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.