Saturday, April 28, 2012

Hand Made Moisturising Cream

I ran out of moisturising cream about a week ago, so today I finally got around to making some. This was my first effort at making moisturising cream and I was just going on memory from making some at a class early 2011. It worked out quite well, and I have ended up with nearly 1 litre of very good quality moisturising cream, which is very light and moisturising, for a total cost of about $5. Goes to show how much money cosmetic companies make out of their products. And I know exactly what is in this, all it contains is oils, emulsifying wax and boiled water. I will experiment later with different oils and butters and essential oils to expand the moisturising properties, and scent, but I quite like to natural smell of this cream without any essential oils.
(Mixing the hot wax and oils with the water)
( Bottling Up)
(Completed Product)
We are getting some drizzly rain here today, it's coolish, and it's been nice catching up on reading some blogs and some books with lots of cups of tea and my warm slippers.
Gotta love rainy days sometimes!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Gardening and Baking around the place...

Been busy around the place the last few days. The mowing is nearly all done, so I have been baking and re-planting up the vegie garden.

Banana Cake with Dates and Honey
Flowering Basil 
 Cabbage starting to take off
 Ceylon Spinach
 Comfrey doing well
 Eggless Date Loaf
 Eggplant still producing lots of fruit
 Homemade yoghurt
 Newly planted lettuce
 Lovage - Perrenial Celery
 Luffas have gone crazy
 Spuds have resprouted
 Rhubarb is doing well, about 6 months old
 Newly planted rocket
 Strawberries are giving me some fruit
 Newly planted sweet potato is starting to go well, I have planted a clumping one, a purple one and an orange one
 Tomato seedlings sprouting
 Whippersnapper cherry tomatoes - newly planted
 The dogs are helping (hindering) the chooks and guinea fowl going away for the night
 Comfrey fertiliser
 Nasturtiums have self seeded in lots of places
There are other things that I have planted including green and purple beans, peas, endive - perennial lettuce, cabbages, cauliflowers, brussel sprouts, etc.  Still want to plant some carrots and a few other things here and there, I'm really striving for a lush looking vegie garden, and have been spending an hour or 2 each afternoon digging over areas that I am about to plant in to, and fertilising and watering, so my efforts should pay off hopefully.  Kasey was home sick today with a sore throat and headaches, so hopefully she is feeling better tomorrow. Michael is home from WA tonight for a week, so hopefully he can start to train his dog to leave my chickens and guinea fowl alone! He (the dog, not Michael, hehe) is being tied up for an hour each afternoon so I can let them all out to free range, but it really is a hassle that I would rather do without. I will try and get up to the library tomorrow to take back some books and pick up a couple of others I have reserved. It's starting to get very chilly here in the mornings and late afternoons, won't be long before we have to start lighting the fire. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Quarantine....the new regime for the chickens

The silver chinese silkie didn't make it through the night, she hasn't been very active since I got her, but I didn't associate it with anything being wrong with her as she was still eating and drinking and walking around, just sat alot,  but on reflection, I think perhaps she may have been the cause of the disease coming in as she has always been much smaller than the other silkie, and when I picked her up yesterday she weighed almost nothing. It's hard to see with the chinese silkies if they are drooping because they are so fluffy. The 2 remaining chicks are still with us this morning, so I am hoping that I have gotten to them in time.  So, what have I learnt from all of this, .....quarantine..... any new chooks coming in will need to be quarantined away from any other chooks while I treat them for coccidiosis as a preventative measure and boost them up with multivitamins, for a 4 week period. After this time they can be put in with the other girls. I also wasn't aware that all strains of the disease were not medicated for in the starter feed, so I will be sure to start all baby chicks on extra medication in their water to ensure they are strong and healthy. Got to learn something from all of this I suppose...

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Still having chicken dramas...

2 more baby chickens were dead this morning, that just leaves 2 left, the little silver sussex, and 1 silver spangled hamburg. I have decided to treat them for coccidiosis, I'm not sure if this is the problem, but I don't know what else to do for them, and the treatment won't hurt them if they don't have it. I have put mum and bubs back in the small cage so I can treat them easier, I am treating mother hen as well. I am also treating the silver chinese silkie, as she isn't looking very well either, just wants to sit all of the time, so I have her in a box inside with some water and hopefully I've caught these in time. They  have all been started with the proper chicken starter mix, but apparently the medicine in this mix doesn't cover all the strains of the illness, so they can still get it. It's an incidious illness in poultry, the 2 plymouth rock chicks that were dead this morning were as healthy as they could be yesterday, running around, and I even checked on them about 11pm last night and they were all still completely fine, so whatever it is, it works very fast. I hope that I can save the ones that are left, but not much more I can do at this stage. I completely cleaned out the chicken tractor and moved it, I poured boiling water over the nesting area to try and kill off any of the oocyst bacteria that may have caused it, if that turns out to be the case.   I have spent some time outside the last couple of days, trying to clear my head from all the poultry dramas, I received my giant garlic on Friday, about 50 cloves, so they are all planted up, along with a few more lettuce and a big batch of climbing peas. I still have some beans to plant as well as cauliflower, brussel sprouts, green cauliflower, oregano, and coriander, and a few other things like snow peas and carrots. I dug some dynamic lifter and compost into the areas I planted, and then watered them over with a comfrey tea. I also harvested a nice big bucketful of worm juice today, so I will bottle that all up so I can use that as well. Hopefully this will add some much needed nutrients back in to the soil in the vegie garden. I also let the 3 new guinea fowl out today with the 2 bigger ones, they stuck with the 2 bigger ones and went away with them tonight, so that means they can now come out each day for some pick. The white chinese silkie came out for a little while as well, but put herself back in fairly quickly. It's good to see they all know where bed is for the night. Also caught up on some mowing, but still need to do the front, will try and get to that tomorrow.

Friday, April 20, 2012

What the hell is going on???

Another baby chicken found dead this morning, another of my silver spangled hamburgs.....what is going on? I can't work this out. I am doing everything right, and I am still losing them. I have no idea what is killing them, not sure if Mum is squashing them accidentally or it's something else.  I am so annoyed and getting really upset that I have had to bury another one this morning.  I'm running out of ideas.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Our mini break...

We returned from the property on Monday. We had a really relaxing time away, and didn't really want to come home. Easter was quite busy as we didn't leave until Good Friday, and we had car problems on the way, a turbo hose blew out, and we spent a bit of time on the roadside fixing it, and finished the trip with no turbo connected. 

After the Easter weekend, we headed to the property and took delivery of the tractor, and started on some slashing. We also had a dozer out to prep the pad for the shed, so that the next time we go up, we can organise to get the concrete slab prepped.

The neighbours cattle on the track on the way out of the property.
 Damian on the tractor slashing
 The dogs swimming in the dam
 Back at home, and all is starting to calm down a little. Unfortunately, Kasey's guinea pig came down unwell, and died.  Kasey is ok about it, and once we have disenfected the hutch, and left it in the sunshine to get rid of any bacteria that might have caused him to come down sick, we will look at getting her another one. This time though, only from a reputable dealer, not from the markets. I feel like I am living on the killing fields here at the moment, all I seem to do lately is bury animals. I found one of the baby chicks dead this morning, I'm really not sure what happened, they were all fine last night, I think it may have been stood on. I have since moved the chinese silkies and the guinea fowl over to the large chook house, so that mum and babies are in the chicken tractor on their own. I have another clucky hen at the moment, so I may look at getting some other day olds to pop under her, to try and build my stocks back up.  I picked our bunch of bananas from our tree, we probably lost about 2 kilos to birds, but still managed about 4 kilos of bananas, which is plenty to eat at one time, they seem to be ripening at different stages which is good, if they all start to ripen at once, I may dry some.
I also managed a small passionfruit harvest, definitely not a lot on the vines this year, but that seems to be the way it has been in general this year. 
So, I am enjoying home grown bananas and passinfruit, with home made yoghurt.

 Today I harvested some radish, and the sweet corn. The corn was really small, but the cobs were all well pollinated, and there were plenty of kernels on the small cobs, and they were really sweet and delicious.
So, lots of new plantings to go in to the vegie garden now, I should receive my garlic tomorrow, so I can get those in as well, and I will be picking up some more seedlings over the next few days to refill the empty spaces. Lots to do as usual.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Animal and Garden Happenings

I went to the markets on Sunday morning, to get some seedlings for the vegie garden, to do the autumn plantings. I bought lettuce, red chard, sugarloaf cabbage, mixed green lettuce, rocket and a couple of comfrey plants to put under a couple of fruit trees. Comfrey is very deep rooted, and draws up the nutrients from deep down in the soil, but don't compete with the fruit trees for nutrients, so they are perfect for under fruit trees as a type of nursery plant. So these are now all planted in the vegie garden. I have also finally planted up my mushroom patch, I bought the kit last year, and have been meaning and meaning and meaning to plant it...finally got around to it today. It will be interesting to see how well they go, when I grew the shiitake mushrooms last year, they went really well, so I am hoping these give similar results.

I also picked up a couple of chinese silkies while at the markets, they are so gorgeous.

 So these are now in the chicken tractor along with the 3 younger guinea fowl I have,

 and also with the mother hen and her 6 babies. The mother hen doesn't like it if the silkies or guinea fowl go anywhere near her babies, but they in no way have any intention of hurting the babies, she is just being very protective.
(When can we go out there Mum?)

 While we were at the market, Kasey spied a guinea pig, she has been asking for one for ages, so I relented, so we now have a little boy guinea pig named Toffee.

Kasey has been lugging him around everywhere, with her, not outside though, as the dogs would definitely think he is a rat...and that wouldn't be a good outcome. We have been having a few dog problems anyway, the dogs have been getting out during the night and visiting the neighbouring properties. Reggie has also unfortunately started killing chooks, I have lost 1 along with 5 guinea fowl, and the neighbour came to see me yesterday to tell me the dogs have been getting out during the night as she was up quite early and saw the dogs scooting just straight underneath everyone's fences, and she has lost 5 chickens over the last 2 weeks...I am not happy, it means that Reg has definitely got the taste for chook killing now, and I don't know how to get him out of it. I caught him attacking one of my chooks last week, which was lucky enough to survive, but about half an hour later he got another, who wasn't so lucky unfortunately.  I purchased an electric collar, but that is only useful if you are watching to correct the behaviour. I re ran the electric fence around the perimeter, but they still got through that, and Reggie is now jumping a 5 foot high brick fence at the front of the property. Michael is home this week, and as Reggie is his dog, I made him go down the front and do some training with him to stop him jumping the fence. I am now tying the dogs up overnight, and we are getting an electronic containment system installed on Thursday. That's money I really didn't want to spend right now, but I can't have them getting out. Max and Diesel are both fine with the chooks, and I don't want them learning from Reg to start killing them. At the moment the chooks are permanently in their pen, until I can sort out what to do. At the moment I am thinking that we are going to need to fence off the back area so the dogs can't go in so the chooks can free range up there, but it still leaves the problem with the guinea fowl, not sure if clipping their wings would work for the guinea fowl, I will need to do some research on that. That's really frustrating though, as I am holding off doing a lot of more permanent things here, as we will be relocating to the new property....but that is probably still 12 months away...but I would rather do more things like that at the new property, but I need to make sure the chooks are safe...very frustrating. The carpenter came this afternoon to install the new ironing centre in the laundry,

The electrician is coming tomorrow to wire it up, as well as install the new cooking appliances is the kitchen, as well as some extra lighting and power points needed around the place. Also been busy organising the packing for our holiday at Easter, Damian isn't home until really late Thursday night, and we are wanting to head up to the property on Friday morning, so I need to get as much done as I can before he gets home, so that is stressing me a bit, I was planning on starting last week, but I just haven't got to it. I have been spending at least my hour in the garden each day as the weather has been really nice,  that's the brilliant thing about autumn...warm days and cool nights. Anyway, early to bed tonight to catch up on some much needed rest.