Tuesday, May 27, 2008

First drystone retaining wall

It's only a small one, but it's still our first drystone retaining wall. No mortar, no bluestone or roadbase. Just the rocks we collected around the property as we were shifting dirt around. The most satisfying part about this project is that it was first of all, free - bust secondly utilising a resource already existing on the property so there was no fuel consumed in delivery.

We dug this out to build three future compost bins from leftover wooden pallets. We need to clean up the yard a lot, both with foliage and debris but also the materials we have collected for future projects. It's starting to look a bit like a junkyard, so it's time to get busy!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Reflections, May 2008

We've been here for over twelve months now and so it's time to reflect. It may come as a shock to some, but a few home truths have come to light recently.

On five acres - which we've only civilised one acre for living - is a large project to manage alone. It's winter now so the grass and weeds have stopped growing, but it wasn't long ago we were spending every weekend hitting it with the brushcutter. David is still working full time and with his current studies at the moment, is always tired. Consequently, the responsibility for anything to happen here, falls to me.

Not that I mind a great deal, as it's what I've always wanted. But it highlights the fact of what would happen if anything were to happen to me - or David. We really do need two people to maintain this property.

What does this mean for our bushland project? Well, we're not planning to run off the land just yet. But I wouldn't be honest if I didn't express all the things we experience here. At times it's difficult to manage the size of the property when one person is otherwise indisposed.

I guess we're going to have to prioritise better and take hope that David won't be studying forever. It also means we're going to have to make better, more efficient systems, so that one person can manage it better. We're still happy here, albeit, a little exhausted.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Tractor done!

Forgive me if I gloat, but I'm so chuffed with my finished project. It took me months to construct but it's finally ready for chickens!


Positioned on the edge of the retaining wall.

Nice cosy nest.

And it wouldn't be complete without a working ramp and latches!

Today was move-in day for the new residents too. This little girl was the last to go into the tractor, and left a little deposit in the nesting box before flying out. Of the 6 black pekins we put straight into the nesting box, none used the ramp. They chose to fly down instead.

There are 3 adults and 3 of their chicks who are almost at point of lay. We named the three pullets: Cherry, Blossom and Kiwi...the daddy rooster is called Mr Sheen, and there's mummy Juju Juciy (named by Sarah) and the other mummy hen, Sweety Pie - also named by Sarah.

They all went to roost this evening which I was happy to see, although Mr Sheen couldn't fit on the roost. He was prepared to sleep underneath to be near his girls, but I felt safer with him in the raised nesting box on the opposite side. So I climbed in the tractor, picked him up and put him in the nest. I don't think he was too impressed with that, but last time I checked he had nestled in the wood shavings.

Next project has to be fencing, so I can have them free-range during the day. I hope they like it in their new home.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Nesting box & roost

I've had to divide my time lately, with our daughter's birthday this weekend. But I did manage to get alot done. First, I managed to wire the bottom enclosure and get the nesting box started. The roost area is to be enclosed too, which I managed one side of.

But instead of all this talking, I'll just let your eyes do the walking!