Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Watermelon Whine.

Every year I try and grow Watermelons but never seem to get it right so don't have much success.  This year has been the one year where we have managed to get more than 3 to a big enough size to think I had a chance of getting some.   I can't always tell when they are ripe though I go by what I read and am told.  But that's a me thing.   Imagine how pleased I was when we ate the first one and it was not too bad.  The next 2 were small but had started to go soft so I picked them and chopped them in half with a shovel, to see what they were like inside.  They looked good so we tasted them.  Good!  So I chopped them into bits and shared them around.    The next one wasn't quite ripe but OK.  I still had 3 big ones on the vine. 

Went out to check on them last week and Bugger!  Something has been chewing on them.

Going by this dropping left behind, I'm thinking a bandicoot.  Or a BIG rat.  What do you think?

 There was 1 intact one left.  We have put it into a shadecloth bag so *the thing* cannot get to it. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

First Choko.

I had my first pick of Chokos yesterday.  I picked some other stuff while I was out there and sent it down to daughter L's place. 

I will tell hubby not to worry, there is plenty left for us. haha.

The snails like this plant so I need to keep on top of picking them, the snails, off.  It's a time consuming job but as a part of my early morning routine it keeps them under control. (down boy!)   A few years ago I'd get dozens at a time, every day.  Now, not so many and sometimes don't find any at all.   The vine is a rampant grower though and I know that there will always be some up too high for me to reach.  They are the lucky ones.  The rest become chookfood.

One good thing about the snails is that they are big so easy to find and remove.  Not so with the slaters that are infesting the big tank garden where I have Brassicas growing.  This morning I have been out there with boiling water killing hundreds, probably thousands.  There are tons more to go, I have the Choko leaf traps spread around the place, the Slaters comes and eat the leaves, I get lots in one spot and goodbye to that lot.

The *traps* are just green leaves, I'm using Choko this time because I have them close by.  I just put a couple of leaves down a bit away from the plants, the Slaters come and get under them, they can eat a big leaf overnight...I come along with boiling water...I have used the gas burner too and that is easier but I ran out of the gas for it last week and as yet haven't bought more.  Will do that today if I remember.  Pest control is an ongoing thing and choosing not to use poisons makes it all a lot harder.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Coffee and Cows.

I like coffee and though I am a long way from being a coffee snob I know what I like.  Hot!  Strong!  Real crockery!  Not $5 a cup!  And it doesn't have to be *real* instant is fine.  Oh, no sugar but milk please.  Just in case you ever need to make me one.

I buy coffee when it is on special, no favorite kind but not Mocanna.  It's not that I don't like it but I don't buy it.  Unless it is cheaper than everything else and it never has been while I have been in the shop.  
I always buy a few 500gm tins of Nescafe 43blend or whatever else is on special and usually have a couple of spare tins here.  It's been awhile since I did a big shop though so I was getting low.  Lower than I thought, because yesterday I went to make a cup and there was none.  None in the jar, none spare, none.   So I had to get the emergency jar out...and there wasn't much left in that and it is getting stale.  Not good.

I was at work one day, a couple of years ago now, and they had a jar of coffee...it was SO NICE.  I took note of the label and even looked for it next time I went shopping.  One hundred dollars a kilo!!!!   I don't think so.  So I bought the cheaper kind.   Came home and told the husband about it, he called me a tight bit**  and said "if you want that one then buy it" all the while puffing on a fag.  So I decided that I would, next time.  But I didn't, I couldn't bring myself to spend that much on coffee. 

So I needed coffee and a few other things so yesterday I go into town to get them.  I look at the coffees, nothing is on special, it's all pretty dear isn't it, go get the other stuff, come back...just in case it all got cheaper in the minutes I was away...it didn't, I picked up one tin, put it down and got one that was half that price...ummed and ahhed about getting the one I really like...came home with a tin of cheap Black and Gold coffee powder.  I mixed it with the good but stale emergency coffee.  It's OK.  Not too bad at all. 

The coffee I really liked, the $100 kilo stuff costs less than 1 packet of fags that the husband smokes.  The jar would last a few weeks at least.   A pack of fags lasts 3 days.   Why can I not bring myself to buy the dearer coffee?    If he can think nothing of spending $150+ a week, every week, on smokes and alcohol why can I not pay less than $20 for a jar of coffee each month?   We live frugally so we can spend on things we really want, maybe I just don't want that coffee enough.  Or like he says, maybe I am just too tight.

We have the 4 big cows and now 2 calves and they all live happily out in our back paddock going through the gate into next doors paddock whenever they want.  So 2 big paddocks.  We also have 2 smaller paddocks that we sometimes put them in.  Son is a butcher and sometimes kills and cuts up a cow for other people.  He recently agreed to do a couple for the local cop who lives around the corner from us.  They were going to be brought around and dropped off here this evening.  Change of plans and he brings the 2 cows here yesterday morning and I am here alone.  I get them to put these 2 big cows into what we call the triangle paddock.  It's smallish and close to the house, Northside.   I fill a bath up so they have water and they seem to settle in.  TEarly this morning I am out getting the mower out so I can mow and I hear mooing and carrying on, go out the back and the 2 visiting cows are in with ours and causing a ruckus, headbutting and pushing going on with the 2 calves in the middle.   I go out to, I don't know, separate them somehow, realise I need a stick or something so run back to get something.  Back out to try again but no go, they like locking horns.  I come in and ring the son, thinking he could shoot them NOW but he isn't home yet.  I can't separate the bleedin' things and there is lots of aggression and these visitor cows have horns too so I think that it might be easier to get our lot into the small paddock on the South side of the house.  I've not done this by myself, we've always put the cows in there when there are the 2 of us here.  Today it's just me and first I need to open a couple of gates, block off some open area, block off more area where we took a fence down because we weren't going to put the cows out here for ages and it needed replacing.  I ring daughter to come help.   While waiting for her I manage to call up the 4 big cows and once they see what I am doing they come running and are in the paddock before I am ready...without the babies.   So the babies are in the big paddock with the 2 big cows following them and though they probably wouldn't hurt them I was worried they might.   But the babies wouldn't go into the backyard, they didn't know the mothers were through there...they ran back way down to the back of the paddock.  OK daughter is here now, she'll help even though she doesn't like our cows so is edgy with these big ones she doesn't know.  We try and walk the calves down, they are scared and run where we don't want them to.  Neighbough sees us, or hears the swearing, and comes and helps.  I leave him and daughter with calves while I go and try getting a mother out.  I am trying to get a mother out of the small paddock and back into the big paddock but no go.  They like the fresh grass in there.  Eventually the 2 mothers hear the calves and they and the fat cow come out and head back to the big paddock.  Great, we have them all together, now to get them back into the small paddock.  With daughter and neighbour helping it's not so hard.  Now I just have the 2 stranger cows left in the big paddock, I want them back in the triangle paddock but that can wait.  Bloody cows, I'm over them.

Son came out this afternoon but after a weekend of hunting and helping build his cousins house he wasn't up to shooting and hanging the cows.   That will now happen tomorrow, after work.  And if husband is not home by then to help him that will be another drama. 

Bloody Cows!

I'm over them. 

Having a coffee to *recover* haha, as if I need a reason, then I can get a start on what I was supposed to do this morning.

And talking writing of coffee...I really need to change my thinking on that too.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Vinnie Volunteering.

I have had my second *practice* morning down at our local Vinnies store.  I like it.

Husband is unsure of me doing this, he thinks it might take me away from the garden and our going away.  It's the computer and books that takes me away from the gardens and we haven't been away yet this year so I'm thinking it won't be too much of a problem.

I am unsure about doing a regular day, I was thinking that I could just go in occasionally and be used as a call-in if someone couldn't make their day but after talking with the manager this morning I am going to do Monday afternoons for a bit and see how that works out.  I'm not good with afternoons though so not sure how that will go.  My days are limited until August/Sept so I'll just have to remember and get it into my head that Mondays are taken.    Fridays would be my preferred mornings but there will be more Fridays when I want to go away so as I couldn't guaranteer those I went for the Monday.     As with anything, I'm sure that with a bit of fixing here and there we will soon come up with something that suits us all.

Just need to now get it into my head that I need to be there Mondays and remember!  

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Dogs and Robbers.

Son lives in town and has dogs.  Lovely dogs.  Dogs that hunt, dogs that bark.  Because they bark he has them in a kennel in the backyard when he is at work so they don't bark and bother the neighbours.  He came out here last night, told me that police and forensics had just left his house.

It seems that someone had jumped his back fence, broken into his house, gone through the rooms, come out his front door and jumped the neighbours fence to steal a grinder and back into sons house where they proceeded to cut into his gun cabinet.  Luckily the dogs were going off and a neighbour saw this person leave then come back and called the police...who came, saw sons front door open, thought he was home so left!   Son comes home from work, finds his house has been broken into and learns from the neighbour what happened and that the police had caught the guy around the corner.  It is thought that the police coming to the house made him leave and run.   He is so lucky that this creep didn't get into the gun cabinet.  

Son was a tad upset that the thieving sod also raided his fridge and drank his grog.  How rude!

I laughed.  I mean, really.  You have 4 dogs and someone walks in and robs you because you lock the dogs up so that they don't bark but it's their barking that alerted the neighbour.  Too funny.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Luffa. I Picked and Peeled Some.

I picked a few old looking Luffas, put them in the shed for a few days but got impatient and peeled one.  Just to see how hard it would be and what it looked like inside.  I peeled it and left it sitting on an outside table for a couple of days.  This is it.   A bit mangy looking isn't it?   But as I have never done one before and have only seen dried and clean/bleached ones once at a market stall I have no idea if this is what they will all look like.  Or if this is what they should look like...

I'm thinking they should have been picked sooner but don't know.

I did manage to shake out some of the seeds though there are still more in there.  The Luffa did end up a bit broken though...Hmmm, maybe I did it wrong...
No matter, I have more so can practice 'til I get it right.

I peeled another of the picked ones to see how that looked.  It looks OK but how do I get the seeds out without breaking it apart.
The end of the Luffa looks a bit like a small trapdoor and it does open up easily so you can see all the seeds and inner workings.

I opened this end and then peeled the outside skin/shell off.  It peels off easily and the inside feels squishy and damp. 

 I'm going to leave it for a few days to see if it dries enough for the seeds to fall out.

Next week I will pick a couple of the greener looking ones that are on the vine to see if I can get a better understanding of when they should be picked.  The ones on the vine now all look the same but some of them do feel lighter.  Is picking earlier better, letting them dry out a bit on the vine, waiting for the vine to die off...It will be fun trying different ways.

I have read different blogs and even watched people on Youtube do it.  This looked easier than some of them but as I am yet to try other ways it might take a few seasons to find what suits me best. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Branding BeeBoxes.

Now that I am a registered beekeeper I need to have my brand on all hives/boxes...I have 1x 2 decker hive but we were given a few other boxes with it so maybe 7 all up.  The brand has to be so many cm under the surface of the box and I have been wondering how to do this.  A couple of people suggested making a brand from wire but I hadn't gotten around to trying it yet.

Easter Sunday morning I went out and when we got home husband was busy outside the shed. 

 What could he be up to now.

Yay, he has made me a brand.

 I asked about it and he said that he'd tries making one from wire but wasn't happy with it so decided to weld one up for me.  He has welded onto a piece of metal, basically just melting the welding rod into the shape of the letters he needed.  

 So now, the test. Start with a bare box, heat brand,

                         Apply brand to box

 Wait for smoke to clear and...OK, maybe slightly heavy handed but underneath that burnt wood is my branded box.

My turn, my turn..I heat the brand using his gas burner.  Next time we will light a fire and heat the brand in the coals but today we wanted quick and easy.

That IS NOT my can!!

 Grandaughter helps by using a wirebrush to clean them up a bit.

 Branded!  How good am I.  OK, him, how good is him.

Thanks Babe, You are a great help to me and this bee keeping thing isn't half as hard as you said it would be. 

The boxes still need to be painted and one day soon I, he, we, will do that.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Out and About. Jan - March.

As usual I haven't written things down but I don't think there was a lot done and not many places visited or explored.  Lets see...If anyone knows of anything else then please let me know so I can change things.  Husband always says we do more but I'm sure we don't.

12th. Nannup FreeMarkets.  With husband, stayed the night  down there in his car.
19th.  Waroona FreeMarkets.  Alone.
26th.  Australia Day party around the corner.  With husband.

9th.  Peel Zoo  Daughter and grandaughter.
10th?  Waroona Farmers Markets.  With husband, short visit, maybe 1/2 an hour so does this count? haha.
16th  Waroona FreeMarkets.  Alone.

2nd.  Pam Corker House fete, morning then Mandurah Fair.  With daughter and Grandaughter.
9th. Nannup for the weekend and FreeMarkets.
16th. Waroona FreeMarkets.
17th  Harvey Harvest Festival.  Daughters and grandaughter.
22nd.  Harvey for lunch with mother and sister.
29th  Collie/Macalinden.  With daughter and grandaughter to visit inlaws.
30th.  Mandurah to buy a car with Husband.  Morning.
31st   Myalup Easter Fair.  With daughter and grandaughter.

March looks like it was busy,  Maybe I do do more than I think I do...