Friday, February 26, 2010

I've been meaning to...

As I'm writing this entry, I'm wondering if I'll even have time to finish it. So much to do and so many times I've jumped on the computer to write a post, then something always whisks me away. It's not a terrible thing for this to happen, I suppose, as it's just my life and it takes priority. Well, it's not just my life either. It's also the life of our six-year old daughter, a hard working husband and a plethora of chooks.

Speaking of which, I have a few photos of my barnevelders. Actually, I think they're a barnevelder crossed with a welsummer, although they were sold to me as a pure breed at the time. This was the earlier picture I took last year, when they were only a few weeks old. Those two in the picture, turned out to be hens - one was red and one more ginger-blonde.

They are quite docile. Adorable in fact. You can pick them up as they scratch for food near your feet. On the other hand, they can be quite flighty when they want to be too! Their eggs are a lovely dark brown colour, but one girl lays a really splotchy coloured egg. I don't have a decent picture of the eggs yet, but this is the ginger-blonde girl, we named Penny...all grown up!

Her sister we named Jenny. So they are Penny and Jenny - shouldn't be too hard to remember I hope. Their two brothers had to get the chop, unfortunately, as they were terribly aggressive and we couldn't have that. Not this boy though, remember him...

We decided to name him "Alfred" after all this time. He just seemed to carry himself like a dignified Alfred, strutting around the yard - head held high, like most Araucanas do. Well, I've gone and crossed him with our two barney girls, who share Hilltop coop with him and two other araucana hens.

The eggs are due out of the incubator in a day or so. I know - terrible aren't I; for not writing something about it sooner? What can I say...I've been having fun learning how to Homeschool and not spend money, LOL. The only reason I have time now is due to the fact our daughter is having a few days sleep-over at her Nan's.

We missed her terribly yesterday. So much so, Dave and I had a sudden urge for chocolate and fatty food all day. Okay, so we were working hard in the garden too, but most of the day we both wanted something deep fried and covered in chocolate. It took me until the late afternoon to realise, we were missing our girl. The food was our compensation for the void I think.

Upon speaking to her on the phone later that night, she too confessed tears that day, all because she missed us too. Awwwh...

How are we going to be when she leaves home for good? I'm surprised how much we miss her now. I'm longing for those hundred questions and hugs and kisses we have every morning. I want a big squishy hug right now. And this folks, is why most of my days are spent wondering if I have the time to blog. Life with my family under wing, is amazing. My daughter is amazing for all the things she gets me to do. My husband is amazing for not complaining about all the crazy stuff we do too, LOL.

How do I convey that all in a post? Believe me, I try to, but then something always calls me away. Like the recyclables I should be taking to the transfer station right now. I've put it off for three weeks already, LOL. I promised myself I would do that today. Hang on a minute...

...back again! Did you miss me? Of course not, LOL, what just took me 30 minutes to drop off three bags of recyclables at the transfer station, and two bags of clothes at the thrift shop bin, can appear mere seconds in cyber space. But I just had to run out and do that - it was bugging me. I wasn't going to miss another week.

Perhaps due to the fact, in part, that we've been increasingly busy in the garden. More ramp digging, feeding and mulching the fruit trees, seed collecting and something recently which broke our no spend year. Ooops! I guess we were compensating for our daughter's absence and spent just over a hundred dollars at the nursery. If we were going to break our no spend challenge though, then I'm glad it was on plants. When you buy a fruit tree, you're buying it's lifetime of food production for your family. Or when you buy flowering trees and shrubs, you're also buying it's lifetime of food production for the eco-system it will be planted in.

Needles to say, AGAIN, I reckon if you're going to break a no-spend challenge on anything, then plants have to be an incredibly sensible indulgence. Of course, we didn't just go willy-nilly at the nursery with an open wallet. We made sure every purchase had a purpose in the garden.

For starters, we needed another pollinator avocado to help fruit production with the first avocado we planted earlier. It was beneficial to plant them in the same season together, even if it was a few months apart. That way, they should come into production around the same time. We've got at least a 3 year wait for first fruits on avocado (yum...avocado) so that's why I didn't want to lag a year behind with the pollinator.

Secondly though, we bought a blood orange citrus tree. Not exactly an essential citrus to have in the garden (in a no spend year) but I haven't seen them stocked in nurseries much, so we took the plunge and grabbed it. We also purchased 10 assorted natives for a noise barrier between us and the neighbours dogs.

Every time we hear them howling, it reminds us of last Christmas when the neighbours went away. They left their dogs on the property (friends came to feed and check on them) but on Christmas eve they wouldn't stop howling. It was very frustrating.

As much as it irritates me, I don't want to be one of those constantly, "shaking my fingers at the neighbours", type neighbours. On the whole, they're not bad dogs and the neighbours do what they can to control them. Besides, we always meant to plant a native garden on our side of the property boundary anyway. Feeling indulgent, we spent our money on some bird feeding and sanity saving plants, LOL.

One last picture before I dash off and turn into a pumpkin! These are the luffa's doing exceptionally well on their trellis. It's a pity it's taken them so long to get to this point, as the heat of summer is almost gone.

For this reason, we're planning on some permanent grape vines next season instead. They'll take a few years of training before we get the kind of coverage we want, but I love the thought of a green wall here, so it will be worth the time invested.

Anyway, that's just a quick run-down of our happenings lately. I cannot promise how regularly I'll be posting in future, as the living part of life is something I don't want to miss. I figured if it was getting increasingly difficult to post my thoughts, then maybe I needed to accept that. If anything my daughter's absence has taught me lately, is how important our family is right now. We're going through a busy period with lots of changes - and I cannot predict when that will end. Or at least, when I have enough time to blog.

So don't consider this goodbye, just a few interludes of wonderful distraction. I promise to post when I can...


  1. Hi Chris
    Wow you have a lot going on! I was finding myself envious as I read your post that you can grow all of the wonderful things that I can only dream about in my climate (unless I build a greenhouse that is:on the do list:) I personally think that blood oranges are a gift of the Gods so I would splurge on them if I found them.
    You know, I relate to how you and your husband were missing your little girl. When I sent my twins off to pre school (3 hours a day mind you!), I would go home and cry everyday for about a month! They are now teenagers and at times when they are out and about, I get sad all over again. I don't think parents will ever loosen our emotional bonds with our kids. We will always miss them. But sometimes the separation is good for all of us.
    Blogging is supposed to be fun. If you can't fit it in, you can't fit it in. I will miss you if you quite though! But I have some catching up to do in the meantime. Take care of yourself but keep us up to date now and then if you feel like it!

  2. It's easy to forget in our part of the world, we get a pretty tame cold spell during winter. It's still cold enough for wood heaters and winter woolies, but it's nothing in comparison to the northern hemisphere.

    I bet the berries and apples in your part of the world though, are super sweet and super crisp! They need a good chilly season to set their best fruits.

    Funnily enough, I have yet to taste a blood orange myself, but I've heard they make a wicked glazed fruit. Or is that glace fruit? I'm interested in it for making preserves and generally experimenting as a cooking orange. I'd love to taste one fresh though.

    I didn't realise you had twins (a boy and a girl) but we still end up missing them all the same, don't we? Separation can be good to appreciate what you have. I know I have recently, LOL.

    Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. I enjoy it when we catch up. :)

  3. Chris,
    I have a recipe for blood orange and port marmalade that I have been meaning to try. Blood oranges are seasonal here so I'll have to buy some very soon or miss out. I'll let you know how it works out and if it does work out, happy to share the recipe. Otherwise, I eat them raw. They are very juicy and sour but I like that.
    Yes we get nice berries. Our farm had black cap berries and raspberries already planted and gone wild but a neighbor at the farm also has a wooded lot and she brought me the best blackberries I ever tasted, all growing wild there.
    You will always miss your daughter! The closer you are to her the harder it will be I think. I am very close to my two. As they got older though, they felt guilty when away and I didn't want that so I tried to work harder on making them independent. When they come back, its important that they know you thought of them but equally as important for them to know that you did something you enjoyed yourself. It helps them to feel good. And it helps you pine away........

  4. wow Chris sounds like you have a very full time ahead of you with home schooling and working on the property. I agree that breaking the no spend on plants is economical in the long run. I think it is a worthy exception! I would love to get a few barnevelders - mainly as a mate for Pumpkin who is the only one of her colour 'cause the others seem to pair off and leave her at a loose end. Will look forward to your posts even if they are not as frequent 'cause they are often very inspiring! Good luck xx

  5. I can totally empathise with your not having much time to blog lately. I'm the same, and I put it down to homeschooling and working from home. Nice to hear an update on all you're up to though.

  6. Hi Jacqui & Rinnelle. *waves* Thanks for dropping in. It's a bit wet in our parts though, isn't it Rinelle? We've had rain for 3 consecutive days now. You're fortunate to be able to work from home. I hope it's all going well for you. :)

    I've heard barnies are often osterasized like that Jacqui, even when you do manage to get a mate for Pumpkin. They just seem to operate on a different level to other breeds.

    I find my two barney girls always hang around each other, and rarely the two araucana hens. When they're out free ranging, they break off into their two groups, leaving poor Alfred (the rooster) fretting over which ones he should go with, LOL.

    I hope you find another barnevelder friend for Pumpkin, and everything is well in your parts too. :)

    I tell you what though, blood orange and port marmalade sounds absolutely gorgeous!! I'd love the recipe. I'm imagining what it would taste like on warm toast for breakfast! If you get around to making it, I'd love to see a photo of the results on your blog too.

    You make a good point about making sure my girl doesn't feel bad about going away either. Like your son, she seems to gauge a lot by my reactions too. I do encourage her to tell me all about her adventures away though. :)


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