is now finished.

Peaches.  Four seedling trees with fruit, not yet ripe.  I have a half dozen small trees coming up from seeds, not sure if I'll keep them or not.

Plum.  Young tree.  It had one flower last year.

Pears.  Two trees planted 2010 winter so no fruit yet.

Cape Gooseberries.  Lots, grow for the chooks as we don't really like them.

Bananas.  We have 3 plants with fruit on them and maybe 7 or 8 big ones without fruit.  Suckers coming up.

Pineapple.  I have 1 plant that has a small Pineapple on it, 2 pups seperated from that and 2 *tops* planted and growing.

Fig.  One big tree and 2 smaller ones with fruit.  One small plant in a pot, needs planting out somewhere.  One small tree in front chook pen.

I will  add to this as I see and remember what we have out there.

A New Challenge.

Hubby says I can't do it and he may be right but I won't know if I don't try will I.

The challenge?  To not have to buy any fruit in 201.  Not until next year so I have 12 months to get things sorted.  We have trees that are producing now and they will only get better.  I can freeze more stuff this year, dehydrate more stuff and not pig out on it so it lasts longer.  I could learn to bottle fruit so it will be like having tinned stuff in the cupboard.

I will need to get some things in that produce quickly so stuff like berries and melons could be the answer there.

I would have to be able to have the minumun 2 serves a day and there are 2 of us here so I will need to produce 4 serves of fruit but Hubby doesn't eat 2 seves each day so ...he sometimes goes weeks without eating any fruit at all so really I just need to gow enough for me. But, I am greedy...

It would be pretty cool to not have to buy fruit so I am going to give it a good shot.

I love watermelon but the 4 lots I planted since November did not make it and the ones I have in now have just germinated so I will need to work on that if I want some next year. 

If anyone does this please let me know how you do it.
If anyone wants to take up the challenge with me, please do, it will be fun.