Saturday, May 5, 2012

New additions, and building my first shed...

I decided I would retry building my chicken stocks again. I went and picked up a couple of replacement chickens for the neighbour after Reggie took some of their chickens before we had the invisible fence put in. I also picked up 4 white leghorn utility point of lays to try and keep us in some eggs over winter, a 2 anconas.
 I also picked up 6 day olds to put under the Plymouth rock hen who has been clucky, there are 4 anconas and 2 Plymouth rocks. Unfortunately the hen didn't adopt them successfully so I am bringing them up in a brooder box.
 I don't actually mind this idea at the moment as it allows me to micro manage their environment easier and control things a bit better with them, so I am crossing fingers I can get these ones fully grown without any disasters. I am keeping one of the anconas separated at the moment as it appears to have a respiratory infection, I should contact the seller as it was showing signs on the way home, I have her on medication which should see her right in a couple of days, but I shouldn't need to nurse a chook back to health that I have paid a breeder good money for.
 I purchased a small chook pen from the hardware to give me another homing option when needed as I find the chook tractor hard to get in and out of, and this other one I can walk in to. Both have their merits, so I will use them for the best suited purpose at the time. So I ventured in to the world of putting up a small shed on my own, it was a learning curve, but it's all finished and looking the part.

 I have learnt a LOT over the last few months though with all of the chicken disasters and I can definitely deal with losing stock much easier than I could 12 months ago, I have definitely toughened up in that regard. Today I was watching the gourmet farmer dvd's that I borrowed from the library, and I actually managed to watch the dispatching of a chicken ( after covering my eyes the first time I watched) I made myself watch it, and I also watched a sheep being slaughtered and a large tuna fish, and while none of was particularly nice to watch, it was all very quick and as humane as possible, and all of the animals had led a nice, free range life up to that point, much better than the factory farmed animals. Makes me much more conscious of what we are eating and to really try hard to get away from the supermarket meats, especially as I learn how unethical and cruel a large portion of farming animals for meat methods can be. Learning about what goes in to the meats we eat and how they are raised is really opening my eyes, I am now seriously searching for local, ethical, organic producers, who care about their farming practices and how that affects both their animals and the land, and not just their pockets. I am really starting to look forward to moving up to the property full time to be able to keep our own animals for meat, I didn't think I would be able to cope with that, but I now think I could manage. I would definitely recommend to anybody to watch the Gourmet farmer series with Matthew Evans, it is brilliant and I am really enjoying them, and learning a lot.
Kasey made us pancakes for breakfast this morning, she did a fabulous job, and did the whole lot, from mixing, cleaning up, to pouring in to the pan and flipping them.

 I also moved the chicken tractor with the mother hen and the last remaining day old from a few weeks back up to a dryer area of the yard, and place some corrugated sheeting on the ground to keep the floor area dryer with woodshavings. It was hard work moving it all on my own, but I am much happier with the flooring being down in here now as it will be easier to control any soil borne bacteria now with them having no access to the dirt at this point while they can't come out to free range.
 Just got the large pen to do now, and then hopefully all will be good for a while, as it will keep things much drier and I think will be more economical as the mulch and woodshavings wont get walked in to the mud and will last longer. As I had worked so hard moving the pen, Kasey made me lunch, a lovely salad sandwich for a surprise...gotta love that.
I also made carrot cake with cream cheese icing last night...yum...first time I have made carrot cake, it's been very popular so far. I made it in the thermomix, so it was really quick and easy to make, and the icing is absolutely delicious.


140g self-raising flour
140g plain flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
200g vegetable oil
100g lightly packed soft brown sugar
4 eggs
150g golden syrup
300g carrot, roughly chopped
60g walnuts

180g cream cheese
60g butter
170g icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 teaspoons lemon juice
1. Preheat oven to 160° and grease a deep 23 cm round cake may wish to also line the base and sides with baking paper.
2. Place walnuts into TM bowl and chop for 2-3 seconds on Speed 4. Set aside.
3. Place carrots into bowl and grate for 5 seconds on Speed 7. Set aside and rinse bowl if necessary.
4. Put vegetable oil, brown sugar, eggs and golden syrup into TM bowl and mix for 5 seconds on Speed 7.
5. Add self-raising flour, plain flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and bicarbonate of soda. Mix for 5 seconds on Speed 5.
6. Add the carrots and walnuts and mix for 20-30 seconds on Reverse + Speed 2.
7. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, using the spatula to completely incorporate the carrot and walnuts if necessary, and smooth the surface.
8. Bake for an hour, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Clean or rinse TM bowl whilst cake is cooking.
9. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for at least 15 minutes before turning onto a wire rack.
10. To make icing, place cream cheese, butter, icing sugar, vanilla extract and lemon juice into TM bowl and process for 15-20 seconds on Speed 9.
11. Spread the icing over cooled cake.


  1. Thanks for the recipe. I've recently bought a TM and love trying new recipes in it.

    1. I love the thermomix, I'm sure you will have great fun with yours. :)

  2. Hi Deb, I found your blog from somewhere else and am really enjoying reading about all the things you have been getting up to. Carrot cake is one of my favourites along with the very indulgent beetroot cake that is on my blog.

    1. Thanks Fiona, lovely to have you visit. I will pop on over and read about your beetroot cake. :)