Sunday, August 28, 2011

garden delights

Ahh the beauty of it, fancy having to live with this every night.
This is our little rooster, he is cute but very small, I got him through FREECYCLE, great organisation, look it up!
Unfortunately he is a bantam and I was hoping for a full sized rooster to sire my next generation of hens, so I need to find a new home for him.

Here are some of our girls, we have 11 hens and the rooster. Some of these girls are very big indeed. I have been fascinated watching the pecking order change since introducing our 3 girls that came with us from our previous place, 2 of them are at the bottom of the ranking as they are young and inexperienced, but the other gave it three days of finding her feet and has decided she wants the second top spot. She was second top previously to another girl who had to go as she was particularly vicious, had a bad liver.

Well this was a surprise as the garden is full of camellias and rhododendrons I thought this was a rhody too. But no it is a waratah a pink one with so many blooms, just glorious!

This is the tree it is about 3m tall.

This weeping cherry is more beautiful every day.
Hope you like my garden this week, we are loving it still. The grass is growing long and we need to do something about it. Will need to buy a ride on mower, a shame to spend that much money on such a petrol guzzling thing.
We have thought about a couple of weaned sheep for up the back section of the block, fatten them up on all that clover and grass. Sorry if that offends anyone but I do eat meat and while I am trying to reduce the amount of it I consume, I am also trying to find ways of eating meat that has come from animals that have had a happy and fulfilled life rather than the alternative that we won't mention here and darken the feeling of this blog.
Perhaps a tethered goat in other areas would be suitable also. Well I have to go investigating.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Chookie Nap time in the sun

Can you see my favourite chookie here having a sleep in the sun. She is such a sweet chookie, she comes and stands at my feet when I am feeding them or raking their house. Always lets me pat her. I think she feels safe with me as some of her new flock peck her, she is young and is low in the pecking order. I raked up a huge wheelbarrow of sticks from in the chook pen today to help start our fire at night, it is our only form of heating apart from a radiator which only works if you sit on it. A huge pile of Eucalyptus leaves are in the chook run, I think we shall have to burn them. When I was a kid I remember burning off the sticks and leaves in the backyard. I was something you did to keep the fuel down in case of fires but more to keep snakes away from the house. I used to love it, something we used to do with our Dad, fond memories. We had the hose standing by, running on the ground, water was mostly free back then, we had rakes to move the fire around and keep it confined. I look forward to doing that again especially as we are in a fire zone and am probably obliged to do it.

The flowering cherry ( I think) is just coming out into flower and at times it glows pink and the twisted willow behind it is just coming into leaf and is glowing lime green. We need to get a ride on mower soon, the grass is half way up my calf. Need to put on my wellies if I need to cross it. Previous owners told us it is really nice sitting under this tree in Summer time.

Glorious glorious rhododendrons

This Carmelia's flowers are enormous, large bread and butter plats size.

These Rhodies are closer to the house, they are huge, must be at least 50 years old, probably planted when the house went in. I think we may hang our hammocks from them, haven't had a place to hang them for 6 years and I have missed the calm sleepy times rocking gently whilst reading as good book and sipping good wine.

I love this rhodie and the lemon tree together, pink and yellow and green. And the butterfly's! large with black white red and yellow on one side and white on the other, they are beautiful.

Here is a close up of the cherry tree.

Veggie garden beds getting set up, I put in the rhubarb today and 2 punnets of brown onions. I normally grow them from seed but with the moving they got missed out.
I sowed broadbeans last week and pushed into the ground some sprouting garlic.

We worked hard yesterday. We dug lots of annual weeds out of an area on the other side of the polyhouse from the veg beds, it has a net over it so we thought the Blackberries would go well in there but it was full of weeds. So we lifted them and took them round to the veg beds and put them in the bottom of some new ones. I covered them with wet newspaper and then Martin brought out a few barrowloads of soil from in the polyhouse. Previous people grew veg in the ground in the polyhouse on the other side from the grow beds in previous blog. But I want to set up my Aquaponics in their so the soil must come out, it is too good to waste under tubs. So this went ontop of the newspapers I had laid down. I should be able to plant in this right away or when I get some more energy.
Yesterday I sowed lots of veg seeds including roma tomatoes and tiny tim tomatoes, cucumbers 2 kinds, zucchini green and gold, butternut pumpkin and the big round ones, vegetable spaghetti squash, Eggplant, capsicum, chillis, summer and winter savory, 3 types of basil, rocket and more I can't remember. So I will have to have the beds ready in a few weeks to take these.
Mans home, need to go and cook now, bye.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Some where warm to work

HI there,
another beautiful day in paradise. although it started off cold so I went and played in my polyhouse after I had breakfast. It is lovely and warm in there. Actually early morning is really the best time to work in there, I was stripping off my layers of clothing soon after starting work.

Here is my polyhouse, it is not a huge one but it'll do me.
On the left I have a wonderful bench all set up with mister sprays and a balance arm device to water it automatically when it gets dry in here.
Here you can see the balance arm device, a silver housing with a leaf of gauze protruding, this leaf hinges on weights inside the housing, as it rises it turns on the water. The weight of the water slowly lowers the leaf as it gets wet and heavy and when it reaches the bottom it switches the water off. When the water evaporates it rises again.
Here are some Felicia daisies that I have potted up, they were cuttings only a short time ago, good roots have developed.

An overview of the bed, cuttings and seeds sown, all doing well if I can keep the slugs and snails at bay.

My Lemon grass in the large pot central is starting to recover. It nearly died this winter outside at our previous house, too cold for it. But a nice tropical polyhouse should get it going again. I like a bit of lemon grass in my cooking and a nice cup of tea.
After a couple of hours I got rather hot and decided 10.30am I was warm enough so I left the polyhouse and wandered around with the camera taking some photos.
But that will have to do for now as I can't seem to upload any more photos.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Living the Dream!

here I am sitting at my computer and occasionally looking out the window at the view that takes my breath away.
I feel like I am on holiday in a beautiful bush retreat, only I'm not, I am at home!
We have at last moved in completely to our new home, its only been 4 days since we said good bye to our old house in the suburbs and moved to the country. I think it is called a Tree Change!

Beautiful Mt Riddell overlooks our block.
The garden is coming to life as Spring will soon be here, amazing rhododendrons are flowering.
This is such a pretty Rhododendron, the whole bush is in the picture above, this is the close up of its flowers. It started flowering almost the day we moved in.    The  gardens are just lovely here, they are old, some of the Rhodies must be 50 years old. The Eucalypts that surround the property and march into the back yard are like the Ents in Lord of the Rings. They just stop and the land opens up, so we are on the edge of the forest and it is beautiful!

This pair of King Parrots has been visiting us since we arrived along with several Crimson Rosellas. So tame, I told my man to put some seed in his hand and extend his arm and they landed on him and ate the seed from his hand, he was so surprised.

The Wattles started flowering when we moved in too, lots of small ones and trees amongst the Eucs, the air smells of honey.
But we have been busy, yesterday I painted the inside of a dark old cupboard a bright yellow, it looks clean and I can see to the back now. I will be putting my preserves in there, I have lots of tomato sauce still from last season. I want to put more shelves in too, this will double my storage area.
I also put my raincoat on and did some more to my new wall garden, pictures soon when I am done.
It rained all day yesterday, a heavy drizzle, it didn't stop me getting out and working, I was moving my pot plants into permanent positions rather than where they have been dumped from our moving house. Rabbits are common here and Deer too so I must protect them from getting eaten.
Don't know how I will go with my fruit trees, I dug most of my small ones up from the previous garden and they are in pots awaiting new ground. But I will have to fence them, lots of work involved. Some can stay in their pots for a season and I can put them into the veggie garden enclosure which is rabbit proof.
In this photo the veg garden is on the left, not much in it yet just wire around it. To the right are some chicken breeding pens/sheds and up behind it under the Eucs is the chook house proper.
I bought some hens from the previous people before they left and so they were here when we arrived, a little thirsty and hungry though!
Still they are nice birds, 8 in all, some are huge with lovely fluffy white petticoats and frilly knickers, the smaller they go in size the lower in the pecking order. Some have very thick ankles so they may be quite old. The boss chook, the biggest is such a nice girl, she doesn't do much pecking, she just gives the look or stands up tall over any who are squabbling and they soon stop.
We brought our 3 girls from our previous house and set their A-frame house up in the yard of the others and they stayed there for 5 days, The old girls walked around it and looked at ours, some tried to fight through the fence but after 5 days they got used to each other and when we let our out they assimilated pretty well. Ours were laying and the other 8 not, but as soon as ours left eggs in the nesting boxes the others all came on line too, so now out of 11 hens we get 7 or 8 eggs per day. So now I can supply some of friends with fresh eggs.
I have decided I have too much stuff! I felt rather ashamed of myself whilst moving, so much stuff, trailer load after trailer load and we both got the flu whilst moving. We had a mountain of stuff on the nature strip/verge for Council rubbish collection and more could have gone on it. We put it out in plenty of time for people to have a scrounge through it and they did take away a fair bit but some people dumped more stuff of their own on our pile. A brand new waffle maker, never used in its packet with packaging and instructions. I grabbed that for myself. A lump of brass which gave me a few dollars at the scrap metal merchant that I visited with my other scrap, it pays to collect it. Cut the cords off dead electrical items, pick up any copper pipe you find, brass as well, small electrical motors have lots of copper wire in them, things like drills,etc. and when you have a couple of box fulls go down and get yourself $30 or $40.
So I said to martin the other morning when I came back from giving the chooks their breakfast and letting them out into the paddock. "Martin, I feel like I am living the Dream!" And he a greed!