Saturday, January 28, 2012

Guinea Fowl Crystal Sexing

Kasey and I did the sexing test of the guinea fowl keets today, by holding a string with a crystal over each one, to see if it went in a circular or back and forth motion. According to this test, we have 2 boys and 4 girls, so we will see how accurate this test is once they grow up a little bit more. The girls definitely seem quieter and more petite than the boys, so it will be interesting to see how this goes. The boys carry on much more when picked up, whereas the girls are happy to just be held quietly...they have grown up so much in just a couple of weeks, they would be double and in some cases triple the size they were when bought home.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Rained out...

We have had a LOT of rain here over the last 24 hours, with more to come today they are saying...not as heavy as it has been though....
(Our car parking area at home...hmmm...just a bit of water!)
Damian has been rained out up at the property, so no slab pouring this weekend as long as they can get out, they will be heading back home today. It's my birthday today, so I hope they can get home...Damian is probably sorta hoping that they don't get back today, otherwise he will probably have to organise a pressie..hehehe... :o   sooo...I am heading out this morning to have my haircut, and then I am going to go and have a relaxing morning at the shops....just me, so I can wander around at my leisure. There is nothing I am really going to buy, but I do love to get in to Loot and the homeware shops, and I may go and do a little opshopping as well...and take myself out to lunch....a good day coming up... :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Silent Nagging...

Damian and Michael have headed up to the property today... they have gone up to prep the slab for the shed, which, depending on the weather, will be poured this weekend. If the rain up there is as heavy as it has been down here, then it may have to be put off, as I'm not sure we could get trucks in! So, I did my housework this morning, and then because the day has been very heavy rain, I got a little bit crafty. I was looking at signs similar to this on ebay, and was nearly going to buy them, until I remembered my digital scrapbooking program, and decided I would make my own. This is the first one I have finished, and it has come up a treat.

I have now hung it in the loo, as silent nagging a gentle "reminder".  I have also made some up for the bathroom, laundry and kitchen, so I am hoping it reminds my darling children to bloody well clean up after themselves :) I need to find some more frames or display ideas for the rest of the signs I have made, and then I will post some photos once I have done them. Got to go and set up the sewing machine now to do some embroidery for a friend that she has been waiting on since before Xmas....

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Decluttering and Baking

I have had a busy couple of days. I was so sick of trying to scrounge my way through some of the kitchen cupboards and drawers to find things, I just started on one of my big pot drawers with all of the baking trays, as I just updated my baking trays as my old ones were looking really grungy, and then it just sort of steam rolled from there...before I knew it, my car was full of kitchen appliances, old plastics, trays, etc etc, but I can actually find things in there I donated it all to the charity store, and on Saturday night I completely overhauled the linen cupboard, because I was sick of chucking the towels and linen in the cupboard and quickly shutting the doors so things would stay in now we only have about a dozen towels, teatowels and washers, and a few sets of sheets, etc, but still absolutely plenty of linen. Getting the cupboards re-done will be on the agenda very shortly, as they all need to be re-shelved, so I wanted to cull the contents down as much as possible, so that it's easier when I have to empty them all out to paint, before getting the new shelving put in, and the new doors on. The excess linen absolutely filled the entire back of my car to the brim....but looks so much better now. I spent the weekend using up some of the produce in the freezer, and made up 5 1/2 kilos of pasta sauce base out of the home grown tomatoes from last season
It is now all in the deep freeze. I also used up the rhubarb from last season, and made up 2 rhubarb crumbles,
These are extremely yummy, especially with some home made custard, I also made up some rhubarb muffins, but they ended up way too moist in the centre, so I gave them to the chooks, so will change the recipe a little as they would have been really yummy if a bit lighter in the middle. I also made up some banana chocolate muffins, and these got the thumbs up from Kasey
So, we will be back up at the property later in the week, Damian should be going up Tuesday to get the machines in to prep for the slab for the shed, and they are going to pour the slab next Saturday. The cattle sales will be on  the Monday, but it will depend on a few things whether we will be able to get cattle this time around, as we need to be on the property for a least a few days after we get them to keep them in the yards and feed them etc, so I am not sure whether we can manage that with school starting back tomorrow. Kasey is so excited, she went to bed nearly on time, and has her bag packed and her school clothes out already, so I am nice and inspired to make her a nice healthy, yummy lunch in the morning, and then take her and settle her in for her first day in grade 3. So, probably another busy week coming up, I have to finish a baby blanket for a friend, so I will need to pull the sewing machine back out and get that done, and a few wedding preservations to finish off to get those out the door, and then I am going to only take on very limited wedding work for the rest of the year while we are working out the new property and travelling back and forth between here and there. So, a very productive weekend, and it looks like some more rain coming our way this week, which will be great for the gardens.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Homemade Deodorant

I made up some home made deodorant about a week ago, and have been using it since. It works really well, and is so easy to make. It has a nice teatree oil smell, which smells the same as an all natural deodorant I was using a few months back, but this homemade one seems to work better. I already had all of the ingredients here, and it only took a couple of minutes to make. I think I will try and buy some deodorant rollon applicator bottles for future batches but it is quite fine to use the way it is, I just put a small amount on my fingertip and apply this way.  This deodorant is all natural, and contains no chemicals or aluminium etc, so much better for me. It also allows your underarms to naturally sweat if needed, to sweat out toxins in your body, which is our bodies natural defence at getting rid of some of the bad toxins in our systems, but perspiration has not increased for me since using this, and there has definitely been no odour so it seems to be working really well. I will be making this again.

Homemade Deodorant

(Makes just over 1/2 cup)
1/4 Cup baking soda
1/4 Cup cornflour
5 - 6 Tablespoons coconut oil
Tea Tree Oil (optional)
Combine the baking soda and cornflour, then work in the coconut oil. I used my mixer to incorporate the two until well combined.
If desired, add tea tree oil (anywhere from 5 - 20 drops) which has natural antibacterial qualities.
Also, if your room is warm, the oil might liquify a little, so move it to the refrigerator if necessary or a cooler room.
To use: Rub a small amount on underarms.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Guinea Fowl

After having a few run ins with snakes here the last few months, we have been looking for ways to try and "encourage" them to not hang around here. I was wanting to get some guinea fowl here last year, and have been looking at them intermittently since early last year. Apparently they were very popular among the early pioneers as they are fairly self sufficient as far as foraging for food, and like to free range and their eggs are apparently delicious. They help keep insects and ticks under control, and sound an alarm when there is something around that is out of the normal. They are also known to circle around snakes and make a racket and their noise and carry on can drive the snakes away. They have been known to kill small snakes, and the people I picked up the baby guinea fowl from, said that theirs killed a brown snake about a metre long at the front of their property only a couple of weeks ago. While I am not wanting them to be wrangling with snakes, I would be very happy if they can help keep the snakes away from the house and chook areas. So, I picked up 6 little keets (Baby guinea fowl) yesterday, and have set them up in a brooder cage until they are big enough to go into the chicken tractor, and then I will move them to the chook pen when they are big enough. Guinea fowl are known to wander and try to find "home" if they are not kept in their roosting area for a long enough period of time, I have read that keeping them locked up  in their roosting area for 6 weeks will keep them coming home to roost each night, and considering their roosting area as their home. I hope so anyway, and we will hopefully be able to breed more to take up to the property with us, as we will definitely need more than 6 on the big property. They are also great at keeping bugs out of the vegie garden, as they are known to not scratch up your seedlings and vegies, they are just interested in the bugs on the leaves, and will just pick those off (hopefully). So, the little babies seem quite happy at the moment, and they are so funny at following each other around, where one goes, they all quickly follow....very entertaining..I have purchased 3 of the lavender, which are the normal grey ones, and 3 pearl pied, which are the browner ones pictured with the white chests.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Clearing up and continuing on with the renovations...

Things have been pretty busy since we got back from the property. We spent an afternoon up the back completely clearing up the chook pen area. We cleared out a few bits and pieces, lifted up the sheet metal, pulled about a foot of beautiful compost off the ground in the chook pen and added to our compost pile, and refilled the chook pen with some sugar cane mulch, to keep them happy and dry. Damian rotary hoed some of the back area along the fence line, so I can plant the pumpkin vines along there instead of taking up precious room in the vegie garden. We have spent the last couple of days painting the office, the painting is now finished, and we went out yesterday and purchased the new desks etc to finish the renovation in there. Damian is going to try and fit all of that tomorrow, and then we can move our office supplies back in there, and finally get all of the stuff off the pool table, and reclaim our bedroom.

(Our newly plastered, tiled, painted and refurnished office...light, clean, airy and spacious)

This afternoon I spent some time in the vegie garden, I grabbed some seedlings today as I haven't had the time to pot up any seeds, so I planted some lettuce, radish, corn, rockmelon, zucchini, watermelon, marigold, sunflowers, cucumber and pumpkin. With all of the heat that we've had lately, the weeds have taken off a bit in there, but I pulled some up today, and will spray the others with vinegar and remulch those areas after that. We may possibly head back up to the property this weekend as the cattle sales are on up there on Monday, but we haven't fully made up our minds yet, we may leave it to next month yet. While we were away, I asked Toni to take the eggs off the clucky hen as it had been 29 days since she sat, and none of the remaining 11 eggs hatched, which is really disappointing. I havecontacted the seller of the fertile eggs to let her know that the eggs were infertile, poor Toni copped a couple of them exploding on her, she says that she has never smelled anything so vile. So, that's the update for the moment.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

More work on the farm...

Day 1:  Have arrived up back up to the property today after Xmas. The water tank was dropped off at the gully as the truck couldn't get through it, so we will pick it up tomorrow on the truck. Everything looks fine, caravan is good, we have a load of gravel coming in this avo which we will get the machine to push in the morning so the other truck can get through with the septic tank. Tomorrow the septic tank and trenches will be done, and the water tank installed and a load of water coming in.  
Day 2: The septic tank was installed today as was the water tank. It was a very hot day, about 32 degrees...we had an excavator and a bobcat here. The water truck arrived late this afternoon to fill up the tank, so we now have water.
(Digging The Trench)
 (Site Supervisor)
( Damian on the excavator)
 (Filling the septic tank with water)

 (Filling the water tank with water)

 (Damian and Max relaxing after a busy, hot day)

Day 3:  The machines finished up here this morning, doing the last bit of backfilling and boring the holes for the toilet block and some fruit trees. Damian concreted in the posts for the toilet block and I planted the few fruit trees we brought up with us. We started to put up the toilet block today. The previous owner Jimmy turned up and gave us a few papers etc relevant to the property. Rick and Marina turned up with our quad, and Rick then helped Damian finish putting up the toilet block and to sheet it. It looks fantastic. 

  Damian got up early this morning and installed the toilet. We now have a flushing toilet!!

 Ann and Dennis arrived this afternoon, and will spend New Years Eve here. It was a fairly quiet night, and we were in bed by about 11pm. 
Day 8:  We have spent the last couple of days a bit more relaxed. Today we went into Bundaberg to look at quads and tractors, and had lunch in Bargara. We stopped at the hardware on the way home and bought a push mower to mow the orchard, then called in to Gin Gin on the way home and did a load of washing. When we got back we mowed to orchard, it looks really good now.

 Tomorrow we will spray around the outer base of the trees to repel the weeds and then use the grass cuttings to mulch around the trees, to retain the moisture while we are back at home and not giving them a regular watering, and then we will head back home the following day.

The Brown Snake

We got a phone call from Toni while were up at the property, to tell us there was a snake under the sheet metal up at the chook house. She was lifting up to see if there were any rats under there to still get rid of. No rats, but there was this instead.
It has been identified as a brown snake by the snake catcher, but when he came to relocate it, the snake was nowhere to be seen. If it comes back, he will come and get it. While I am terrified of snakes, well venemous ones anyway, there doesn't appear to be any rats or mice up at the chook pen anymore, which is good, he has obviously had a very good feed as there were heaps.  We are now just waiting to see if it comes back, and being extra, extra careful when we are up at the chook house, and if it does come back, we will get the snake catcher back. I am concerned about the dogs and about Kasey, and I have forbidden Kasey from playing up there at the moment until we sort it all out. We found another little black "snake" up there yesterday in the compost pile, but on closer inspection it turned out to be a legless lizard, we could see his little legs about an inch behind his head, so we put him back in the compost pile to go about his business. I am going to purchase one of those electric rat traps to try and keep any further rats at bay, to avoid any more snakes from taking up residence.