Thursday, June 28, 2007

Long Time No Post

Have you been wondering where I have been?

Pat & I have been away up north of South Australia in Whyalla. Our best friend's son was married at the weekend and while there we brought back some furniture that was being stored for us.

So over the next few days I have some wonderful photos to share with you.

This table was made back in the 1970's by Pat's father. The wood was used as staging planks in the Whyalla Ship Yards and Pa used some to make the kitchen table for his family. The Shipyards closed in the late 70's and as Pat did his apprenticeship at the shipyards, this table holds many memories for him as well as the whole family.

Pa has moved to Sydney to live with one of his daughters and so we were honored to be given the table to keep it in the family.

So Monday was spent cleaning the new furniture and finding spots for it all in the house.

On the way up to Whyalla we called in to see my dad & step mum. The photos below are from their garden and some of these plants we cuttings that we gave them from Pa's garden in Whyalla, years ago.

My plants are not as big as Betty's but I am excited to think mine could have some of these colours once they flower.

Until next time....hoo roo

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Monday, June 18, 2007


This is one of the jumpers I am knitting at the moment for myself. Pretty well doing it in the same colour as well. I have the back and 2 sleeves finished and am now doing the front. I'm knitting it in a pure 12 ply wool. The diamond affect in the sleeves and back give the jumper a quilted look. Going to be a very snuggly warm jumper when worn.

As the weather has been drizzly on and off today it's not the best kind of weather to be out in the garden. So I have spent the afternoon cleaning the wet areas of the house. Also in the kitchen I oiled the cupboards. The kitchen would have to be my favourite area of the house.

I guess the way I see it, once the good clear weather is back I can neglect the house and spend the days in my garden.

I noticed with the couple of frosts we have had, the basil bush is looking a little worse for wear. Considering it's nearly the end of the 1st month of winter, I think the plant has done very well.

Well until next time....hoo roo

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Are These Houses For You?

This afternoon for something different Pat & I went and looked at some display homes in a new suburb called "Mawson Lakes". These photos were taken on my phone and I seemed to spend more time getting stressed over trying to transfer the photos from my phone to the computer, thank goodness Amy took over and fixed things for me.

So thank you Amy:)

The reason we go every so often to look at these lovely display homes is just that. They are lovely to walk through. Though I am not fond of the size of the housing blocks in these new suburbs. I do think the kitchens are lovely and as I am a real kitchen person who loves cupboards, it makes up for the tiny yards.

Bit wonky the photos, trust me the houses are level just the phone wasn't. To me phones are for ringing people and cameras are for taking photos. Next time I'll take my camera. These photos are taken on my 3.2 mega pixel Sony Ericsson.

So lets take a look at some of the areas that either impressed me or left me thinking something was missing.

Loved this kitchen as it's got lots of cupboard space and the wood finish is lovely. Bit on the dark side and so if this was my kitchen I'd add a skylight. Floors had those lovely shiny tiles. Great for the cats to skid round on and a sweep mop would be the easiest way to clean them.

This was 1 backyard of a house. Where do I put my compost bins, ducks, chooks, vegie garden and fruit trees.?

I tend to find the houses are so big, setup on small blocks and with my garden and animals, this wouldn't suit us. But for a young busy couple starting out, it would suit them just fine.

I liked this kitchen heaps as once again it has lots of cupboards and it's bright with no need for lights on through the day. Check out the green fence and the house next door. Wouldn't have far to reach when needing to borrow a cup of sugar.

One of the frontal views from some of the display homes.

Yep the ducks, chooks, compost bins and espalier fruit trees will do just dandy between these 2 houses. NOT!

Too close for us to the neighbours, mind you if we're watching the same channels on TV, we can turn our volume down, shame that doesn't save power and reduce the power bill.....chuckle.

Some houses were really nice and others lacked warmth with the style of them. Couple of houses we could see us living in, if we owned a few hectors of land for animals and growing food.

Until next time....hoo roo

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Cold Mornings, Food & Chook Antics.

Another cold frosty morning greeted us here on Lucky's Duck Farm. At 5.30 am this morning

  • temp was -0.9
  • dew point -2.1
  • humidity 92
Pat & I were out at about 7 am snapping photos of the frost again as it was heavier this morning.

Cast iron bird bath was frozen this morning for the first time since it was given to me. Backyard birdbath was still frozen at 10 am, I removed the ice so the wild birds could have a morning drink.

Leeks looking like they have just come from the freezer.

Turnips for a vegie soup with a forecast Arctic blast later this coming week. Started to thin the carrots and these ones are big enough for me to have tonight with my dinner.

How do you clean your root crops? Do you rinse them under a running tap outside? Under a running tap in the kitchen with the water going down the drain?

I use a bowl and after the vegies are washed clean the water and soil is returned to the vegie garden. Another way or helping the environment and with water restrictions, the water isn't wasted and send off the property.

I'm waiting on Bonnie to finish laying her egg. I have finished the hen house off and they now have clean deep litter, in their run as well as in their upstairs area.

Next step was the duck shed and I though Bonnie was finished and had started to clean the shed out. But no, she was in and out like a yo-yo and I gave her some privacy to do her girlie egg business.

Warmest place in the backyard was the compost bin as it was nice and warm when I removed the lid to add the chicken litter.

Getting ready to clean the oven out and then I'll have another go at tackling the duck shed and hopefully this will not be delayed any longer.

So today I seem to be all over the place and hoping by the end of the day all on my list will be finished.

Until next time ....hoo roo

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Jack Frost

This morning we were greeted with a chilly temp at 7.30 of -0.7 with a dew point of -2.0 and humidity of 91%.

So I was outside taking photos of anything that was frozen, before I froze as well. Couple of photos for you to see how heavy the frost was.

Second sowing of brassica was well and truly frost bitten. I didn't touch any of the plants, as I didn't want to damage them.

Root crop also copped a good freeze and from what I know, the root crop should be sweeter in taste after a good frost.

The last 3 days I have been in the cleaning mode, talk about being in shock. The house is so clean I had to take this crazy mode out into the backyard and attack the animal areas.

One area I had been trying to get to for about a week now was the rabbit area. Their hutches were against the wall on the right in the photo and the BBQ was where the hutches are now. Storage area was where the BBQ & Cocky will now go in front of the rumpus room window.

There is an awning to the left where the hutches are now and this can be pulled down when windy or raining to give the rabbits extra protection.

Thinking of leaving the plastic garden setting underneath as on a beautiful day like today with a winter temp of12.8 at the moment, it is lovely to kick back and watch the afternoon dawdle by.

After the veranda was finished I then threw a pile of straw round in the chook house for a deep litter.

On Monday I lost John Lennon (one of my white hens that are called the FABLESS 4) Pat wasn't happy I called them the FAB 4 when they were little fluffy chickens. So I changed it too the FABLESS 4.

Anyway that was the second hen to full off the perch in a week and I have checked and they are suffering from Coccidiosis. They have dirty pants and were only wormed not long ago.

So a course of Sulpha-Quin will hopefully put all thing right with them. As this is an antibiotic there is a holding period of 14 days for meat and eggs after the treatment is finished. So the eggs are being dropped into the compost bin, hurts every time I collect the eggs.

11 years ago the government decided that a holding period was needed as humans were being over dosed with antibiotics.

With all the rain and cold overcast days we have had, this is ideal conditions for Coccidiosis. I know the hens do so enjoy a day in the duck run as the sun at this time of the year doesn't really shine in the chook run.

Until next time....hoo roo

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Five Hundred Square Miles Of Garden

Today has been such a busy day, no time in the garden at all. So instead I am going to send you on a journey to a garden that is 500 square miles in size.

This garden is of such beauty and so natural in colour with plants varieties of so many kind.

Last weekend was a 3 day weekend and my older brother and sister took a trip down memory lane to the sheep station we 5 kids grew up on with our parents in the 60's and then myself, younger sister and 1 of my older brothers plus mum & dad went back there in the mid 70's into the 80's.

I did year 7 and all my high school there... so these links have special meaning for me as well as our family.

So enjoy these 2 links and see what the outback has to offer garden wise.......

Mick & Sally's Just Cruisin With Mick & Sally

Sue's SnapShots

In 1987 I lived there again in the house my parents lived in when I was born, this time with my husband, 2 year old daughter and new born son.

Mick refers to "The Little Hill" and I have lost count how many times as a kid we'd climb the hill. As a teenager my younger sister & I would climb this hill heaps of times and always when mum & dad were killing a couple of chooks for our tea on the weekends.

Until next time ....hoo roo

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Helping Our Planet.

I am sure by now you have noticed I'm big on recycling and reducing garden & animal waste. Very little waste that my garden & animals make leaves the property. Only waste that leaves from the garden are tree & rose cuttings, as I don't have a mulcher.

When I watch programs on helping our environment I am always amazed at the high amounts quoted, per house is sent to land fill.

On the right side of my blog I have a new poll on what forms of recycling can be used in the home garden. I invite you to take a minute to have a look and vote on what form of composting you practice in your backyard.

Your info isn't sent to my computer or to any other computer and I have no way of telling who has or hasn't voted.

Thank you.

Weedy Friendship Garden

Over night we had 4 mm of rain and so I donned a glove and out the front I went to tackle those dreaded weeds than are over running my Friendship Garden.

I don't mind weeds as they are another food source for my ducks and chooks. So I collected 5 buckets for their morning feed. With the 4 mm of rain overnight, pulling the weeds out was easier than what it has been in the past.

I noticed the mulch I have put out in the front yard has broken down beautifully and over the spring months I'll add more to the garden again.

Spring bulbs I ordered last year in August and planted out earlier this year are starting to shoot now. The plants I had transplanted out in the Friendship Garden, given to me by fellow gardening friends have all taken and none were lost.

I have noticed that a couple of my roses need a good pruning over the next few days. One rose has gone as far as to die on 1 side of the bush. These roses were in the garden when we bought the house 8 years ago and we moved the adult bushes 3 winters ago to the other side of the footpath leading up to the house.

Until next time....hoo roo

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Another Sunday In The Garden

Another rewarding morning was spent in the vegie garden with a lot of playing with compost, sheep manure and other soil feeders.

With the morning being over cast I was keeping 1 eye on the sky and the other eye on what I was doing. Must say one thing about winter is the sun isn't belting down on me and also I'm not working up a sweat. So this makes for a more enjoyable time in the vegie garden.

First off I started by collecting a wheel barrow full of compost from the tumbler. Took two wheel barrows to cover the area around the leeks in the no-dig area of the patch. Care was taken not to cover the leaves under the compost, as this may cause diseases and reduce the harvest. Very pleased with the leeks so far as they are growing at different rates and so shouldn't be a glut over a few weeks. Also I managed to get the crop in earlier than last years.

Having a no-dig garden is a great way of recycling garden waste, animal litter and so much better for the environment and less sent off the property and into landfill.

After the compost had been added I then gave the area a good dose of blood & bone and sheep manure. This will slowly break down over the winter months without the leeks getting too much too quickly.

If the rains don't fall by this evening, I'll clip a 2 ltr bottle of worm wee with some seasol on the end of a hose and water it all in. This will get the micros working and once again, it'll feed the soil.

Next area I sorted out was the asparagus by once again adding blood & bone, sheep manure and then a wheel barrow of compost. As I was concentrating on this area I was thinking, I hope I am doing this right. Then I thought of all those crisp, sweet spears I had eaten last season and thought, well I couldn't be doing it all that wrong.

Green manure area was given the same treatment as done in the other areas, though a wheel barrow of sheep manure was added here. Tomorrow I'll turn the sheep manure in as it's hard turning the heavy rotting green manure. Once again I'll add some seasol and worm wee to this area as well. Then the area will be rested and left to break down and planting in late winter will begin. I'll keep turning the soil about once a fortnight to keep the area breaking down and weed free.

More than 1 right way to gardening.

When I am adding organic products to my vegie garden I often wonder if the way I am doing it is the correct way. I have come to the conclusion there is more than 1 right way to gardening and to look at the garden and see how the plants are responding to my gardening practices and this will tell me if I am doing things right.

Below are a some photos from different angles to show you how the plants are responding to my form of gardening practices.

I am starting to think what I want to grow over the summer season. Including where I will be growing the varieties around the garden.

Walking out the back door and seeing fresh organic food growing for us is so rewarding and brings much joy and pride to me. Nothing beats a freshly picked vegetable, fruit or leafy greens.

I often wonder what the ducks and chooks think of all this yummy green produce when they are looking through their gate.

When a garden fork is used to turn soil, the soil is full of garden worms. Soil is a dark colour and not as much sticky clay as what it has been in past years.

To finish off the time out in our garden, we had a BBQ for lunch. By this time there was a light spit of rain falling.

So another rewarding day in my little vegie patch, can't get better than that can it??

Until next time....hoo roo

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Sunday Part 3

The main area I wanted to sort out on Sunday was the green manure area. Already I had added a few wheel barrows of chicken and duck run muck after all the rain. This worked two fold, firstly it cleaned up the poultry areas and was composted into the vegies garden to improve the soil for spring crops.

I use green manure crops in the winter months as the area I choose was down behind the apricot tree. I didn't want to have it over run with weeds or left to the winter weather, so the easiest thing for me and best thing for the soil was a green manure crop.

I really like to recycle anything and everything from the house to the garden. By doing this I am not only improving the soil but less waste is sent to landfill. Growing our own food organically there is less poisons released into the atmosphere and this in turn is better for the environment.
In researching the seeds I could use for green manure crops, some seeds can be used for growing a summer green manure.

This was to the joy of the ducks who were watching through the wire fence and when able to, scored a grub or worm from the area. Rhett and Paddles heads are too big to fit through the wire but they had a good try at seeing what they could reach with their bills.

All turned over and this will be left to rot down and weather permitting this weekend I'll add a bag of sheep manure that I have been holding for this area. I won't add any blood & bone as it needs warmth to trigger it into working. This I'll add to the area once the warmer months are here.

You can see in the above photo how the area next to the fence is bare of any green manure and weeds. This is because the smaller ducks are able to fit their heads through and pull up any greens that grow there.

Twinner making sure she gets her share of the green manure. It was funny to see and watch the ducks on the other side of the fence. One winter we didn't grow the green manure here and we let the ducks and chooks have the area over the winter months by moving the fence for them.

So now you know how we spent out lovely winter Sunday in the garden.

Until next time.... hoo roo

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Monday, June 04, 2007

Sunday Part 2

Following on from yesterday's posting I have picked the brassica area and climbing peas to show you today along with a couple of other photos.

Just a few bits of info before we look at the photos.

  • 3 mm of rain fell since I posted yesterday. Most of that fell in that one heavy down pour.
  • Cucumber plant and trellis was finally pulled up.
  • I had an Isa Brown hen die. These are bred for egg laying and seem to have a short life span compared to some pure breeds.
  • I have finally found some time to start weeding the "Friendship Garden" as its full of sour sobs. So I have made a start and when it's looking tidier I'll pop a photo here.

Now lets look at what Pat & I did yesterday.

Considering its winter now the comfry hasn't let up with the growing. Said to Pat I really should harvest it again and compost the leaves as it's a great asset to the compost bin. I made a comfry tea last time I cut the plant back and have only just started to use the comfry tea in the garden.

Second sowing of brassica for I guess late winter to early spring eating. First time I have ever managed to sow a second crop in 8 years of gardening. Both crops were sown in line with moon phases and it's worked perfectly.

These were planted on the 22 April and I can't believe how much they have grown. When the area was weeded Pat & I found heaps of tomato seedlings. As I wasn't sure of the variety and not having a mini hot house now to keep them in, over the fence to the poultry the seedlings and weeds went.

Bird netting wasn't placed back over the plants after the tiding up was completed. I had a new job for the bird netting. Left the poly pipe there as its out of the road and I know where it is next time I need it.

Update on the mushroom farm. Yummo......

Another area that was looked at yesterday was the climbing peas. These were also planted on the 22 of April and they don't seem to be doing all that good. Once again sown in line with the moon phases ...... oops, those were eaten by the poxy birds from the park. These are just sown when I picked up another packet of seeds. Maybe that is why I don't think they are looking all that flash.

Two trellises of not so flash peas and freshly hoed of weeds. With the spare bird netting I decided to use it here and thus removing the odd bits of wire I was using to protect the seedlings from birds.

I have noticed there are some seedlings do have fresh leaves on them. So maybe there is some hope for this crop after all.

I'd like to know if what you think of my peas ......... just drop me a line in the comment box if you like.

Peas are now just over 1 month old (don't forget this is the second sowing after the 22 April). Are they about the size they should be or should they be taller??

Bird netting now enclosing the peas, reminds me of a display case.

The size for your interest of the bird netting is 3 mtrs long and what ever width it is across. When bought it's on a roll and folded over for easy storing and cutting. The length of the bird netting has gone from the left side to the right side and the width from front to back. I used some stakes to weave and close the front to keep the birds out. Also down the back against the fence we used some stakes to secure the area.

So that is about it for those areas we tackled yesterday.

Tomorrow I pop up the photos for the green manure area.

Until then.....hoo roo

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