2013

Discussion in 'Members' Systems' started by mischief, Sep 10, 2012.

  1. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Messages:
    1,665
    Likes Received:
    94
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    s/e
    Location:
    South Waikato New ZeLeand
    Climate:
    Cool mountain
    Its definitely spring again.Nanas plum tree in the front yard has flowered not once but twice.I havent seen it do that before.The first flowering was gorgeous then in amongst the new leaves I saw a few more flowers.So far the budding fruit seem to be staying put so maybe this tree will have a glut this year.
    The plum in the courtyard has just finished flowering and the new Black plum that got planted last year is just starting.
    The bluebells are out and the violets are beginning to fade.

    I have been pondering what goals really need to happen this year and have decided that the water tank is a must,along with redoing the gutters, which probably should have been done last year.
    One idea that a friend told us that we would not have thought of, is to put a T join at the bottom of the down pipe from the house to drain the water that will sit and stagnate.
    Because the tank cant sit right next to the house and have a straight pipe to it off the roof;the pipe has to go down, then along below ground then up to the tank.Meaning that this will have water sitting.
    Originally they didnt do this and found that when they had their first rain after summer the water was rotten and infected the whole tank which had to be drained.
    Ideally the tank should be right by the house,but there isnt any room to do that.
    Unless we can come up with a way to support the pipe to the tank so it Can go straight in.
    The other thing I really want to get done this year is to remove all mums roses out of the front garden.They werent really a problem when the apple tree was little and not fruiting that much, but it has grown and they now make it quite differcult to reach the fruit on that side.
    There is one of mine in there that has to be moved to a more shadey spot.I got this from a friend and named it after her.In hot late springs it has trouble forming its flowers properly.Its a purple sweetly scented rose with flowers that form in 4 quarters rather than round a central point like the others do.

    I moved the cherry tree out from where I planted it last year into a large tub.
    Luckily, it was still asleep when I did this and the root ball hadnt grown too big. Its been about a week now and the buds are just starting to wake up, so I think it got moved in good time.
    Where I want to put the water tank is right in front of where this was and I was worried that it would be damaged in the process.The idea is to replant it near the tank so we can stand on the tank to get to the cherries and if needed make it easier to net the tree.

    The new cheese season has been going really well.
    I got some different types of cultures to try out.I hadnt realised that there were two types that produced a white mold cheese so I got that along with the one that produces a red mold that is used when you brine wash the cheeses.
    I had my first go at doing this last week and so far it is looking ok.Actually the cheese itself is better formed than the earlier ones and hasnt got a saggy curved side.
    I had a go at making some soft lunch sized cheeses also with this new white mold but is too early to tell if its working or not.
    I wanted to make the other cheeses at 1kg or less and have found that 8 litres of milk makes just over 1kg.So when it dries out abit it should be about right.

    I have been eyeing up the fenceline next to the back gate as a good spot to build a leantoo wood store.This would deal with afew differculties.
    -The brushwood I put on to top the existing fence is now old and sagging and looking like shit.I have started to remove it but have found that the chooks now realise that they can get over into the neighbours,not that they do this alot, but They just cant be allowed to.
    -Having the wood stored here means that when it is delivered, it comes off the trailer straight into the leantoo, so not so much lugging wood around.It doesnt take much to go afew extra metres to bring it inside when its needed.We would basically get out of the truck, pick up the nights wood and tke it inside with us when we get home.
    We get our privacy back again and utilise a spot that isnt being used for anything.
    The extra mass along here should cut alittle more of any annoying noise from the rooster.The neighbours house is slightly down hill from us which should help.
    (hehe, the woodshed used to be the old original laundry so its quite roomy with a 3 metre stud-unfortunately it no longer has the copper laundry tub in it...but somewhere to make and store my cheese, once the walls and ceiling have been lined?)
    The East wall has a concrete wall 2/3rds the height of the wall and below ground on this side.The south wall has the neighbours fence 2 feet away and their large lemon tree shading it from some sun, the house blocks alot of the afternoon sun, so it shouldnt get too hot and with an existing window in the back wall that could be turned into a cold safe quite easily.
    I had thought of doing away with the metal garden shed and putting the tools etc in here,but I can see this just being filled up with Stuff and not being utilised properly.
    Have to say though, that where the garden shed is would be a good spot for a greenhouse.

    Because the dome is stuck on the one spot I have continued to let the chooks out all day everyday.I was going to move it back over the part of the garden in reverse, but with these really nasty winds we have had spring up,I havent dared to.The sailcover is tied in two spots, one at the trellis and the other on the back fence, with the third corner pegged down with a thin pipe stuck out at an angle so it doesnt slide up the pipe and come off and so far everything has stayed put quite nicely.

    When my daughter came to stay, I mentioned that I have always wanted a pizza oven/outdoor kitchen.She tells me her hubby is very keen to help build this, so now we need to find out exactly what sort, size, shape etc... would suit.
    Anybody have an outdoor kitcheny thing going in their back yard?
     
  2. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Messages:
    1,665
    Likes Received:
    94
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    s/e
    Location:
    South Waikato New ZeLeand
    Climate:
    Cool mountain
    We are having a slow start to the season this year.I have only just started sowing the seeds in trays.I thought it was just me putting it off again and again, but apparently alot of others have done the same thing too.Not sure why that is because this spring has been warmer so far compared to last year.

    We have a patch along the hedge that still has couch grass coming up.I had thought we'd finally succeeded in getting rid of this, but no.
    I noticed that nothing is growing under the trailer so I set up a set of 3 hoops and covered this area with some of the weed mat and pegged it down.
    Hopefully, the grass will try to grow and become stunted and die off.
    I was going to try this along the front of the hedge, but using the stack of corro iron we have stored out of the way.Unfortunately, I was alittle to good at tidying up and this is hard to get to with other stuff on or infront of it so thats going to have to wait til we have the time to get it out.

    I have been taking the chooks for a walk down to the roadside area and feeding them some of their dinner down their to try to encourage them to forage there instead of over at puppies place.Sometimes it works but they do love to fossick around under the neighbours deck for some reason.
    They have been a great help in weeding out areas along the side of the house and in the front garden making it easier for me to see just where the rose plants are.These have bent their branches down and taken root all over the place which made it differcult to see just where 'plants' were.

    I finally got to thin out the chives which were looking very congested in their narrow bed and have planted these in a different place closer to the house as well as under the apple tree.
    A friend visited just as I was planting the apple's chives.Their first comment was ' how are you going to find them....'
    So, we spent time over coffee discussing companion planting and how not everything I plant is actually for use in the kitchen.
    My nettle plant I got off Trademe did die, so I emailed a cousin in Christchurch to ask if they still had this growing in their yard and if so could I have some.Her mum said they do but it is still asleep at the moment and if I am sure I want it,then she will dig some up for me and send it up.
    I can see another branch of the family shaking their heads over their mad 'rellie' (relative).

    This year, I am not going to sprinkle the beneficial insect seeds all over the place.I have tried this for the last 2 years and not had much success with it, probably due to alot of different reasons.I have started from the steps up to the garden and cleared the grass and weeds that took over behind the mandarin tree and mulched it in readiness for the seedlings to be planted.While I do love Herb Robert, I dont eat it so these will all be taken out of here and replaced with mizuna,NZ spinach and I'm not too sure what else yet.
    The steps havent got so weedy this year and I recently found the corsican mint again, so I have started taking little plugs off these and transplanting them to the sides of the steps where we dont usually walk.I noticed that we normally just use the middle of the step.This has such a lovely intense smell and should cover the whole step, thinning out where we actually walk.The only thng I will need to do is make sure the higher growing things like the Herb Robert, dont get a foothold again.
    The NZ Tree fern that I almost killed by cutting back along with the other ferns growing along here has made a recovery and has little fronds forming up. I noticed that we have more low growing ferny things growing further along the bank by the steps and couldnt figure out exactly what it was.I now think it is a sort of precursor/baby form of the Tree fern.If so we may well be having a little fern forest start up which would be exciting but annoying at the same time because they can make it differcult to walk along here while they are short.

    I have a little herby section planted out infront of the metal tool shed.For some reason some of the plants dont appear to like it here.The garden and lemon Thyme are very leggy and look stressed.I thought they would like it for the extra light and heat reflecting off the shed.The oregano looks okay though.
    I have loosened the soil under the Thyme plants, bent the stems down and covered them with soil and mulch.The idea is that they will start to grow roots at this point, giving me lots of little plants that will be easier to dig up than the original plants.If all goes according to plan, then I will transplant these when they are quite small to the rock wall along the driveway.This area gets sun from midday.(That idea from my recent 'chives' visitor who has some growing in a similar situation.)

    With my wheat experiment, I discovered that some of the wheat is actually barley grass which was disappointing.I gayly broadcast the wheat seed over this area expecting it all to sprout and grow seeing as I had successfully kept the chooks out of there,maybe that rat ate alot of the seed.I assume that the barley grass will cross with the grain barley growing nearby so have gone along on hands and knees carefully pulling the unwanteds out and feeding these to the chooks.
    Luckily, the stalks of the barley grass are a different colour, size and are more sort of furry looking than the oats or wheat.
    This area now has nice little 'paths' through it which the chooks think is a great place to forage for insects.
    I learnt from this experiment, not to let the cleavers grow with the grain as it grows up and over the wheat plants pulling them down so they dont grow as well.I didnt really notice this effect til I was on hands and knees.
    There is definitely more to getting things to grow how you want them than first meets the eye.I wondered how on earth Fukuoka managed to get his system up and running if this sort of thing happens.

    A friend told me that they put golf balls in the nests they find so the hens keep laying in the same spots, making it easier for them to collect the eggs.I didnt have any golf balls but I did have some pingpong balls.This works for some off the nests but a couple have been tossed out by the chooks. Maybe the chooks werent fooled because the difference in weight was too great.I'l have to get some golf balls.
     
  3. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Messages:
    1,665
    Likes Received:
    94
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    s/e
    Location:
    South Waikato New ZeLeand
    Climate:
    Cool mountain
    Peter Rabbit, is naughty.
    I had taken to 'walking' the chooks down the front in an effort to keep them from wandering over to the neighbours (both sides).
    Stupid rabbit seems to think its funny to lope in amongst the girls sending them off in all directions resulting in the rooster trying to chase him off.It would be funny if it wasnt so annoying.
    I was trying to get them to see that the roadside 'garden'(weed patch) was much more interesting than the neighbours.
    I think he(she) might have a friend now.I spotted two of them-a new one with a white 'collar' over at the grumpy neighbous place.(thank god its over there)

    Had afew dramas actually.
    On Friday when I was getting ready for work said neighbour came up with the last two empty egg cartons and starting talking eggs and chooks then mentioned that the rooster CROWED ALL DAY, on his saturday....ooops..he didnt actually, cos it was my saturday too and I was outside for most of it, but all it takes is for someone to complain.
    I told him how I spent heaps of money to get the vet to devoice him not once but twice and how upset I was when I found that this hadnt worked and how expensive fertile eggs were...I really need to get my moneys worth out of him..etc,,,
    He was dead keen to get more eggs and some for his mate too, but It pissed me off that he would complain when I have been so diligent in making sure they Dont get to hear the rooster crow really early in the morning and have been BRIBING them with eggs, so I told him that a friend had given me a recipe for pickled eggs and that I might be trying that out with my surpluses, his face dropped.

    "The gang", had been in my front garden the day before and by the time I had seen this and gone inside to get some corn to encourage them to come into the back yard again, they wound up in Their front yard.
    So there I was trying to get them to come home without going over there when he comes storming round the side of his house only to duck back when he saw me-I pretended, of course, not to see him...got them together and herded back home.
    Puppies dad for some reason has taken to removing some of the fence palings along the middle of the the fence-I dont know why and because it is such an odd thing for him to be doing, I havent asked, but this appears to be where they have been escaping.I have since put a pallet in front of this to block the gap...another long story, but dont ask....we must all be utterly mad!!

    What I hadnt realised at the time was that they had sprayed noxious liquids around and had once again hit one of the baby avocadoes-the one that sprouted from below the the graft, I only realised this when I noticed that some stray grasses growing nearby were dying off.
    'I was busy throwing a hissy fit that day only to look up and see 'her' collecting their wood from their woodshed.I of course pretended once again not to see-must be a carryon thing from when I lived up in AK.

    Anyway, I have had to ask everyone I know to let me know if anyone wants rooster, cos I cant afford to have the neighbour complain to the council about it.They would then find out that I have more hens than I am supposed to as well as what ever fine they impose for violating rooster noise bylaws.
    I do feel the need to mention that the road noise at times drowns out all the local birdsong.

    So if any one in NZ wants a beautiful Barnevelder,slightly asthmatic sounding rooster, let me know.

    The up side is that Broody mum, yes the same one, has gone broody again and is sitting on 16 eggs.
    I had been told that when one goes broody, the rest go off to lay somewhere else.
    Unfortunately, that proved not to be the case, as I found out today when I discovered two in the box.
    Luckily, we have an unused guinea pig cage,so this was lugged into the dome and a quick transfer of hen and eggs occurred.
    Its in the dome because I do not want blood drawn when she finally gets out again.

    I have been doing some research on concrete water tanks and have been working out a budget so this can happen before next winter, I think this will be quite do-able,just not sure about the pumping system to get the water to flow from the tank to the grden and eventually to the house, as it really should.
    Made me realise that we need to do something about the grey water too.

    I have been busy working out how to fence off the back corner of hubbys' side so we can keep the chooks in this area for few weeks at time.So far, we have fishing line across held up by an old galvanised pole to which bird mesh has been threaded,its not working quite as it should but I'm confident that we will have it resolved shortly.
    It a reasonably big area, 8mX 10m,along with the underside of the trailer that they like to take dust baths under.

    Hubby found an old fashioned chooks' water container.
    I'll put a pic up.I dont understand why the water doesnt just run out and didnt fill it up for ages, thinking, this is just not going to work but it does.

    I learnt something about bumblebees.
    My daughter noticed that we had a bumblebee on the net curtain in our living room and that it wasnt moving even though the window was open.
    We managed to get it up ontop of the window, but it still wasnt looking very active and decided tht maybe it was stressed and needed to be fed.We got some honey and put this ontop of the window frame and it did start eating it but still it didnt feel right.
    We got a cup of water and carefully dripped water next to the honey.Bingo.
    The bumblebee started sucking up big time then climbed back down to netting,shat all this black stuff on my curtain and then flew off.What thanks!
     
  4. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Messages:
    1,665
    Likes Received:
    94
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    s/e
    Location:
    South Waikato New ZeLeand
    Climate:
    Cool mountain
    I need to get hold of some golf balls,the girls have taken to tossing the ping pong balls out of their nests and when I pinch their eggs after that they go off and lay somewhere else.
    I did find some eggs that I thought might be bit old, but they didnt float so I tried boiling them.I had read somewhere that they will explode in the pot if boiled and sure enough they do make a rather loud noise, then fill the kitchen with noxious odours.

    Had a long chat with puppies dad,he took the palings off the fence in readiness for replacing them with a nicer 'oriental' screen when he finishes making his carport.
    I told him that the girls had got out and I found them in his vegie garden so could he let me know what plants needed replacing? As it turns out he hadnt planted anything yet and it was just potatoes that he had left from last year.He did comment on how well they had weeded his garden for him last spring and turned it all over for him- I felt like hiring them out for abit more dosh.
    He's going to buy a steel beam we happen to have that will do nicely for his carport and he filled in the gap so nobody can get out and annoy the other neighbour.

    Had a long chat with the neighbour at the back and organised for his handyman to top the hedge down lower.He said that the only time the rooster got over to his side was when the back neighbours dog managed to get into our yard and frightened them.He just happened to be pottering nearby when he heard the commotion and saw the rooster leap up in the air to get away from the dog and land on the wrong side.Said it didnt worry him and that he just herded rooster into the corner where he knew there was a hole for him to get get back thru the hedge.I thought we had filled all of them...ahhh.

    He finally got his side of the hedge 'split'.Thats where you cut it hard back to as close s you can to where the roots are so the hedge is back to vertical again.I aked him if he got a couple of metres of land back after doing that and when he measured it out was surprised to find it was just over 6 feet.
    I knew it had to be something like that.The people who lived there before them had had way too many sheep in their paddocks.(Not to mention the Thorough bred horse).They had eaten the hedge right out on their side and started poking their heads through the hedge to eat out our side, which is why I just stopped trimming the hedge and let it do its own thing.
    When we split the hedge on our side, the extra width had been two metres.

    Thankfully he also removed the wandering jewel weed on his side.We had a good long talk about that and how it grows in through the hedge blocking out the light to the hedge making it grow patchy.Now that its all been pulled out, the hedge will grow nice and lush gain.Its only taken 5 years for him to listen to me and do this.There is just the little bits that we missed that are starting to grow again. with the hedge thinned to a couple of feet, it will be so much easier to get rid of this stuff once and for all.
    Now to try to get the back neighbour to get interested in his yard so he can stop growing these invasive pests, at least he has agreed to let the hedge be split and topped so its more manageable.

    One thing that he said that I thought was interesting,was to do with his concerns about 'Dec 2012'.
    He has noticed that in the last year, two spots in the near our fenceline that have started to sink.He is sure about this and when he pointed them out, I could see definite hollows.There are no pipes running through here and he hasnt done anything to cause this to hsppen.He also said, he thought the land was moving down slope but couldnt explain why he thought this was the case.I did ask him if all his tree were still upright or if any had tilted-could it be that the land here had risen or tilted?What ever is happening has caused him to feel uneasy and he now has the place on the market.
    Great!! Just as I was getting him trained in dealing with the hedge.
    I didnt put him down for saying these things,the fact is there re definitely two spots tht have hollowed out in this part of his yard and I am also of the opinion that our weather hs changed and we are having more earthquakes(so far only little ones) than we ever used to, amongst other things I have noticed.
    But, what can you do? unlike him we cant just pick up sticks and move.
    Just have to wait and see.
    However, with Tongariro blowing its top without warning, I have started getting together alittle civil defense kit for us and my mum-that did put the wind up me.
    My biggest worry has always been, can I cook dinner, or make a cuppa or light the fire in winter when we need to be warm?
    This is why I got a gas hob-I got annoyed when the power kept going off one year and we have had a gas stove attached to a 9 kg bottle for the last 10 years; and why I got a firebox that I could also cook on. I always have the spare gas bottle filled up ready to replace the one we're using and always have dry firewood in the shed.

    Part of the kit was to make sure we had at least three ways to light the fire.
    On Trademe, there were some flint and striker things which I thought were a good idea do I got a couple.Next problem, it doesnt light paper like my lighter does.
    I learnt about tinder and tinder boxes.The old peach tree that was busy rotting down in the back yard had a trunkful of 'punkwood', which was carefully dried out and toasted over the fire to make traditional tinder.Ha, tinder that my flint striker Will ignite.And with only one or two goes at it too-very pleased with myself.
    Actually, I thought this is in line with reducing consumption too.A box of matches only lasts so long,and a lighter, alittle longer.The flint and striker seems to last longer still and it made definite difference in figuring out how to keep the firebox going all night so we dont have to re start it every morning.

    I still need to sort out how to deal with the bit of hedge that is growing back again infront of the fence the front neighbour built.It wouldnt be such a problem if the fence had been built properly. Theres the plants themselves,to be carefully dug out and then the old barbwire fence and posts to remove, all without making the new fence fall over. Perhaps, if we do the bit behind the tool shed first, then quickly move that right up against the fence to hold it up, and then do the rest of it, that might work.
    I had a day off and was sitting out in the garden infront of the shed having my lunch.The sun,for once was shining and the reflection off the shed was warming my back.I thought that there must be a way to utilise this and have come up with an ingenious plan.
    If we cn get the hedge taken out along this fence,move the shed back right up against the fence, then maybe we could make alittle greenhouse on the north side of the shed, or even afew shelves to act as a potting up area for seedlings.It would definitely be warmer than the porch.

    Another week to go before we find out how many chicks broody mum will hatch out.
    What am I thinking? We already have too many running the place as it is.
    This time I am hoping that most of them are roosters so we can pop them in the freezer for dinner, now that I know how to do it in a fast humane stressfree manner.
    I m quite keen to have a go.

    Just about all the asparagus seedlings have come up again and I have topped the container they are in with more compost.They look nice and healthy.

    The seed sowing is coming along slowly, the luffas are sitting on the window sill in the bathroom and have come up.I migh try this with other heat loving seed.

    The Cherry tree is looking good in its tub, I was alittle worried that it might go sad on me but it hasnt.It hasnt flowered but thats ok.I splashed out and bought some lilly bulbs to plant around it which are coming along nicely too.

    I have gone around the bottom of the trellis checking to see how our pippima(gi)c beans are coming along.I decided that we would grow this sort along here and so far it looks like I only need to replace 6 of them.I probably should have sown them on pots, but being so close to the top of the bank I thought that might cause afew problems.
    I have since discovered that these beans are whats called 'the great northern' bean.
    A lovely fat big white drying bean.With all these winds we have been having, we difinitely need something to help block these.
    I just hope they will stand up to it all.
    One thing I am sure of is that where they are going to grow is NOT over fertilised so there should not be the repeat of the Lima beans growing nice foliage and NO actual beans.

    The major this week is that it appears that the rat hs moved into the house!!!
    I had some maize seed sprouting that I was going to plant out in the roadside bed but when I went to check on it, alot of it had been eaten and there were NOT MOUSE POO ontop of the seed.
    So, how do I get rid of a rat?
    I dont really want to use poison, after my mother decided to do that once and I had to crawl under the house to remove a seriously nasty rotting rodent that had draped itself over the hot water pipe.
     
  5. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    Messages:
    5,925
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Try avocado seeds as replacement eggs. They aren't as heavy as golf balls but might just be heavy enough to keep them in the nest.
    What a pity you can't train roosters to eat rats, otherwise you'd have the perfect solution!
     
  6. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Messages:
    1,665
    Likes Received:
    94
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    s/e
    Location:
    South Waikato New ZeLeand
    Climate:
    Cool mountain
    Wellll, they will eat them, but, they have to be dead first....at least I think they will, they est dead mice I catch and pop in for them.
    Will try the Avo seeds.
    I'd really like him to catch the rabbit for me.
    Rabbit is tasty!
     
  7. mouseinthehouse

    mouseinthehouse Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2012
    Messages:
    782
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Regarding keeping the girls laying in their nest - we have two nest boxes between 5 hens which works really well. I only collect the eggs every 2nd day and always leave one egg in each nest and never have a problem.

    My Indian Runner ducks have settled in and the 4 ducklings have grown a lot in just a week. They are all still quite fearful of us entering their run and I hope it doesn't take too many weeks for them to trust us as I am not going to let them out until they are quiet and not skittish. Have found that they are loving the ripped up Kale that I give them!

    It is raining on and off and in between pleasant warmish days so everything is growing well. The quinoa I planted in a reckless manner in the test plot has all germinated and looks good :)) However, the Aztec corn has not germinated and I am thinking it is getting a bit long and perhaps won't be coming up:( Will have to sow a bit more, perhaps a bit more shallow and see what happens. The rhubarb which did not do well at all last year has gone berzerk - maybe due to the maturation of the plant and the compost and mulch I heaped on recently.

    My younger son has applied for a rental house for the big move out of home. The house we looked at had a huge apricot tree loaded already with developing fruit. I am hoping he gets it......visions of masses of delicious fruit to eat and preserve.
    It also has a little vegie plot which we could get going for summer. Fingers crossed.

    The snakes are out and about and we have to take care in the vegie patch, especially near the compost heaps as there is the odd mouse about and I am a bit careful around the chook house! The dogs are kept on a lead when taken for walks around our conservation areas of the property. The mother (which I don't own) of two of my Jack Russell/Fox terrier dogs has been bitten twice by eastern browns and was given the anti-venom and associated treatment at $1000 a go both times. Praying she gets through this season as the vets say a third go is not an option? She lives at a country farm racing stables with mice and rats in abundance which of course brings in lots of snakes.

    Am about to purchase a paper shredder. My son is obsessed about shredding everything we can. Currently using the paper from his work in the chook house and then into the compost which is working a treat. Apparently shredders start from about $30 to $60 for a reasonable one - they have them for sale at our Post Office (along with everything else bar bread and milk).

    Good luck for those needing more rain and everyone still sowing and planting out for summer!
     
  8. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Messages:
    1,665
    Likes Received:
    94
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    s/e
    Location:
    South Waikato New ZeLeand
    Climate:
    Cool mountain
    Well, the good news is that the back neighbour informed me that he had seen the rat coming out of yard 2 doors down- where it apparently has set up a nest under a concrete slab, they have called the council and got the rat man out to deal with it.

    The bad news is, that that bloody rabbit misses the chooks so mch that he has moved into the back yard with them.. and it had better be a HE too!
     
  9. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2006
    Messages:
    4,771
    Likes Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Once upon a time it was quite common and easy to buy heavy porcelain fake eggs for chooks
    No longer?
    A marketing opportunity for someone?

    Cats are good for rats or Jack Russell/terrier dogs
     
  10. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Messages:
    1,665
    Likes Received:
    94
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    s/e
    Location:
    South Waikato New ZeLeand
    Climate:
    Cool mountain
    Broody mum hatched out her eggs.I found 7 little ones when I got home on saturday, one looked like it wasnt going to make it and didnt.
    When I opened the nestbox cover, I found a chick just lying there and thinking it was dead, picked it up to dispose of it...but it was still alive, although very cold and wet looking.
    I scooped up the chick and the other eggs still in there and put them in a container and took them inside with me.Only two others had like holes in them.
    For some reason she hatched out one lot, then left the nestbox while the rest were still on their way.I have been told that the eggs usually hatch out within hours of each other,(not days), so I'm not too sure why this happened.
    Last time she didnt seem to want to leave the nestbox, but this time didnt seem to want to stay in it.
    The only real difference that I can see is this nestbox is metal whereas the earlier one in the rabbit cage was wood.

    With the ones I took inside, I put their little makeshift nest in a cardboard box and put a mini hot water bottle underneath and small towel over the top.
    I had to replace the hottie every now.
    Our cat discovered them and was very curious about these visitors so we thought it best if they were moved to 'the vet carry case' so he wouldnt eat them.
    This was put right up against the firebox when we went to bed-it hs tiles on the outside and cast iron.The fire had been let die down to coals with long burner log put in so it kept going-I do that anyway.Keeps the house nice and toasty over night.

    afew hours after we put them in their new nest, the second egg hatched out.This little chick got going almost s quickly as the cold one did.
    This made me think that perhaps the most important thing for newborn chicks is warmth.
    Just before we went to bed the third egg hatched- the others didnt.
    I wasnt sure if it would still be alive in the morning but all three were.The first and third were still quite shakey on there feet compared to the second one.

    I couldnt get them to eat and thought it best to reintroduce them to their family so mum could teach them.I did stay with them for bit to make sure neither mum nor sibs turned on them but that went well.

    This afternoon they are all pecking food and drinking well.

    We have 1 black one- probably its mum is the Australorp,1 white but almost yellow,2 really yellow ones and the rest look like their dad did at their age so no ideas as to what they are either. 9 in all...hmmm but so cute.

    Their cage has been put inside the dome so we do not have reintroduction problems with the mum.She will be taken out when the chicks start getting their feathers and can keep themselves warm.

    I put an old roasting dish in the cage for their feed and a small pottery dish with pebbles in the bottom for their water bowl.The pebbles stop them from drowning in the water.

    For their feed, I ground up some wheat in the corn grinder.I did notice that with the bigger pieces, she 'beaked' them into smaller sizes so they could eat them, so maybe I didnt really need to.

    So, our first lot of 'our' eggs and 'our' chicks.
    It did occur to me that this meant that at some point we will be needing to make room for them...we cannot have 17 chooks running rampant in the back yard. Dont think hubby has realised yet, he's still in the wonder of it all.

    I have still not found a home for our Rooster and more and more am wondering if we will be dining on chicken fried rice soon. Somebody said we should take him for nice ride into the bush with at least one hen and let them go...all good, except that this area has alot of hunters with very good hunting dogs and I cant see them lasting very long out there.

    With the cheese, this has been going really well.
    I have been making our yogurt and cream cheese-much nicer, I think than butter and easier to make.
    I liked the look of this new white mold but not camembert mold, so thats what I have decided to stick with this season.
    We did crack open the first one of this season and it is edible nd it is tasty, but I think that it should have been let mature for at least another couple of months. The centre was, what they call, chalky.Did have a lovely rind though.
    I didnt actually go and get my milk last week.My daughter stayed with us and being pregnant with her first was not willing to expose herself to raw milk or even home pasturised milk.I refused to buy milk so we made do with milk powder that I had in the freezer.We dont bother to make up milk with it, just put a teaspoon or two in the coffee mug with alittle cold water before adding the boiling water.
    She's due in January....so sorry eco, wont be coming to learn how to make miso this January...damn.

    The Rabbit is back in the front yard.
    hubby had to open the gate to unload stuff so the way was clear for quite awhile for it to get out.I must have filled in all the gaps really well.The rooster is much more relaxed especially now that we have filled in the gap in the rear fence.Now the neighbours' dog can't come to visit either.(big sigh).

    Now just have to get my shit together on the seed sowing bit.
    The first lot I managed to fry in some unexpected hot and the second lot froze in the last frost, so I am kicking myself.
    I might relent this year and buy some seedlings to complement ours.
    One thing I learnt was to not over soak bean seeds,they seem to get waterlogged and dont sprout- smelling awful.

    Most of the shallots are growing well.I learnt,finally, that there are some weeds that should not be allowed in the garden-cleavers and fumitory.
    I had to spend ages carefully untangling the these from the shallots and getting rid of them.They were smothering one section and we have lost afew because of this.

    I noticed something odd about my wheat experiment.I used the grain that I had been feeding the chooks.
    Some of it has beards and some of it does not.
    I dont know alot about this type of plant so dont really know what this signifies.
     
  11. pippimac

    pippimac Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    Messages:
    475
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I never used to have these two, but they showed up in buckwheat seed I bought.
    It's their first season and they're pretty gutless, but they're in my shallots, so maybe I need to get tough...
     
  12. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    Messages:
    5,925
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    0
    That's a pretty good excuse not to come! Enjoy your impending grandmother-hood.
     
  13. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Messages:
    1,665
    Likes Received:
    94
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    s/e
    Location:
    South Waikato New ZeLeand
    Climate:
    Cool mountain
    hmmm, something new to look forward to, bit frightening really, at lest I get to give him back.

    After two weeks, I finally found a home for the rooster.He and two of the hens have gone to live with one of the farm hands from the farm I get our milk from.whew
    The remaining girls seemed alittle subdued this afternoon, I think they miss him.

    A couple of months ago I started Yoga lessons.This is going better than I expected although I have discovered that my stomach muscles are deficient- I ached for 2 whole weeks.
    Our instructor lives on a farm nearby and had alot of downed trees that he needed to find homes for, so this week I went off and collected a ute load of rounds to bring back,we just need to split them.
    One of the large pieces had a really nice pattern and after I said it would make a nice side table or small coffee table, he split that ring in half-so now I'm thinking of attaching these to a pair of bedroom drawers to make nice bedside tables.
    He suggested that we get some cheap cooking oil-(the stuff sane people wouldnt put in their mouths).
    Apparently if you keep oiling both sides while its drying, it helps to drive the sap out and keep the wood from splitting too much.
    Another piece he cut had the bit where the branches had been pruned making it look abit like a flat mushroom.
    Thats now sitting between 2 outdoor chairs on a paver to keep it up off the ground and it too is being oiled.
    Works really well and looks great.
    I cant keep doing this or there will be no firewood in the shed!!

    I did ask if they wanted a rooster and some chooks when I noticed that they didnt have any.They said no to the rooster cos they had one once and wound up with 20.Being vegetarian they didnt want to eat them and had a hard time getting rid of them.
    After thinking about it, they did say that if I had few spare hens in our new family, they would like some. Heres hoping they are all hens this time.

    I came across a self sown Anise plant, not too sure how it got to be there, but it was very noticeably healthier than the one I did plant.
    That one is very spindly and although it has produced seed already and died back, they are very small,probably less than a foot high.
    It was growing in full sun not and came up again in the same place I planted some last year.
    This nice one is growing in amongst the Avocadoes down the back of the yard and is is partial shade for most of the day(for this time of year anyway).
    It is about 3 feet high and has loads of nice fat seeds on it.
    I will harvest some of the seed nd leave the rest to self sow.
    I was surprised that it had managed to grow at all cos this area got sprinkled with Herb Robert seed back in autumn, to suppress weedy things that kept turning up here.
    Thinking about it, the Herb Robert is also very tall and lush looking with plenty of flowers and is being well visited by the honey and bumble bees.
    When I planted the Avo's here, they got lots of well rotted horse manure.
    Since then I have been raking up the wandering jewel weed backwards and forwards til it died down over summer and flicked that, along with fallen leaves from the trees.
    Small branches have fallen over autumn and winter which I just broke into manageably pieces, picked up and carefully dropped so they scattered the area as they fell-trying to mimic a forest but didnt want long branches everywhere.
    I hope these are doing well because of all the leafmold etc and not the shade, because we may need to cut part of one tree out.

    My neighbour pointed out that where two branches fork, it has developed a crack that looks like it is starting to run down the trunk.
    He has become very aware of dodgy branches after finding the trees growing in front of his place and in the nearby paddock were old and starting to either topple or develope cracks like this one is.
    The council finally decided to cut half of them down after he pointed out that they were starting to lean in the direction of the highway and if we keep getting these heavy winds- somebody could get squashed.
    Because they were on council land, we werent allowed to take any of firewood- they were quick to cart it off.Not surprised cos it was all oak.

    Anyway, our tree still has a good trunk and some young growth that should take over.
    Maybe we should be looking at coppicing this when its trunks get thick enough.Maybe not quite as thick as the ones that need to come out though.

    I noticed that the water chestnuts had risen to the top of the half barrel.The new leaves looked quite small and narrow compared to how they grew last year.
    I pushed the whole lot back down again and it seems to be staying there.
    There was an awful lot of bubbles came up when I did this, so I'm not too sure that I did the right thing.I thought they grew at the bottom not the top though so thats where they got put.Perhaps I need to put more compost in or even empty the whole lot out and put more compost in the bottom, replant the corms and fill it back up with water again.

    The Cherry tree seems to be doing okay in the tub I transplanted it to and the lilies around them are starting to flower.

    With the first lot of climbing beans that got sown, only 2 came up, I think these ones are the shining Fardelosa. These got planted at the base of the apple tree.More for the apple tree than for us.
    We should be getting loads of lovely sweet apples this year judging by the way the fruit have stayed put on the tree and not fallen off.

    The nectarine tree that got transplanted to the roadside bed took longer to get its new leaves than the older tree but it looks really healthy.No flowers this year though which is good or I would have to go long and nip them out.
    Starting to wonder if baby trees that flower before you expect them to, do so because they are lacking nutrients and need to be fed a good dollop of compost.
     
  14. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Messages:
    1,665
    Likes Received:
    94
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    s/e
    Location:
    South Waikato New ZeLeand
    Climate:
    Cool mountain
    I went off to get our milk again today.Bit nervous about it to be honest, I kept thinking maybe I would be asked to take the rooster back.
    His new dad loves him although he did tell me he's called him hemorrhoid because 'he's a pain in the arse'.But he did say he thought Hem was real gentleman with the girls and that he is getting 2 eggs a day.
    That pissed me off cos my girls seemed to have suffered from depression when he left and are only just starting to eat their maize and start laying again.
    The other day when I had them out of the dome, a blackbird made its warning call, next thing the hens shot off in two directions, one lot headed for the hedge and hid in hollow at its base and the others hid underneath the sliverbeet plants that are going to seed.
    This made me realise that he did more than just crow or bonk- he used to talk to them all the time too.
    It is deathly quiet here now that he's gone.

    I sat down one day and had a moments contemplation on Asparagus.
    It puzzles me as to why the one I planted in the strawberry bed insists on growing out over the path and has yet agin had to be tied to a stake to keep it upright.
    I couldnt see why all the books said to plant them so deep.
    I think I have figured it out.
    This asparagus has 3 stalks that got knocked back by the frost and one that I ate, plus the one that is actually growing.
    It is flowering, which is good, but looks like its root rocked.
    The soil around the bottom of the stalk has a big hole around it.
    I'm thinking that planting them deeper in our climate would give the plants roots that extra layer of soil to protect it from the frost and would give support to the stalks so they dont get so knocked about.
    The other plant that is flowering over by where the grapefruit tree used to be is also flowering and has different shaped flowers, so one is female and the other is a male, but I dont know which is which yet til one sets seed.
    They may be too far apart though, we'll just have to wait and see what happens.

    Over winter, when I harvested the cabbages, I left the stalks behind with afew leaves attached at the bottom.
    Over the months most of those fell off making the plants look like fat knobs and I thought 'oh well, just let them rot down and feed the soil'
    Once it started to warm up again, they started to come back to life.I had expected them to start making little cabbages from the leaf base, but instead they sent out tall spindly stalks which eventually flowered.
    I learnt not to mulch right up against the stalks and to make sure the chooks didnt scratch up the mulch against them either- this caused some of the plants to fall over and die from being ringbarked by the mulch.
    Not too bad cos we have homegrown seed for the savoy cabbage and the Kale is still doing its thing.The only one we lost out on was the conehead cabbages.
    Someone said that they could be dug up in mid winter and moved suggesting that this might be a solution to making sure the different brassicas didnt cross.

    I just finished re reading a book I have called native american gardening.
    One thing I picked up on this time was that when they saw the wild gooseberries were in full leaf, they would sow their corn seed.
    I had read elsewhere to sow this when the apple blossom petals started to fall.Cant remember where that bit came from.
    I did sow the sweetcorn seed at blossom fall but somebody-probably Houdini ate every single one.These had been in the trays that had small individual pots of 2 dozen per tray-all 4 had a little hole right in the middle of them. So, instead of being a foot high now, I have had to resow them.
    I had intended to plant these out with alternate rows of soy beans again but so far the soy have been planted out with extra wide gaps in the hopes that they will have some sort of corn growing with them.
    I managed to get seed for the blue hopi corn- a flour type which my mum said I could grow down at her place, but I'm thinking that which ever one comes up first gets to go with the soy beans.
    I went out to check our gooseberry bushes to see if they were in full leaf, they werent but I sowed the hopi corn anyway cos they werent far off, so these should come up first.
    I think mum would probably prefer to have the sweet corn to be honest.
    The idea this year is to grow heaps, harvest, cut the kernals off the cobs and freeze straight away like I did last year.

    I dont expect to get enough of the hopi corn to make very many tortillas-maybe couple of meals and save the rest for next year-there was only about 80 seed in the packet.
    One thing I do want to try, is a way of making a sort of pancake I read about.
    Flour ground quite fine and water added to make a thin batter which is then poured on a hot plate or fry pan and then rolled up when cooked.Sounds easier than tortillas.

    I thought after last years really good results, that I finally had the seed sowing down pat, but I've been running into trouble with again with ti this year, so I'm not too happy with myself.
    It didnt help to find out that the good trays I did which I gave to my daughter, got eaten by her flatmates puppy.

    One odd thing that I am pleased with is the plum tree growing next to the courtyard.
    Last year, this grew an amazing amount of fruit.I had been told laughingly, that I hd better beat the trunk of the tree or it wouldnt grow any this year.
    So, I did.I took to it with a thin piece of bamboo and briskly beat the crap out of it about three feet above the ground.
    It has alot of fruit forming up again this year, not nearly as much as last year, but still a decent amount.
     
  15. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Messages:
    1,665
    Likes Received:
    94
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    s/e
    Location:
    South Waikato New ZeLeand
    Climate:
    Cool mountain
    haha, I think I just found out the true story of how mozarella and caciocavallo type cheese was really created!!!

    Take one tired and hungry person,a glass or two of wine (yeah, on an empty stomach)...and the urge to make that final hard cheese to store for winter before the day is done.

    I was trying to make a cheddar, but it was alittle cool so I thought I'd heat it up up bit so it would matt.
    Got into a bit of a day dream while I was stirring and the next thing I knew...it was starting to stick together and to the bottom of the pot....added abit more whey to loosen it up abit and stirred like crazy..whisked it off the stove and onto the floor to cool it down and Hey Presto!!! one big glob of glossy not cheddar.

    I thought, what the hell, lets see how far this baby will stretch-from chest high to the bottom of the pot.
    If I had some sterile string I'd have tried to make it in the shape of a caciocavallo-two globs tied sort of in the middle but I didnt so its one long sausage sitting on a salted board while my red hands cool down and I finish boasting here.

    It has been stretched and twisted-thought I might be able to get it into a nice neat rope but it had bits sticking out all over the place so got put back in the pot to heat up again and get mashed together again with a Sturdy(this time) wooden spoon.

    I did take a pic of it and as soon s the camara recharges I'll post it.
    Sometimes I'm so clever I annoy myself.
     
  16. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Messages:
    1,665
    Likes Received:
    94
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    s/e
    Location:
    South Waikato New ZeLeand
    Climate:
    Cool mountain
    Its been an interesting week.
    I happened to mention to my yoga instructor that we were trying to grow all our own food..'Oh are you into permaculture?'-aparently he know Kaye Baxter and Bob (cant remember his name now).
    I told him how I found a rats nest in the back yard and how it seemed to have moved to a neighbours, about how Houdini ate our seeds and seedlings.
    I was quite shocked when he said that rats have a large territory and that it was more likely to be the culprit with the seeds etc... he gave me a rat trap to bring home to see if he was right.
    This got set up on the top shelf in the porch with just a bit of bread in it and sure enough, the next morning there it was, one big fat rat!
    Blegh!
    No wonder the rooster crowed so much.


    I think maybe we should get a trap of our own.There was a dump not far from here that is now just a recycling centre/pick up point.
    My back corner neighbour (going to call him neigbour D to make things little shorter),said he didnt think they did an eradication program when they closed the old tip because he saw a band of them running up the railway line not long ago.

    I tied a bit baling twine to the handle and gingerly took it out to the 200 litre barrel in the garden thats filled with rain water.
    Tied the twine tight to a rope thats on it, so it wouldnt all sink to the bottom and tossed it in, then ran away inside with my ears plugged so I wouldnt hear anything and had a nice soothing cuppa for half n hour.

    So far we've only caught the one, so hopefully thats all for now.I think I would feel better having the trap so we could check to make sure every now and then.
    (The rat got buried in the middle of the compost, of course).
    I can recommend Clary sage, for growing near a compost bin for all those who discover they have the odd rat, it has lovely big leaves that you can use to help pick up the tail so you dont have to actually touch anything.

    Unfortunately, we didnt get it in time cos it has once again eaten all the corn seed, including the Blue Hopi corn I got from Koanga nurseries.
    Bit of a disaster actually, and I am down to my last 6 seeds of Austrian Oilseed pumpkin, unless the really old seed I found sprout.

    I finally got around to reading,properly, my 'Seed to Seed' book and discovered why our beetroot from our saved seed hasnt been doing very well and not been very nice tasting....pretty obvious now that its been pointed out but I did not realise that beetroot and silverbeet would cross.I should have known this.
    There I was crowing bout our majestic looking beetroot flowering beautifully when right next door was a magnificent silverbeet doing exactly the same thing and to top it off it would have crossed with the sugar beet that I have kept going even though we aren't using at the moment.
    I reccommend this book 'Seed to seed' to anyone looking to saving their own seed (for vegies, it doesnt cover flowers or herbs).

    Sooo, all the beets except for the perpetual spinach-a beet, have been pulled out so they dont cross.The reason for that is the perp. is closer to flowering than the others.
    Actually it does look magnifecent, one in particular is shooting up in the beneficial insect border and looks like its trying to outdo the baby plum tree.

    After reading this book, I also realised that every single one of my different types of brassicas were all busy crossing with each other as well- I sort of figured that would be the case when the mizuna couldnt decide whether it Was a mizuna or a mustard lettuce.
    This isnt such a big problem (yet), because the main reason for letting them all do their thing, was to provide flowers for the bumblebees.
    They have flowered for months and I have been thrilled to see the tiniest bumblebees this spring-must be the new seasons babies.
    I did move 4 of the swede turnips to the roadside garden so it would be away from all the others in the backyard and hope this does the trick, but after reading this book....I dont know, I might have to ask my friend if I can use a spot in her yard for things we need seed from-none of her neighbours, or even in the surrounding streets seem to be doing any sort of veg gardening, plus she has alot of tall trees round her place.

    Having the seed punnet on the picnic table under the plum tree seems to be doing the trick.I did set up the outdoor umbrella so it would shade them from the mid to afternoon sun when I realised that they were getting stressed.So now they get watered by the rain when Im not home and dont get to cooked, so far this seems to be working okay-use what you got....I still want a greenhouse though.

    I opened the top to the Guinea pig cage to see if Broody mum would come out on her own-she did, so now she's out for good.
    I had the nestbox made out all lovely for the chicks with nice dried grass and straw, only to have them scratch it all out the very same day, oh well, if thats what they want.

    I tried to check their bums to see if I could tell which were male/female but couldnt.
    We re taking bets on how many roosters we have in this clutch.
    I am going by those that seem to be doing their darndest at growing tail feathers-I see four and have psyched myself up for dealing with these in a few months time.
    That leave 5 hens, I've promised the yoga instructor 3 which means we get 2 new girls.
    I have decided that we need to drop our hen numbers down to 4 so we need to work out whether to keep 2 of the old girls or buy in 2 new ones and pop the rest off.

    This year,I originally wanted to have 4 but wound up with the extras when, even after telling 2 other people I was going to collect the hens in a week.
    They didnt tell me they had changed their minds till I got them for them, so from now on I do not collect hens for other people, but tell them where they can get them from!!

    I had to plant out the Soy beans without their corn companions.
    Because we were having to let the chooks freerange the whole yard,I decided to fence off the part where they got planted out.
    A pole in each corner and the wire mesh I took off the dome last year and there you go.
    I did wonder if the girls would try to jump over, but so far they havent and the blackbirds-it wasnt starlings, havent bothered them either.
    They have been spaced out so I can plant the corn in later-we may need to buy these if this last lot of seed dont make it.ohhhh.
    In this section is a cutting celery plant.I like this type because it doesnt seem to stress out as badly as the stalk type.
    It doesnt grow as thick a stalk but they are nice and tasty and it isnt hard to grab few more to make up the difference.
    This has been allowed to continue here because it is going to seed too.I love to use celery seed in dishes so Im looking forward to not having to buy this And a friend has put in an order for some too.
    She is on a low salt diet and uses celery seed as a substitute.

    I saw in my companion planting book that you do not plant brassicas with strawberries.
    It l so said not to plant brassicas with tomatoes,but ours did really well when they were together so the strawberry bed has been planted out with a cauli, a couple of kale and a red cabbage.
    Not too sure how that one will do cos it was bit spindly.
    They got put in spots where the chooks had gone mad and scratched out all the pearl drop onion seeds I had sprinkled-not sure what is is about onions but they seem to want to dig them out,doesnt seem to be the same for shallots thank goodness.
    I did carefully pull out all the other weedy things that were not welcome here.
    The clover is starting to cover the whole bed and is now incroaching on the path as well.I did try to remove the weed mat for it but I was too late, so I'll just have to poke this full of holes as it keeps growing.
    The strawberries are doing really well and we might even get some in time for Xmas.
     
  17. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Messages:
    1,665
    Likes Received:
    94
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    s/e
    Location:
    South Waikato New ZeLeand
    Climate:
    Cool mountain
    We did catch another rat which was also popped in the rain barrel to drown, although this time I felt that if you are going to kill something then you need to face up to this and behave in a more ....cant think of the word I'm looking for respectful manner, maybe.
    So a longer string was attached to the cage it was in.This was quickly lowered into the drum while we hung onto the other end of the string and waited while it died.Not pleasant and I did feel alittle ghoulish doing it but too often we put the blinkers on and refuse to look at what we do and refuse to acknowledge the results of our actions.
    While we waited, it occurred to me that this little animal had only been doing exactly what it had been created for and in this time of year, probably had little babies that will now die because it wont be going home anymore to feed them.
    The last time I put the trap out I caught a blackbird,which I let go.
    The trap has now gone back to its owner and we have these on the wishlist x 2.

    We have a butcher open up in town and I have been meaning to start buying our meat from them but kept forgetting til a cousin posted on his facebook page the need to support the local owner operator shops.
    Once again I got to the supermarket checkout before I remembered, but as I had also forgotten to get some meat, I decided to go to the butcher instead of running back to the meat dept while I waited in the checkpout line.

    Glad I did, the had a really nice small leg of lamb that was the same price as the mince in the supermarket.I cant remember the last time we had lamb,usually its so expensive if its even in the shop unless there has been a cancelled export order and that doesnt happen very often.
    So we had a good old fashioned sunday roast with tatties and gravey absolutely lovely and still heaps left over for roast sandwiches for lunch...
    Actually, there was heaps leftover so we have had lamb for dinner for the last couple of nights.I try to do meat free meals on tuesday cos its Yoga night in deference to our instructor and the culture yoga came from.
    When the kids were growing up we used to have to least one meat free and one almost no meat meal per week, so this wsnt such a hardship(for me anyway).

    My deliberate attempt at making a stretchy cheese was a raving success.I read the instructions for making mozarella but wondered-"why dont they just do ...",so I didnt follow the instructions.Instead after the curds had been cut and left to sit in the whey for alittle longer, I gently stirred it with the whisk to break the curd into smaller pieces-why make it into one big lump and then go to the trouble of slicing it all up again.
    Most of the whey came out and the pot went back on the stove where is was carefully heated and stirred til it bonded together- about the same time that it started to melt.
    Had alot of fun pulling and stretching and making different shaped cheeses.
    The end result was a small plaited piece, a little ball and shallow rectangle piece for slicing.

    Afew days later,Puppies dad handed me a glass of his newly made Kahlua over the fence-quite funny really he actually asked me if I was still working, going to have to watch myself I might get name as a workaholic-I think he wanted to make sure I wouldnt be driving anywhere.
    Delicious, so when he mentioned his dinner, I gave him the plaited piece of our cheese to try.

    I have always thought mozarella tastes really bland and boring even though I love it for its stretchyness.So when I made ours, I kept it in the whey to get alittle more acid and added salt to taste just before cooking it.I think it tastes much better.
    I think I need to be careful of the amount of salt that goes in though as it did taste alittle more salty than I expected even though I had put in what I thought was just a touch.Maybe the cooking process does something to make it taste stronger....dont know.

    Thanks to our unwanted garden guests, we did not have the expected plants to put in the garden.So for the first time since we started this garden, I went down to the nursery just out of town and bought plants.This is run by a semi retired couple.We wanted to have Lots of sweetcorn to put in the freezer and to give to family; they had just sold the last lot they had as I arrived so I ordered the whole amount we thought we needed.Not as expensive as I thought it would be.She looked alittle worried and I wondered if she thought they were going to be lumbered with more plants than they wanted or could sell so I have to make sure I pick them up when they said they'd have them ready.
    I thought I would feel abit like having failed in doing this but I didnt, it was a relief to know that they were there to bail me out.
    I think I will be buying plants that I have alot of trouble getting started-like capsicums and eggplants.
    We had a good long chat about heirloom seeds and organic gardening.I jokingly said I should give them all my seed and get them to start the plants for me and was pleasantly surprised when they sid they would be quite willing to accomodate me.hmmm...I think we'll talk more on this when I pick up the sweetcorn.

    This whole situation has taught me more than one lesson.
    I had only saved the amount of seed I thought we needed plus alittle bit more.Up until now that has worked out okay but all it takes is one or two disasters, like our rat attack following on the footsteps of a late frost and suddenly there is a huge problem.
    The oil seed pumpkin seed is a prime example.I tried growing them under the apple tree last year which wasnt hugely successful,afew seeds were saved and the rest got eaten.Of those I sowed every single one was either killed by the late frost or eaten by the rat.Luckily I found alittle packet I had forgotten about with 6 seeds still in it.Of those 6 only 2 have actually sprouted so far.The sweet corn situation was even worse.
    I have found that this seed does need to be used within 3 years, preferably 2, as the germination rate plummets after the second year and none of the 4 year old seed came up at all.Of the Blue hopi corn, 2 seeds were obviously missed in the raid and sprouted.I'm still going to plant these out and am going to use these to practise bagging up the tassels and ears in order to pollinate them.A two fold experiment really.Can I get the plants pollinated and next year (I'll have to bag some again),did they grow true to type or did they cross with the sweetcorn.

    I have pulled out of storage, the irrigation system that hubby found and got a friend to have alook at it to see what we need to do to make best use of it.I wsnt sure cos it has drip bits for shrubs and trees rather than (?)spout/sprinkler(?) bits for wider beds.
    Still not sure about setting it up permanently in the garden for two reasons-1. its plastic and I have wanted for years to completely do away with this stuff and 2. I dont think we have finalised the layout of the garden-sometimes wonder if I am even capable of such a thing, it might be constantly changing-drives some people nuts..

    With the water tank, we do have enough piping to run from the house to the tank...now that I hit on the idea of dividing the courtyard area off from the parking area.This would mean we could run the pipe along the top of the trellis fence.
    I really did not like the idea of the possibility that stinking water could accidently wind up in the tank because we had forgotten to open the vent to let it out or that we Had opened it only to forget to close it and our carefully saved water got poured straight onto the ground instead of in the tank.
     
  18. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    Messages:
    5,925
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    0
    How's the baby growing getting on?
     
  19. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Messages:
    1,665
    Likes Received:
    94
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    s/e
    Location:
    South Waikato New ZeLeand
    Climate:
    Cool mountain
    My grandson is growing very well and still looking at arriving few days before my birthday.Daughter has decided to have a water birth after hearing how well her friends' two births went.

    The chicks are doing really well.They are at the stage where their feathers are sticking out all over the place.
    It seems that they grow their wing feathers first, roosters then start these silly little tuffs that then become their tail feathers.
    Now they are all getting body feathers and their necks are getting longer making them look gangly and ungroomed.
     
  20. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    Messages:
    5,925
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    0
    With a good midwife at her side, I'm sure she'll have a great birth.

    So teenage roosters are like teenage boys then? Full of hormones but without the good looks to make it worth their while crowing about it?!
     

Share This Page

-->