Saturday, March 31, 2012

The farm tractor

We are currently getting organised to head up to friends and then our property over Easter, so needed to start thinking seriously about getting a tractor for slashing and work around the farm, as with all of the rain we have had, we are expecting the grass to be very, very long.
Update: The grass is very long, just got a photo from friends who have picked up our caravan for us....this is the little white car that got left behind when we purchased the's in there...a bit longer and it might have been missed
 We have been looking for a little while but finding something second hand, and decent and not too old for the right money has taken a little while. But we have today purchased a tractor, and it will be delivered the day after Easter so we will be able to do some serious work up there while away. We are just organising the slasher for it, so hopefully we will get that the same time as the tractor.

 We are going to need to organise a front bucket for it, to make it more versatile, so I suppose that will be next on the list, as well as a post hole borer and block, money money...

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Success !

I put the baby chicks under the mother hen last night, and nervously waited for the results this morning. I put a wire barricade inside the pen, so that the babies could get through in case they needed to get away from her. But, all is good. When I went in this morning I could hear her purring, which is a good sign that she has gone in to nurturing mode, and I could see a couple of the chicks poking their little heads out from underneath her. They have since been running around the pen eating and drinking, and she is protectively looking over them and gently pecking at them if they have a bit of food on themselves. They are jumping up at her and on her, thank goodness, very proud of the mummy hen taking on her new babies so well.

(I put a barricade in 1/2 of the pen so the baby chicks could get away from the mother hen if she didn't accept them and tried to hurt them)
(All happy)

 I did a bit of research yesterday about the best way to introduce the babies to her, I had the babies in earshot of her but she could not see them, just heard them peeping, so she could start to go in to nurturing mode, I had read both recommendations, some said to not let her hear them or see them, and some said to let her hear but not see them, as she would hear them peeping naturally underneath her when they were trying to hatch, this made sense to me so I went with that option, and then once she had settled down for the night, I covered her cage in a sheet to keep her as calm as possible, and quietly slipped them underneath her and left her to it. I checked on things a couple of times before I went to bed, and all was quiet and good, and then again at first light this morning.  Mother hen is now eating a little and drinking as well, so they can stay in the safety of this pen for a week, and then they can go over to the chicken tractor with the younger guinea fowl.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Lady in waiting

Guess who's expecting 6 new babies tomorrow? I'm hoping she's going to be a good Mum and will adopt her new babies and take them as her own.
She's been moved over in to a smaller pen in preparation for the impending arrival, and I will pop them under her tomorrow night. It took her about an hour to settle down on her eggs after moving her, but she's all settled in now and just waiting to be a mum. As I don't have a rooster at the moment, I have no fertile eggs, and after the disaster of last time, I just bought day olds instead of fertile eggs. I have left a couple of eggs under her for the moment to give her something to sit on while she waits for the chicks.
Today's hour in the garden:
Moving the chook tractor, giving the chickens a dusting for lice

Monday, March 26, 2012

Weekend happenings and running on empty!

I am running on empty today, I didn't get to sleep last night until 11pm, and because I am trying to not take my tablet to help me sleep, I have been awake since 3am....blah...very tired, but surprisingly productive.

I have organised a few more guinea fowl to come in tomorrow, that are the same age as the 2 I have left, so that we are back up to 6 again. I also have a clucky hen at the moment, so I have organised for a half dozen day old chicks to come up tomorrow to place under her. I have a mix of Anconas, plymouth rocks and silver spangled hamburgs coming. I should also have a few ancona pullets coming up as well. I think quite a few of the girls are ageing and their laying capacity has dwindled , as out of 8 girls we are only averaging 1 or 2 eggs a day, and that has been since spring last time to start bringing some new ones in to bring the laying capacity back up.  I'm happy to let the older girls live out their lives happily as they have done a good job with the egg laying, so now they are more for fertilising and eating some bugs.

I have been also organising a few final inside touches for the reno this morning as well. The weekend was relatively quiet, I spent most of the weekend keeping my sewing machine whirring away working on my wall art for the main bedroom, and I dug out the french knitting tool for Kasey yesterday, and she spent most of the day getting the hang of that, she absolutely loves it, and is currently working on a round rug for her floor (which she has conveniently given me the job of sewing together for her)  Then I think she will start work on covering some tins for storage containers on her desk. I will look at also getting her a rectangle knitting loom which is based on the same principle, but she will be able to make scarves and things with, but I will give that to her when we go away at Easter or whenever the novelty starts wearing off with the french knitting tool first.
I also did some baking for lunches and make pikelets,
 Chocolate yogo,
 and Hodgetts slice
So, lots of variety there for snacks to take to school, and for after school. I also placed an order with Fishpond last week, and 2 of my books arrived this morning.

I am waiting on another cheesemaking book on more of the soft cheeses, yoghurts, creme fraiche etc to arrive as well as a couple of cake decorating books. I am going to pop them away and take them with me on our Easter holiday as my easter reading...I just need to be patient...not long to go, Kasey finishes school this week for the term, it has gone so fast. I have booked her in for a kids easter cupcake decorating class next week, so she can bring her creations with her to share with her friends over easter. So..that's the update for today...lots going on as usual...
**Hour a day in the Garden Update - I have done 3 hours in the garden today, as I missed the last couple of days due to other commitments, so I made up for it today, I did 1 1/2 hours of mowing, (it is still really wet though, so only could do the front area until the back dries out more) and 1 1/2 hours of planting, I planted some Qld Arrowroot and Kassava in the pool area, I am hoping the Arrowroot gives the area a tropical look without having to have palms everywhere as they can get pretty messy. I have also planted Vietnamese Mint, Lemongrass, Mushroom plant, 3 types of sweet potato - purple, clumping and orange, and I know there is something else but I can't think at this stage what it is. I still have some pennyroyal to plant, and a Davison Plum, but I think I will plant that up at the property when we go up at the end of next week.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bed runner

The weather here at the moment is terrible, cold and raining.  It has rained pretty well non stop all day, and things are already so wet...I got a bit of sewing done though, and finished off putting together the bed runner that I started at the sewing retreat a few weeks back.
I am going with the butterflies and dragonflies theme, and have made 2 pillow sized cushions and a smaller cushion to match the colour scheme as well, which have been embroidered with dragonflies and butterflies in the creams, chocolates and fawn colour scheme.. I am now working on a large artwork for the wall, which will be in the chocolate coloured fabric, all embroidered with the same theme, with some dimensional work on it also. So it is starting to come together slowly. I haven't been able to do my hour outside in the garden today due to the weather, so hopefully things start to dry out here soon.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Today's hour in the garden

I spent my hour in the vegie garden this afternoon, still weeding, but I managed to get one side nearly finished. I still have the mulch to do, and the other side to finish. Hopefully I can finish by the end of the week. I am currently reading "Smart Permaculture Design" by Jenny Allen, which I am loving. It's a very visual book, but with heaps of info, and the way she has written it, it's easy to read, and having done my permaculture design certificate, it is basically like a refresher course and everything she is writing makes sense. I am also planning what to plant in the vegie garden, and I want to include a lot of perennials in the garden that I don't need to be replanting all the time, and filling it in with fast growing annuals.
It is very, very wet around the garden though, which makes it easy to pull the weeds out, but really muddy to walk around, so I think some pavers are in order or some gravel. So, I have managed 3 days in a row of my hour in the garden challenge , and it is making a difference so I am happy with my progress so far. Ann and I had card class today, so some creative time today, which was good. We made these cards today

So tomorrow will be an at home today, so a couple of things to organise to finish off inside renovations, and then I will probably do a little bit of mowing - can only do a little area out the back as it's too wet in a lot of areas.  Then I might do a bit of sewing....we'll see how the day pans out...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Crocheted Headband

I decided I would crochet myself a headband last night to keep my mind off the cyclone heading towards the was very quick and easy, just all triple crochet, Kasey would like me to make her one as well, I am happy with how it has come up...might make a few more in different's a bit messy though...
I plan to spend today doing some baking, lots of things in mind to cook up for lunches etc. We have had so much rain here, there was ankle deep water through the car turnaround bay and carport last night..the yard up the back is so wet, it's gonna be a jungle when it finally dries out enough to be mowed. Hopefully I can get through to the boys today on the phone to see how they's supposed to be hitting them early morning...I'm hoping it's just heavy rain by the time it gets to hour in the garden wasn't spent quite how I envisaged yesterday, I spent most of it trying to find the missing guinea fowl, with no success...and then I did a bit of weeding, but got rained out. It's too wet to plant anything up there at the moment anyway...this rain is really playing havoc with the vegie garden..oh well, the trials and tribulations of growing food...

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Severe Tropical Cyclone Lua

Damian and Michael are both working in Newman WA in the Pilbera region at the moment. At the moment they are under cyclone warning, waiting for TC Lua to reach them. It it crossing the coast as a category 4 at the moment, and will reach them some time tonight as a category 2 -3. I am worried........
I hope the cyclone loses a lot of its punch as it moves over the coast...and that their accomodation has been well built to withstand cyclones.
I have also lost 2 guinea fowl this morning, Kasey thought she would help me and went and let the chooks out, and came back up to the house to tell me, and I said that the gate on the chook pen has to be shut as the guinea fowl can't be let out yet, but it was too late, Reggie had gone up in to the nesting area and killed one and was after all the others...2 others got out, 1 has come back and we have got it back in with the other one, but the 3rd one appears to have flown away at this stage, so now we only have 2, as reggie got the other 2 as well a few weeks back,  I am hoping that the other one comes back during the day, I have tied reggie up and locked Diesel in the pool area for the day, so I hope it comes back...the guinea fowl venture is turning in to a bit of a failure at the moment...I think next time I will just get full grown ones..

My 1 Hour a day Garden challenge

I am setting myself a challenge to spend 1 hour a day outside in the garden, as I want to really get the vegetable garden pumping along for autumn and winter, and there is a lot of work I want to do in the general gardens to get them looking nice. I made a start yesterday by putting a new layer of dry bedding mulch in the chooks house, as we have had so much rain lately, everything is so wet, and the girls will appreciate having dry feet. I also pulled some weeds in the vegie garden, so that is a start. The challenge will be weather dependent, if it is raining or too hot, I will leave it for the next day. I suppose, even if I can only meet the challenge half of the time, then that's a pretty good start, and more than I am managing now anyway. If I can manage each day, then that's 7 hours a week in the gardens, that should improve my harvests and keep everything looking maintained and nice, without too much effort.
Today I am planning on doing more weeding in the vegie garden and getting it re-mulched and ready for planting, and later on I will work out what needs to be planted so I can get the seeds and seedlings organised for planting. I have been working on a PDF document, collecting planting information for each month and plant profiles etc, but that came to an abrupt halt with the renovations, so hopefully I can get back to that soon, as it will be an easy on hand reference guide for me, and save me keeping heaps of magazines as clutter in storage. What's your plans for your gardens today?

Would anybody like to join in with my hour a day challenge, maybe we can motivate each other?
Let me know if you join up in the comments below, and I will keep a list of everyone participating below.

You are welcome to save the hour a day garden challenge picture above and use it on your blog to show you are participating if you wish.

Friday, March 16, 2012

IPad carry bag

I made this carry bag/stand for my iPad at the sewing is. Much more convenient way to carry my iPad, and with some built in storage I can keep a cleaning cloth and some notes etc in the pockets both inside the case and on the outside...and it has ended up looking quite rustic and pretty....

It stands up tall on the back flap, or lower down on the bottom flap, however, I do find it a little flimsy, so I want to put a thicker sheet of perspex or cardboard in, so that it stands up better. Overall though, I am very happy with it. I managed a small harvest today, 5 eggs (only 2 in this pic) a small bunch of ceylon spinach to make a cheesy spinach quiche for dinner, and a capsicum (quite small) and a bit of a mangey looking cucumber. I planted the cucumber, zuccini and rockmelon quite late, and with all of the rain we have had, and my non motivation out in the garden, all I have managed to get is 1 single solitary mangey looking's just been soooo wet, so many things in the vegie garden are suffering.
I am really hoping to get my gardening motivation happening very soon, as there is lots to plant out. I am exhausted after the inside renovations, and I am finding it hard to get some energy back, other than in little spurts at the moment.  I have a little challenge in mind for myself which I am working on to help in this area.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Hand made wall hangings

I made 3 wall hangings for the dining room yesterday, cost was under $15 each to make. I am quite happy with them. I used lightweight ply sheets, and covered them in wallpaper, it was very quick and easy. I am going to finish them off with a few splashes of textured paint in black or silver to hide a few imperfections here and there, but I love the look of them. The colours go really well with the colour scheme I am ending up with through the house.
I am currently out in the office, I have set the sewing machine up out here, and I am working on the bed runner I started last weekend. It is coming up beautifully, just got to work out whether I am going to use wadding and back it, or just hem it...hmmm...decisions...

Friday, March 9, 2012

Renovations so far pics...

Some before shots of the house during renos. Pretty much all of our posessions have been packed away, and the stuff we still needed out to function on a daily basis was moved out to the pergola area. The worst part by far was the floors being done, the slate being removed, it was soooo dusty, we had to wash down every wall in the house as we could write our names in the dust on the walls.

The company that removed the slate were really good, a crew of 5 showed up on time, and just got straight in to it, less than 6 hours later, all the slate was off the floor, the floors were sanded back for the tiler to start the next day, and the slate was being taken away in their trucks.

The next day the tilers got to work.

Then Damian started on building the new entry wall, where the brick planter (plant killer) took him 3 days to build this, as it is self supporting and he wanted it all braced off properly so it could hold the tv etc, with no problems.
 I was going to paint the house in the Illawarra colour, which is the same as what is in the bedrooms and the office, but the common consensus was that it was going to end up too dark, even though I absolutely love the colour. So I ended up going completely white, and I will use the Illawarra as features here and there, that way I can put any colour that I wish to in a room for decoration.

This is the dining room, I still need to finish the window coverings and I am currently doing some home made wall art for the wall.

 The kitchen has had new handles and a new gloss white splashback so far. The appliances are being replaced with stainless steel ones, and a new stainless steel kick will go around the bases, and the timber blind is to go back up, after that I will assess how it looks, as to whether I need to do the doors or not.
 The main lounge area is just about done, I am just waiting for a replacement lounge, I currently have my eye on one on ebay which I hope I can get.

 The main bathroom was also completely gutted, and all new fixtures put in. The only thing we re-used was the shower screen, as it was less that 12 months old. The blind also needs to be put back up, and other than that it is finished.

 The bedroom is still being decorated. The new blockout blind has gone up, but I am in the process of sewing new cushion covers and a bed runner to compliment the new doona cover, and I also have some ideas that I am working on for the wall art and the pelmets above the blinds. I also need to put the timber blind back up on the smaller window.
 The new front door and entrance where the brick planter used to be. The painter is coming back tomorrow to finish off the door, so it will all be the Illawarra colour then.

 We replaced the hallway cupboard swinging doors with nice streamline sliding doors

 All the cupboards have been re-shelved, including our walk in robe which has had a lovely makeover.
Still a few bits and pieces to finish off on the reno side, and on the decorating side, and then we will start on the garden edging and finishing off the gardens outside, and then we should be able to sit back and enjoy things for a little while.