Saturday, March 31, 2012

Chook on the roof!

This is what happens when you procrastinate clipping your very flighty chicken's wing.

She ends up over the 7ft back fence, where when trying to retrieve her, she flies up over the fence and onto the garage roof. At least she was then in our property again!

It took a bit of co-ordinated scaring to get her off the shed and back in the yard without flying next door again.

Once she was down, she was promptly shooed into the coop, caught and had one wing clipped!

Please excuse the bad quality photos, only had a phone camera.

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Nothing beats a glass of ice cold orange juice on a warm day. Except of course a glass of ice cold freshly squeezed orange juice!

Last week I was at my grandmothers, as she looks after Ember while I am at Tafe. Now I spied an orange tree heavily laden with fruit on their neighbours property. I asked her what happens with the fruit on the tree and she told me that her neighbour said that she can take what she wants. It produces so much fruit that most of it normally just rots on the tree!

I really hate seeing fruit wasted like that. The oranges are beautifully sweet and juicy, so to me it's almost a crime to see it rot.

Today I went to my grandmother's again. We picked a washing basket full of them.

Our basket of goodies...with plenty more on the tree.

Most are quite small for oranges, some the size of your average lemon-no where near the size you see in the supermarket. Not very orange skinned either, more yellow than anything. It made me sad and slightly angry to know that all those oranges, if they were sent to a supermarket would probably be tossed for not being 'good enough'.

Ten oranges ready to be juiced

Cutting them open revealed very orange flesh which was full of juice which naturally made it's way over everything...including my white shirt. We were really surprised at how much juice we got from them. Ten oranges gave us 600mL of juice!

The juice from the above ten oranges.

After juicing 4L of juice I dropped a bag of oranges around to my friend's house in exchange for some winter tomato plants. I love being able to swap stuff with friends. :)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Whilst I was pregnant, I had to stop my study due to safety issues...we did a lot with anaesthetic gases, drugs and animals. So to keep me rather sane, I did quite a bit of sewing for Ember. Most of the clothes were way too big for her when she was born.

Now at four and a half months, she is finally big enough to be wearing some of the clothes I made! Today I dressed her in my favourite rompers I made.

First Seedlings

My first seedlings have sprouted! I have one little line of tiny leaves all popping up. :)

I'm pretty sure they're spinach of some kind, as I cannot actually remember what I planted there. The joys of never labelling my plots!

Hopefully within in a week or so, my whole veggie plot will have lots of little seedlings poking their way up!

Unfortunately I noticed something has dug up some of my runner bean seeds. :( Not sure what, possibly a mouse or a rat.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Meet the Marans

In October 2011 I hatched 5 French Wheaten Marans chicks.

Peaches, one of the three Wheaten pullets
Marans are a relatively rare large breed of chicken in Australia, who lay stunningly beautiful dark brown-red eggs. Now when I say dark brown, I mean really dark, not like your usual brown supermarket egg. You could *almost* mistake them for chocolate eggs!

Marans themselves are rather normal looking chickens, although they do have feathered legs which is not so common with larger breeds of chickens. You wouldn't suspect they'd lay such different coloured eggs. I did hatch one Clay pullet, whose feathers are much darker in colour to the Wheatens.

Maple, the Clay pullet

I was lucky enough to hatch 4 pullets and 1 cockerel. Quite happy with that result, especially since the eggs I bought to incubate set me back $80 for a dozen!

So far I have not had to get rid of the cockerel, at 24 weeks he has only just started to try to crow. Plus he isn't fighting with my other cockerel, Hannibal. He is such a gorgeous boy, I'm hoping to be able to keep him as well, granted the two don't fight. If not, I'll find a new home for him [that isn't in a pot!]. I've named him Kaffir.

Kaffir showing off his prettiness.

I'm planning on keeping all four pullets at the moment, and have named them Maple, Peaches, Cinnamon and Nutmeg. Can't wait until they start laying!

Nutmeg [left], Peaches, Maple and Cinnamon [top to bottom, middle] and Hannibal

They're a rather curious bunch of chickens, always following me around, pecking at my shoes and clothes and always wanting to see what I am up to! Sometimes it does make it difficult to photograph them having them right under my nose.

Checking out my knee and the camera

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Late night supermarket runs.

Really should be more organised...poor puppies had no dog food again. So it was off to get dog food at 9.40pm...again.

Are You A Seed Saver Or A Seed Hoarder?

I am a bit of a hoarder. A restrained hoarder mind you. My main 'hoarding' is fabric, books and seeds. I buy them and then they sit there because I don't want to use them. Not so much of an issue with fabric and books, as they don't really have a use by date. But seeds...they do have sow by dates.

Boy oh boy, some of my seeds have sow by dates going back almost 20 years! [Mind you some of those I did inherit from friends.] I have packets of seeds I have no idea what they are! I really should remember to label them when I get them.

All the seeds I planted in the last few days.

As I have been planting in my vegetable garden the last three days in a row, I decided it was time to let go of my hoarded seed collection. What is the point of keeping seeds if you don't plant them? The answer that often crosses my mind, is 'I don't want to kill the plant/what if they don't grow?'. When looking at it, it's a pretty stupid reason. Sometimes things don't grow [like me and spring onions-I can't get them to grow!] and sometimes plants do die-not always from human hands either. Eventually though, those hoarded seeds will no longer be viable and no joy can be gotten out of a packet of unviable seeds.

Introducing the seed 'Mix and Throw' method. Basically its rather simple.  

Get some seeds that grow at the time of year it is. Currently it's Autumn/Fall here in Adelaide, so all my seeds that can be grown in Autumn were bought out. Sort into basic categories. This doesn't really work with larger plants like broccoli or cabbage, which really need their space to grow well. I had three categories flowers, herbs and assorted edible greens. 

Edible greens mix, flower mix, herb mix.

Open all packets and dump into a cup or container. Finally I found a use for those irritating new plastic Hungry Jacks cups.  

An edible greens mix, containing; silverbeet, chives, shallots, radishes, lettuce and rocket...and possibly other stuff.

Find a patch of ground and scatter the seeds across it. Cover with a light sprinkling of dirt if you wish. Wait and see what comes forth.

Oh look, my seed mix grew a puppy!

Now I have almost everything planted for Autumn from my seed collection and my seed box now is much much lighter. Only two things remain to be planted. Some more peas, which I need to find room for and brussel sprouts...if I can make up my mind to plant them or not!
My vege bed now...all planted with a guard dog installed.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

My First Quilt

Some time in January, I dabbled with the idea of making a quilt. In usual fashion, I threw myself into making not one, but two quilts, shortly followed by plans for another two quilts! This was insane, especially with Ember and my all my menagerie.

Just shy of two months since I started, I have completed my first quilt! It's a scrap quilt, and each block is unique. There are 816 individual blocks within 48 big blocks plus 53 strips of sashing. It measures 182 x 172cm [72 x 68in] and will be used on the couch.

I learnt a lot from this first quilt. It's no where near perfect...there are puckers all through it from uneven blocking and not very good basting skills. I found the actual quilting fun but rather fiddly, particularly since my sewing area is not really big enough to quilt a large quilt! None of my quilting lines are none of my sashing borders ended up straight!

The binding would have probably been the part I enjoyed the most, which really surprised me. I made the binding using a bias binding maker [they are such a life and time saver!]. Normally I find any form of hand sewing extremely tedious, but I was able to do the hand binding even with a sleeping child on me whilst watching TV.

But no matter...nothing is ever perfect. We love it, and so does Ember!

Getting back into the swing of things.

I found out it is hard juggling a baby, study, animals and a veggie garden. Really hard. So over the summer my veggie garden got neglected badly. Everything bar a few things died from lack of water. I managed to just keep my rhubarb, lemongrass, mint and parsley alive with very irregular waterings.

The last few days I have had Ember looked after by my mum and my grandparents. So I have gotten stuck into getting my veggie garden back to something somewhat useful.

I know I won't have the time to just leisurely go and water it each day, so I dragged my drip lines from my back beds [which have been taken over by chickens] and redid them to fit the front bed. It's really handy though if I correctly count how many connector clips I need! I ended up being one short, but thank goodness for bags of assorted junk which produced one correct sized clip! With the drip line down it means I can just turn it on and leave it for a few hours. Or knowing me, all day!

Like usual when I get into my veggie patch...I expand my territory! I cleared along the fence line and also added about 2-3sqm to the end of the bed, clearing out plants that had died.

All I need to do now, is find my seed box which I have stashed somewhere safe!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Baby led weaning

Time has flown so fast. Ember is now almost four months old. For the last two months she has intently watched us put food in our mouths, absolutely fascinated with the concept. I always wanted to do baby led weaning but I never thought I would be starting it this early!

Whilst we were on holiday in Barham/Koondrook (NSW/Vic), we ate at the local pub. I find it much easier to eat with Ember on my lap as she tends to whinge if left in her capsule. Normally she just sits and watches, but she decided it was time to get into what mummy and daddy were eating and grabbed my fork!

She knew what to do with it, albeit she almost poked her eye out in the process of trying to get it into her mouth. After removing the fork from her, she turned her attention to our food.  Out shot the hands, feeling and squishing it, then grabbing and dragging towards her mouth. Not that a lot made it in her mouth...most ended up on the floor! Thank goodness we were eating outside.