Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Bits 'n' bobs from round ere!

Hi there,
Last night we had quite a scare!
On putting our girls to bed we noticed that "Big J" also known as Julia our illustrious leader of the chooky clan, was ill!
Big J

She was coughing a mournful sound, extending her long neck right out and blood was on her beak and running slowly over her wattles on the left side of her face.
She came in with the others but wouldn't eat, a few mouthfuls of water and some more coughing.
Does she have chooky flu or is she injured?
Martin caught her, a quick snatch to her tail feathers and then the other hand to her breast. Mm! I think he knows what he is doing there!
Anyway we examined her in the fading light and could see no wound. Her crop was nearly empty so she hadn't been eating for a while. No obstruction to her neck but she was wheezing a bit.
She doesn't like to be touched or patted usually but she was very calm in our arms and let us examine her and reassure her.
We put her down and she went straight off to bed with a few more coughs. Not like her to not want any bed time wheat.
So I didn't sleep that well worrying about her. I couldn't believe how attached to her I am. She is really special, part French Wheaten Marans which is a very rare bird in this country. Tall and elegant, her disposition is very gentle and yet she holds the law in the chook yard and breaks up any fights without undue aggression..
So this morning we were very happy to see she was back to her normal self. We think the coughing was due to bleeding in her mouth running down the inside of her throat. We all know how aggravating that can be.
We think she must have pecked at some grass and got a piece of wire in her mouth that caught and tore her tongue or somewhere. We had just the day before opened up a new rested area for them to graze. It now has a few more fruit trees in it and we covered their mulch with some squares of various chicken wire to stop them from scratching the mulch off that the tree needs. We must have left a bit sticking up. Sorry J.
So on a lighter note here is a picture of a black Arum lily that bloomed amongst the weeds up the back.
It is growing on a bank with a few other exotic plants but mostly weedy grasses. It used to be such a beautiful garden I imagine but has been grazed by sheep for 4 years and dug up and messed around with by the previous people. Still these little treasures are emerging here and there and I shall take good care of them.
Spring is sprung here and this basket is lovely with tree fern in background. Aww!
The Waratah tree is covered in blooms again and the weeping cherry is stunning. Camellias and azaleas bursting into flower. Magnolias and Rhododendrons showing their wares. Just lovely, makes you forget all about the cold dark Winter!
No really it does!

We finally finished off the beds and paths behind the polyhouse. So the fenced veg garden is weed free and ready for growing. We used sawdust for the paths and mushroom compost for the beds. Some weed mat tied to the fence to keep the grasses on higher ground from seeding into the beds.
We have had a wonderful feed of delicious broccoli. So sweet and nutty. This lot here, the bluer row is a new lot just heading up now, its our second planting. We have to watch out for the White Cockatoos, one came in and just chewed off a broccoli plant, didn't eat it , just vandalised it! So we have rigged up a net over the broccs. Neighbours told us they come in and chop off all your garlic and onions!!!!

Never mind, on a brighter note we set our girl Plumpet on some more fertile eggs 2 days ago.
You may remember her from a previous posting. She is a bantam hen, very cute and such a good mother. She was upset when we lifted her off the nest in the main nest area where she was sitting on ping pong balls for a few days just to see if she had stuck! Chooky lovers term for if a broodie hen is fair dinkum about sitting!
But when she saw the new nest we had prepared for her in our A frame house, she calmed right down and seemed to be delighted!
So I procured 6 fertile eggs from a gentleman who lives nearby and breeds rare breeds.
2 Lavender Aracaunas and 4 silver Campines. Here is his website so you can have a look at what they'll be like.
So on the 18th October we hope to hear some little cheeps.
Our other bantam Crumpet is laying again so she should go broodie in a week or 2 and we should like to set her up with some australorps, the lovely black australian breed and maybe some light sussex, they are dual purpose birds meaning eggs and meat, white with black lace around their necks and on their tails. Crumpet is very small and probably would suit only 4 eggs.
Here are some random pictures of our garden at this time.
Frog in the polyhouse

Globe artichokes coming on nicely. With Aviaries in the background.
 We don't use those aviaries at this time other than hanging a pellet hopper in one and leaving it open during the day so the chooks have another place to get food from. The doors are useless, all twisted and badly made. The back of it was below ground level and all the woodwork is constantly wet from rain. I have dug it out a lot but had to go down 40cm and all along the back and sides. Still haven't finished it, its hard work. But we will put in stones and some aggi pipe to help the water move away. It is built on a slab and the wood is treated pine but it won't last forever all wet and would be a useful place to raise little chickie when we rat proof it and get new doors.

Our house

Can you see the man in the tree?
We had 2 trees chopped down! Sorry I know we are chopping to many trees down as a species. But! There is always a but, it was a mostly dead Sycamore tree and a Holly tree.
They are environmental weeds and as we live so close to the National Park we have a responsibility to control our weeds. Besides they both looked ugly where they were!
The sycamore was growing in the centre of a ring of delightful exotic and native trees and shrubs. A very old garden is here, perhaps 60 years old!
We found post holes and rock edges mostly buried. Bit like "time team" here! So we want to restore the garden to its former glory and those 2 trees just don't fit.
Did you know that sycamore was used to make kitchen tools many years ago by the peoples of England and there abouts where the tree is native. It holds antibacterial qualities good for cooking with. Spoons and ladles, that sort of thing.

Plum blossom

And lastly some shots of my seed sowing attempts in the polyhouse. Doing really well! Hard to go wrong with an automatic watering system and a polyhouse. But you have to watch for rats eating the seeds and birds pinching the seedlings for making nests with.
Anyway the sun is shining and I am off outside to find some task that needs my attention.
happy days!

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