Sunday, August 31, 2008

Compost & Poultry


Check out the mess my ducks have made with the composting bay. Nothing like spending time popping one's head through the wire and pulling out shredded paper and spreading it round.

Back a few days ago I said to Pat that we or I needed to look at how to improve this area and keep the ducks heads out of the compost.

If I was going to spend some time in this area, I may as well take advantage of the composting materials around the yard.



Arum Lilies, the scourge of the water ways, around Adelaide. Many places we have seen the water ways are clogged up with this plant.




I tolerate the plant in my yard, as its great for compost. I pick all the leaves before the plants start to flower, chop it all up and add it to the compost. That way I have an excuse for not getting out and having to dig every tiny bulb out of the backyard.



Workers pulling their weight. Did a great job mixing it all up for me, while I collected, greens, chook bedding and other great composting materials.

I also had a look underneath the layers and its looking pretty darn good.



We had a wardrobe go to pieces after years of use (second hand when we bought it) and Pat used the pieces to block the sides off from the ducks.

Air can still get down into the compost with the pallet having the double slats. So far all is clean and tidy with this project being done.



Busted! The paper movers and shakers. Turn my back for 5 seconds and they are in like Flynn. Lots of quacking and chook noises going on here.



Pat put some recycled chicken wire on the front of the old trellis, that is now the compost gate.

Very happy to report this venture worked 100% and the compost bay isn't being attacked with glee from my ducks.

Until next time....hoo roo

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Update on James

He's home and out of hospital. On crutches and not back at work. Not sure how long he'll be off work.

Yesterday I cooked up a pile of food to take over to his place, that way I know he's eating.

Vegie Patch Update.

Sun is shining outside and so I have taken full advantage of the sun and have been wandering around the garden with my camera.



Carrots are big enough under the soil, that I can use 1 per meal for me. Rabbits are enjoying the fresh carrot tops when I harvest carrots.

Those leeks are at a pick able size and I'm using the toilet rolls to help blanch the stalks. If I use soil, it'll make the stalks grainy as they grow.





I have forgotten how old this "Birds Eye" chilli plant is. A good friend who left Adelaide and lived in Townsville and now in PNG, gave me some chilli seeds. This plant would have to be minimum 4 years old.




Used the lettuce seedlings to show you, the size of the chilli plant trunk. I have opened the bush (or should that be tree) up to let some air through it.



The bird netting has been removed from over the broad beans, as I am sure they are big enough to cope with birds digging round in the no-dig area.

Our "good gardening buddy" Pepe paid us a visit today and he suggested planting something in between the beans. Thinking some sunflowers would be lovely, as they'd make a great support for the beans and also some seed food for our chooks.



On the right is the silver beet I love to grow for the animals and for our kitchen. Bird netting is also removed now. In between the beans and silver beet I have Italian Parsley. I am sold on this herb, though I'll still keep the curl variety in my garden as well.




Lawn level view of the asparagus growing.




Green manure is growing....yay the bird netting worked. I'll take the netting off once the green manure is about ankle deep. Just to make sure there is no chance the birds can destroy it.




Leaving the poly pipe in the areas they have been used. That way it's not laying around the yard and its not being tripped over.

While Pepe was here visiting, we sat out the back and enjoyed some coffee that Amy brought back from Canada for Pat. Sun was so nice and warm shining on us.

Pepe and I traded vegies and goodies for our gardens. Trading is a wonderful way, to not waste surplus foods.

Until next time....hoo roo

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Mother's Love



Look how happy Millie is to have her mum home from America. After 32 days of being apart, life is good for our little Grandkitty.



Mummy loves her baby.

Speaking of babies, my 21 year old baby was injured at work last Thursday and is still in hospital. Without going into it too much, he's had a 300 kilo sheet of steel fall on him.

His ear was fixed up by a plastic surgeon and there is a threat to his right leg. He was fasting, in case they had to operate on it to save his leg. Swelling has gone down a tad, so he's off the operation list at the moment.

Not sure when he'll be out of hospital, maybe tomorrow of Monday. All depends on how his leg goes. Will be on crutches for a while yet.

So blog updates will be quiet here.

No gardening at all....up in the mornings, to the hospital, home for dinner, bit of housework after the dishes are done and then to bed. Get up and do it all again.

Until next time....hoo roo

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Amy & A Birthday



How cool is this?? Pat's birthday present for me. It was my birthday on Sunday. Been flat out as Amy came home that day as well. What a great birthday present, to have Amy home after almost 5 weeks.

Over on my Garden to Plate I have posted some photos of my first attempt of making pasta for tonight's meal.

Amy gave me a Teddy Bear that sings Jail House Rock and looks a tad bit like Elvis, from Las Vegas for my birthday. Lurv Elvis.

Had some really lovely weather and today I am doing all Amy's washing as she went back to work on the Monday. Rain is forecast to come in again later on this evening.

So many gifts and goodies for us and stories. Going to have a video night to see Amy's movie she took away.

Anyway, still trying to get things done and my list isn't getting shorter. So I have better say hoo roo for now.

Until next time....hoo roo

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

We Have An Orchard At Last.

At last the duck run is now being called "Our Orchard" with the planting of 2 fruit trees in the area.

Planted out now are 1 nectarine tree, 2 plum varieties and a double grafted apple tree. We didn't get the dwarf "red delicious"planted out today. This one will be tomorrow. Along with a few other items that missed out today.

We didn't have rain, but the sky was threatening a couple of times.

Lots of other news to tell you, I'll start with the new fruit trees.






Both trees planted out. Gala/Fuji double graft in the background and the plum tree in the foreground. As the trees are planted in the duck run, the trees need to be protected from hungry bills. Not sure how long the wire will be around the trees, guess until they are big enough to cope with the ducks.




Having a double grafted apple tree will be a bonus as they are suited to pollinate each other. Also they match the dwarf Red Delicious tree, that will be planted out in the lawn area.






Nectarine tree is budding with blossom flowers. After the blossoms have finished, they will be removed as it's the tree's first year in our yard.

Our trees will not be left to grow and overwhelm the area. I plan on keeping them compact and at a manageable height. Not as tall and wide as the 2 fruit trees that were here, when we bought the house.

Still want to hopefully buy an orange mandarin tree this year. Next winter, we are aiming for another apricot tree and a pear tree. Then the orchard should be complete.

Other news.

Today is a good day to plant out my seed potatoes in line with the moon phase. I have Nicola and Desiree for this season.



Four rows of spuds, 2 rows of each variety sown. I planted mine this year directly in the soil as I am hoping this will increase my harvest. Past years I have always grown them under straw, but not with good results.

I am thinking SA is too hot to grow them above the soil. Hoping the soil will keep the roots cooler and the plants damper, increasing the crop size.




One of the what must have been 10's of hundreds of worms in the spud area. Good fibrous soil, not a lot of clay chunks and easy to make trenches for the spuds. I dug the soil to a depth of 10 to 15 cm and once I clean out the duck shed in the next few days, this will be spread over the area, to suppress weeds and feed the plants.

I have a reputation for killing rhubarb plants. Average 1 plant, sometimes 2 a year and they never make it to their first birthday. very sad and each time I kill a plant, I think...... nope not buying another one next year.

When the winter months come round....I buy another crown and start all over again. This is #9 and that's what I'll call it. Nine years gardening in my little vegie patch and 9 years of killing this most wonderful plant.

Wonder if the crowns cringe when I walk past them in the shops. eek Yeehah, even sent me a couple of crowns from her own personal stock.....they died too.

This year I have looked into how to care better for the victim, I mean crown. Pat will make me a shade house to protect it on the hot summer days.




This is where #9 is living. You can just see the poor bugger in the centre of the cement rings. More recycling from my neighbour's clean up. Knew the ring would come in handy one day. This way I know where #9 is at all times and I can keep it mulched over the summer months.

So we'll see if #9 makes it to August 2009.





Close up of #9. First leaf is almost ready to burst. This morning when I had a boo-peep, the skin was still sealed and no green leaf could be seen.

Keep your fingers crossed that #9 isn't replaced with #10.

Very happy to see my carrots from my very first carrot seed saving effort have germinated. The variety is "All Seasons".



Best part about this germination is there was enough rain and showers, for me not to water it, once the seeds had been sown. Three rows and as time goes by I'll thin them, as I sowed them thickly.

That is about all my news for today. Tomorrow I have a small list of items that need to be completed.

Until next time....hoo roo


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Millie & Her Nanna

Thirty two days are nearly up and this Sunday, Amy will be home from her trip to the USA. You have had updates and photos from Amy's trip and today I thought I'd show you the other half of this holiday double.

Little Milly is now over 12 months old and weights 1.3 kilo and is still small in size like a young kitten. At the beginning of Amy's holiday, Millie would look for her mum at the times of when Amy would get up for work, going to work and coming home.

Pat & I did worry about her eating while mum was away, but this hasn't been an issue. Millie loves her food too much.

At night Millie wouldl have her usual game of sticking her paw up between our mattress and head board for her nightly play with Poppy. Slept against my legs at night and when really cold, she'd crawl into bed and sleep down by Poppy's feet.

The last week it all changed.




Nanna has become Millie's mum in not only word but in actions as well. Millie does this with Amy all the time, never with me until last week.

Millie will climb up me and drape herself around my shoulders and neck. Doesn't matter what I am doing, she will snuggle into me and nuzzle my hair and ears, while purring. Last couple of nights I have been woken to Millie sleeping across my neck, purring her little heart out.



At first this was cool as I was always thinking Amy was lucky, having this sort or relationship with her little baby.

Now I am not so sure I could cope with it 24/7.



I mean I can't even email without an off-sider. Mind you I am so enjoying this as much as what I am, as on Sunday lunch time, I'll be dropped like a toxic rock as someone's mummy will be home.

Before Amy left on her holiday, we talked about how Millie would cope while mum was away. I think Millie has coped well and it's been a gradual shift towards me as her mum.

Both Pat & I are hoping that Millie won't get the snoots on with Amy on Sunday and not talk to her. I know Amy will be devastated if this was to happen and my neck will be feeling pretty much the same way.

Having a Grandkitty can be a full time job. lol

Until next time....hoo roo

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Chook Yard Blitz

Its only the 11th of August and we have had just under 2 inches of rain fall. Not that I am complaining, as I love rain and the winter months. Just that some of my areas in the garden have about had all the rain it can take.




Some of the clouds that have been going over our place today and for the last couple of weeks. Been some good rainfalls up in the Adelaide Hills and I am hoping the water run-off has found its way into the catchments.

But getting back to my garden and the water logged areas.

My poor chookies are turning into sponges and we have been worried about their health. At the moment they are all healthy. But we don't need to push their luck. Doesn't take much rain to get the water laying around in the chook run, as the soil can't soak up any more water.



Underneath the hen house and inside the hen house is dry But their play area and where they eat is, as you can see, water logged.

I am worried that they will develop chills/colds or diseases and start to die.

Pat said we should get a load of sand in, as this will help to keep the area dry and the water should drain away.

After a ring round we had ordered some sand. Then it was just sit back and wait for it to be delivered.




2 ton was delivered this morning and we started to wheel barrow it from the front driveway to the chook run. We stopped for some lunch at 2 pm and then back into the job, before the rain set in again.




With the sand at this depth, we are hoping the water will drain away and the girls will have drier feet.




Lost count of how many wheel barrows went into the area and underneath the hen house. But its heaps better to walk on. Firm under my gumboots and no mud or water to be seen.



Look at those toes, you can see them. They had so much fun running round and looking to see what we were up to, they didn't lay as many eggs. Far too much fun outside to be sitting in a nest box twiddling their feathers.




Pushed a lot of sand back underneath as well. More so to top the area up and stop the mud from tracking back into the new clean sandy area.



Boarder Gate & Freedom Road after the make over. Now when I am tracking back and forth from the duck shed and chook run, my boots will be cleaner for a while.




Happy chooks, well I hope so. Couple of days their legs and feet should look heaps better.




Duck run got the left over sand in the busy areas.

Will this work and if so, for how long before we have to rethink a plan to keep the girls dry? I have no idea.

One of the drawbacks of having an open run is come winter time also comes the rain. Been a few winters since we have had rain like we are having this winter.

As they chooks were running a muck I took advantage of them being out and about by cleaning out their nest boxes and bedding area. All litter was put into the open composting bays.

Just as we finished packing away everything, the rain came in again. So we just managed to get the job all done in time.

So now my girls & Radar and hopefully happier and less chance of become sick.

As the chooks can't tells us what they like or don't like, we have to look and think....would we like to live like this???? If no, what would we change.

Until next time....hoo roo

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Asparagus



This will be eaten in the next 48 hours. mrgreen

Asparagus season is about to start, here in my garden. While out feeding the animals between rain showers I had a look see at the garden and found this tender, sweet, crisp spear. Nothing can explain the taste of a freshly picked asparagus from my garden.

Well lets put it this way, I won't eat the tin asparagus or the shop ones. Just mine once a year and do I eat it. Pat gets sick of it........ not me.

Bring on the asparagus. lol

Until next time....hoo roo

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