Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Predator birds, and farm goings on...

I lost my adolescent light sussex rooster yesterday to an eagle. The eagle was an awesome sight...I didn't realise he was even around until he came back for a 2nd hit and all of the chickens and guinea fowl were carrying on and squawking, I went out to see them all running for cover to hide, and then I spotted the eagle, and the remaining pile of feathers, this was all that was left.

The rest of the chooks obviously saw what he did to the little rooster, and now realise they have to run for cover in an eagles' presence. I am hoping that they now know the drill and that I won't lose any more. They have never encountered an eagle before, so they didn't seem to realise it was a threat, but they do now. Our new bull has started to get to work on the girls, the jersey seems to be the first that has come in to season since his arrival, he has been hanging around her all the time, and trying to mount her, she isn't quite ready yet, but I don't think it will be long.
Hopefully in about 9-10 months I will have a cow to milk. I will need to start to work with her after a few more months and try to get her tame and used to coming in to a stall etc. as she hasn't had a calf before.
I started to make a sourdough starter last night, I am hoping it starts to ferment soon.
I haven't made a true sourdough bread before, so it will be a learning experience. I finished drying the large pick of chillies that I got from the track in to our property, I got quite a large jarfull, so hopefully that will see me right for chillies for the year. I also juiced up the 50 odd lemons from the neighbours tree, I think I ended up with about 15 cups of juice, which are all now in the freezer waiting for use.
I did use up 1/2 a cup of juice today, I made this yummy lemon loaf with lemon glaze, it's very nice, I didn't cook it long enough though, it's quite difficult cooking cakes in my George Foreman benchtop oven, as the heat is so close to the items being cooked it burns the top but doesn't cook through. The skewer came out clean, but after I took it out and it cooled, I realised it wasn't completely cooked so I did lose a little of the cake out of the centre, never mind, it is delicious anyway.
 Damian will get around to connecting up my gas oven soon I hope, then I can make a decent cake again.

Lemon Loaf


· 1 1/2 cups flour
· 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
· 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
· 1/2 teaspoon salt
· 3 eggs, room temp
· 1 cup sugar
· 2 tablespoons butter, softened
· 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
· 2 teaspoon lemon extract
· 1/3 cup lemon juice
· 1/2 cup oil
· zest of one lemon

· 1 cup powdered sugar
· 2 tablespoons whole milk
· 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract


1 .Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 9 x 5 loaf pan.
2 .In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
3 .In a medium bowl, combine eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla extract, lemon extract and lemon juice with a mixer until blended.
4 .Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and blend until smooth. Add oil and lemon zest and mix well.
5 .Pour into loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. (It took an hour in my oven). Remove from oven and pour glaze over it, then cool in pan on a rack.
6 .Glaze - whisk to combine, pour over top of cake.

I also planted up some garlic bulbs today, I still have to do the other half, but I need to get another foam box from the local IGA and then I can finish planting them up
They are now covered in dirt and watered in, so now I just need to wait for them to start to sprout.
Everything in my little veg garden temporary setup seems to be coming along really well. I am finding this small garden quite easy to manage as I don't want to take on too much there at the moment. So, I am on the lookout for a couple of alpacas to add to the farm. I have been wanting them for a few years now, and now that I have a hungry eagle to contend with, my chooks need a guardian, and from what I understand the alpacas will do that for me...and hopefully they will keep an eye on the 2 little dogs as well, as that is worrying me with a big eagle around. I am working on finishing off doing the mulching in the garden area around the house, hopefully I can get that finished over the next few days. I have also found some lovely new little Australian farm blogs thanks to Liz over at Eight Acres, and I am enjoying having a read through those, there are some very inspiring people out there.  The newby chickens are enjoying free ranging, I have a feeling I may have lost one of the adolescent guinea fowl to the eagle as well, I can't find it, I am hoping that it turns up
They young ones are also starting to work out the feeder and large waterer as well, I place a stopper in the feeder during the day so the smaller ones can feed without risk of them being caught until they are heavy enough to lift the lid with the treadle feeder on their own,
The little wyandotte pullet is growing fast'
Newby araucana's and guinea fowl are getting bigger
And the newbies are all learning how to use the big drinker as well
It makes life easier when there is just one feeder and drinker to worry about filling up rather than different ones for different chooks. The new adult wyandotte rooster has also settled in well, no major fights now and he has his own little girl followers
And I also managed to get some little maran chickens, I have been waiting to get these for a while now, they lay very dark chocolate brown eggs
So, now that it looks like I may have lost another bird today, I think freeranging may be off the cards until I can move this eagle on :( or get some protective alpacas....we are also getting there with our little Bichon Frise Stella, she is now about 2.3 kgs, and we had to have her baby teeth surgically removed on Saturday as they weren't coming out on their own and were all going rotten and her breath was really bad. Unfortunately, not having had the proper diet at her previous home has not given her teeth the right start, but now she is getting a healthy and mixed diet hopefully her adult teeth will fare much better. Even though she is still quite small, her frame is starting to fill out now, and her bones can't be felt like they could when we first got her, she still has a way to go, but she is getting there and starting to really come out of her shell as well.
Anyway, I'm off to look for alpacas :)

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