Monday, February 28, 2011

I'm sick of losing my chickens....

I'm not having a very good few months with my chickens.....and the saga continues. I lost another of the sussex girls a few days back, she came down with respiratory distress, actually both of the remaining sussex girls did, but 1 of them was quite a lot worse than the other, and she consequently died, despite my best efforts, with lots of TLC and antibiotics, but the other one has come good. And then, this afternoon, I returned from being out for about an hour or so, to find one of my little plymouth rocks girls dead in the pool.  We have had a pool for probably the last 14 years or so, and I have never lost a chicken to drowning in our pool. Poor little thing...I was here all day too, other than going out for the school drop off and pick up....I don't know if it would have made a difference, but I think I would have heard something, some flapping around or something.....So, I am now back down to 9 chickens, and I think I will just keep it this way for the time being. We aren't getting any eggs at the moment either...just to add insult to injury....the last 12 months or so has been horrendous with losing chooks, the previous 15 years or so was no problems, we have lost more chickens in the last 12 months than probably in our entire 18 1/2 years of being here....other than when we had an issue with a fox, and nearly our entire flock was wiped out in 1 night about 14 years ago....I'm really hoping all of the bad luck with my feathered friends is past us now.....

I have a worm farm!

Yay...I went to Bunnings yesterday to buy 2 things....and none of them were a worm farm...hehehe....Damian should know better than to send me to Bunnings on my own....I do love that place....anyway...I have been meaning to get a worm farm for ages, and seeing as how I am doing the permaculture course, thought now was as good a time as any.. So I purchased a "worm cafe", it comes with a tap to get the liquid out from the bottom, which I thought was worth the little extra $.  I also bought 1200 worms to go in it...which I thought sounded a lot, but apparently this is about the minimum to get. So when I got home, I went about setting it up, this is all new to me, so after reading all of the instructions, soaked the coconut fibre, spread it out in the tray, added the worms, covered them with damp newspaper and the hessian mat I bought and set them out in the shade of the greenhouse to settle in. Kasey knew way more than me about setting up the worm farm, as they set up one at school last she was offering advice left, right and centre about how to go about things! Anyway, Kasey went out to check on the worms this morning, and came back in to tell me..."Mum, I have some bad news about the worm farm...the worms are escaping!"  So out we went, and scooped all of the worms back in...I don't know what wasn't quite right for them, I have taken the hessian out and just left the newspaper in for now, and they seem to have all buried themselves in nice and deep back in the fibre, and I have given them a few scraps as well to start them off, so hopefully they are happy enough to not want to get out now...and they can start their work of chewing and pooping and making some lovely castings and liquid fertiliser for the gardens!

Friday, February 25, 2011


We don't think you realise just how much we want your cake!!!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Permaculture course day 1...and some lemons!

Yesterday was the first day of my permaculture design certificate course.  I arrived late...not a good start...I allowed an hour and a 1/4 to make a 40-45 minute trip to allow for took me about an hour and a half....geez....what's with the traffic! Anyway, I only really missed the intro...but ended up making a grand entrance instead of quietly sitting at my desk waiting for the course to start.  The farm has only the very basics in the way of utilities, so I will know for next week to take a lunch that doesn't need heating, and an esky with ice so I can take my own milk, teabags etc for a nice cuppa during the day. It's definitely an urban hippy existence there, does take a little bit to get used to. Day 1 was a basic introduction to the 3 principles and 12 elements relating to permaculture. There was a bit of roleplay (very embarrasing, but a way for everyone to get to know each other a little) and farm tour.  There was also a food presentation on Bunya nuts, the nuts boiled weren't really my thing, but the bunya nut pesto on the fruit loaf was quite nice, but I think that's because the fruit loaf masked some of the bunya nut flavour. We were also given our plant allocation that we each need to do a food presentation on during the course. I lucked out with passionfruit, and I have some growing here, so I get to make some yummy sweet treats for my presentation. Need to do the research between now and the next fortnight, so I can hand out the information sheet during the presentation. I was pretty bushed (and cranky) when I got home, as I spent another hour and a helf in the traffic, and was still quite tired today. This afternoon I planted out the comfrey in the garden, and as I was wandering around the garden, I thought I would check out the lazy lemon tree, and was delighted to see 5 lovely lemons at quite a good size, and a couple more babies coming along. This is the lemon trees first fruiting, so quite exciting.

I gave the bush a drink of seaweed solution this afternoon, and weeded around the base, and removed the big hungry catepillar on one of the leaves and gave it to the chooks, they don't seem very interested in it though!  I purchased a lots a lemons tree about a month back as this lemon tree didn't seem to be making any progress, it must have scared it in to giving up some lemons. So, tomorrow is Kasey's 7th birthday, so I have a couple of wedding quotes to go and do in the morning, and Toni is going to take Kasey out for the morning to the park or maybe to the beach for an icecream. We'll do presents in the morning, and then a family BBQ in the afternoon. She has a little friend coming to play early in the afternoon, and they always play so well together. So..I'm off to bed, I am pretty tired, so I think I will sleep well. Next week I need to put some serious effort in to expanding my home routines app, I have the rotational house work and daily am and pm routines pretty much sorted at the moment, but I need to now start to allocate days to certain tasks and also some self improvement time (think...exercise...blaghhh) and need to start making set times for sewing and craft, gardening, mowing etc...I want to try and work them in to my routine so I have set days for these things as a rough promptor to each day for me. I have a bit of time in between quotes in the morning, so I may visit Gloria Jeans, and pop myself, my laptop and my ipad in the corner for a couple of hours and try and sort all that out...we'll see how I go....

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Animal mishaps & a Permaculture course

We got back from our holiday on Sunday. Always nice to get away for a few days. One of the chooks came down sick a few days back, after doing some research on the net, I concluded that she had coccidiosis...I think that has been the culprit with the other couple of girls I have lost recently..and it has been spreading through the more vulnerable girls.  I treated her with Sulpha D, and she has come good now, and I have returned her up with the other chooks. Now that I know what I am looking for, hopefully I can now keep it in check. I will need to give Damian the hurry along with the chook tractor, and give the ground in the current chook pen a spell, and try to get rid of any parasites that have built up in the soil, as the chook house has been on the same ground for many years. Hopefully now we are over the worst of the sick chooks for a while. Diesel has also been in the wars, he has banged his head really hard on something while we were away and has a huge boney lump on the back of his head, it's nearly as big as a golfball.
(Diesel has a huge egg on the back of his head)

I have taken him to the vet, and he is on some anti inflammatories, this is day 3 of being on those, and it really hasn't made any difference to the size of the lump yet, so if no better by Friday, I will contact the vet surgery again. He has also started mouthing toads, Monday night I thought I was going to have to rush him to the vet, as he got quite sick, even though we had washed his mouth out, but then I contacted the after hours vet, and she gave me some info on what to look out for, and also to wipe his mouth out with a cloth instead of washing it, to get rid of the slimy poison, as soon as I did this, he came good. And then last night, he came to the back door whimpering again, and was foaming at the mouth again, so I wiped it out first thing this time, and he came good within a couple of minutes. Damian is going to do the rounds of the yard with Dettol again to kill off the toads that are starting to hang around.

Tomorrow is going to be very exciting, it is day 1 of the Permaculture Design Course I am doing.  It will be every Thursday for the next few months, and I am really looking forward to it. I hope my brain can deal with all of the theory that is going to be associated with it! I will post later in the week with the details on how it all went. I am looking forward to absorbing all of the info and putting it in to practice here. I have also received most of my book order that I put it at the beginning of the month, I will post about those a bit later as well. At the moment I am trying to continue catching up on paperwork, nearly there, it is almost full time in the office at the moment doing bookwork....but the pile is getting smaller.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A few days holiday...

We are having a few days at the beach....Damian didn't have any time off over Xmas, so really needed a break. So we managed to get a beachfront site at the caravan park he has come to since he was a kid. The phone keeps ringing, but at least he is having some time off. Damian is spending lots of time here...reading the paper overlooking the ocean...

We went a did some shopping yesterday, and we went via the local Salvos stores to get some books and jigsaw puzzles for Kasey to do.
 This one is a 3 dimensional princess castle puzzle, it took us quite some time to do, but looked great when finished.
 Today, I said Kasey could make cupcakes. She made them all by herself, I just gave her the instructions, and did the oven part, other than that, she did it all herself.
(Mixing the batter)
 (Laying out the patty pans)
(Filling the patty pans)
 (Sampling the leftover batter - as you do)
 (Watching them bake)
 (Now the creative part - the icing)
 (And butterfly sprinkles of course!  )
 (tadah!!  )
So, a lovely relaxing time so far....I have to head home for a little while tomorrow, as I have a flower delivery coming on Thursday for a wedding this weekend...we are only 45 minutes or so from home, so not too far to travel. Then I will have to come home really early on Saturday to do the wedding and deliver it....but Damian and Kasey will stay and have fun at the beach while I am gone....

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Animal progress

A 2nd of the new chickens came down with an infected eye a week and a half ago, so I put them on antibiotics and eye cream. This is the 2nd chicken that came down with the infected eye:

This is the first chick, she basically had her eye permanently shut:

 This is her eye now:
This is the 2nd chicks eye now as well...all better.
They were on antibiotics in their water for 5 days, and they were separated from the other chooks to stop it spreading anymore. I also applied cream twice a day to the infected eyes to help clear up the infection.They have all now been reintegrated with the big girls, and are now doing well. I have also purchased some vitamin/antibiotic tonic from the pet barn, to treat all of the other chooks with once a week. I lost one of the sussex girls last Friday, no clue why, just found her dead, so I will give all the girls a treatment each week, to try and build up their immunity, and get them all nice and healthy and try and ward off whatever is affecting them.  I want to move them in to a chicken tractor for a while as well, to get them on to new ground, in case their is a soil borne critter that is affecting them. Diesel is also growing up, he is now 9 weeks old. He seems to be getting quite used to the chooks, he is quite happy to just wander around with them now, and doesn't chase them at all...hopefully that will continue! There is definitely something to be said for starting them off early to get used to the chickens.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tropical Cyclone Yasi

I am thinking of all of our North Qld neighbours who will bear the brunt of Tropical Cyclone Yasi tonight....I hope everyone is safe through this monster...

(OMG!!!  I have never seen anything like this, the sheer size of this is astounding)