Friday, September 17, 2010

Harvesting todays food

One of the marvellous things about growing your own produce is harvesting it.. of course the BEST bit is the eating.

Some of todays produce for the kitchen
The photo shows produce taken from the garden, just before lunch.  We had already eaten the Mandarins we'd picked from the tree with breakfast !

Lunch is a potato and egg salad, with parsley and spring onion, all from the garden. Along with a chickpea salad, followed by fresh strawberries and Yoghurt.  The rest of the potatoes are for dinner where we'll have them with sweet potato from the pantry, carrots from the garden, with rosemary and garlic from the garden.... along with a Roast Pork from Woolworth.

Earlier in the day we had Eggs and Mandarins from the garden...with home made bread and home made marmalade.

This post is making me hungry !

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


At the moment the Friar Birds are back, the poor things must rate highly as one of the ugliest birds there is and are certainly raucous, I noticed them coming back at about the same time Sprig started, they seemed to leave mid Autumn.

With so many flowering natives, the honeyeaters are prolific
Scarlet Honeyeater

Yellow Faced Honeyeater
Eastern Spinebill

Blue Faced Honeyeater

as well as a variety of other birds

Spangled Drongo

Australia King Parrot
Kookaburras on the Old Gum Tree
Fairy Wren
Red Browed Finch
Blue Billed Duck
Sacred Kingfisher
Azure Kingfisher
Just a small sample and one of the reasons I love living here.

Baby Chickens are doing well, nesting boxes and Lemon Verbana & Mint Tea

The ISA Brown chook who had hew three chicks a couple weeks ago (see here) has been mothering them well and they are growing so fast
and in the last two days, two more chooks have gone broody.  "Elvis" an Arukuna (lays blue eggs), who is off in her own little pen, and has been there a couple days and I noticed just today one of the Cornish Game Hens has gone broody, so we'll throw a couple eggs under her as well.  We hope this doesn't start a trend or we'll have none laying and then a explosion of new baby chickens ... oh well, plenty of roast chicken dinners there then !

Chook Laying Boxes
A few months ago Toni scavenged some 20l plastic containers and I turned them into laying boxes for the chickens with the help of my handy jigsaw.  She scavenged another on the other day from her work and has me make another box.  I remembered to grab a pic, you can see an older one in the photo complete with "fake" egg (a golf ball) to encourage them to lay.  It's good to reuse, rather then recycle.  The old ones were cardboard boxes and had become quite decrepit.
Old laying box, (left), new laying box and jigsaw to cut the hole !
Automatic Chook Water-er
I aslo managed to get around to making another "automatic chook water-er".  Toni scavenged a few containers from her work for me.  I cut the bottom of a 15KG plastic conatiner of Sour Cream (green base) and reused an empty plastic Olive Oil Drum as the reservoir.  I used a plastic drum tap, a short length of  garden hose and some recycled bricks thrown out by the local brickworks as the stand.  I knew that my interest in science would help me out one day !
Automatic chook water-er
As the chooks drink the water, they lower the water level in the green container below the level of the bottom of the pipe fitted over the tap fitting in the bottom of the drum reservoir.  It then empties a little water, as the water level rises, it creates a seal and stops any more water coming out until the chooks drink some more, voila !

This is the second one I have made, the first one is inside the chook yard.  This one is for when they are free ranged outside, the previous owner used a kids potty ! I got tired of filling it and no, I didn't fill it in the traditional way one fills a potty !

Lemon Verbana Tea
Toni has just started brewing her own tea.  She uses a mix of Lemon Verbana and Mint,

(L) Lemon Verbana and Mint (R)

She then rips it up, places the mix into a tea infuser, puts the infuser into the cup and pours boiling water over it.

I find the smell pungent and dislike the flavour but Toni loves it.

I call it her Solar Tea; the plants grow in the garden from Sun and rain, she boils the rainwater we collect using renewable solar power collected from our solar panels and enjoys sitting on the front verandah, listening to the native birds and watching the chickens forage in the yard.  I can surely understand that sentiment !

Friday, September 10, 2010

Spring is sprung !

Well spring is definitely here, the chickens are starting to moult their winter feathers, and the flowers, gorgeous doesn't begin to describe it !

The bees are having a pollen orgasm with each and every flower they visit

Peach Blossom

Creeping Jasmine on the verandah corner

Flowering Callistemon beside the driveway

Covered in blossoms and bees

Farm chore day and food glorious food

We spent the last two days up at Mebin NP and Mt Warning, camping and hiking,
Top, steep, chained section of Mt. Warning

more pics here 

So now back at "the farm" catching up with chores

Finished of the chicken coop pole from an earlier blog post, dug in the green pea manure for some of the garden beds and a whole heap of weeding along with a myriad of other minor chores.

The citrus marmalade that Toni had made back in early May

was running out, apparently I had been eating too much of, who woulda' thunk it ! So Toni picked some of the last citrus left on the trees: Grapefruit, Maderines, Kumquats and a few limes and started to make a new batch

Citrus Marmalade on the boil !

Looks like I have more marmalade coming up ! Hope it's as delicious as the last batch !

Plenty of other cooking that day as well...

Mans (and woman) staple... bread
Our Daily Bread !

and dinner that night

Fresh from the garden and roasted

picked a few hours before from the garden, then roasted, with garlic and rosemary also from the garden, then served with a cheese sauce !

Followed for dessert for a freshly made strawberry (from the garden) cheesecake, the base was crushed choc bikkies, macadamias (from the garden) and almonds !

Thursday, September 2, 2010

another day of farm chores

We had decided that yesterday and today woudl be catch up days, while Toni was off putting fruit fly traps in the peach and nectariine trees and bagging the fruit,
Peach Tree fruit being bagged and trap added.

I was fixing another pole in the chook yard that was rotting at the bottom.  When initially bult they had short cut by simily putting thepoled dorectly into the ground, over the years the base has simply rotted. 
Chook yard netting support pole with rotted base
 We had replaced one a few weeks ago, and I had ago at doing this one myself.  The previous one needed us to coppice a log from our property, de-bark and then season for a month before use.  This time we decided to cut the pole off at the bottom and keep using it, the only rotten bit as the base itself.

I had the trim the side with an axe so the stirrup post support would fit

and then used the chainsaw to cut 3/4 of the way through, drive a wood splitting wedge in t hold the cut opne, then finished the cut on the other side.  Voila!
the chickens came over to do a workplace inspection !

Then dig the old stump out of the ground, make a hole for the new stirrup and concrete and then off to mix a batch of concrete, the sand and gravel for the concrete we source from our property.
The stirrup is put in place and supported with a couple of patented stirrup support posts (aka sticks) until it is set.  This will leave a 20mm or so air gap so the wood on the pole doesn't rot.  Now we leave it to set for a couple days, then put the pole in the stirrup, drill holes through, insert some 10mm threaded rod, cut to length with a hacksaw and attach the washers and nuts.

Here is a photo of the one we'd done previously
The finished product

Another productive day catching up with things.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Gettin' stuff done...

Busy day doing farm chores today.  Cut, split and stacked a heap of wood for use in the fireplace.  Installed trellis's for the 4 rows of peas, then weeded and mulched the strawberries among of myriad of smaller chores.

Strawberries; freshly weeded and mulched

We have been grabbing handfuls of the strawberries each morning to have with breakfast.  This morning we had boiled eggs from our chickens, home made bread with butter and home made marmalade, followed by a handful of strawberries fresh from the garden, all the while were watching the variety of honey eaters that have appeared to revel in Springs gift of flowers for their indulgence from the table on the verandah.

Blue Faced Honeyeater
Scarlet Honeyeater

Eastern Spinebill (male)