Monday, February 13, 2017

The great exchange

David's employer kindly allows him to take the food scraps home for our chickens. It's not always consistent, but it helps curb the cost of feeding them. We've also received surplus from the same employer, who has a veg garden in town. As well as another employee, who gave us surplus veg too. We eat some of it, but the chickens get a healthy portion.

With nine new layers, we hatched and raised, joining our existing four layers, we've had a surplus of eggs to get through recently. When our fridge started exploding with full egg cartons, it was time to return the favour.

Fried eggs & fresh tomatoes - ones I can actually eat!

We've given away 4 dozen eggs, to 4 people in David's workplace. The first two said, "are these REAL eggs!" We were happy to inform them, yes, they were indeed, real eggs. And the chickens who laid them, were indeed grateful for their food offerings.

Recently, we received two large bags of tomatoes from David's employer's garden. Several kilos worth. They were big, red, and tasted like REAL tomatoes! No astringent after-taste, which I find comes from store bought ones. I can't normally eat tomatoes, as they're from the nightshade family. I tend to have reactions with itchy skin, bloating and twitches. I could eat these however, without any problems.

 Home grown tomatoes

We can't seem to grow tomatoes here, but we can grow chickens who lay eggs - where David's employer doesn't have the time or space to keep them in town. So a good exchange of produce, from two productive households.

None of us "expected" these acts of generosity. It just seemed the right thing to do when a surplus came alone. Use it up. Don't waste it. That's what a community does - keep it in the loop. We also help David's employer, by taking buckets of coffee grounds home to put in our garden. It saves them from having to pay to throw them out. Plus it helps our garden!

Haul of coffee grounds - December 2016

We even started giving some of the empty 10 Litre buckets of ice-cream away from his workplace too. They accumulate, after we empty the coffee grounds. But an acquaintance, we met at playgroup, thought they were perfect for planting their daffodil bulbs. So we've passed on, at least a dozen their way too. They said to keep them coming!

I'm happy to report, all our chickens managed to survive through the scorching heat over the weekend. They predicted 42 degrees Celsius, for our area - but I recorded 44 degrees  (111 Fahrenheit) on the verandah at 4pm. So I don't know how hot it got during the day!

With the new tank we installed last year, and the rain that filled it, we were able to hose down the coops, on both days. Which probably made the difference in their survival. Instead of sitting still with their beaks open, attempting to cool down, they would come over to the wet ground and start clucking. They even rolled themselves in the cooler, dirt - despite the fact it was wet.

Birth bath

You should have seen our birdbath yesterday though. The above picture was taken back in November, last year. With 2 rainbow lorikeets, having a drink. I didn't take photos yesterday, when the kangaroos, brush-turkey's and every imaginable species of bird, wanted to take a drink.

It was full, they just had to wait their turn. I even put an extra bowl out there at ground level. But I still had birds come up to the house, near the verandah, as if to say, "come on human - bring the water!"

I'm relieved it's a lot cooler today though, and I pray we get that predicted rain! The ants have become really active, which is a good sign.


  1. Oh, boy, you have had it hot! Yesterday here was freezing cold with south-westerly gales that blew over my 2 large tubs of Jerusalem artichokes and today I have actually lit the fire! It's not really cold enough for a fire (nothing another jumper wouldn't fix), but I had a big bag of papers and cartons to get rid of and we can't burn outside till May.

    Sharing is good and will be the way of the future. You are lucky to get all those coffee material is like gold!

    Hope your rain comes. It's been drizzling all morning here and I haven't been outside at all. Just as well there's housework to do (ugh).

    1. I'm really glad to hear you did the responsible thing with your burn off pile. I wouldn't think you'd do anything different though. :)

      It breaks my heart to hear how fires start accidentally, causing homes and lives to be lost. If not human lives, then the native animals which cannot escape the fire. So when I hear of someone doing the right thing, I just got to say so!

      We do notice the microbes move into where we place the coffee grounds. Because its a perfect medium for growing moulds and fungi. Porous, moist and retains warmth. I use them to mulch our trees, and then place branches, sticks and weeds on top.

      We did get that rain too! So good all round. :)

  2. Chris our top temp yesterday was supposed to be 40C but I am sure it was hotter than that. Ther is a storm warning out for our area at present but so far no rain but it is overcast. Some relief would be so nice. Our chooks survived too but I did hear of others who lost some of theirs. Not good weather for chookies or humans...or guinea pigs for thst matter as I thought we would lose them. I couldn't bring them inside either as it was just as hot there :-)

    1. Yesterday afternoon, the reprieve we've all wanted so much, came! Did you get it on top of the mountain? I just sat outside, on the verandah, as the cool breeze blew over me. I said "OMG" on many occasions!

      Glad to hear your chooks survived, and your guinea pig too. We moved our guinea pig, under the ceiling fan. It normally lives near the window anyway, in a special cage. But the heat inside the house, simply couldn't escape, so the ceiling fan helped.

      Boy, am I glad for this cooler spell though. :)

  3. I just love the passing around and swapping of goods and services. We have lots of that going on here too. Isn't it amazing that you can eat home grown tomatoes with no ill effects? It makes me shudder to think what goes into mass produced food. Thankfully we don't need to eat it. Good effort keeping all of your poultry alive in the heat, we lost one old girl out of our approx fifty hens during our recent four days of above 40degrees.

    1. The older hens seem to be the least resistant to heat stress. Although I guess some get lucky with genes. I've had some really old hens survive the heat, and I could only put it down to the fact they were smaller than some of their siblings. The bigger the hen, the harder it is for them to cool down.

      Glad to hear more exchanging going on, elsewhere. It's such a lovely surprise when someone turns up with a bag of something. We were given a free chilli plant just yesterday, from someone who had an explosion of self-seeded ones in their garden. I'm glad they thought of us.

  4. It wasn't cooler here in Hervey Bay. We got no relief today, all we got was higher temps and higher humidity. There has to be some relief soon! Today I gave in and had both mobile air cons going. I turned them on about 8am and they're still on now, 8.30pm.
    Sharing the bounty is a great way to develop community. It sits well with the ideas of fair share and community care. I love what you're doing. It just makes sense.

    1. I hope the cool, migrates your way soon Jane! Now we've had some rain, it won't be long until the humidity rises here too.

      You're right that it fits with fair share and community care. It's great that we have a few people, who share the same values. It wouldn't be much fun without them. :)

  5. We barter everything from too much crops, to recycling items from the garden and house to plant swaps. It's a nice way to get to know your neighbours.

    1. Absolutely right Marlene, it is a great way to get to know your neighbours or work associates too. We were thrilled to learn how many townsfolk were interested in growing produce in their yards.

  6. Swapping goods and produce is such a lovely way of sharing.My first job in the morning is to check the bird baths, shallow one near the deck for the wrens,10cm deep one right up the back for the big birds, next to a very deep one that won't dry out even if I am away for a few days and a big pottery rain barrel in the front yard is usually busy all day every day, not just in the heat. The possum gang use this one at night too.

  7. Great post Chris. The sharing of surplus is so the right thing to do! And those eggs accumulate! We have a dozen chickens which is really too many for just the two of us. And I didn't need to use any of the eggs I stored for winter use. Makes me miss our pigs, who loved any surplus sent their way.


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