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.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Chicken Update.

The 4 + 1 chickens are doing fine, eating everything and running around through both the pens and the front area.  We will get around to stopping this one day but at the moment because there are gaps under the tin and the chickens get under and away from their mum I am leaving the gates open so the mothers can get to them.  So five little chickens and their mums...
The older chicken has Plymouth Rock markings and seems to hang around with the 4 younger chickens and their mum more than with it's own mother.   The black mother has started laying again too which is unusual.  There were 2 eggs in her box this morning which just goes to show how much attention I pay when I feed them.

And check this out...
There are at least 3 in there..  She was sitting on 4, maybe 5, eggs so 3 is good but there may be another one there.   I was thinking that I would need to move her in a day or so when they are out and about as she is in the wrong pen for babies but Hubby helped me set up an enclosure for them, safe from the other chooks and crows so they will all be fine where they are for a few weeks.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Pests? I like them.

We've been getting heaps of these caterpillars lately.  They seem to be all over the place and are easily seen when I mow the grass and they are there crawling along.   They also hang out on the yellow daisy plants that I have which is understandable as that is where the butterfly that I think these come from used to hang out.

They don't bother the vegies so we don't dispatch them like we do the little green ones that eat the cabbages.

Grandaughter says they are cute because they have *sparklies* on their back.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I made Pasta. And Pickled Beetroot.

Yep...I made pasta.  With egg and flour on the kitchen know, real pasta.
Hippy/Hippie, as in wild and free not big at the hips, Daughter was here on Friday and she always inspires me to try something new and this week it was pasta making.
Four year old Grandaughter was here so made some too.  First we plonked 3 lots of a cup of flour on the
table, 1 for each of us, 

GD broke the egg into a cup then poured that into a well we made in the flour. 
A smidge of salt a bit of oil then squish it all together.
Make it into a ball, ready to roll out. 
Notice one ball is pink?  That is mine.  I added a couple of spoons of liquid that I used for the beetroot.
Roll out, using a small bottle for small person, a bigger bottle for bigger person and  whatever you can find in husbands shed for third person.
Cut into different thickness strips and shapes and call them what you want.
We also made some with tomatoey beetroot mush in them, a bit like ravioli.   
Daughter had this pasta machine that she gave me ages ago that we brought out to try.  It was hard going but they did get some *penne* and some other thing.   It looked like hard work and not something I could use so I will stick to the handmaking stuff.    

We had some for our tea and Hubby says it was very nice but maybe slightly undercooked.
So there you go.  Another thing that I have been wanting to do has been done.
I must say it is a lot more work than going to the shop and buying a packet and as I always buy quite a bit when it is on special so always have some here it wont be an every week thing.  I will do it again as it is much nicer than the bought stuff.

If you have never tried making your own pasta give it a go, it's well worth it even if just for the fun factor.
If you have, how'd it go?

  Blogger is being a pain, again, so Beetrrot writup is coming later.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Happy Birthday RRFM.

It is the first anniversary of the Really Really Free Markets in Waroona today.
If you are passing Waroona Town Hall between 1 and 3 this afternoon, Sat 17, call in and have a look, maybe find something you need, listen to the music, have some coffee and cake or a bowl of curry...All free.

See you there.

Or not.

Slaters for Chooks.

We were digging up around the water tank the other day, daughter and grandaughter were here helping me.  I was going to plant flowers around it again but we decided to use the space for Tomatoes instead.  Of course this area was full of slaters, not too big of a deal with flowers but with a food crop going in they have to be removed.   The D. and GD. spent quite a while picking them up out of the dirt.  D did go and get the friendly white Aracauna to come and help them.  GD thought it was fun to have the chook eat the slaters out of her hand.

We collected heaps and fed them to the chooks. 
This is an ideal way to deal with an unwanted pest, very time consuming and fun but not something that I can be bothered with often enough.  I am going to try an EO spray and see if that will get the numbers down and as I have found a local supplier of foodgrade DE I will get some of that as well.

I WILL win the war with these things and it WILL be done with minimal unwanted stuff being used.

I'm Not Well. Moan, moan and groan....

I'm not well.  And I blame the man.
I had a lovely lunch out last Sunday, nice people, lovely place, saw some whales frolicking off the shore...Well 1 whale that I could tell was a whale but the other thing that was waaayyy out was also a whale or so I was told.  I have no reason to not believe these people who see whales most days at this time of the year.   Pretty cool if you ask me.

Anyway I get home and Hubby pulls in behind me, 2 days early but that's OK.  "Ceptin' he's coughing and spluttering and has been all week poor sod but I have been fighting off the kid I look afters cold for the last 3 weeks and wasn't strong enough for this bugger.  So I'm not well.  Still have to do stuff though and no-one cares but hey, you get that.  

Started on the honey and vinegar and hot lemon drinks right away so I'm actually not too bad, I just like to whinge.   I have more aches and pains that usual so that's a pain (haha) but I'm a big girl and will soldier on.  Thanks for the concern though.

Now out to do another snail patrol.   I thought I had these things more or less under control but there are heaps of small ones out there so need to get on top of them again. 

It's all neverending isn't it but it keeps me off the streets and out of trouble so it's all good.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Pests and Weeds.

Bloggers being a pain and I can't even comment on my own blog.  How sad is that!!

We're still having heaps of pest problems and the pellets are looking better to me all the time.  WE, (Hubby) did an experiment.  He put pellets under a couple of my *traps*   In a couple of spots, away from root vegetables and lettuce, near the peas and brocolli.   All the slaters under them are dead and the plants have not been nibbled on.    The beds that he didn't do still have heaps, under the traps and walking across the soil and on the plants.  I have lost more seedlings to these bleedin' things.  He says that shows I should be using it where the seedlings are...Hmmm, I don't want to but I do want them to leave my food alone.
I put old grass clipping from the chook yards onto the gardens as mulch and the weeds I pull out I usually leave on the garden to rot down and feed the soil.   The gardens need to be fed but it does encourage these things.  I have been pulling away all this stuff  from the plants and keeping it to the side and scooping up the slaters that go there.  They still come out and eat the plants though as I cannot collect them all.  They burrow under the ground and dozens are missed.  Come Summer and this mulch will have to be spread over the garden again. 
Last year we tried penning in a few of the smaller chooks to scratch around and eat the slaters.  It didn't work.  Our gardens always have something growing in at least half of them and the silly chooks kept getting out and going for the growing green stuff.  I spent too much time fixing the makeshift fence and chasing chooks out of where they shouldn't be. 
The bloke out the back told us that he limed his pumpkin area before he planted otherwise the slaters got into his pumpkins so we tried that and it seemed to work but this year they are back in that bed.  And stuff didn't grow as well as it should have done because of the lime...We have thought of using diatomaceous earth but have been told by our rural supplier that it needs to be foodgrade and he doesn't sell it and I keep forgetting to look when I am out of town.

Over the last week I have notice the Cabbage White Butterfly around so it means I'll have to keep the baddie racquet's handy.  I wouldn't think or buying in poison for them as they are kinda controllable and the caterpillars can be picked off before they do too much damage.  It's just the slaters I hate and want gone once and for all.

Last year we lost all our peaches to Fruitfly.  It was a really bad year here for them and we had them in trees that haven't had them before.  Even the Strawberry Guavas were infected.  We were catching them in the traps but once again, there were so many.  Eveyone that I have spoken about it says the same thing.  Last year was a BAD year in our area for fruitfly.  I plan on putting the traps out again this week but Hubby has bought some spray.  He says his boss hates spraying but used this spray last year and he got fruit while we didn't.  The spray is EcoNaturelure and as the boss is a bit of a greenie I'm thinking it might be alright...
The traps I use are coke bottles with different homemade lures.  They did trap a lot but not enough to save the fruit.

And then we have the grass.  Hubby spent all day last weekend mowing out the front of our place.  It was his one day off here at home.  It is too thick and half is under trees so too hard for me to do.   I'm starting to think that poisoning that area is the way to go.  This time of the year he is too busy with work and I hate that he needs to spend his time off doing that.  I have other things for him to do!!    He also mows the dam area which is too big of an area for me.  I can sometimes get the area around the house completed, sometimes the girls come and do it for me.   The edges though, they could do with a dose of poison too.   Keeping the grass from them is stopping me from doing other things.  Like sitting in the sun and reading, going for a walk, riding the bike, being on the know, the good stuff.

As I get older and more sore I am getting more tempted to do what I don't want.  The simple life really isn't so simple. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

To Poison or not To Poison...

Ideally this is a no brainer and of course I am not going to use poisons, of any kind...

So I spend my days mowing, weeding, trying to keep the grass under control and most of the gardens free of it.   I spend hours trapping bugs, squishing bugs, complaining about bugs.

Hubby says I should spray the grass and if I don't he will.  He says I need to put poison down for the slaters and if I don't he will.  So far I haven't and he has had other stuff to do.

So I am putting seeds in, watching them grow, putting them out into the gardens...and going out in the mornings to see a few more gone, eaten by the slaters.  This morning I go out and see that I have 1 broccoli left out there.  A few peas are gone, strawberries are being munched on, tomatoes have holes.

I have been setting up areas away from the plants with leaves and *food* for the slaters and a lot are going there and I can pick them up and give them to the chooks or pour boiling water on them and killing them that way.  I have removed mulch from the worst beds and no longer have it around the plants as the slaters were using it as a haven.   But there are so many and it seems that they like my food better than the stuff I put out for them.   The poison option is looking better with every missing seedling, half eaten strawberry and slater that I see on my food.  With Summer coming I will need to start mulching again but know that will just hide them and make it harder to see them.  Last year we used lime in a few beds and that seemed to work for awhile but there are now more than ever out there.

I have been battling these slaters for a few years now and I think they are now worse than they have ever been.  Hubby says to put poison down and get them back to a manageable level. 

A few people have mentioned to us that they use Snail pellets and that it kills the slaters. 

Hubby has bought a box.  It is tempting.  Very tempting.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Four Minus Two Is Still Four.

OK, You can all stop worrying.  I told you they'd be there!   I don't know why my husband thinks I worry too much for no reason.  There are rats out there though!!  I have been looking at pictures of ratpoo, yes such is my life, and I am sure that is what it is.  Bandicoot is altogether different.

The new mother chook has her 4 babies with her.  They were out and scratching around until I went out there.

Some time today I will need to get in and clean out the 3 unhatched eggs that are still in her nest.  The mother chooks usually gets off the nest after a day or so of the eggs hatching and it gives me a chance to clean out the nestbox and put new hay in there.  This chook has taken her babies back into it for now but hopefully she'll let me near it later on.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Four Minus Two...

I went out this evening to feed the mother chook and the chickens but am now a bit worried.  Yesterday there was 4 new chickens but tonight I could only see 2 but there are heaps of rat, I think, droppings all over the top of the nest box.  I'm hoping the chickens were under the mummy chook asleep and not been gobbled up by a damn rat but I know rats take baby pigeons so...but the chook would surely not let a rat into her nest...maybe...

I know there is a Bandicoot living out there because I have seen it but I'm pretty sure they don't eat chickens and the dropping are, maybe, too small and up too high... What do you think, is this rat poo?

                                                                   I know, nice photo!

                                                                   A better one below.

I'll go check again in the morning and hopefully there will be 4 again but it looks like I need to go buy some traps...And work out how to trap a rat and not a chook...


We went away over the weekend...left Saturday morning, back Sun afternoon...I had planned to clean out the dead eggs from the chook...Remember, her eggs were due to hatch last weekend but her nest was flooded a couple of weeks ago.    Because we went away I didn't get around to doing it but it was smelly and did need doing.  Poor chooky, sitting on dead babies.

I had some more fertile eggs so I thought I'd put a few under her after I removed the old ones, so I collected fresh hay, the eggs, a clean water and food container.  Imagine my surprise when I go to get her off and find a tiny chicken outside her nest area.  It was small so I knew it wasn't the other chicken.  I put it back with the mother and go and get something for a ramp so it can get back into the nest easier...and there is another chicken popping it's head out.  I go out later and see 4.    Hubby reckons I had the dates wrong but I wrote them down so *know* I didn't.

I will put a photo up later but it's too early to go get one now and then I am out all day...