Monday, June 30, 2008

Setting up for Spring

Nothing says spring is coming like a greenhouse being set up. I've had this baby growing last seasons spiders and mud wasps, until yesteday. I finally stripped the shade cloth off and put the plastic sleave on for the first time.
I'm now going to start propogating the native plants we have in our area. Many of them are plain looking, until the insignificant but colourful en mass flowers bloom. A lot of them have sprouted spontaneously on our nature strip, but we have to take them out to see the road. Why waste a good opportunity for free plants though?
If I can get them to strike, I'm going to relocate them in my garden, give some to family and even our neighbours.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Someone's lost a tooth!

Someone came home from school this week, with a tooth neatly wrapped inside a tissue. It's a big deal because it's the first tooth she's lost since she first began teething. I can still remember putting gel on her gums all those years ago!

My-my, I'm feeling older but still a proud mum. The tooth fairy had to cough up $2 as well, which is the going rate as it happens for first teeth. I use to get 20 cents and that was a lot of money!

She's got another loose tooth next to it which will probably come out soon too!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Our dog Macy

While at Nanny's for her birthday, we caught up with our old dog, Macy. She's part German Shepherd and part Rotty. Note the Shepherd floppy ear but Rotty short, stout nose.

When we initially moved into our new house, we didn't have any fences (still haven't) but Nanny moved to a remote property herself. Luckily she had fences, so offered to take care of our dog until we got our fence up. She doubles as protection for my mum, but today I realised she wouldn't be coming home with us.

While excited to see us and practically knocked us over at first, it was my mum's side she inevitably found herself beside. I couldn't miss it because once upon a time, she use to do that with me when Nanny came to visit us.

But I'm really happy, not sad about it. We still cook her meals and mum freezes it at her house. We've even converted her Pomeranian to the benefits of homecooked meals. Normally a fussy eater, her Pom always licks the plate clean with our food.

Thought I'd introduce you to one of our beloved pets, that now lives with my mum. It comforts me to know that our dog is loved and looked after, but in turn, she also looks after my mum.

Happy Birthday Nanny!

It was my mum's 50-something birthday today and we went to the park to celebrate it. After a few patties were cooked on the bbq we sat down to burgers and caesar salad. It was yum!

We decided to do a lap of the park ground before sitting down to some cake though. It was a victoria sponge cake (homemade) with cream cheese icing. The writing is done with melted chocolate.

Here is Nanny with one of her favourite grandchilden, Sarah, helping to cut the cake! Needless to say, a fun day was had by all!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Saving seeds

These are seeds I've managed to save this year. From left to right, we have "Butternut Pumpkin" seeds - saved from the seedling punnets I bought last summer. Then in the middle we have "Kent Pumpkin" seeds, given to us from one of our neighbours homegrown pumpkins. And lastly, we have "Rockmelon" seeds, I got from a supermarket melon.

I don't know how they'll grow this summer, but we'll give them a try at least. I'm looking at everything we buy now and asking myself if I can save the seeds!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Burrowing bird?

I was having a break from tiling the shed - don't go there, it's not pretty! When I was informed by Dave & Sarah that we had a bird on our window. Yeah, right, I thought...they've put one of her stuffed toys up on the window, because no-one seemed impatient when I went to wash my hands first.

Well, yes, it was a real bird and for some reason, appeared to be glued to the fly screen. I was able to take many snapshots - half expecting it would fly away. It was only when I put my gardening gloves on to check if it was stuck, that it myseriously flew off again.

I've seen these birds burrowing in our dirt mounds - I've even heard chicks calling their parents. If anyone knows the name of this bird, please let me know.

EDITED TO ADD: The name kindly provided by a reader, many moons ago (wish I still had the email so I could credit you personally) has informed me, the burrowing bird is a native Striated Pardalote, or Pardalotus striatus, in Latin.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


I've had time to try out my new chook tractor but one of my chooks now has the sniffles. It's one of those things you only learn from experience. While the tractor is now weatherproof, the ground is still cold from winter temps and overcast days. It's going to happen every year.

So now it's time to get serious about the permanent coop!

I've been racking my brain for how I can go about putting one together. Then it occured to me. Renovate the tractor!

I have some leftover bricks from the house I can use. They can be laid on a cement slab the size of my tractor, then simply afix the tractor on top. Then I can build the run around the new permanent coop.

I must confess to mourning the possibility of my customised nest becoming redundant. But then it occured to me I can always use it as a shelf to store their feed close-by. Everything can be given a second life if you think about it long enough!

All I have to do is wait for the ground to dry a little, and I then can start pegging it out.

Monday, June 9, 2008

1..2..3 weeks running!

Don't mind the background mess, but it's just my chook tractor being put to work! You should be able to see the little greens popping up from the first place the tractor stood (3 weeks ago). The yellower section is where we just moved them off today, and you can see their newest resting place right at the back.

There's nothing like getting your hands dirty working the soil and spending some quality time with your chooks. Mine are only bantams, so very small, but still full of character. We let them outside the tractor for the first time today but only because they escaped!!

Took us a good hour to get them back in, but only after they had a good scratch around. I would like to have them out longer but we need a fence up first.

New look!

Just so you know - I've changed the look of our blog recently.

I wanted to add pictures but they looked funny against the rounded edges of our old set up.

I hope it isn't too much of a culture shock for everyone - I'm still getting use to it myself!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Weatherproofing the tractor

Remember this...?

Yep, it's a beaut tractor in dry weather but in the wet, it made me realise how impracticale the design was. No worries, as with the donation of a shade blind from my mother, a quick solution was found!

Not very flash but at least I have matching shades of green. Both ends of the blind have the weighted metal rollers attached, so is prevented from blowing away in windy conditions. As it's only shade cloth, I also put a layer of plastic sheeting I had laying around, underneath the blind too.

It really did the job I must say! The pavers I put around the bottom to deter predators digging under, doubled as a dam when the water pooled nearby. It was a pretty heavy downpour we experienced recently, and I was surprised how well the pavers stopped the water from flooding it out.

The chickens are doing well and taking an extended holiday from laying eggs, but I'm sure they'll start churning them out after the warmer months come. I have plans to build a proper coop soon, I just have to let the ground dry out first!

First compost bin

Remember our drystone retaining wall we did a few weeks ago? Well I did mention the compost bins we were planning to build too - and we finally got one up. A very crude design but does the job wonderfully.

Instead of having the pallets laying around the yard, enticing termites to feed, we thought to put them to good use instead. Just a few star pickets (one on each side) then tied them together with galvanised wire. We've done compost pits in the ground before, but none really above ground so I'm expecting some sour heaps to come!

But it's all good practice and eventually we'll find the right balance.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Late night loaf

I was in the mood for some fresh bread in the morning, so decided to crank out a late night loaf. Trying out a new recipe too!

This is after the second prove. By the way, I'm totally in love with this loaf tin! It doesn't need oiling before baking or scrubbing afterwards - just wipe it clean. It even comes with silicon handles so you don't get burned by accident. Best $25 I ever spent!

Golden brown after 25 minutes in a hot oven. Smells utterly divine!

And finally out of the tin.

By the side profile you can see I probably could've let it rise a bit longer, but I also think my yeast has expired it's "best before" date. While it did froth after I activated the yeast, it wasn't as bubbly as it could have been.

All in all though, I'm happy with how it came out. We will see how it tastes tomorrow, with our Sunday morning bacon and eggs!