Tuesday, December 5, 2017

December!! Really?! Bum!


Yep, December already.  How did that happen?

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Homemade Boot Polish

We have had a few wet days.  Very wet.  Husbands boots are wet, my boots were wet.  I put them in front of the fire to dry out then gave them a clean and rubbed them over with shoe polish.  The next day I wore them and they are wet again.  What I needed was a protective coating, a beeswax coating but I have tried to rub straight beeswax on boots before and it was all too hard.  haha  See what I did there?!

I needed something to mix with the beeswax to keep it soft and rubinable so onto Google to see what others had to say about it all.

I found a recipe for boot polish, it looked simple and even though it was early and cold I decided to give it a go.    Recipe said I needed beeswax.  Yep, got that.  And Olive oil.  Ummm, no.  No oil.  But wait!  Yes I do have oil.  I had the remains of the 20 litres of old cooking oil that we collected from the cafĂ© for treating Scaley leg mites on the chooks.  Too manky too use?  Not around here!

And because it has been so cold the inside fire was burning.  Bonus.

I used the axe to chop a chunk of beeswax off the lump I had outside.  Chopped it smaller as I only needed 2 tablespoons of the wax.  Took a 1/2 cup measure and put water in the jar and marked it so I knew how much oil I needed.  Outside to the chookpen and poured in the oil, back inside and put the jar of wax and oil into a pot of water on the stove. 

Waited until the wax had melted, took pot off of the stove and put it onto the sink.  Outside to let the chooks out and feed the sheep.  Back inside only to find that the wax had hardened in the jar and was unpourable and the jar was too deep to get the wax out.  Clever...not.

Put the pot and jar back on the stove to remelt the wax mixture, this time staying inside and having a hunt around for some tins to put the mixture in.   I have more than a dozen of the tins that I wanted to use...somewhere....Finally found a couple, poured the melted wax into the tins and let it sit and set.  Looks good and no manky oil smell so that's good.

I used a rag and rubbed the mixture into a boot.  The left foot boot, the one on the right in the photo, is the boot I did first.  The wax rubbed into the boot, making it look dark.

Put wax on the other boot, let it soak in a bit then rubbed both boots over with another rag.  The boots are darker than before I used the polish but I haven't worn them outside yet so don't know if they are protected from the wetness of early morning grass.  I will try them out soon and let you all know.  

I haven't done husbands boots yet as he has been wearing them all day but I will try and get his done tomorrow before he puts them on and ask for his opinion tomorrow sometime.  Not that he will have one.  To him boots is boots, whether they are clean and shiny and waterproof or not. 
But I had fun.  I made me some bootpolish and it made me smile. 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

All Chok(o)ed Up.

It's been wet and cold here today but this afternoon I decided to get outside and do something.  Maybe clean up the shed a bit.  Maybe clean out the chookhouse.  Maybe pick more oranges for the stall out the front.  Maybe put away the stuff that I have been dumping on the table out the back...

Instead I worked on the tank gardens.  There is not a lot growing in them anymore, thanks to chooks and roosters jumping out of the pens and scratching everything up.  Not many plants but still lots of slaters.  How does that work?!  Why are the chooks scratching around and eating all the plants instead of scratching around and eating all the slaters.  Stupid chooks.

The chokos are finished though.  The vine is looking messy.                                                         
I ripped most of it down, fed some to the chooks, some to the sheep.

Some of the dead vine was put in the chookpen to try and stop me from slipping in the mud.

There aren't any more fruit worth eating, all are now old and tough and most are already starting to shoot ready to grow into new plants.  The garden beds are full of these and some have already started to send down roots and get themselves established for next season.  One or 2 didn't even wait to hit the dirt, they were growing as they were growing...

There are 4 tank gardens along here and although the choko vine was growing in only 1 the vine itself covered all four. I have pulled the vine down from over 3 tanks and will get to the last one during the week.  Up the southern end though the choko is mixed up with a passionfruit vine so I will need to be careful pulling it down.

Once all the choko vine was removed from the fence above 2 tanks it was easier to see what was in the ground.  I found a pineapple plant.  This has been here a couple of years now and not doing much so will need some care to get it to fruit.
I cleared out the tank that had asparagus growing in it seeing as that was finished and the fronds were all yellow, brown or dead. I cut it all right down, threw on some smelly water from the comfrey bin and will maybe mulch it sometime during the week.

Chook Killers.

We're on 5 acres and like most people in our block we have chooks.   I have too many, they are not laying, are costing me money in buying food for them and in them eating food for me...but I like them.

People around us have chooks.  A friend up the road has a dozen or so.  Over the years we have all lost chooks to foxes.  Sometimes the fox will kill a bird or two and take for food but a lot of time they just kill.  To teach their young how to hunt, practice, just because the are horrible creatures...I don't know all the reasons.  I do know that it is horrible to get up in the morning and find all your flock killed.

I have been locking them up at nights, letting them out in the morning, it is a pain.  I came home early one day a couple of weeks ago and there were feathers out the front.  Yep, a fox had been and taken a chook that didn't make it into the shed on time the night before.

A few days ago daughters partner brought out a rabbit and set the
trap for me. 

Next morning, Bingo! Oh, ummm, not a fox.  Not a feral so Ranger came out and took this one to the vets to check for microchip. 

I set the trap again.  Next morning, Bingo!  Oh, no, another cat.  A friendly one so I let it out.  Then again, same cat.  A soaking with the hose and it won't come back but it had eaten the rabbit and there wasn't much left. 

With not much bait left there was little chance of getting anything but I set the trap again anyway.  Why not. 
And this morning. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

I am Cranky.

As I wrote on Sunday, The Really Really Free Markets are on every month.  We try to give away things that people no longer want to save them going into landfill.  Our town has 2 op-shops, Vinnies where I volunteer and...another, church based, one.   Vinnies has a clothing bin out the front where people can drop in their unwanted clothing but they have nowhere for breakables or bigger items to be left unless the shop is open.  The other op-shop has a table out the front for breakables, bigger items, toys etc as well as a bin for clothing.  They get so many more donations than Vinnies.  They used to take all their excess out to the tip but then a RRFM helper asked if they could collect it for the FreeMarkets.  She would get carloads of stuff, most with nothing wrong with it, clothing still with tags.  People come to the RRFM just to see what comes from this helper.  The helper has been away for a few weeks but no-one else thought to see if this oppy had anything for them.and this market just gone missed out on the op-shop items. 

At the FreeMarket just gone we heard that the op-shop had a lot of stuff for us and if it wasn't picked up soon then they would bin it.  I went there this morning.  Yeah, there was a lot of stuff and yeah, I was told that if it wasn't picked up today then they would put it in their skip-bin.   I could see that there was a lot of really nice things so I asked them if they would mind if some of it went to Vinnies to be sold.  I was told that yes, they did mind, it was for the RRFM.  But they were more than willing to bin it if it didn't go there.  And would have if I didn't show up to pick it up. 

So I am cranky.  Cranky at a place that has so much excess good quality stuff and instead of letting another op-shop sell it to raise money to help people in need they would rather throw it away as rubbish.

In a small town you would think that charity shops could help each other where possible.  I know that Vinnies used to give them bags and bags of rags to sell as we don't sell rags.  This stopped a while back when no-one was able to pick them up and they shut earlier than us so we couldn't get them there but it was something that was done to help them.   They make  money from selling bulk bags of rags.

I am cranky that all the people that donate to this op-shop have no idea that their donation may end up in a skip-bin.   I am cranky at the senseless waste that this op-shop is willing to contribute to.  I am so disgusted with this op-shop, thinking about how much they are willing to throw away makes me feel ill.  And cranky.  Very cranky.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Wet FreeMarket Day

It has been a wet day and nothing was done outside.  Not that anything would have been done anyway as today is the third Saturday of the month and that means FreeMarkets.  Yes, the Really Really Free Markets that L started up more than 5 years ago are still going on. 

Today was a quiet one with not many people but it was wet and due to many reasons not very well advertised.  But still a success.  And I got some books.  Any day where I get me some more books is a success.  People came and some brought things that they no longer wanted and everyone went away with new things.

Thanks to the generosity of a few people that sometimes donates food there was tea,coffee and biscuits and hot pumpkin soup.  Added to some bread rolls and fruit it made up a nice lunch for those that were hungry.  The soup was nice with just a bit of a kick with a surprise of chilli in it.

One woman brought bread and rolls for people to take, another brought mandarins and limes.  There was the usual collection of clothes, books, bric-a-brac but not many toys this time.

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The RRFM are held in the Waroona town hall and once again the Council have given them a grant that allows them free use of the hall for 12 months.  I think it is a great that the Waroona Shire do this for us so these markets can be held indoors in all types of weather and I know that the RRFM organisers appreciate it immensely.


Friday, July 14, 2017

73 to 100. By tomorrow...

I have a Facebook Page, also named Barb's Backyard.  https://www.facebook.com/Barbs-Backyard-1631042943784639/
We have a stall out the front where we put honey and excess fruit and vegetables to sell.  Soon, when I get around to it, there will be plants.
As of this afternoon I have 73 likes.  Daughter has said she can get it up to 100.  By tomorrow.  I am doubtful but have made her an administrator.  The challenge is on. 

Update - 15/7/17 - Well, it's *tomorrow* and I now have 96 likes.  Four short of the hundred that L was aiming for but 23 more than yesterday morning.  I have given away dozens of chokos and sold 5 bags of oranges, some lemons, some honey...Thanks L.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Whingy Sooky Feel Sorry For Myself Write-up

I have recently been thinking that I want to live in a small clean house with a concrete no work yard, floor to ceiling bookshelves filled with my books, a comfy seat and a cakemaking machine.  And no animals

Hopefully soon I will get over that thought and start lovin' my long grassed, animal filled yard and messy house with not enough books again. 

My head is so messed up at the moment I sometimes think something small will send me mad.  It won't, it will just make me cry more.  And then I will whinge about being such a sook and feel ungrateful because I have no good reason to be feeling that way when my life is really quite good and way better than most people I know.

I don't really want the concrete yard.  Or the cakemaking machine.

And I could have the small clean house if I want, I just have to get up and clean it.  We do have too many animals here.  Not enough cats though.  And not enough space for my books.

We have too many roosters and too many chickens that keep getting out of their pens and into the gardens.  Soon the roosters will be soup and hopefully some of the chickens will go to somewhere else and the vegies will have a half chance of growing again.  That will be good, that will please me. 

HoHum, sleep time.   I am out again tomorrow, another day not home here getting things the way I think they should be, the way I want them.  Work on Wednesday.  And Thursday maybe.  And maybe again on Friday.  At least I will be too busy to think on things and mope too much. 

Bleedin' Hell, what a whingy, feeling sorry for myself write-up.  What I need is a good kick up the backside and a stern talking to.  What I'm gunna have is a good nights sleep and a better attitude in the morning.  Night people.

Friday, May 26, 2017

My List

Sink - Clear and clean
Bed - Put away all the clothes that are on his side.
Lounge seating area - cleared and vacuumed.
Dust TV and that area
Bench 1 - clear
Bench 2 - clear
Bench 3 - clear
Clothes rack - put dry clothing away
Tidy this desk
Put sewing box somewhere
Block of beeswax - decide where it's going and put it there. 
Table - Why is this always full of *stuff*?   Clear table
Put 2 vacuum cleaners away.   Where though? 
Sort through box near bathroom
Where can I keep my toolbag?

I am beginning to see that half my problem is that I have nowhere to put things.  And no, it's not that I have too much stuff.  Really.

Sunroom:  Started here as it's lovely and warm out there.
Clear seating area.  9.30  Now has damp washing as the sun is making this area very warm.
Sort jackets, rehang those we need to keep.  How many jackets do 2 people need?  9am
Put sheep food and chook food back out in the shed where it goes  9am
Pick up rubbish
Vacuum  9.30 but I have been outside checking on chooks and chickens...
Refill honey box  9.15  Will do more important stuff first.
Find somewhere for the books, maybe just box them up until shelves are built  9am
Find a lidded container for all my shoes and use it.  I *may* have too many shoes  9am
What is in the laundry basket out there?   Not much of anything useful.  9.10 am
It's 10.15 and getting quite warm in the sunroom now.  I'll finish the northern main seating area then start inside.

Rake out sheep pen and put in dry straw
Empty my car
Vacuum my car

This looks like a long list but most of this stuff shouldn't take long.  It's bad that I haven't done most of it already.

Too Busy or Too Lazy?

It's Friday night.  Husband has been away working hard all week while I have been...not away. 

I was rostered on at Vinnies for 2 days so great, 3 days at home to get all my jobs done.  To get the house tidy and cleanish, to clean out the car, get some crap out of the shed, get some plants planted and some weeds pulled.  Get some mowing done, the chooks legs oiled, some of the boysenberry pulled up.  Wood chopped and woodbox full.   And all the other stuff that I should have done last time he was away...

He may get home later tonight but as it's already 7.30 I doubt it.   He may be home some time over the weekend.  If not then then maybe early next week.  

So yeah, the house should be tidy and cleanish yeah?  The gardens should be weeded and planted with more plants.  The car should be free of rubbish and boxes of *stuff*.  I couldn't mow as we have had a very wet week.  And all that other stuff that should have been done?  It hasn't been.  Oh, I have my reasons.  Excuses some would say...

I have had a busy week but have achieved nothing at home because I have not been home.  Well, not during the morning when I like to do stuff that needs doing.  Five days this week I have been down at Vinnies.  Son is not impressed and a daughter thinks I'm mad.  When Husband finally gets home he might be a tad cranky...Unless I can get my weeks worth of jobs completed tomorrow morning.  Cause I am out Sunday morning and at Vinnies all day Monday.

I think what I need are some time management skills.  Daughter thinks I need to stop going in to Vinnies so often.  Son says I need to banish FaceBook from my life. 

I'm going to make a detailed list, post it on here and tomorrow morning I will go through it and get as much as I can completed.   I like lists.  And as far as I know I am home tomorrow.   See ya then.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

I Caved

Caved.  Gave In.  Gave Up.  Surrendered to using what works.

We have caught 8 rats outside and I have lost count of the mice caught inside.  I know it's been more than 20.  Seems that my cute, one little mouse in the cupboard had lots of friends and family.  

Last week I opened the bonnet of my car and there was a rat under there.  Son was going to cook some meat on the barby...there is a rats nest under the grill.

I tried the non poison Plaster of Paris baits.  I tried the toothpaste.  The toothpaste hasn't been touched and though the PofP bait has been eaten I am not finding dead mice but still catching live ones.  The traps that are working catch 1 mouse at a time and  have 3 of them but don't get something every day.  Sometimes 2 a day sometimes nothing for a week then another 1 then another 2 then nothing again...I have 5 or 6 traps that are supposed to catch multiple mice but out of them all I have caught 1.  It's taking a long time.

The trouble with catching them live is that you then have to do something with them.  Years ago I would put the cage in the bike basket and ride up the street and let them out so the mouse might have died anyway out in the cold or been eaten by birds or it may have made its way to someone else's house and the problem would have passed on to someone else.  These days if I catch them then it's my responsibility to do something with them.  And I have been doing that.  Over and over and over.  And I am over it.  It sickens me but does need to be done.   However I am now getting to the stage where I can't do it anymore but because the mice are a filthy pest that need to be eradicated I caved. 

I have put baits in areas around the inside of the house for the mice and out in the sheds for the rats.  The son has been warned to watch his dogs in case they find a dead rat.  The chances of them eating a dead rat are really low but we need to watch out for it anyway.  I will walk the yard every day looking for bodies.

And I know that in a weeks time there will be no more mice in my house and no rats in the sheds.   If I had used real baits a month ago it would all be over now.  I think sometimes we need to bite the bullet and do what we know works instead of wasting time trying alternatives to poisons.  Sometimes poison is the quickest, best way for the problem.  Maybe I need to rethink the slaters now...

Saturday, May 6, 2017

A Mouse In The Cupboard.

So, I have slaters in the garden and a mouse in my cupboard. 

I knew the mouse was there as it ate through a pack of something and made a mess.  So I pulled everything out, washed it all, washed the shelves, sprayed with peppermint as I read that deters them and set a trap.   Then husband says he saw a mouse run across the floor so I set another trap over in that area.  Read up about non toxic to other animal baits and made up a batch of Plaster of Paris and oats and put that around the place.  While I was at it I put some of the bait out in the shed as well, cause you never know do you.   And set the rat traps, the humane ones that catch them alive.

Two weeks later I have caught 11 mice inside and 4 rats outside.  The Plaster of Paris baits, inside and outside, are still being eaten so there must be more around still.  I haven't found any dead mice or rats though so am unsure if the PofP bait is killing any.

And just last week I read that toothpaste will kill them so I have cut up tubes of toothpaste around the place.  Must be the Fluoride one though apparently. 

So 1 mouse means a whole lot more than one.  Just sayin'

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Slater Traps

I want to get back into growing most of our vegies again but am having trouble with too many slaters again.  Every now and then I notice that they have built up in numbers again, seedlings disappear, tomatoes get eaten,
This year we planted a whole pile of assorted seedlings.  Twice.  Both times I have gone out the next day to water and they have all been gone.  Eaten by bleedin" slaters.  We get slaters here.  Lots of slaters.  Some people say that they are not a problem, they only eat rubbish stuff, they help clean up the gardens.  I say no, they are horrible little critters that eat any newly planted plant.  They can eat out the inside of a rockmelon from the bottom up and you wont know until you go to pick the rockmelon.  They eat potatoes.  Tomatoes.  Chockoes...

They hide under mulch and sneak out in the dark and gobble up anything green.  So I have removed most of the mulchy stuff and because they seem to  love Choko leaves that is what I am using for traps.  I pick a dozen or so leaves and put them around the gardens.  Overnight the slaters go to the leaves and start munching away. 

The next morning I come out early and lift the leaf and give the slaters a blast of flame from the gas gun.  I hope it is quick, I try for it to be because even though I don't like them eating all our food I do want them killed in a humane-ish way.  So quick is the aim.

This is one job that I get slack on though.  If I come out and there is only 1 leaf of the 2 in the trap left then I know numbers are dwindling.  But I also know that I need to keep up checking, laying down leaves and blasting any slaters under them. 

Without using poisons how do you rid your food garden of these pests?

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Plus 1

Add 1 more chicken to the list. 

We had a chook sitting, on lots of eggs as, I think, other chooks would keep laying in her hidden nest.  At one stage there were around 14 so we locked the other chooks out of this pen and let this chook sit.  We waited.  And waited.  But nothing.  I decided that after so long, way longer than 3 weeks, that the eggs were not fertile and that I would remove them and lock this clucky up to de-cluckify her.
But there were no longer 14 eggs, only a few...I removed them anyway when this chook was off getting food.   I intended to catch her and lock her up in a small cage for a few days.  But *forgot*   Husband and I went to Tasmania for 3 weeks.  This chook was sitting on eggs again as some of our chooks jump the 6 foot high fence to get into this pen.  Daughter found her and named her Mango, as she was in the yard with mango trees.  We were away for 22 days.   Came back and she was still sitting on eggs and this time I was sure going to remove her eggs and lock her away.  But I promptly forgot about her again.  A few days ago I saw her out getting food and she had 1 little chicken with her.  I looked in her nest and there were 4 cold eggs in there.

We caught her and she was so light...I am a really bad chook person to let her sit for so long.  But she is now safe, in the covered chicken pen with the other mumma chooks and their chickens.  

I am so glad that she ended up with a baby after sitting for so long but I really need to check hidden nests and under bushes and trees as most of these chickens have come from hidden away nests that we knew nothing of until we saw the chickens out with their mum.

I wonder why the amount of eggs drops off, I look around the pens, under bushes, under trees, in the long grass...but I find nothing.  This morning husband has a look and finds 2 hidden nests.  Eighteen eggs.  That could have been fertile as the rooster is with these chooks...We need NO more chickens though so I removed the eggs and will feed some to the dogs and the rest back to the chooks.  And I have whippersnippered the area so there is less places for the chooks to nest.  A bit more to go but that is the Boysenberry area and the runners are everywhere so if I go in chopping it all to bits then it will spread even further into places we don't want it.  HoHum...A big job for later when it cools down a bit.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Get Chooked! Not More Chickens.

More chickens! How many chickens does one yard need?  Not 4 + 11 + 13 + 3...

All up, way too many chickens and I already have too many chooks.  But only 1 rooster. 

I think I need to get rid of some chickens, maybe put an ad on the local FaceBook Buy and Sell page.  Dunno what a chicken is worth though.  I need to get a small pen put up so this new mum can be safe from the crows so something else to do now...HoHum, and I was doing so well with clearing up inside and wanting to get that clear and clean(ish)  That will have to wait a bit now as once I stop it is really hard for me to get motivated again and now that I am hot and sweaty from chooken catching I may as well do a bit of mowing before it gets much hotter out there.

Oh yeah, looks like I'm back here again, what a useless Blogger I am.  Just as well it's not that important...haha  Back soon.  If a month or three is soon...

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Welcome 2017.

Well.  Here I am again.  Hello.  Welcome to 2017.

I have heard so many people saying that they are glad 2016 is over, what an awful year it was, so much bad stuff happened...My  2016 was pretty good and I know 2017 will be good for us too.  I just know it!  Yeah bad stuff might happen but there will be good stuff in there too and the way we deal with the bad stuff will determine how the rest of the year is.  Dwell on the crap and I think more crap will happen.  Focus on the good and that is what you will get...

Reading that over it sounds all airy fairy and new age mumbo jumbo, stuff family and friends believe in but I don't...Or didn't?  I woke up this morning to hear the rooster crowing.  4:30am.  Still crowing at 4.45 so 4.45 seems like a good time to get up and start my busy morning.   Others would whinge about how early it was, the noise the rooster that is not ours is making, how far behind we are today, how we will never get everything done before people start arriving...Me, I am up and coffeeing, facebooking, blogging! and will start by 6.  That will give me 4 hours to get ready for a "Welcome 2017" lunch for friends.  A lunch where there will be way over 24 people and I am the one with "no friends"  I'm the one that has a lunch and needs to get the "rent a friend" bunch in...but 24+ people!  I didn't know I knew that many people!  It's going to be a great day.  I hope yours is too.

So welcome 2017...Happy New Year!!  I hope to be here more often, I will be here more often.  I hope everyone has a fantastic day and a year filled with more happiness and good stuff than not.