Thursday, June 27, 2013

All gone...

Damian just rang to let me know on his return to the farm today that in the last 48 hours since I have been in Brissy that all of my chooks have been killed by something. Over 40 chooks and guinea fowl, all killed  except for 1 rooster who sleeps on the roof and a couple of guinea fowl...I can't believe it...

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Yeasty things and cranky chookens

This is day 2 of my sourdough appears to be doing it's yeasty thing
I fed it with a little more flour and water today, so we'll see how it looks tomorrow. I have some cranky chookens at the moment, they were all locked up today until about an hour before dark when I let them out to free range to keep them safe from the resident plymouth rock rooster was cranky, I still have the mark on my hand where he bit and decided to hold on until I smacked him...naughty boy...
Does anyone have a surefire way to get rid of this eagle...other than a 22??

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 :)

Friday, June 7, 2013

My dried lemons...

The lemons have finished drying. I left them overnight in the dehydrator, and they are all nicely dried now. They look so pretty in their jars!

My juicer is still down at the other house, we are going down this weekend so I will pick it up then and juice the rest of the lemons here, and freeze the juice in 1 cup portions to use as needed. I am not keen on juicing all of those lemons by hand, so will wait for my juicer! I am also looking at making some preserved lemons and also some lemon cordial, but that will be a project for next week. I picked a large batch of chillies yesterday, they are currently drying in the dehydrator, and then I will store those in an airtight jar as well.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Free food

It's funny how food can just grow completely of it's own accord, out in the middle of nowhere, and thrive. Our neighbours have a random wild lemon tree, growing out in the middle of nowhere, and said we could grab as many as we would like...
It is absolutely covered in lemons, big, fat and very juicy lemons, totally organic. The neighbours gave Damian a bag full on the  weekend...
I of course set about making a lemon meringue pie, Kasey was in heaven, and happily took some to school today as well.
Which still left a lot of lemons, I was looking at ways to preserve them or freeze them, then I remembered about my dehydrator, and thought it would be a good idea to dry some.

So there are now 5 trays of lemon slices drying away in the dehydrator. I also noticed on driving down the track to our property, there is a random chilli bush, producing a bumper crop of red chillies, they are quite small ones, so they are quite hot. I picked a few and they are in the dehydrator along with some of the lemons drying

I went to the lemon tree today and have picked up another bag full, which I will put through my juicer, and freeze the juice, I must remember to take snips and gloves though, the tree is quite thorny and it can be difficult pulling the fruit off.. I think that should just about see me right with lemons for the year. I may pick some extras to dry and preserve for gifts??
I have also saved some of the seed from both the lemons and chillies, and I will see if I can get my own plants up and running from these. They are both prolific fruiters and are well acclimatised to our area so hopefully they will grow well.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The boy has arrived.

Our bull has arrived today. None of the heifers have spotted him yet, but they will be beside themselves when they do.
He is lovely and quiet, a big sook. Hopefully in about 9-10 months we will have some babies on the ground, depending on how fast he gets to work. ;)

Monday, June 3, 2013

The year is flying by....

Things have been a little crazy here over the last month or so. The days are going so quickly, and it's been very busy. I can't believe we are nearly half way through the year already. I went to Ann's scrapbooking retreat in May at Kilcoy. Managed to get a few pages done, was a bit off my mojo though, so didn't get as many as usual done, I procrastinated a lot, but I had a nice break. I travelled down with a girl friend, and we went the scenic route on the way down, and stopped at a lovely cheese shop at Goomeri and bought some beautiful cheeses and pastes to indulge in over our weekend. These are the few pages I did:

Kasey feeding some poddy calves at a friend's place.

 These are a couple of my favourite photos. I hired a truck to pick up a lounge I bought off ebay, and Toni came with me to help me load it up. The first photo was when we were about to set off on our way...while we were loading the lounge, it bucketed down on us, drenching us both, the 2nd photo is the after shot...
 Then I thought I would do a few pages with lots of photos to get through some of my huge stash of pics, the first was of my chickens:
 This page is still of my chickens, but this was a class we did  on the Saturday morning, the photo's are on flaps which open out, revealing lots more photos underneath.
 Then this page was of a visit we did to the Flying High bird sanctuary, Kasey wasn't real keen on the bird on her shoulder
 This pic is of our gorgeous pups
 This page was based on the chicken page, and also has lift up flaps depicting lots of things from our farm
 I loved doing this page, very simple but elegant at the same time, depicting a morning scene here on the farm
The puppies are doing well. I have finally managed to get Stella putting on some weight, she has finally hit the 2kg mark and she is coming out of her shell more and more each week. Here they are curled up together on the lounge.
Sam has the biggest personality. He is so cheeky and loveable. He loves to play in the dirt, and even though he is white, he manages to clean himself up quite well...especially considering when he does this:
We also did a weekend holiday over to Fraser Island with 3 other families, even though it was only from Friday through to Sunday, we had a great time. I had a local animal carer come in and feed and look after the animals for me, which made things a lot easier.
I had a clutch of araucana's ready to hatch when I got back from Fraser, I had 2 hatch out and then Max knocked the incubator off the bench where it was, and the 2 that had hatched survived, but a number of others cracked and either weren't fertile, or were dead, and the rest did not end up I only ended up with 2 out of the 9 eggs...seems to be the way it is for me, only a small number...I hope I can improve on that in spring. I have got a couple of big tubs now set up with some lettuce, silverbeet and shallots growing, and a few cabbage planted in the garden.

  I hope to plant up 1 or 2 more tubs of vegies, but I don't want to go overboard at this stage, just a little at a time. We have also purchased our first bull, a purebred registered Droughtmaster, he is due to arrive tomorrow. He is a lovely quiet boy, and he has been tested for fertility as well, so I hope he is easy for us to manage. The heifers we have here are all at the age where they are ready to breed, and I will put him over our Jersey as well, to get her started also. We chose the Droughtmasters for a number of reasons, and the small calf size was a big swing for us as well with the first time heifers. We hope to sell the calves once they are about 6 months old, and start to build up a purebred droughtmaster herd. I had a big de-clutter session here last Friday, as we just don't have the room here to hoard stuff, so I got rid of old magazines and general bits and pieces, and de-cluttered the bathroom as well and re-arranged things a little. I still have to finish off my decorating. I requested and received a Kreg drill jig for Mothers Day, so I will start to build myself a few bits and pieces to decorate with. Damian has also started doing up my craft studio, but I think that will take a few more weeks yet, as we have had a few weekends away. Anyway, I think that is all for a bit of a catchup for now...hopefully the bull arrives tomorrow and I can post a few pics then...