Friday, September 28, 2012

Farm this and that

I have been up at the farm this week for school holidays. We went out for dinner on Saturday night for our 23rd wedding anniversary. Other than that, the weekend was spent doing a hazard reduction burn at the property. Rick came over on Saturday and helped Damian get the boundaries around the area to burn done to give us nice wide fire breaks, and then Damian and I did the inner area on Sunday morning.
We had a 1000 litre water tank with a fire fighting pump set up on the ute just in case, and we also had a water tank and sprayer on the back of the quad bike. We only did about a 15 acre section at the front of the property for now, which has cleared things up so we can now see all of the trees on the ground around this area, so that we can get them all pushed up, so we can start to maintain it and improve the pasture etc for the cows. Hopefully once this is done, we won't need to burn this area again as it will be less hazardous grasses and less fuel to burn if a bushfire does come through, The previous owner of the property sold off a large amount of spotted gum on the property and when they harvested, they just pushed all the other trees in their wake over as well, which has left us with a nice mess to clean up in a lot of areas. We definitely won't be short of firewood - ever.
One thing that did surprise me was just how hard it was to get some areas to burn, and how some parts burn and others don't.
Kasey and I went looking at floor coverings for the shed on Tuesday, and we then went over to Bargara for some lunch on the beach and an icecream. It surprised me just how expensive vinyl was for the floors, it is actually more expensive than laminated timber flooring. I think I will trawl the auctions over the next couple of weeks to see if I can pick up something there. We went to the movies on Wednesday and yesterday I took Kasey and Adam (Rick and Marina's) to the Bird Park at Childers. The birds there are just beautiful
(Up close and personal with some beautiful birds)

We then went and had woodfired pizza for lunch, and then went to Mamimos for an icecream. Damian had my car yesterday, and he took it to go and get the bullbar and  UHF radio fitted, so we are now all set for farm life here.
The concrete slab is being poured today for the shed...yay...very exciting. Seeing it all starting to slowly come together. The shed will be started to be built next week, as well as the shouse...we might head back home tomorrow for a couple of days to pick up some building materials to bring back on the big trailer so it is here for the builders for when they need it. Otherwise we will do that next weekend.
(Now just waiting for the concrete)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The first guinea fowl eggs....and bargain hunting

Our 2 girl guinea fowl have just started laying eggs. I plucked (haha) up my courage and tried one tonight with a normal egg on toast for an easy dinner. It looks and tastes exactly the difference except a bit smaller. I can see why they were so popular many years ago in pioneering times, as they mainly forage for their food when they need to, and lay nice eggs to boot. I don't know how reliable they are as regular layers though, so will see how they pan out over time.
(The guinea fowl eggs are the 2 middle ones, they are more pointed at the top as well, more of a teardrop shape)

Things are very busy here at the moment, I have been doing lots of running around buying building materials for the new shed house, as well as some furniture, I have been getting some great bargains. I picked up a gorgeous small silky oak dining table and 4 matching chairs, that extends to seat 6 for $100.  I plan to do a little restoration on it, but will update on all of that when I get some time. The leg carvings on both the table and the chairs is absolutely stunning.
 I am up at the property for a week or so from this Friday, so hopefully I will get time to catch up then. The shed is on track to be started next Monday, crossing fingers that they are running on schedule and don't put us off. Lots of photos coming for all of that. Just got back from picking up a trio bunk bed (double on bottom, single on top) for Kasey's room in the shed house, was $130 including 2 good innerspring mattresses, can't complain about that. I have a steam cleaner, so will give the mattresses a good going over with that, even though they both look clean anyway, but I will just feel better freshening them up and sterilising them before we use them. We thought that way it would give us extra bedding for when the older kids come up to stay.  I have also picked up numerous large windows, a sliding glass door, internal doors, an ironing centre, a couple of wardrobe shelf and drawer inserts, vanity, queen size bed and mattress with bedside tables, a dishlex dishwasher, gas cooktop and gas stove with separate grill, all the door handles we will need, 4 ceiling fans, 3 with lights,  and also a lovely chocolate colour microsuede chaise lounge, bargain of the week at $80!. It does need me to fix the spring in one of the cushions, but that is a small thing that will only take an hour of my time. We have saved about $10,000 by shopping around and buying things off gumtree and ebay, definitely worth the running and ringing around!  I prefer gumtree as you are buying at a set price, not bidding against others for the same item, driving prices up. We will need to buy the framing pine, steel, plasterboard etc new, as it is quite hard to find exactly what you need from private sellers for this type of thing. We would have to work a lot of hours to make that $10,000 that we have saved so far.
(These are just some of the items I have purchased over the last few weeks, there is also a full kitchen, oven, cooktop, cupboards etc filling up the shed, and windows in the carport. I will be glad once the shed is up at the property, so we can start to transport some up there and the verandahs down here can be empty again! )
So very busy, but a good busy.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Naughty chickens....

The chooks have been laying 5-6 eggs a day, so we have had lots of eggs to use up. I have been making up some cheesy spinach quiches, and I made up a Bacon and egg pie. I made up some shortcrust pastry in the thermomix, and lined a dish with the pastry, then lay down strips of bacon all over the base of the pastry, added in about 10 eggs, topped with a little cheese and cream, and then topped with a lid of pastry, and baked @ 180 deg celcius, until golden....

The other day I planted up some sunflowers, tomatoes and corn seeds. A couple of naughty chickens have been scooting under the gates in to the vegie garden and have dug up the corn seeds, and one of my newly planted chilli bushes. Sometimes it seems like all I do is work in the vegie garden, but don't seem to get much to harvest. They also stripped my silverbeet plants to just ruby red stalks, they have eaten half of my cabbages, and probably gobbled up the tomato seeds and sunflower seeds as well. They have also eaten half of my ornamental kale, and stripped one of my chilli bushes.They have also scratched up quite a few garlic bulbs, so I have replanted those, but don't know if they will recover in time to produce nice bulbs in a few months. So...peeved is an understatement. I have only just worked out how they have been getting in to the vegie yard, so tomorrow I will steal some rocks from our garden edging that I have been placing around the gardens and run them along the underside of the gates and see if that stops them from getting in, before I bother planting any more. I thought they were flying in, even though I have clipped their wings, but have now seen them going under the gate, they really have to squash under, but they are determined. At the moment I feel like just heavily mulching the vegie garden to keep the weeds away, and just giving up...
On a brighter note, we went out yesterday and picked up a 2nd hand kitchen we purchased from gumtree to go in to our "shouse" (shed house) It is a nice large kitchen, with plenty of cupboard and bench space, and it is a nice neutral creamy colour. We think we may end up replacing the bench top as we want to change the configuration slightly, but will see how it all comes together in the shed. Hopefully if the weather works in our favour, the shed slab will be started next week... so in the meantime I am haunting the auction centres and ebay and gumtree collecting bits and pieces along the way to fit out the shed without spending a fortune.