Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Making more compost

Yesterday was a busy afternoon out the back in the duck area. With almost 6 days of wet winter weather being promised I wanted to make sure the list of jobs were all done.

Earlier in the day Pat & I went to our local poultry grain supplier and I bought a bale of straw and some more food for the poultry and rabbits.

First job was to start cleaning out the duck shed as I wanted to mix this in the compost bins. Once the soiled bedding was removed I spread fresh smelling straw around the shed floor. The straw that wasn't used was then stored in the 30 & 40 kilo grain/pellet bags for future use.

Next I shifted a 25 kilo bag of wheat I scored on the weekend at an outdoor market to a smaller plastic bin, so the 30 kilo of layer pellets could go into the bigger bin. To help keep rodents out of the stored food I have bins with firm lids on them.

Now the shed was ship shape next was the outside areas.

With the colder weather now well and truly here the tumbleweed compost wasn't quite ready for use and so this was given a good turn and at the same time some upper arm exercises for me.

Next was the compost bins, as they are bins with open bottoms I just have to lift them up and away to a new area and then start to fork the made compost back into the bins.

I couldn't believe my luck as my former lawn mower man called in with a bin full of green lawn cuttings. So this was also layered sandwich style with some of the duck straw bedding from their shed in between the compost from the bins. By this time I was hot and need of a cup of tea and a rest.

While Pat and I sat and chatted drinking our hot drinks he made, we listened to the chooks and ducks quack and cluck as they dabbled and scratched round the finished compost area looking for all the plump fat worms.

Last on the list of jobs was to use a leaf rake and collect the odd fruit tree leaves, feathers from any molting ducks and chooks and any poultry manure that was sitting round and doing nothing. This was popped into the compost bin and all was finished.

So today as the cold wet winter weather has settled in and I have listened to the rain this afternoon on the house roof, I am happy to know the animals are all snug and warm and their tummies full of food.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Babies make 3

Smoky & Sinders are 2 weeks old today and are just so cuddly. If not me it's Pat or Amy having a cuddle with the babies or Cadbury. I was laying on the futon watching TV after the evening meal and Pat popped the babies there to say hello.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Baby bunny update

I don't have a photo to show you but the little baby rabbit's eyes have open overnight. I did try to take a photo but they kept moving and crawling round. As I didn't want to stress them out I gave up in the end.

So I'll try later on in the week and hopefully they will have settled down and used to the idea of seeing.

They are very cuddly and Amy has often taken Cadbury and her 2 babies into the bedroom and in her bed while she watches TV. Pat & I will cuddle the babies in the rumpus room in the evening with Cadbury nearby.

I named the off white coloured one, Smoky and the black bunny Sinders. Smoky is more active and seems to come across to me as the older of the 2. Smoky's eyes opened first, but Sinder's is more steady on his/her feet. Now their eyes have opened the little faces have taken on a whole new identification. They have their own little faces now and with their eyes open they'll develop new traits and we can't wait to see them grow.

Amy & I went to the markets in the Port Adelaide area this morning and we bought some fresh fruit not only for us but for the bunnies and guinea pigs. With Cadbury still feeding I wanted to make sure she was getting lots of variety of not only organic vegetables from my garden but some fruit as well.

Shouldn't be too long and the babies will be venturing out into the open area of the hutch.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

When is an egg not an egg????

On the right is a mallard duck egg and on the left is a chook egg.

Duck egg weighs 62 grams
Chook egg weighs 10 grams

I found it underneath the chook house area, not sure how long its been under there. One of the chooks must have kicked it out into the edge of it today.

With me not knowing how old the egg is I have no idea of when it was laid.

Some info on eggs for you.


Soft-shelled eggs

Are caused when a hen is coming into lay again.

Calcium deficiency this can be avoided by making sure you have shell grit available at all times.

Calcium powder added to their wet mash.

Lots of greens will help as well.

Double Yolks

This is hereditary when a hen is coming into lay, nothing to worry about and just enjoy the surprise when you find one.

Yolkless egg

Cccurs when the hen is coming into lay or just finishes.

Blood spots in eggs

A little blood has escaped from the ovarian follicle. Blood spots does not mean a chicken is starting to develop.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Composting the fun way

After cleaning out the main area of Cadbury's hutch I took her bedding down to the composting area. Rather than just dumping the bedding on top of the compost I decided to turn all 3 composting areas.

I have 2 plastic square upright bins and also the one in the photo. This one raised the most excitement with the ducks.

While turning the 2 bins I took the cover off the third one and left the ducks to dabble and hunt for worms. When it came time to turn this compost heap, the ducks didn't move at all and going from the look of those big and fat worms I could understand why. The compost was teaming with worms.

So after lots of quacking and moving them out the road so not pierce them with the garden fork I managed to get the compost turned and a box of leaves added to the heap.

As I left to come inside the ducks were still dabbing and quacking as they searched around the covered compost for more worms and composting bugs.

This is what I love about gardening with the help of animals, it's so relaxing and fun. Never a dull moment and always someone willing to lend a wing or a paw when out the back.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Bunny update

Last night I checked to see how the babies were going and I think they were a little bit excited as both followed Cadbury out at different times.

Their eyes might be still closed but they sure can move round the cage. Couple of times I have found them at different ends of the enclosed area of the hutch.

Both babies at different times wriggled out into the open area and Pat & I had a chance to watch Cadbury feed the little black kitten while she clean it.


Saturday, May 20, 2006

Moving the pepino vine


With the pepino vine gone I have a whole area of no-dig gardening that can be put to use again. You can see the mark on the soil, this shows how much area was lost. So now this area will need some work done on it. This was also the area I squeezed a few lettuces I had grown from seeds and the Fabless 4 raided and destroyed the other day.

I have some old bedding from the rabbit hutches and this will be spread over the top and given a good wetting down with some fish emulsion to help with the soil.

My sister has promised me some sheep manure from under their shearing shed in about 4 weeks and a bag will be spread over the area. Then a few weeks after this I will plant some seedlings in the bed.


Finally move the pepino vine from the no-dig area to the back fence behind the apricot tree.

While Pat was pulling out the vine I raked over the area where the new vines were going. Cut the cable ties that was holding the plastic trellis on another fence (this was left over from an old passhionfruit vine) we grew and attached to the back fence.

These vines seem to grow so easy and with a good size root on the bottom and a few leaves on the top, we should see some movement within weeks.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Being a dad is hard work

After a day out the back running round the yard, nothing like coming in and relaxing on the kitchen floor while mum cleans out his hutch.

Nibbles would look great spread out like that in front of an open fire. Breathing of course.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Home made pickles

Decided to turn the green tomatoes on the bush into green tomato pickles. Hot off the stove and it sure has some kick to it. Tastes so much better than the bought products.

I have enough tomatoes left over to make another 1/2 batch tomorrow. The above was made from 1.35 kilo of tomatoes.

At the peak of the summer season I said to Patrick about growing extra tomato plants next season so I can make some pickles.

Not only does this mean another product from Lucky's Duck Farm in our food pantry, but we also get to enjoy the fruits of our organic vegie garden and I know what is in those jars.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Cadbury's babies have arrived.

First photo of 2 little kittens that Cadbury delivered last night at some stage. As you can see from the straw and paper and mum's fur they are safe and warm.

Cadbury is allowing us to look and photograph the kittens without even watching us in the enclosed area.

I am so relieved they have arrived safe and sound.

There will be a weekly update here with a new photo as well.

Well done Cadbury, you have done good.

You will find more photos on my main website on Lucky's Nursery page.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Baby update

Well it can't be far off now to when Cadbury has her babies and going from her closed in area we won't know when the delivery will happen.

Cadbury is so busy ripping paper and taking straw into the enclosed area today. So at a guess from other litters our rabbits have had, 48 hours sounds a safe bet.

I am so busting for her to have these kittens and I can't wait until they are at that cute stage and able to be nursed, cuddles and have lots of baby photos taken.

I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Update on Cadbury.

No sign of the babies yet and she is heavy to lift and fat. Cadbury also hasn't started to pull any of her fur out yet either. So its a waiting game on when the babies will be born.

All quiet in the garden at the moment too. Still harvesting broccoli, beans, cabbage, capsicum, chilies, spring onions, rainbow chard and carrots to name a few.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Cadbury due anyday now.

Cadbury is due to give birth to her kittens anyday now. I have just cleaned out her hutch and I have noticed she isn't using her closed in area of the hutch as a toilet spot. So I have popped extra newspaper on the area she is using now and then fresh straw on top.

As Cabdury lives inside we'll have closer access to the litter, though for the first couple of weeks we'll not handle the babies.

So stay tuned for photos of the kittens as they grow.


Teeth Care

Your bunny's teeth grow all the time and so they need to be able to wear them down. Carrots are a good food as its a hard food. I also keep in the other rabbit hutchs a thick piece of fruit tree limb cut to size for their teeth.

Cadbury is the only rabbit that loves these flavoured blocks from the pet shop. When new it looked like a bunch of grapes and now as you can see its been well chewed.

Best time to get a rabbit used to chewing these is when they are babies. Nibbles and Flossy won't use these and so they have fruit tree limbs, cut to a small size.

These fruit chews come is all sizes and different flovours, plus have a tie included in the chew for tying to the mess on the hutch.

Also remember to give your bunnies those sweet fruit sticks in moderation as they are very sweet.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Mushrooms everywhere

The autumn rains here have mushrooms popping up everywhere from parks, beside roads and people's front lawns. Also underneath are different colours from dark like this one, to light brown to almost white.

This one I found out in the open next to a track by a park while out walking today. I loved the colour and the pattern of the underside of this mushroom, so I carried it home in my hand. Mind you the other side wasn't worth much it was soggy from all the rain and bug eaten all over.

When I was a kid in the outback we loved autumn as we knew it brought the rains and mushrooms in the water courses between the dams. If it rained heavy and long enough we would have enough water to start flowing and these water causes wound through the paddocks for miles, to a dam waiting to catch the water.

So after we had finished our school work for the day, my younger sister and I'd grab a small vegie knife and 2 gallon bucket each and we'd go for miles picking mushrooms in the water courses.

After a good rain we'd pick buckets full of mushrooms and go back the next day and pick more and we couldn't not tell where we picked them from.

We'd peel them for mum and she would cook them in butter and make a milk & cornflour sauce and by this time we'd think the mushrooms we just plain awful to look at and to smell. Dad would be rubbing his hand together with the thought of a feed of fresh field mushrooms for either lunch or for breakfast.

Mum would save the margarine containers and freeze enough in them for dad, older brother and herself for when mushroom season was finished.

My sister and I got to clean the dishes up afterwards and we still didn't like the mushrooms cooked this way.

But after school the next day, we'd be out again with bucket and knife with the pet house dogs heading off to a water course to pick more mushrooms.

That was back in the late 70's & early 80's and when I see these mushroom scattered in pockets around parks, road sides and people's lawns I smile and think of what used to be.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Cabbage


You won't see this little beauty on sale in the supermarket or your local grocery shop. The green grubs have had a wonderful time feasting on it. This one is the worst in the brassicas area.

I picked this one as I wanted you to see how serious I am about organic gardening. I would rather share my garden with a few bugs and grubs than poison my family with chemicals.

Also the grubs only eat the outside leaves and when it's harvested we'll still eat a lovely sweet grub free cabbage. All those damaged leaves will go to the chooks and ducks and in return made into fresh eggs.

Though twice a day I did pick off any green grubs on the Brussels Sprouts and Broccoli, much to the delight of the chooks. Which we are now being rewarded with grub free broccoli feeds.

I feel we are being programmed to only except blemish free food that are on sale in the supermarkets and green grocers. Not all of us are accepting this concept and I for one would pick that cabbage in the photo over a perfect cabbage if it was organic and had a sign saying this.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Rain

Over night we received 21 mm of rain. A few times through the night I was woken to the sounds of wind blowing hard against the house and maybe a bit of hail fell at one stage.

The garden is lovely and wet and won't need a water for days now. Rain water tank is over flowing and when this happens I always wish I had the second tank.

Yesterday Patrick and I planted out about 4 dozen bulbs into the flower area out the front. I should have had them in earlier but I kept forgetting about the box of bulbs sitting in the house.

Planted out 20 mixed ranunculus and 30 mauve anemone bulbs. The anemone bulbs were a free gift through a gardening magazine I subscribe too.

Sept 2005 while at the Adelaide show we ordered a pile of bulbs from an interstate company called J.N. Hancock & Co. The best part about ordering these bulbs is the flowers were on display in front of you.

How many times have you looked at and bought a bulb or flowing annual for that matter and been disappointed in the flower? Well Pat & I had a difficult time picking out what daffodils we wanted as all the flowers were so beautiful.

Some we ordered came as a single bulb and some come in 3's. We were also given as a gift 3 yellow daffodils, some plant tag markers plus an information poster on monthly care for bulbs.

Daffodils are Patrick's favourite flower and he can't wait until the spring flowering starts. I must say the thought of all these bulbs flowering in the spring sunshine is just a wonderful thought.

Here is the suppliers website J.N Hancock & Co

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Wild life in the area.

When out on my daily walk I love to see what wild life is in the area. One of the most common for us to see is the Magpie and this one was more than happy to have his photo taken.

This one has his feathers all fluffed up due to the cold wind that was blowing at the time. Those sharp beaks have sent many a person to the hospitals for stitches in their heads. As those beaks are sharp as and nothing is worse than a protective magpie in breeding season swooping in to take a chunk out of your head.

Their call is one of the most beautiful calls I can think off and nothing is lovelier than a family of magpie calling and talking to each other as they go about their lives.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Nibbles having his bath


What is a bunny to do when in a bath of water?? Drink himself out of trouble, of course.

Thought Nibbles could do with a bath before he was put back into his clean hutch in the rumpus room. So with both our kids at work and the house quiet, now was the time to strike.

As you can see from the photo Nibbles took the bath like a man. Well until the shampoo started to lather up and remove those lovely smelly buck smells he has been working on.

But all in all he was a good little boy and even handle the blow-dryer like a true champ.

I have a series of photos on my main website and you can view them by clicking here. Nibbles

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Connie

This photo is of me and my first bantam Connie and one of her little broods she hatched out. Photo was taken back before I bought my digital camera, so I had to scan the photo to publish here.

Until I had Connie I thought all bantams were real horrors when they turned broody. But not Connie and for that matter neither is Bonnie my silkie bantam I have now. Both are or were lovely natured and just such good mums.

I lost Connie to a fox back 2 years ago now. It suprises people when they see foxes in the suburbs, they seem to think they are out in the paddock and farming areas.

Anyway, this is a special moment and I wanted to share it with you as there is nothing as rewarding than little chicks with their mum roaming around in the garden. And its more special when you can lay on the lawn and have them all come up to you and sit with you.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The yard has eyes.

This is what I call the "People's Gate" as its people one side and all those little faces above on the other side. I was heading towards them to feed them and noticed how much they love me.

Well this is what I like to think. At least with chooks and ducks we both know where we all stand. I love them care for them and know that they only love me as I can lift the lids off their food bins.

Its so nice to be adored and appreciated in such a special way.


No way I can sneak past them with a bucket of mash is there???

On my main website I have a new page on what I use for wet mash. Photos and the measurements I use.


Wet Mash

Monday, May 01, 2006

Ducks & Breakfast

When it comes to "pondies" out in the duck run, all rules go out the window. The first duck to break the rules is Twinner. I am forever telling them no bathing in the drink container.

Not only does Twinner not listen but Bundy also like to take a dip in it as well.

Size wise Twinner fits better.





Bundy is such a water baby for sure and he never waits until the pond is full. I have seen him jump into the pond after its been cleaned out, only to find no water in it at all.

He had to bend down low to get the water over his body. I love the action picture here of his head moving the water.



When the pond is full, Bundy loves to have a really good splash and then stand up and flap his wings.

Water spray goes everywhere and then back under the water for another splash round.

I took about 40 photos of the ducks yesterday, while they played in the water.

If you have a passion for ducks, you can understand why I love to watch their antics.



That tomato on the plant yesterday was ever so yummy on our toast this morning.

Home grown tomatoes are so much more tasting than the tough old tasteless one at the shops.

Now I have to wait for the next tomato to ripen.