View Full Version : Guilding the garden.
07-09-2011, 07:18 PM
Its now spring and we're heading into our third year with the garden.
I've decided that this year we need to work on connecting the dots.
I think we've gone about the idea of diversity the wrong way by trying to get as many different things into the garden as we can without really paying attention to the way things relate to each other.
I have been trying to get a grip on companion planting and putting guilds together but have found that all to often you get told that it also depends on the local climate etc. which is abit off putting, not to mention reading that alot of the traditional companion plantings are said not actually do anything.
To my mind things either work or they dont work, so this year we are going to try some of them out and see what happens.
It actually feels like we have started again from scratch.
Got a newly revitalised dome,with the broken bit on the bottom fixed, bracings tightened, windbreak instead of wire mesh.
Got new chooks arriving probably either tomorrow or sunday from the neighbour of someone I work with.
These will be a mixed bag of bantams and various types and colours of chooks but best of all most of them will be point of lay hens rather than the end of lays we have been rescuing from the battery farm.
Paths are all freshly laid out with shredded tree mulch so we have a reprieve on getting a long term solution in place for this area.
This year however, I have competition as my daughter, brother and mother have all decided to get serious in their gardens.
I have got my own copy of a companion planting book called 'Carrots love Tomatoes' as well as copious notes from my net searches and am now the proud owner of a Modern version of the Yates garden guide book...
I think hubby felt sorry for me 'having' to use a geriatric copy that touts the wonders of DDT of all things.(I just ignored those bits of it)
And dads copy of the Nz gardening calendar, so lack of adequate info is no longer an issue.
I feel quite nervous now and have all fingers and toes crossed for a good year.
I have been working on getting the last of the privet hedge grubbed out from along the north bank.
This was supposed to have been finished last year but....
not much more to go, although the bit with the plum tree on it will have to wait now til next mid winter.
Below the bank needed alittle leveling and clearing out too.
I noticed that the adjacent bed was still somewhat lumpy bumpy so the top soil went up to help make things more level and the rest is being used to fill in hollows elsewhere.
One area we had trouble with was in front of the boundary hedge.
I had made a walkway from soil left over from the driveway regrading which worked a treat in getting too all the hedge to trim it properly, but a pain trying to get the dome along it, so some of the bank soil has also gone to gently slope the three beds in front of this walkway.
The violets along here have gone absolutely mad and have taken over the walkway which hopefully will means not so many unwanted types settling in here.
With the part where the old steps up to the lawn used to be, the lavendar on each side of the steps had been taken over by the Japanese Anemone and pretty much succombed, so this was all cleared out and the swing seat put in there instead.
I spent ages wandering around looking at different things trying to work out what to plant underneath this.
It needed to be tough so it would stand up to being trod on,has to be able to look after itself and fend off unwanteds,low growing with leaf and flowers that were subtle and not in your face.
And the winner was the one with the little flowers that remind me of little blue cats with green ears and milk on its chin.
Apparently its a type of veronica persica from the net search I did on it.
I dug these out of the garden in whole mats and after roughing over the soil sort of nestled them into place and then stood on them.
After a week they are standing up all perky looking great.
We are going onto broadband whenever the modem arrives and mum has said I can use her camara to take pictures with which is great cos hers has a rechargeable battery....so we'll re start the photoblog too.
07-09-2011, 08:01 PM
Can't wait to see the photos!
I wish someone would write a book specifically on guilds (preferably a temperate climate one).
07-09-2011, 08:40 PM
I'm hoping that we can get a thread going on what we've tried out and how it all goes.
Maybe you could collate it for us and write that book.
Im not too keen about the pics to be honest,especially at the moment with some major earth moving being carried out it looks raw and the trees I planted still look like so many sticks.
But the mustard is starting to flower and that does look good.
I will keep better photo record this year tho I promise.
07-09-2011, 09:47 PM
Progress pics would be good. You could just post them later once there is a sequence.
07-09-2011, 10:45 PM
Yay! New chookies!
12-09-2011, 05:22 PM
Actually Eco thats not a bad idea (on the pics)
I did think it was silly to post 'raw' one month and then 'full' few months later.
It didnt really seem to have alot of continuity.
Before, during and afters, in the same general area is a better idea.
We got some really ferocious winds again today and the swing seat was blown up onto the garden area- that has never happened before.
We are definitely going to pegging the tarp over the dome separately from now on.
Lucky it wasnt the dome that blew over.
>getting the last of the privet hedge grubbed out
I've got Broadleaf Privet here and am slowly taking most of them them out. But I am leaving a few in out-of-the-way places as they coppice very easily and the new shoots grow fast, vertical and straight - perfect garden stakes. And by cutting them before they flower the risk of the spreading by seed is negated. Just a thought.
13-09-2011, 08:55 AM
No I didnt know that.
All our privet is in the hedges and unfortunately whats left of them along the boundary wall is growing up thru a barbed wire fence, which has put me off trying to get rid of the odd bit of privet.
I dont really understand why anyone would want barbed wire in the fence around their house, its still really sharp too.
20-09-2011, 07:53 PM
Opps Pebble sorry it was you that gave me a better idea on the progress pics not Eco.
The new girls have settled in and started laying.
This is probably the first time I have ever had young birds, some are pullets, which I took to mean that they are just starting their first year as laying hens and some are 1 year olds.
The eggs are quite alot smaller than the end of lays we have always had.
I didnt have to show them how to roost and they scratch like mad, I have moved the nest box over one spot so they cant get out of the dome.
We actually got 8 birds this time, just in case one died or we got an egg eater that needed to be removed.
In the nest box I tried something different and put in a layer of broken up small twigs with a lot of dried leaves covering the whole thing.
This has been rearranged so that the twigs are now in a circle around the main nesty area and all the leaves have been moved so they make up the nest proper- the bowl shape.
What professionals these girls are.
I finally started to get into the seed sowing and so far have leafy greens and herby things coming along.
I put off starting too early this year and as I had read in afew places to start sowing around 6 weeks before the last frost date.
The last one we ever had was the week after labour day-second to last monday in october.
I hope the snow we had doesnt mean that it will be later than that.
The Bio Dynamic calendar is on the table and I'm checking it to see which type to sow before I do it-trying to be systematic rather than impulsive this year.
One thing that has puzzled me is that the moon is supposed to be showing the last quarter-before it isnt there as the new moon.
I couldnt find it tonight when I went out to see what it looked like, isnt it supposed to show up every night until its 'the new moon',ie on the other side of the planet for that time period?
Thats supposed to be next week, have I got this wrong?
The new Plum tree started to flower, which I dont want it to do this year so these have all been carefully pinched off.
This should encourage it to concentrate on producing a good root system.
The only trees that havent started to bud up still are the pomegranate and the mulberry.
We decided that all the fruit plants should be around the edge of the vege garden rather than in it and I think we managed to get all of them safely out of the middle of the garden and around the north perimetre,(with the exception of the orange tree which will remain where it is here on out).
The black currant is staying put too as I know it definitely is not in the way of the dome.
There was really only the red and white currants to move which was done before they had got any leaves on them and What I think was the thornless blackberry that has reappeared this year.
I couldnt find it last year so I'm hoping that its not from seeds that the birds have dropped.
I snuck the two Chestnuts down the back on hubby's side hidden in the Bears breeches.
These are going to be coppiced regularly for stakes and will not be allowed to grow into monsters.
I have told my neighbour that if anything happens to me then he is quite welcome to come over and grub them out so they dont become a nuisance.
Today, I went around the treelings along the roadside, they are all looking good and the Alders are leafing up.
The Olive trees still had the tape attaching them to their stakes so this was taken off, dont want them to get strangled.
Last year I tried the same thing that Eco did and got a whole pile of different seeds, some probably on the too old side, and sprinkled them merrily all over this area after it had been mulched.
The only thing that actually came up even after all this time was a very pretty red stalked silverbeet, which is disappointing.
Looks funky with mushroomy things growing around it.
They are probably there because of the shredded tree mulch we put down at the beginning of last year.
For some reason one half of a double row of the broadbeans seems to be dying off, I dont know why,the peas growing between them seem to doing okay though.
The raw areas where I moved soil from the bank onto the vege garden was sown with buckwheat soon after that but when I checked I couldnt find any that were sprouting.
I found instead empty husks.
Maybe I just fed the birds or the ants or maybe they were sown too early.
The three I did find after half an hour on my hands and knees were put in with the strawberries so hopefully we can get some seed to start again.grrr
21-09-2011, 08:53 AM
I couldnt find it tonight when I went out to see what it looked like, isnt it supposed to show up every night until its 'the new moon',ie on the other side of the planet for that time period?
It's a time thing. At full moon the moon rises exactly at sunset, and with each passing day it rises later and later, until the new moon that rises at sunrise. So just a few days before new moon you won't see the moon in the night sky until about 4 am or so.
It's interesting what germinates when you do the chucking out seed thing. The plants obviously decide when they want to come up. I tossed out old flower seeds with some fresh nasturtium seed a year ago, and recently the nasturtium has come up along with something that looks like stock (which I don't even remember being in the mix!). It surprises me how long they stay dormant for before they germinate!
29-09-2011, 05:34 PM
Yes it has been interesting but for me also annoying cos alot of what I sowed hasnt come up again like the foxgloves I let self sow-Gone.
Today was my sunday so I got to spend the afternoon outside.
I noticed that the girls seemed to be getting ratty with each other today so after I fed them their evening meal I left the door open for them to jump out if they wanted to.
There isnt much in the garden at the moment and nothing that they can wreck-they already got the snap peas,funnily enough, the 3/4 stretch that the slugs and snails kept eating, but they didnt touch the plants that were growing reasonably well.
I thought it was interesting to note that the first thing most of them did was head for the part in front of the hedge walkway where I had put all the bare soil.
They thought this was just great for a girlie dust bath party.
45minuts later they shook themselves off and decided to eat the snails that were in the mustard lettuce and then spent the last hour and a half scratching madly through a bed right next to the dome.
All in all they stayed withing 5 metres of the dome.
I thought I'd better stick around while they were out cos our Tom looked like he was considering going into hunter mode.
It occurred to me that there really wasnt any reason why they shouldnt be allowed to roam alittle,they had all laid their eggs and spent nearly all day scratching around their pen.
I think I will let them out as often as I can,late in the afternoon.
I should be able to protect the young seedlings with the hoops and bird mesh -decided this during my winter ponderings,although getting the hoops and mesh was mainly to protect against the starlings and sparrows.
The only bit of weeding I have been doing for the last little while is to pull out grass and dock before it gets too big.
The grass has gone to mulch the maori potatoes that are just starting to come up.
I thought I had sown the broad beans inbetween the rows of potatoes but somehow ended up with one row pretty much ontop of the other.
We will see how potatoes and broad beans go together.
One double row of BB's looks good with lots of flowers although the plants still look short to me.
The other double row has definitely been hit by something and now the peas along that section have started dying back too.hmmm
One of the good plants has flowers that are all white with no little black spot on any of them-wonder if I got a seed from a different type by mistake?
This month I decided to have another go at making sourdough.
I bought a packet of starter this time.
I dont understand why but I dont seem to be very good at getting it to go all frothy like the pictures show, so I cheated and added maybe a teaspoon or two of bought yeast and beat that through.
That was a couple of days ago.
Since then I added some more water and flour and beat it briskly to get air into it and left it outside in the sun.
Its in an old glazed pottery bowl with a lid.
Today I took out two cups and used the rest to make a foccacia type bread and it worked-forgot the salt tho but it still tastes really nice.
After cleaning out the bowl and lid and sterilsing them in boiling water and cooling it, the 2 cups went back into the bowl and the next lot of flour and water beaten in-it still looks good and doing what its supposed to.
Before I was trying to use home ground wheat flour but found it too hard and thick.
This time I am using chapati flour which is alot lighter but not quite white flour.
I'm hoping to keep practising with the chapati flour and then when I get good at using that- move onto adding more and more whole wheat flour til I can make an excellent loaf with just the whole wheat flour.
04-10-2011, 05:16 PM
The first lot of seed has gone into the garden today!!!
I had some saved sweet corn seed soaking to make sure it was actually going to sprout and it seemed to be doing okay.
This is the first time I have saved seed from sweet corn.
Its always been freshly bought stuff before but I figured it was time to see if we could grow our own from our own saved seed.
Sweet corn is probably the absolute favourite vege in our family.
Most of the section in front of the hedge is going to be the sweet corn/soy bean/pumpkin patch this year.
It was divided into 4 foot wide beds, the first being planted out with the sweet corn at 20cm spacings in the row with 60cm spacings between corn rows.
Between these I sowed the soy at 10cm in the row.
Then there is a temp walkway which will have a couple of butternut planted alittle later on.
The next 4 foot bed is all in bought corn at 30cm spacings with the rows off set .
With these two I used some hoops and the frost cloth to see how much faster they would come up compared to the uncovered rows.
I made sure the edges were held down this time so the cat/s cant get in to use these areas as their toilet.
The third section is planted out again in saved seed and soy alternated rows while the last one is in mainly bought corn seed and soy.
I ran out of bought seed so the last row is mainly saved seed.
I thought it best to alternate the different types of seed so we got a good mix for pollination purposes.
I decided that we would grow all the sweet corn now and the pop corn later.
This is after noticing how much sweeter the spring sown corn was compared to the summer sown corn.
Last year I was trying not to use the freezer but have since decided that seeing as we have it we may as well make full use of it.
What doesnt get eaten straight away will be going in the freezer.
Afew years ago I tried freezing corn and was told to blanch it which I did.
It was horrible so I havent done that since.
Last year I was in a hurry and just cut the corn off the cobs and froze that and found it was really nice,that last kg of corn was eked out for such a long time!
I havent weeded along the hedge walkway so ther is still alot of tall grass and violets growing up there.
I have been re reading "The one straw revolution" and want to see how things go if left alone with minimal interference.
I cant help thinking that if somebody has successfully grown food in amongst weeds then there must be a way to do so as well, while at the same time I struggle with the idea of this.
In one part of the walkway, there are some gladioliis growing.
These are supposed to be bad companions for beans.
I have left them there so I can see how they affect the beans growing here.
Last year the purple king beans did not do well here, but I dont know if that was because this area didnt have very good soil or if it was the gladies.
Mum lent us her camara, and we have taken some pics and put them in my photoblog.
I thought we were going to have to create another blog because the last time I tried to access it, it showed as 'no such number' but its back again.
Being on broadband makes a huge difference to putting the pics on,so much faster.
10-10-2011, 09:49 AM
I have been making our own bread now,still using the sourdough method.I havent killed it this time and it is getting that lovely tangy taste.
The only different thing I can see that I have been doing is to pour boiling water into the crock after its been cleaned out and scrubbed with hot soapy water and rinsed, then leaving it to sit with the lid on til it cools down.
Last night I made another foccacia with finely chopped up rosemary to go ontop along with the olive oil and salt.
I have stopped wrapping it clingwrap, I dont like using this and decided that we need to make only enough to eat and if there is any left over- to either use it in something like a bread n butter pudding or as I did yesterday turn it into breadcrumbs and dry it out.
I still have most of my fingertips left after grating the bread on the grater.
I discovered that the part I use to grate chees does not do very well for breadcrumbs but that the other side I have never used before does great at grating.
This week I started making soft cheese using the bought kit I got from Madmillie.com.
I had heard of making cheese withan acid before but never tried it.
Unfortunately, I have only been able to use normal bought milk which is pasturised and homogenised-they call it standard milk, I think its alot watery compared to the 'standard milk ' we had as kids, that was silver top or just pasturised.
I may have found a local source of farm milk but have to wait for my boss to get hold of the farmer he knows that is supplying a local cheese shop to see if he will be willing to sell to me as well.
Then we need to verify the legal req's to make sure he doesnt get inot trouble before we start.I have found that there are people in this world who will try to cause all sorts of trouble just because they can and dont understand when and why people dont do 'the right thing'.
I would love to have a cow, goat and milk ewe so we could make afew different types of cheese but that isnt possible so perhaps we can get the next best thing.
The kit I got has a proper thermometre so you can see exactly how hot the milk is getting.
The 'acid' provided to make the curds is plain ol citric acid which works its magic almost straight away.
There is so much whey left over after making a soft cheese that I didnt know what to do with it.
I had heard somewhere that it is good for the body to drink which I did alittle but dont really like the taste of it, some I gave to the chooks but not too much as they havent had this before and I didnt want to give them the runs and the rest I poured over the compost heaps.
Seemed a waste, maybe I should have stored it in the freezer til I find out what it can be used for.
I am impatiently waiting for our seeds to hurry up and grow so I can plant them out,they are all starting to sprout now.
I havent been able to sow any more cos Im out of trays and bench space to put them on so they need to hurry up for the next lot to come along.
I found that the black raspberry cutting I took last month have sprouted way ahead of the ones I took last autumn-I thought it would be the other way around.
From now on I will leave taking cuttings of this sort of thing til spring.
Our first ever green gooseberry bush has little fruit on it but none still on the red one.
The maori potatoes near the broadbeans were sprouting and I didnt have much to cover them with so I chopped and dropped the cover crop that was in that bed all over them.
I dont want them showing til the threat of frosts is over and that wont be til next week.
Finally managed to mow some lawns and get some clippings for myself.
I had promised my mum that I would get some for her so she could extend her garden out from the side of her house so she's been getting the little that I got.
The thought occurred to me that if it were not for our modern lifestyle, I would be doing this gardening bit completely differently, which then led to me wondering how that would be and what exactly would I be doing.
I then realised that I will probabaly be doing things differently when I get old too- too old to lunk a dome around the yard.
After checking out for someone else what the tree supplier said about the number of trees needed for a woodstove- I realised that something different will have to be done here as well.
Afew years ago I had to replace the wood fire as the window in the door fell off.
I chose a carbon neutral firebox which has a proper wetback not just a hot water booster.
I look at the chimneys of my neighbours and I see smoke,I look at our chimney and I see no smoke, which is pleasing.
Hubby found an oven hob type thing that sits on it so we could bake with it but it has warmed up now and I havent had the fire on to practise with it.
This contraption apparently work with gas or an open fire as well, but I did wonder if it was time to start looking at solar type ovens.
This took me back to noticing how much of what we do and use is only there because we have the 'luxury' of our modern lifestyle.=one type uses tinfoil for example.
After reading the posts on mushrooms I decided to take the plunge on this too and am waiting for my bucket of grow your own mushrooms- I got one for my daughter as well.
Im thinking that I could probably take some of the compost and try toinnoculate some areas in the garden or even the compost heap to see if mushrooms will grow.
Not sure how it will go and maybe should have waited til autumn for this.
My laptop wasnt working properly for some reason so I took it down to the computer guy and found it was nothing really-took him 2 seconds to fix so I asked him if he like eggs and that I would bring him some eggs, which I did.
13-10-2011, 05:37 AM
After looking over what I was doing last year compared to this, its really obvious that this season has been colder and wetter here than last year.
On the plus side though, I havent fried any seedlings-started them later and have them in the porch.
I may still have started some of them alittle too early though but its a catch 22 if they dont get started they might not have a long enough growing season.
Last year the Orange tree already had flower buds on it, whereas this year its only just starting to produce new leaf buds.
Last year I had already filled up a compost bin, this year I'm struggling to get enough to mulch the beds let alone extra for the bins and that taking into account that mums been getting clippings too.
My daughter on the other hand delights in telling me what she has got sprouting and already planted out - she is an hour north of us,.
I learnt from my winter experiment that its no good direct sowing into compost under frost covers til I can guarantee that I can keep the cats out.
I suppose we'll just have to pot the seedlings up and feed them with liquid tea so they do get a good start.
Surprisingly, the okra all came up ahead of the tomatoes and peppers.
I have decided to turn over the soil after the chooks have been moved off.
This is because I noticed we have convovulus sprouting, I'm hoping that by cutting the soil into 6" slices, so that any roots that have got back onto the beds will be shorter and so more easier to pull out.
One curious thing, the Alder I bought from a local nursery has different leaves sprouting than the ones I got from the South Island nursery - I'm pretty sure the S.I. one knows what they are growing but the garden centre might not.
So I'm going to have to do a search to see just what we have got.
I hope it is a type of Alder because the odd ball is growing at the edge of the garden and is supposed to be helping to feed the garden with its roots and leaf fall in autumn.
The strawberry bed is looking good, the bird mesh over it is doing al ggod job ofkeeping the birds and cats out of it, although it seems to be a favourite spot for our tom to take his 'toys' (mice) to play with.
I watched him deliberately let one go so it would crawl through the strawberries, he followed walking over the top of the mesh to capture it again on the other side.
At least this time he didnt take it inside and let it loose.
I have all fingers crossed that the strawberries are doing well in December because my eldest is coming home with his family then and my grandson adores strawberries.
We definitely have baby gooseberries growing ont the green gooseberry bush.
The Kowhai is flowering now which is supposed to mean that it is time to plant out the kumara.
I will be doing that on Sunday.
The chooks are still on the bed that they will be going on, I've been inching them around the curved bed in the first mandala,(waterbed) to make sure it all gets poo'd on.
Mum decided that she would sprout these for me and she did a much better job of it,they were looking alittle yellow last month so she put alittle compost on the tubers and they greened up again.
That should mean the slips have some nice roots on them.
15-10-2011, 01:35 PM
The bucket of grow your own mushrooms arrived, I was expecting them in a week or two, cos they said they would inoculate and incubate them before sending.
We are lucky we have them as they were left on my neighbours back porch instead of ours,He kindly carried them over for us and was rewarded with some eggs.
It certainly looks like something is starting to grow all over the top of them.
I have both buckets sitting in the cardboard box they arrived in, inside the woodshed where its reasonably dark and warm.exciting.
They came with instructions to water carefully in 4 days time.
I'll have to print off the instructions so my daughter has a copy.
The Elderberry cutting I bought on trademe arrived too.
I've put 2 over by the compost bins(over on hubbys side of the trellis),2 along the driveway and 2 got potted up just incase I lost one of the others.
If they all take I'll give them to a friend who was also looking for some.
One of the year old hens has decided to go broody so we have ordered some fertile eggs for her to hatch out-these are meat birds.My son in law is going to help up overcome our reluctance in providing meat for the table.
I was going to get duck eggs but changed my mind at the last minute.
It looks as though we are going to have afew more different types of fruit this year-the black currants and blackberries have both got flowers and fruit on them now.
I still havent been able to find out what my Alder tree really is yet, but TP tree is starting to flower so we will get to verify whether or not it is a tree mallow very soon.
The other day I spent an evening wandering around Hardworkinghippy's garden(via her photos),I try to imagine what our place would look like if we managed to get trees growing strategically so it looks like the garden is nestled into the woods like hers does.
Maybe we can get together with the neighbours and organise a mutual tree growing thing.
19-10-2011, 06:58 PM
Today our fertile eggs arrived and were put under the broody hen.
She's secluded in a redundant rabbit cage ( I decided that rabbits were too much work at the moment and too fluffy and pretty for me to kill right now,,,,maybe later).
It seemed to take her quite awhile to decide whether or not she was going to sit on them but thankfully did.
I'm not sure what I would have done if she hadnt.
I also spied out where 'Houdini" has been laying her eggs.
There seems to always be one smart arse who just has to push it.
This hen discovered that she could get out of the dome, first by jumping up and out through the small gap between the door and side post of the dome, then when that was blocked off she taught herself to launch herself between the bottom of the door and the dome and out-these gaps are about 3 inches although it would be interesting to actually measure them to see just how good her wing/eye co-ordination is.
Originally I thought she was laying under the Mandarin tree and spent ages trying to find her nest there.
It wasnt til this morning that I spotted her beak poking out of the shrubbery.
Its under the ferns not far from the steps up to the garden and in sight of the back door.
Today was the first day we had to do something with the mushrooms, according to our instructions.
The bucket arrived with its peat top inside a plastic bag with instructions to wait for four days before carefully placing this peat ontop of the bucket.
The temperatures are supposed to be around 20 degree but with this cold spell we had trouble finding a spot anywhere that was nice and warm.
The best we could do was next to the freezer.
I did have them in the hot water cupboard, but after using our large thermometre, I found that it wasnt all that warm on the floor in there.
I hope that this means that our mushrooms will be alittle slower at producing and not that they wont grow at all.
I think we'll be alright.
I have little sticks stuck around the kumara plants, a la hardworkinghippy and it seems to be working at stopping the hens from ripping them out.
They girls are spending most of their time in the dome and let out early in the evening.
Today they discovered the soil under the trailer was nice and dry inspite of the absolute drenching we got today and spent most of their time having a dust bath.
I think I may have worked out why Gladiolii's are not good companions for beans- it may have something to do with the fact that snails seem to love living in them.
I just happened to peer in amongst the leaves and found so many of them I was shocked and did wonder if I was wasting my time with the garden when I had so many adversaries to combat.
I have been having fun in the garden while I wait for things to hurry up and grow.
I've taken to pocketing the camara and practising taking photos of different things.
This week, I discovered how to zoom in on things and have been practising getting the focus right.
Actually, thats how I came to find the hoard of snails in the Gladioli.
The latest subject has been spiders, after rereading the one straw revolution again-must be my all time favourite I think because it covers the philosophical as well as physical.
Anyway, he talks about how spiders are good for the land and a good measure of how things are going.
I have not seen all that many spiders in the garden and wondered if this was because we have white tail spiders in our area.
I had been told that they will eat out just about all the other spiders.
I have seen the odd web but not that many actual spiders so off I went in search of them.
We seem to have quite afew different sorts but still not many in number.
I think in an hour and a half, I found 5 and of these only two were the same.
I have seen 2 other different types but not that day.
Not too sure on what to do to encourage them into the garden,they arent the sort of thing that is normally talked about in this regard...you hear about what to do to encourage bees or lacewings but not spiders.
The T.P tree finally flowered and I was able to verify that it is in fact the tree mallow lavatera arborea.
Still havent done the final test to see if it deserves it new name yet though.
Havent found out whether or not the Alder, that was recently planted along the back of the garden, is in fact Alder, or something else.
19-10-2011, 08:13 PM
I just love your descriptions Mischief. Brings a smile to my dial!! Thanks
19-10-2011, 11:14 PM
Such a lot of reading for me to catch up on. I hope you realise its me who is shangrila on your photoblog and not some weird stranger.
21-10-2011, 06:29 AM
haha thats great, life should have alot of smiles,it a wonderous world.
I read somewhere that you see more in the world when you look at it through your two year old eyes, everything was new and interesting.
yep I did.
I thought we were all alittle weird though.
It did take me ages to figure out how to befriend you on photoblog, but its done now.
We finally got together with the farmer who is willing to sell milk from the farm, so off I trotted early this morning to collect our first lot.
As soon as I got it home we had a huge glass of milk and it tasted soooo good.
I cant wait for the cream to rise so we can scoop it off and save some for pikelets and use the rest to make butter.
I thought we still had some yogurt culture in the fridge but no so I'll have to get some more.
We can easily go through 4-5 litres a week if not more in summer when I use it in the salad dressing as well.
21-10-2011, 08:11 AM
Some uses for whey; (from various sources)
I have been using whey for so many things.
Cooked oatmeal in it.
Cooked rice in it.
Used it instead of milk in corn bread.
Used it instead of milk in pancakes.
Also this - "Don't throwout that whey! Whey can be used in almost any recipe calling for sour milk or buttermilk. We use it in pancakes, muffins, breads and salad dressings. It can also be turned into lemonade by adding sweetener. If you won't be using it in cooking, we are told it makes an excellent plant food."
And this -
Protein is affected by high heat, as are beneficial bacteria. So it depends more on what temperature you brought the milk to when you warmed it, whether it will offer protein and/or beneficial bacteria (which will promote fermentation)
When I make paneer for example, the recipe requires that I bring the milk to a boil then add an acid base (in this case lemon juice), thus using heat and acid combined to curdle the milk. For this cheese I would not expect beneficial bacteria or proteins to be left in the whey.
If using low heat and acid you may still have the last protein that is only curdled with high heat. One test you can do to see if there is protein left, is to bring the whey to a boil, then let it sit. After 10-15 minutes strain through a cheese cloth and if you have curds, there was protein left. Doing this with whey from harder cheese ie cheddar, gouda, feta will give you traditional ricotta which is a low yield, but very yummy-a lot more flavorful than whole milk ricotta that most of us are used to.. The flavor is partly due to the fact that this last protein is very sweet.
Of course doing this does destroy the beneficial bacteria, so if you want to use your whey for fermenting grains etc. you will not want to do this. But if you want to create a yummy traditional cheese or test your whey, you can always do this with a portion of your whey. When you make cheese you have lots of whey.
I use whey from low temperature cheese in cooking as well as soaking grains, beans etc. I use it in bread baking. I feed it to my animals, they love it. I make lemonade and whey soup. I make a lot of cheese and end up with lots of whey, so I also add it to my compost and my garden. I don't ever toss it, I always feed it to somebody.
As an addendum to the above: As I understand it, beneficial bacteria is destroyed at about 110-115 degrees F (around 45 degrees C). The protein is coagulated when the milk or whey is boiled. So until the whey is brought to a boil that last protein will remain.
Some more -
Use the whey to make bread. I do that all the time. When I make cheese I let the whey cool, put it it ice cube trays, then empty the ice cubes into plastic bags and put them back in the freezer. The liquid makes a much softer bread than when you just use water, but doesn't add the gummy texture that using actual milk can cause, because there aren't at many of the thicker proteins, and there is no real fat left. It's a very healthy way to add protein and softness to bread.
Just take the whey, and use it to blossom your yeast. I like it for slicing bread, and for flatbreads. Take a large cup of warm whey, with a tablespoon or two of honey or sugar, add a packet of yeast, stir, then let sit till blossomed, add it to a cup of all purpose or white bread flour, a cup of whole wheat flour and knead, adding bench flour a little at a time till the dough is no longer sticky, but still kneads easily (kitchen aids are awesome for this because of the kneading hook, but you have to use a pro series, the entry level ones have plastic gears now and can't handle bread doughs). Then either form into a loaf, or what I like doing is taking hunks of it, working them out into flatbreads and just cooking them in a cast iron pan. If the cast iron is well enough primed you don't even need oil, other than a tiniest drizzle every 4-5 flatbreads just to keep the prime in the iron from burning out.
And finally (for now) - The region in India where I grew up, a cold, flavored buttermilk drink was served with lunch, especially in summer. The consistency is supposed to be much thinner (almost watery) than the cultured buttermilk you get in a carton. I am guessing that your whey is about the right consistency. Here's how to flavor it: Mash/grate a 1 inch piece of ginger, coarsely chop one hot (Thai) green chili, chop some fresh cilantro (Oregano) leaves. Add all of these to 4 cups of whey or thin buttermilk. Add salt to taste and a couple of teaspoons of sugar or honey. You're not going for a detectable (is that a word?) sweet taste, but just trying to balance the heat from the ginger and chilies and any tartness from the whey. Let this mixture steep for an hour or so in the fridge before serving. You could strain out the flavorings before serving. If you don't strain out the chilies and ginger when storing leftovers, remember that they will continue to steep into the liquid. The drink can taste much spicier the next day.
Hope that helps :)
21-10-2011, 04:48 PM
I felt like bookmarking your post in my favourites!
I am going to have to keep coming back to this one.
Thank you very much for that.
21-10-2011, 05:29 PM
You're welcome :D
21-10-2011, 06:55 PM
Do you want to post that again in the recipes section?
21-10-2011, 08:47 PM
Will do, MA
25-10-2011, 07:32 PM
I made the mistake of removing all the eggs from Houdinis nest and now she is laying somewhere else.
At first, she just laid in the nestbox I kept outside in the garden but today she managed to push the hoe out of the way and get out of the dome again, I did see her walking determinedly towards the plum tree and thought that she would lay in amongst the bracken, I was wrong.
Now I am going to have to spy on something that is not much more than a foot high.
In the last week I have finally been able to actually mow lawns and which has given me some much needed mulch.
The kumara have now all been mulched.
I scraped off the old mulch from the temp path onto the potatoes and replaced it with new stuff.
Its actually starting to look like a vegie garden again.
The seed sowing bizzo is better in some ways but I am sure that things are slower to come up than last year.
Not sure if its a watering thing, so I've taken to soaking the trays in a long plastic planter box that hubby brought home for me.
This filled up with rain water which was great.
After a couple of weeks is starting to look alittle green and for some reason there seems to be more and more dead and greening snails in this water.
I didnt bother to replace the water or remove the snails, I figured that they would add needed fertiliser to the mix.
My experiment with the frost clothe versus the bird mesh was a washout.
Ants and snails moved into the beds with the frost clothe, so I will have to do alot of replanting in those beds because of them.
With the other two beds, it isnt so straight forward.
Last year, I dibbled holes and dropped in the sweet corn seed and got great results.
This year, a week after I sowed the seed, it rained heavily which of course meant that the beds got really wet and filled all the holes up with soil.
This, I think means that the seeds are now too deep and although some struggled to get up and out the top , alot didnt.
Consequently, I have sweet corn sown in TP(!) rolls as replacements,not much I can do about the soy beans.
Lack of forsight meant that I had sown the whole packet already, so we will just have to infill with something else.
I didnt grow the Austrian oil seed pumpkin last year as we had heaps of seed for the kitchen.
I had 3 seeds left that I knew were definitely not crossed with something else and thought I had better do these this year or they might be too old next year.
Of the pumpkin seeds sown, these were the last to sprout and so far two have come up.
We are going to have pumkpins scattered throughout the section, each well away from the other and hopefully far enough to make sure they dont cross.
My family love pumpkin and although butternut is great for us, they are alittle small for my brother and his crowd, same for my step sis.
Now that the bank is cleared away, its pretty much bare and I needed something to cover it.
The old prostrate Rosemary has been covered in flowers and has had so many bees on it, I just had to take lots of cuttings of this and plant them along the top of the bank.
Its a differcult area and I dont think its very good for annual type plants so I took as many cuttings as I could of the different currant bushes for here as well.
I had intended to move the plum tree next winter, but decided not for a couple of reasons.
Its growing so well and is big and its holding up my clothes lines-where would they go?
Its an area that I seldom need to weed, the violets do really well under it and the bracken doesnt grow anywhere else.
If I did moved the tree, the bracken mightnt like it and I Need it to fight against the starlings.
The big pot with the baby Bay tree in it is now holding down a rope that is bending down one of the plum tree branches so that it grows out over the garden to give it allittle more shade than it was before.
I did this last year with a couple of branches that now grow over the courtyard.
There has been a huge increase in the amount of bees in the garden this spring, last year it was just about all bumblebees.
We even have at least one nesting hornet-I found the nest she is making and took a pic of her on it, but I'm sure there are afew others as well.
I dont mind them, you just have to rememeber that they are alittle bitchy if you get in their way.
Today I took time to watch what flowers the honeybees were going for, there are quite afew for them to choose from.
I wasnt surprised to see them in the brassicas-turnips, swede,black radish, rocket and white mustard.
I didnt expect them to be interested in the Herb Robert though and they still love the Rosemary even though the flowers look to me to be alittle jaded.
I'm seeing a lovely bank draped in rosemary with currants peaking out the top and the forgetmenots that have moved in nestled in amongst them.
Most of the Black Raspberry that were put in along the bottom of the bank behind the swing seat have taken with only 3 that are needing to be replaced.
The bird mesh over the strawberries had to come off as 2 of the asparagus that got planted along the edge of these were starting to poke up through the mesh.
In its place I have put in the bracken fern, to discourage the starlings.
I doubt it will stop the chooks, so they will be let out later than they have been and herded off towards hubbys side where they like to dust bath, or more towards the back beds.
Last year, I tried putting red things in front of the ripening berries, actually, it started off by putting some ripening strawberries in a red pot to hide them from the birds, it worked so I did it again.
That time the wind blew it away from the fruit but they werent eaten, so I figured there was some truth in the story of putting red things around strawberries to confuse the birds.
This year we have red clothes line pegs so they have been commandeered for the garden.
The mushrooms have now got their peat layer added to the pot and the mysilium is starting to grow around the edges of the buckt, hopefully, it will cover the whole thing and Voila la- mushrooms.
Broody mum has settled in, I dont know if she has actually come out to eat or drink at all- I've never seen her do it but I do have a look specifically at her comb to make sure its not going dark and so far so good.
She can see out now cos I raised one side of the towel just in case it was too dark for her.
I do feel like an expectant dad tho..."Is she supposed to be doing That?"
07-11-2011, 06:22 PM
We had our first feed of home grown mushrooms tonight, bliss!
Hope they continue to do well.
I did try sneaking alittle piece of the peat with mysilium on it out into the garden to see if it would start growing in the composty soil there but so far it hasnt.
On saturday, when I came home, I was surprised to see my neighbour sitting up on the ridgeline of his roof.
I thought he was alittle early to be up there to watch the fireworks, but no, he was trying to seduce a cockatoo into coming inside with him.
Apparently this 'white parrot' as my mother called it, has been in the area for some months now and seems to have quite a wide territory- it was seen about 15 minutes drive south of my place months ago.
Needless to say my neigbour was disappointed as this wise ol bird flew off and wasnt at least tempted by the wheat I offered either.
Things are moving slowly at the moment.
I have repotted the tomatoes, eggplants and okra and they are doing alot better.
The seedlings are definitely slower than last year even taking into account that I did start later this year- the nights here are bloody cold!
Mum started her tomatoes a couple of weeks before me but didnt give them a feed of liquid seaweed fert like I did so hers are still at the two leaf stage while ours have four.
The tray of asparagus has just about all sprouted though.
I have been inching the dome along the current section of garden,its not a circle any more.
I did find out why the dome didnt seem to fit how I expected it to.
I got in and measured the diametre, it wasnt the 2.9-3 metres I thought it was but was 3.2 which would definitely explain why it felt the section ahd shrunk, not too sure how the dome expanded though, did I actually measure it when it got built? I thought I had.
Houdini hasnt been able to get out since I hit on the idea of wrapping the lacing of the 2nd windbreak(trampoline saftey net) around the handle of the door.
She was not a happy chappy for some time and I do wonder if she has stopped laying in protest cos we are only getting 6 a day so somebody isnt laying.
For some reason they had stopped laying in the nestbox over the last 2-3 days,so today I upended it, cleaned it out and laied fresh twigs, leaves and scrunched up fern fronds to make it nice and welcoming again.
The girls seem to look forward to their late afternoon release.
I have gone back to keeping an eye on them while they are out since they ate all my Kim Chi cabbage.
They do seem to be more interested in the worms and snails though and each obviously has favourite spots they head to as soon as they get out.
Broody hen is eating every few days and seems to be drinking more often now too.
I never actually see her do it but the water level goes down sometime s quite dramatically and her feed gets less as well.
Strange how she manages to poo only once a week(?) and enormous!!
The sourdough starter started getting a strange skin on it and smelt rather vinegary, which didnt seem quite right so I threw it out onto the compost and scrubbed out the crock to start a new one.
That was abit disappointing it was dooing so well.
I wish I knew why it suddenly went wrong after, what a whole month or two of being brilliant.
Still,it was a definite improvement on previous attempts that never seem to get going at all withput turning odd colours.
Perhaps the next one will be even better.
My daughter came to stay for afew days and we made cheese-feta.
I might have started something here,her partner has been looking for a sausage maker so he and a mate can start making theire own sausages,hehe, and at a time when daughter is seriously considering going vegetarian.
She even stopped off at a local temple and had a long chat with a buddhist monk and maybe going to their meditation evening to start learning more.
Its all Sunburns fault for putting Buddhism out into the ether in such an exuberant fashion.
10-11-2011, 12:17 PM
We have chickies!!!
So far there are four but mum is still sitting on the other two so maybe they will still hatch out.
I was expecting them next week, I thought it took a month for them to hatch out but it was only 3 weeks and one day.
They are so cute and look like they have kohl liner around their eyes.
I've put in a shallower water dish and a lid with crumbed up wheat and corn thats been soaking for a bit which thye seem to be enjoying.
12-11-2011, 01:44 PM
One of my mum chickens disappeared for a few weeks.
One day she appeared from under a dense bush with about 20 baby chickens!
It was an amazing and joyful sight!
14-11-2011, 05:15 PM
20!!! Bloody hell.
I wasnt sure if I should remove the last two eggs or not so I left them there.
The next day she had moved them out of the nestbox so I figure she was done with them.
Its really hard to see how a chick that is only an hour or so old could possibly had ever fitted in its egg, they are so much bigger.
One of them has already learnt the art of scratching to find its dinner which is unfortunate cos it winds up scratching it all out of the container.
I might have to move them to the dog kennel sooner than I thought so they have a grass run to move about on.
They still seem happy in the rabbit hutch though.
Hubby bought home a sort of soaker hose that holes in it and instead of soaking it sprays a fine mist over the garden.
The kumara are looking really green again since I've started using this and it doesnt seem to use much water compared to the oscillating water thingy.
I did transplant all the sweet corn and soy beans I could find out of their previous beds and into the most recently vacated, they werent lookng very good and are doing much better now.
I'm annoyed because thats pretty much 3 beds that I dont know what to do with, if I plant anything in them now they probably wont have time to mature before the chooks are back on them.
Around the edge of the kumara bed I have planted out one lot of tomatoes- the Albenga Oxhearts with a row of onions in front,yes they are really late going in but what the hell.
Along the north side of the bed I have put the Okra and have left a space between each for the peppers to go in.
These just havent sprouted up very well.
I learnt how important it is to label the trays before you sow the seed and not let anybody distract you.
I thought I had some mulato peppers starting to appear but they looked very strange and it wasnt until they got 4 leaves that I could see for sure that I some how had already sown the Rhubarb there, which meant that I had to repot both the Rhubarb and the peppers.
I have discovered that the fence outside the back door is a great place to put the larger pots on- it has a 4x4 running between the posts and acts as a great shelf for the pots so longs as I leave one particular spot clear where the cat like to jump up and over it.
This is the first fence I ever built 15 years ago.
I had to build it before we were allowed to bring our then new dog home from the refuge and it is still standing and still straight.
I was thrilled when I realised that it gives me alittle more room in the porch for the smaller things so now I dont have to fret so much about not having the space for more seeds to get sown.
If I need more room, I might put another shelf or two in under the top one.
This side of it get sun for most of the day.
We've been eating Broad beans.
The first lot were quite small so I chopped them up and popped them in a mild curry which tasted pretty good.
I decided that prehaps they are okay to eat and have been using them like this in just about everything.
Now they are getting alittle bigger and I am not too sure whether I am supposed to shell them out or not.
The pods are starting to taste alittle odd so I dont want to eat them any more but the beans themselves look too small to shell out so do I just wait for a bit for them to get bigger or is there another use for them.
Part of my daily rountine has now become cruising the garden looking for different bugs and spiders and seeing if I can photograph them, its been fun and interesting.
Another thing I have started doing is taking note of when things are flowering with the idea of getting the whole yard to have at least afew things in flower at all times.
I specifically planted Alysum because I had been told that bees like it but 2 years on I have yet to see one single honey or bumble bee on them, so I wont be bothering with this anymore, although I love the look of the plants growing alongside of the steps up to the garden.
I'm wondering if a hive keeper has moved their hive away as we dont seem to have the same masses of honey bees around at the moment as we did have even though there are still alot of different things flowering.
At the begining of this growing season, the idea was to have set things growing together as companion plants.
This has proved alittle more differcult than I thought due to still not being very good with the seed sowing.
I was starting to dispair that my green thumbs had turned black but things are looking greener and alot more healhy looking than they did afew weeks ago.
I am starting them off in trays that have 24 wee pots per tray and then potting them up into a bigger pot at the 4 leaf stage.
One difference I noted from last year is that then I often had to pot them up at the two leaf stage because they were sending heaps of roots out the bottom of the pots wereas this year they arent doing that.
I think it is because I have been giving them alittle feed of watered down liquid seaweed every so often.
We've eaten all the first lot of mushrooms that came up with still lots of little bumps showing.
I have had differculty watering the bucket with the water wanting to just dribble over the sides.
There is a definite gaps now between the side of the bucket and the top of the soil which probably isnt good.
I popped the bucket out last night when I was watering the garden with the soaker/sprinkler, it has such a fine mist I didnt think it would do it any harm and brought it back inside before the temperature dropped too much.
I popped another little piece out into the compost bin where one of the side boards fell off in the hopes that it will innoculate the heap,that would be fantastic.
My brother was able to stop in after doing a job down here and wants some mushrooms too so I will be getting a bucket in a couple of weeks time for his birthday.
The milk run is going really well.
I made lots of yogurt this week and strained it.
I did put it back in the hot water cupboard for an extra hour cos it looked alittle watery but dont think I should have because it seems alittle more sour than last weeks.
With the soft cheese this week, I put in alittle rennet along with the citric acid to see how this would change things and it did, the cheese is still a soft salty cheese but has a different texture not like the feta from last week- more softer almost cake like and just as lovely.
The bit left over from the other week got rubbed all over with some blue vein cheese I bought for a treat-just the last few crumbs really but it has permeated this cheese so it actually tastes like blue vein even though it doesn look like it.
Not too sure how long it would take to start turning blue,might have to just eat it as it is.
Been eating my own cheese for AGES now and not one tummy ache although my mum got a special tea to stop her from getting the trots after having our milk in her coffee.
I do make sure that everything is super cleaned for this including putting everything in a stock pot thats half full of sterilising solution.
Will have to get some more of that before too long too.
14-11-2011, 05:52 PM
I love reading your updates. They are so down to earth and I feel I am there. Thanks annette
15-11-2011, 07:44 AM
I often sit in my "garden" and watch. Watch how the raindrops fall on leaves
Watch how the bees move. What flower do the choose what do they leave.
I like taking photos too, and often sit for a while waiting for the sun to be just right.
I am building up my wildlife now, lots of noisy frogs,
beautiful sleek lizards with a golden slash down their side.
The problem with my garden is, I do too much sitting.
15-11-2011, 07:54 AM
I second Annette's comments. I don't always reply but I always read. So keep posting even if it looks like nothing is happening!
15-11-2011, 05:05 PM
I am glad you all enjoy it too.
I think perhaps I do alittle to much sitting and watching too, when I could be doing something.
I checked the 'blue' cheese today.
I did have it in the fridge wrapped up and then read it should be somewhat warmer so out it came back on a plate in the cupboard.
The kitchen smells.
Of cheese and Blue, so I checked it and it is covered in a blue stain.
I decided to prick it all over but had to use a sharp knife cos I couldnt find Any of our skewers.
I'm starting to get excited again.
22-11-2011, 05:40 PM
I found two of Houdinis nests.
There was one in a hollow beside the plum tree that had 6 eggs in it, very tasty they were too and more recently found one along the hedge with 6 in it, which were also very good.
She definitely isnt happy now that I have been successful in stopping her from getting out on her own.
Unfortunately, she has made me realise that I have fascist tendencies!!!!
The last time I watched her get out, she had spent all day looking for a way out,I know cos I spent the whole day in the garden.
When she finally did manage it, my first thought was that if we were ever allowed to have a rooster, she would not ever be allowed to breed-she is far too intelligent......oh no....
The dome is now in the bed right next to the broad beans, I thought they would have done their thing by now and have been trying to figure out how to lift the dome over the beans,not going to be easy.
The last lot of wind blew them about so I got some stakes and baling twine to hold them all up again.
I could have trotted the dome right around the other side but I had already planted the last bed out when I thought of that.
Still I have two weeks so maybe they will hurry up for me.
The last three beds the dome has been on are the ones that run through the middle of the garden.
I have wound up joining these all together with a temp path running through the middle in line with the one by the compost bin.
I was going to leave it as all one bed but then realised that I will want to cart clippings from the truck across there at some point so it would be wiser to put the path in now.
I started off planting rows of potatoes which then became a wiggly worm row so I didnt have to replant the self sown pumpkins that are right next to them- Im pretty sure they are queensland blues.
SO the first part of the bed has a u shaped double potatoes row with the pumpkins in the middle.
Then next are all the sweet corn that got saved from the earlier beds along with the remaining soy beans planted between the last two corn rows.
Then the middle path.
I needed to plant the black pindar peanuts so they are in the middle of a wide bed.
There are two rows of these 2 feet apart with probably 2 1/2-3 feet on either side to make sure they have enough room to put their pegs down and not be upset by the peppers on each side.
The peppers are still too little to put in but they should be in by the end of the week or next week.
Then there is another temp path separating the last bed.
That has the last lot of potatoes in a double row and a single-didnt have enough room for another double row or enough seed potatoes either.
Again I put them quite a way into the bed so I could grow things next to the path that I will want to reach more often.
When I planted to potatoes, I banked up the bit inbetween the single row and the double so I wouldnt need to hill it up- its already hilled.
Ontop of this I have some conehead cabbages with cannellino beans sown in a row between them
I swear if these dont come up this time I am not ever getting them again, so far every one of these I have sown even in pots or punnets has got this wiggly white worm and the seeds have pretty much collapsed.
Hopefully these will do better and as they are growing for drying, I'm not going to be wanting to harvest them as often as I would if they were needed as green beans.
I feel alittle like a mandala traitor now that I dont actually have an a la woodrow looking garden any more, but there were some good reasons for doing away with some of the permanent paths and the indented paths between the beds.
Lack of mulch for the paths was a major one , actually lack of mulch over winter was a major problem
Having to move the dome more often especially over winter when the ground got pugged was another.
So I killed two problems with one solution by moving the dome over half a wideth each week.
This means I can have wider or narrower beds depending on what needs to go in them and when I need to plant kumara in another bed this gives me another option as to where they can go.
I had quite afew cabbages ready to be planted so some have been put in between the earlier rows of potatoes along with some roquefort beans also for drying.
The oil seed pumpkin have been put under the apple tree in the front garden.
These have a big pile of compost around them and the whole area under the tree has been mulched with grass clippings.
It was quite nice to sit here smelling the roses that grow next to the tree watching the world wizz by.
The pumpkins on the roadside garden are doing really well.
These are the funky french type that will grow peanuty warts on them.
06-12-2011, 12:43 PM
The blue vein cheese was fantastic.
In fact it was so good, my daughter took half of it with her when she went home.
I only had alittle bit left to grate up to put into the next batch, so far so good.
I do worry about the rise in temperature tho cos I dont have a proper cheese cave or fridge spare for this and am using a large tupperware container.
The other one I made wasnt so good,in fact it smelt and tasted revolting so it got chopped up and fed to the chooks who thought it was just great.
I did worry that I was poisoning them, but they didnt seem to be adversly affected at all.
Broody mum and the babes got moved to the dog kennel.
What a mish that was.
I managed to get two of the chicks and transported them with her shreeking like a mad thing.
I thought it best to move her next which didnt go down too well but all was good when I got he last two moved.
Next day I could only find 3 chicks.
One had got out and had a great time underneath their wooden floor eating all the slaters etc...
Finally got it back up where its supposed to be and filled the gaps in.
They do look alot happier with the extra room and air flow.
I noticed a curious thing with the pindar peanuts, alot of them seemed to be trying to grow upside down, with their little white roots waving in the sunshine, abit like naughty peckers actually-must be a northern hemisphere thing.
Those seeds got plucked out and turned up the right way and so far they seem to doing better.
I did wonder if they had managed to fry themselves in the hot sun but no.
The first lot of sunflower seeds were sown behind their tomato buddies and most have come up.
Those that got eaten by the starlings have been replaced.
I did not want to risk my pole beans so these have been sown in little pots rather than direct sown-I didnt save the seed from the purple kings for some reason and neither did mum, thinking I had, so there were only 6 between us.not good.
My two have both sprouted.
The Georges beans I got from Pippi have all sprouted and these will get planted out with their mates probably next week when they should be too big to be distroyed by nasty birds.
The seed sowing has gone alot better this year even with me using the trays that have the small individual pots rather than punnets.
This year I didnt press the compost down quite so hard-just firmly and of course the liquid fert every couple of weeks is probably helping as well.
Not sure if I have got the planting by the moon down past yet but I think that is better than last year too.
The neighbour at the back corner of the garden wanted me to cut the hedge down to chest height right the way along which I didnt want to do.
They have 1 1/2 acres to hide in while all our section is in the back yard.
I no longer desire the priviledge of nude sunbathing but still like the idea of wandering around the yard with some semblance of privacy.
So, I told him that I couldnt cos the winter winds blew the dome around when it was near the low part of the hedge.
We agreed that it would stay around the same height as the front neighbours fence.
He also wanted to cut down the trunk of the tree that grows in the hedge.
I pointed out to him that it actually grows over his side of the fence so he is well within his rights to cut it right out and that there would be heaps of firewood there if he took it as far to the base as he could.
I think he's silly saying he wants more light in that part of the yard- he's just planted a shit load of fruit trees around here which get all day sun in summer and most of the day in winter anyway.
Hehe,I did want to be surrounded by trees and he has happily provided a forest at our back.
The tray of asparagus was looking dreary so the plants got transplanted into one of the polystyrene box that had holes in the bottom.
Lots of compost underneath and on top which should keep them happy for alittle while longer.
My brother was eyeballing these when he visited so I must keep a watchful eye on them when he's down for xmas.
The waterchestnuts arrived and duly got planted in their tub of muddy water only for me to be told via an" oops I forgot to give you growing instructions"-email, that I should put them in damp soil only til they start sending out green shoots just to make sure they dont get root rot.
These too are now in the porch in little pots of damp compost and are just starting to green up.
I am really looking forward to these....I love Trademe!!!
Clever people are selling things I have given up looking for and it has been a buzz finding special herbs and things.
I have had to restrain myself and only go looking once a month or I would be in financial jepody.
My latest aquisition is a set of 30 herbs for the beneficial insect border for a buck each plus shipping.
These are dual purpose rather than just for the bees and afew will have to go into pots like the horseradish and choc mint.
I have found a source for the hull-less barley but have to wait til feb for those and the same for the tumeric.
I did find the galagal ginger tho which is starting to shoot up nicely.
THE Clothes line got put up this weekend.
It probably could have been put a couple of feet closer to the house but where it is will work just as well.
Hubby has been given strict instructions to visit our friend and ask her very politely if he might measure up her table and bench seats exactly so we have just the same as theirs.
I have been given strict instructions that I might not put on the lines and use it as a clothes line til he gets home again to make sure that the concrete sets properly and the whole things stays perpendicular-I dont really mind if its alittle on a lean, but agreed only cos I spent all my allocation this month on herbs.
08-12-2011, 05:11 PM
YOu are making blue vein cheese? That's amazing. Are you putting pictures of that on photoblog?
12-12-2011, 01:59 PM
It still looks and smells good, well actually I dont think blue vein cheese ever really smells Good,it does smell, but it doesnt smell Bad if you know what I mean.
It will probably take awhile to work.
With the first one, I had alittle bit of bought cheese left and mashed it up with some fresh cream and rubbed it all over.
It turned blue after a couple of weeks.
With this one I added the grated cheese to the curds before pressing it alittle so Im not sure if it will turn out the same.
I did stab it all over though so I hope so.
I should have put one up on the last blue we did, that looked great.
We should know next week if its going to work or not.
12-12-2011, 08:20 PM
Blue cheese smells so bad that it is good. I made blue cheese and mushroom tarts for the street Christmas party yesterday. That way I knew that the grown ups would get to eat SOMETHING.
13-12-2011, 02:08 PM
haha love it!
14-12-2011, 05:19 PM
Your place and life experiences sound wonderful Mischief. I must admit to feeling pangs of envy when i read your adventures. I love blue cheese and to think you make your own.! yum...... It's on my list of things to do. I seem to have too many things to do and never enough time............ It's getting too hot here to be out in the garden after 9 in the morning. Sometimes I wish I lived in a cooler climate.
17-12-2011, 07:50 AM
Alot of the time they feel wonderful too.
I learnt something about yogurt this week.....no more eating out of the container.
I used the left over yogurt to start off this weeks one and it was obviously contaminated cos its starting to ferment instead.
So thats 4 litres gone.
Im going to seee if it will ferment properly and then see if it will turn into vinegar.
19-12-2011, 05:01 PM
Today is the first day in two weeks that it has not rained.
I even managed to get a lawn mowed that was supposed to be done last week.
Yesterday, it felt like winter, so cold we actually lit the fire.
I really wanted to grow watermelon and rock melon this year but dont think they will have time to fruit and ripen even though the seedlings are almost ready to plant out.
I also have calabash and bottle gourds coming along but am not too sure whether they will have time to ripen either.
These were to be my solution to storage for my bulk seeds etc..., and I did want to have a go at making a gourd bowl,fingers crossed that it will be a fantastic summer from here on out.
A friend has agreed to let me grow some of our luffas and long dipper gourds in some of their trees.
I grew the long dippers year beofre last too and they did not turn out as expected.
When I told my supplier, they said it was because they had not been grown in a tree or trellis which annoyed me, so we are going to see if I have the right seed or not and I will send some of them to said suppiler this year if they wind up being the wrong plant.
I think I might change my mind about cats.
The chicks got out of the dog kennel and one got killed but not eaten,(I found it,too late).
I spent the next very wet hour sewing the bird mesh onto the bottom of the kennel with fishing line so the others could not get out again.
The dome has been stuck on the same spot for almost a month cos the broad beans and maori potatoes took longer to grow than I estimated.
With all the rain we have had over the last two weeks it got to the point where I Had to move them or else.
So my daughter and I were out in our rain coats harvesting the broad beans-we got 6 full shopping bags full of pods which turned into around 7 kgs of beans.
These are all in the freezer in half kg bags except for the bag she took home.
It was fun to sit on the floor in the kitchen and shell them out.
After they left I took them into the living room and piled them on a towel in front of the fire.
I wanted to get the beans of a similiar size in each bags so they would cook at the same rate.
So I spread them out and sorted them into monster beans, baby beans and averagesized ones and bagged them up.
We have been eating them 2-4 times a week as well but I never thought to measure the daily takings so I have no idea how much we really got.
I have found that they are definitely much nicer than the store bought frozen ones I subjected myself to long ago.
The monsters arent that great with their skins on but once they have been popped out they are lovely with Alittle butter with salt and pepper.
We put aside the beans from the good looking beans especially those that had 5 big beans in them-most had only four.
My daughter put aside the whiter looking ones cos she said they tasted sweeter than the others.
I had sown two different types but with the plant that had all white flowers on, it meant we had 3 different types.
Never thought to harvest each row separately or to separate out the white flowered ones- it was too cold and too wet and we just wanted it done.
The pop corn I sowed into the trays with 24 little pottle(?)pots have done really well considering that they are from the year before.
I didnt think the germination rate would be very good so I put four in each and most of them have come up with only afew having 2 or 3 seedlings in them.
These are going in the roadside garden and will be planted out in little piles of compost with 2-3 feet apart.
These should keep the funky french pumpkins company.
The sunflowers have sprouted next to their tomatoes.
I think next time I will sow them in pots so the can go in the ground when I plant the tomatoes.
They seem to try to lean away from the tomatoes so I think they dont like being shaded by the tomato plants.
I have a couple staked to make them grow straight.
The first lot of flowers have appeared on most of the tomatoes,the plants are still only around knee high.
I think this is good, early flowers low on the stalk to me means that the soil isnt too rich or they would have grown taller before flowering.
All bar two of the okra were knocked back by the cold snap, if ai can get at least one lot of pods from each I will be happy-seed for next year and maybe we will get a variety created that can handle our weather.
I noticed today that the sweet corn is starting to tassle up even though it is only a couple feet high.
Not sure why this is but it is probably a mix of being transplanted along with hot and cold weather.
I still sowed them with the pole beans though, so hopefully they will continue to grow higher or I will have to put a stake in for each of them.
This weekend was my grandsons haircutting ceremony.
This is a Cook Island tradition-probably other Islands do too but not sure,where a (Boy)childs' hair is put into ribbons and each ribboned piece is cut off, first, by those from the 'high table'-church minister and community elders, parents and grandparents; then family members then friends.
A gift of money, in an envelope is put into a basket which is banked and kept for their higher education or for times of Real need.
His grandfather (Mothers dad), is from the Cook Islands and it was unthinkable for him not to have this for his eldest grandson.(mine too)
It was a very interesting day with both Cook Island and Maori traditions being upheld.
I think my kids were alittle bit worried that my partner would commit some faux pas, being completely unaware of traditions and protocol and were happily relieved when the day ended with the best feed in absolutely ages.
The only thing I didnt like about the day, was that we had to eat separately, as there was no chair for my partner at the high table, so I had my dessert down with him to make up for it.
Its funny,our food was brought to us but by the time all the speeches were over, it was cold while the rest had to go and get their own from the buffet-they got hot food which would have been much nicer.
I thought my grandson might be abit peckish after having to sit still for so long so I took him a punnet of strawberries to munch on while he was having his head mauled.
He loves strawberries which was really obvious in the way he just demolishing the punnet.
Growing our own strawberries made me realise that the bought ones must be harvested when they are completely green.
They are quite often sour whereas our home grown ones are sweet, even when they are picked before they are 100 % red(have to or the birds get them).
29-12-2011, 07:44 PM
Our plum tree- the one next to the courtyard, has produced the most amazing crop of plums.
Usually the birds filch them when they are still green and for all the years it has been fruiting I actually thought it was a green plum.
It isnt, it grows red plums.
They are only little things one bite and its gone.
Awhile ago I was pegging down the branches so they would grow out over the garden and give it abit of shade in summer,now I am having to use bamboo stakes to hold the branches up so I can walk underneath them-they are so ladened down.
All the rain we have had over the last few weeks has made the fruit start to split and rot and there has been alot of fruit drop.
I found these very useful as ammo and had alot of fun sitting on my half plastic barrel seat sending missiles at naughty birds, stupid chooks ran towards them thinking I had sent something over for them but the wild birds knew better.
This might be the reason why we have not had to share our strawberries this year.
When we finally got some really good stinking hot weather I was hoping that this would help them the plums dry out alittle but its gone overcast again and I have noticed that the top most plums are fast disappearing.
So this evening I started collecting the red ones and then the ones that have just started colouring.
At first I left anything that wasnt all red but accidentally picked one which I ate and found that it was sweet so these got picked as well.
30 kgs later it got too dark to see and there are probably just as many still on the tree and half that amount on the ground waiting for me to rake up and feed to the chooks.
Alot of our haul will go to make plum jam andplum puree to go into the freezer.
I do need to use some of them to fix the plum sauce I made year before last that was just too sour.
The sunflowers are starting to grow taller than their tomato buddies and the pole beans are getting impatient with them.
I hope this idea works out.
The tomatoes are still only around knee high but have alot of multi stems probably because I forgot to take off all the bottom leaves when I planted them deep.
These have just about all set flowers, so I had to go along and cut off all the secondary stems just above the flowers.
The idea is to have the tomatoes grow UP the sunflowers not hang around their ankles.
The sweet corn is definitely starting to get tassels and now there are silks coming along.
big sigh, cos they have all got pole beans sown next to them as I expected them to grow alot taller than they have.
I did find a corn plant that I missed when I transpanted them and was pleased that the transplanted ones are taller than this one, alot more sturdy and greener.
The soy beans have fianally decided to start growing and I was surprised to see that they have little pods on them.
I hadnt even noticed any flowers, expecting to see big bean sized flowers, but the soy flowers are really quite small and insignificant looking.
The Italian Zucchini have again started to grow monster sized flowers inspite of the fact that they are banned from the garden proper and have been relegated to the beneficial insect border at the bottom of the bank.
These are just lovely not only as fritters but to look at, they are so big and bright.
I definitely prefer these zucchini to the 'normal' ones we used to get.
The flavour is firmer, not so watery and almost nutty in flavour.
My daughter wasnt so sure about putting them raw in the pasta salad but after tasting them agreed that they would work.
I did think that these would be smaller this year compared to last year when they were planted in a bed where the chooks had been left on for too long.
There are two plants about 1.5 metres apart,one is definitely bigger probably because it is right below the water barrel-I took the dirty tray from broody hens' cage and washed it out over that plant but the other one isnt much smaller than it.
The Delica zucchini was planted out in the garden-I thought it would be a smaller plant for some reason but I may have made a mistake as it is starting to send out runners like a pumpkin.
These are alittle slower in producing fruit and still havent got flowers on them yet.
The long triple bed down the middle of the garden now has a timber border for the edges.
Most of this is some old yellow gum lengths I had lying around from the earlier vege garden, with the curved bits edged with some of the boards from the pallets.
Havent got the whole thing done properly yet because the timber is saturated and very heavy to lug around, but it looks okay so far.
I decided to do the same sort of thing with the Orange tree bed so that now has an edging of boards from pallets held in place with the old plastic piping we had lying around.
I had the first orange off it for the year and it was so sweet.
It feels like it has taken ages for these to ripen up and I swore I would wait for the fruit to fall so I knew when they were ripe but I just coudnt help myself and picked the most orangey looking one.Lovely.
The NZ spinach has finally seed seed and was lookingf rather ratty so this got pulled out and the bed mulched with some stable sweepings and the odd lump of horse poo.
It maybe should have been left to sit around for abit longer but it was in the wqy and needed a home.
The edging has been planted out (again) with the dwarf mustead lavendar and hopefully this time the cuttings will take.
I have popped in afew of the herby things I bought afew weeks ago-just the low growing ones- feverfew, scullcap,herb two pence as well as a couple of my oriental poppy seedlings.
Should be enough to keep things interesting without over crowding the bed too much.
07-01-2012, 09:19 AM
I didnt get to collect anymore plums and not because of the birds this time.
With all the rain we have had they were rotting on the tree and I got to dread the sound of .. thunk-yet another slimey mess to clean up.
Have a couple of dozen jars of jam in the pantry now, some of it is not quite cooked down enough and more like plum puree.
I dont mind and Im not going to recook it, it isnt lasting that long cos we have it stirred through our yogurt for breakfast along with strawberries or raspberries.
This month so far has felt more like autumn than the middle of summer and while some things are growing okay the 'special' ones arent...melons eggplant okra and peppers are just sitting there asking to be let in and can I please light the fire.
Broody mum started to lay eggs again.
My cousin was showing her daughter them when she started to cackle,big thrill for this 4 year old.
I had to whip the egg out because broody mum turned around and started to peck her egg!! not happy.
I decided that if she is laying again that she is done with her chicks.
In hindsight I probably should have taken her out alot sooner.
I pulled her out of the cage expecting her to return to the dome-dumb move.
She doesnt recognise it as home any more.
I thought if I let the others out and fed them, that she would go over and eat with them and then hop in and roost with them too.
This did not go according to plan as we had a major hen fight which I had to break up before blood was drawn.
I have taken to feeding her infront of the dome so the others can get used to seeing her and will try again tonight with feeding them outside the dome, otherwise I'm going to have to find a wire cage to put her in and put this in the dome for a week or so.
I tried this years ago when we lived in AK and it worked.
My experiment with the sunflowers seems to be working out.
Most of the sunflowers are taller than the tomatoes now and getting more sturdy.
My mother laughed when I was moaning about how slow they were this year and that I should have started them earlier.
She pointed out that mine are bigger than hers and she did start them way before me.
I found a sweet corn planted that I hadnt noticed when I transplanted the rest over to the middle bed.
It was yellow looking and half the size of the others which made me feel better at having moved them.
At some point Im sure I will get the hang of this and get things done right and at the right time.
We have carrots, lots of carrots.
I went mad and sprinkled the seed everywhere thinking at least I should get some.
Because it hasnt been so hot they havent fried and the rain has kept them moist so I would say most of the seed has sprouted.
I have alittle band infront of all the tomatoes that has a row of onions and beetroot with the carrots in amongst them.
Funnliy enough the beetroot has taken a long time to grow.
I was talked into keeping the seed in the freezer over winter til it was time to bring it out again.
Not sure that this is such a good idea and wont be doing it again.
The TP tree has flowered, the bees loved it, but ......
All the big leaves fell off and were replaced by smaller and smaller leaves til they are rather embarrassingly little,not even big enough as wet wipe.
The one I cut off at the ankles last autumn hasnt flowered and still has large leaves.
I never did research this plant and wonder if its an annual as it looks like its dying off now.
I had read to plant the cabbages and beans along the potatoes once they had been hilled up, so I did.
The potatoes continued to grow up and out and have mostly smothered the others with only those that were planted at the end of the rows still looking okay.
Wont be doing that again.
In the first year we planted the cabbages out at the same time as the potatoes and they did well but we found it almost impossible to hill up the potatoes and wound up with alot of green tubers.
The waterchestnuts finally got planted out in the half wine barrel.
I think we need to find some tadpoles because we of course have misquito lavae in the water.
It would be nice to think that we would have a frog come to stay but with a stream a couple 100 metres away they are more likely to stay put there, if there are actually any.
While we do have native frogs they are not common and not all rivers or streams have any sort.
The pumpkins that were planted on the roadside garden have taken off and are starting to cover the whole area.
There seems to be alot of little bobbles on the vines, I didnt walk through them to see how many as I learnt along time ago that this encourages powdery mildew especially when its been wet like it has.
The oils seed pumpkins under the apple tree have taken alittle longer to grow perhaps because they only get afternoon sun and are shaded quite abit by the tree.
Still they are sending out good runners now and have fruit forming up too.
I had to end our experiment with the strawberries and take out the 'weeds' that were not doing as they should.
I read that onions like to grow with strawberries so I planted some leftovers in amongst them.
I noticed that these ones are half the size of the others and think this is because things like scarlet pimpernel, chickweed and veronica persica were creating too much shade which have now been taken out; rather than because they are growing with strawberries.
It would probably help if I planted them alot earlier of course and perhaps I will manage to get properly organised to do this next time.
The berries were starting to rot where they were clambering over everything instead of filling the empty spaces at ground level.
I have left the small flowered yellow oxalis and clover in though.
We have had lots of strawberries out of the bed.
It is hard to say exactly how much because part of my routine is to raid it before, during or after feeding the chooks or working in the garden.
As the season goes on the berries are getting smaller and smaller.
The first lot were intensely sweet but the last lot havent been so much.
They havent been getting as much sun.
Forgot to say that I got to eat two gooseberries off our baby green gooseberry bush in the beginning of Dec.
I thought these would be sour but they were lovely and sweet.
Found them quite by accident and hadnt noticed that it had even flowered.
The red and white currants either got eaten by the birds or the flowers fell off.
The Black currant still has afew berries but the one I tried was quite sour.
Black Raspberries have become a family favourite and I have requests to grow more of those along with the strawberries.
One thing I did notice with the strawberries, was that the ones in the special bed got all day sun and are growing much better than those that were planted under the baby fruit trees or in front of the Avocadoes.
The others dont grow nearly as many berries and they are not as sweet.
The Orange tree is I would say completely recovered from its ordeal and fruiting beautifully.
I picked another one and found it was deliciously juicy and sweet.
I have removed the NZ spinach from underneath as it had set seed and was looking ratty.
This bed now has a border of pallet slats I stole from the compost bins.
I had trouble getting my cuttings to grow for its edge so these slats do that job while I get my green thumb back in action.
I have tried again with the lavendar cuttings around the inside edge and have some herby things planted out in the bed with them.
One of the orange tree branches was too low and after checking that it didnt have any fruit or flowers in it I chopped it off, actually there were two of them.
This should let alittle more light in under here and I think as the tree grows I will probably remove two more lower limbs.
I have had a look at a couple of mature orange tree around town and they grow wider than the bed will be so it will need to be encouraged to grow up so it can grow over the path above head height.
07-01-2012, 01:59 PM
I harvested our shallots day before yesterday while it was stinking hot.
These should have been collected earlier but they still look okay.
From the 6 I planted out, I harvested 50, with one really big and alot quite small.
Most of them were medium sized though.
In the past when I have grown these, the inner skin was a red-y colour whereas these ones have onion skin yellowy white.
Not too sure but this just must be a different sort.
I accidental pulled the top off one of the elephant garlics so that came into the kitchen and made lovely garlic bread.
It felt strange to make gsrlic butter with something that looks like an onion.
The others have sent out flowers which are just starting to open up now and I am looking forward to having lots to sow.
After checking out the onions under the tomatoes,I suddenly remembered something I had read eons ago about onions.
I think it was in a really early edition of the Yates gardening guide where it said to put the onion sets out at........time.
When I finally got to have a garden, you could only buy seed.
It also reccommended bending down the leaves which at the time didnt really make sense.
But now after looking at my little bulbs, it occurred to me that if people were planting out sets then they would run the risk of their onions bolting to seed so of course it then makes sense to stop that from happening by bending the leaves down.
This year I was way late putting the onions in and I have been wondering if they will only grow small bulbs, if so should they be kept and dried for sets for next year if they stay quite tiny?
10-01-2012, 01:54 PM
I'm running into differculty with my sunflower experiment.
We have had some unseasonally heavy winds and alot of them got blown over-the wind even blew over a couple of cabbages which I didnt think I would ever see.
Some have started to stand up again but a couple I have had to stake to make sure they dont get damaged.
I think next year, I will definitely be sowing or planting the sunflowers at the same time I put the tomatoes in so they do get a head start.
Broody mum hopped into the dome with the others when it got dark, last night.
I did have to break up a fight earlier on but it felt like I had abit of help from our large black hen.
I was sitting on the bench seat just watching them,feel like I'm learning more about chook mentality and/or culture.
Anyway, the black hen walked up behind broody mum and basically herded her over to the rest of the flock.
Later, after they had gone back into the dome, I noticed that the same black hen seemed to be getting in the way of the fighter so she couldnt get to the 'newcomer'.
Made me realise that I have not paid attention to the nuances of chook culture.
10-01-2012, 02:06 PM
The more you get to know them, the more your get to love them and the easier it is to 'whisper' them. It's all about working with their natural behaviour, not trying to fight it. I've noticed that if I want to introduce young chooks in with old chooks it is better to do it before they reach a certain age/size. This way the old girls seem to take the young girls under their wings or at the very least tolerate them without violence.
10-01-2012, 02:11 PM
oops another egg pecker hey? My two chooks do it sometimes and then they do not. Talking of chook culture I was watching my chooks the other day too. Shirley has gone clucky and I have to keep shooing her off the nest. She must of got sick of me doing it because yesterday i heard a strange noise. I looked out and Laverne was standing there, like a statue, not moving a feather. She was just looking sideways and making this "oop", "oop" noise about 3 seconds apart. How weird, never heard a chook make such a strange noise. I watched her for about 5 minutes just making this noise and not moving at all! not her head, feet, nothing, completely still. I went outside and there was shirley perched, all broody in the wheelbarrow. Have no idea what that was all about........one broody hen having such a strange effect on another.....
11-01-2012, 05:49 PM
They do have different sounds,have you noticed that when you give them something really tasty, they make an almost crooning sound.
Not feeling too good at the thought of despatching the wee babies, probably my unwillingness to do the deed, but it doesnt really make much sense to eat a young bird that could give eggs and then give roast dinner.
Most of the others are alittle small in stature for a meal, but it would be more sensible to practise on them first.
I suppose they could be soup, broth and stock?
I mentioned to my 'rooster dad' boss, that I was thinking of sending some of my hens to his farm for a holiday so I could get some fertile eggs ( using the chicks when they were alittle older).
He suddenly remembered that he said he would give me some eggs to hatch out and had forgotten,unfortunately, a customer came along so we never did get to sort anything out.
Im not all that keen on the bantam type chooks and would rather have dual purpose hens than just egg hens.
He's got brown shavers with the light sussex rooster and is looking at getting some more.
I have been encouraging him to get some Buff Orphintons.
He goes out to some farm and helps cull the goats, so I booked a beast when he goes next, hope he remembers.
Staking the sunflowers has made a difference.
sounds silly to do that but never mind.
I've thinned out the laterals and some of the lower leaves that were starting to go brown which hopefully will reduce the load for the poor sunflowers.
We have the first lot of tomatoes forming up finally.
Still munching on oranges,strawberries, black raspberries,lettuce,fake spring onions-perrennial welsh onions,broccolli,,'kim chi cabbage-started the first lot of kim chim with our own garlic, ginger,cabbage And spring onions(fake).
Had the first two Borlotti beans for the season.
The baby avocadoes have recovered from their snowing and have alot of new leaves.
Three of them got knocked back so severely that the graft is kaput and they are regrowing from the rootstock,oh well.
I have planted Rhubarb inbetween the trees out the back as they are supposed to help make the soil slightly acid, hope so.
They are also supposed to like growing with strawberries too, so they should like their new spot as there are some of these already there and I also sprinkled around some granny's bonnets which they are also supposed to like growing with.
One of the waterchestnuts did not seem to be growing very well.
Its leaves were alot shorter than the others and did not stick out of the top of the water in their tub, so I have taken them out and planted them in the soil below the tub where I can drench them every day til they grow taller.
I thought I had accidentally pulled out the Aniseed plants, I found them today looking like nothing But, I can see seeds on some of them so fingers crossed this is another milestone achieved.
After 3 years I discovered that my mother is growing Elephant garlic.
My Uncle and Aunt stayed with her last week and 'tidied up' for her.
They pulled out a whole heap of her garlic and cut off the flower which upset her terribly.
She gave me her garlic to bring home and I used some in tonight dinner.
I just spent Money this year scoring this stuff and its been growing by her back door all this time.
Hers' didnt actually have alot of flavour compared to my one but perhaps that is because ti doesnt get all day sun.
Having trouble loading pics again on the photoblog, I think they have changed the system and I havent been able to get it too work, but I have been taking progress shots to load up when I can figure it out.
11-01-2012, 06:53 PM
When ever I'm out in the mandala working near the domes and I hear one of the Rooster do that sort of gurgle distress call, I instinctively look up to see what is flying overhead.
11-01-2012, 09:17 PM
I can pretty much tell who it is that laid the egg by the sound of their call now. I was watching them one afternoon and two of the girls started having a go at each other. Misty - the dominant chook - walked up to them both and without making a sound or touching either of them - GAVE THEM THE LOOK.... You know the one that your mother used to use that made your soul freeze? The 2 girls immediately backed up into opposite corners of the run and stopped annoying each other!
12-01-2012, 06:20 PM
I think we have a top girl who does this too but I havent had these ones long enough to recognise their individual calls.
After reading what Grahame said about older chooks behaviour to littlies, I decided to start intergrating them, so after I let the big girls out I went down and let the little ones out.
Quite often I get followed and today 4 of them came down with me including broody mum who didnt seem to be particularly enthusiastic about being reunited with her offspring.
I thought at the start that the chicks were going to get bailed up in their kennel cos 3 of the oldsters hopped in and started to eat the chicks scraps.
The chicks for some reason thought they were going to get fed by them but were quickly disabused of that idea.
They were definitely pecked on but not what I would call overly harshly and soon learnt that if a big girl came to investigate what it was that they had found, it was a good idea to just let her have it.
Because I dont know who killed the other chick, I hung around til the girls went back to the dome and the chicks looked alittle lost and were herded back to their kennel.
All in all it went surprisingly well and I will do this everyday, if I can til hopefully they will follow the big girls to the dome and hop in with them.
I'm pretty sure they are all hens.
I have been staring at the feathers that fall around their 'shoulders' and the ends of them look to be rounded whereas roosters 'shoulder' feathers are pointed or so I have been told.
The rooster we re-homed did have pointed feathers too.
Today, I visited my daughter.
Before I was allowed inside for a cuppa, I was shown their garden and the shallots and garlic they had just harvested.
Everything is looking very healthy and growing well except for the 2 peppers and a gherkin that are under the shade of a lovely PLUM tree.
I have, of course put in a request for a cutting of the plum tree when it dies back in winter so I can have a go at grafting.
My shallots are better than hers tho but her tomatoes are way ahead.
She took me shopping,I dont like shopping but she said I'd love it so off we went to this new place she found.
At the DUMP!!!
When we drove in I wondered what on earth I had started, but it wasnt bad at all (except for the smell of course).
They have a recycling drop off point, where people can drop off stuff they dont want that is too good to put over the dump face.
This then gets checked over, tidied up if needed and put into the shop where it is sold for very little.
I got 3 seedling trays that were in perfect condition and way sturdier than the ones I have and are stackable(($2 @),an old steamed pudding bowl complete with tight fitting lid just like the one I learnt to make puddings with when I was little($4) and 3 out door chairs for the porch($3 @).
I had been looking for steaming baskets which they had but I didnt get any cos I wasnt sure if they would fit my pot, but next time I go I will measure the pot so I know what size to look for.
Before we went back to her place we stopped off at a Chinese bulk foods place and got afew things there.
I seem to have lost my wok so I got another one which is bigger and has properly riveted sturdy handles so they wont fall off and some Tom Yum sauce paste, which is a hot and sour sauce base-yum.
I got this because I wasnt happy with our ginger- its just not gingery and my kim chi tasted bland when I checked it this morning.
I stirred a couple of tablespoons through it and it now tastes fantastic.
Just have to wait a couple more days before I can put it jars and pop it in the fridge/or start eating it.
12-01-2012, 07:17 PM
Well you must have done something right there mischief to have a daughter who will take you to the dump shop. Mine would rather spend her money at Smiggles at present.
13-01-2012, 05:23 AM
Oh yes love those dump recycle places! and those chinese shops, interesting things. My daughters are the same eco. Only time I got them close was when they were learning to drive. The deal was they got some of their driving lessons off mum by driving around saturday mornings taking me to garage sales. As soon as they got the licence that was the end of it. lol
13-01-2012, 09:36 AM
including broody mum who didnt seem to be particularly enthusiastic about being reunited with her offspring.
They are quick to forget them once they are old enough!
They were definitely pecked on but not what I would call overly harshly and soon learnt that if a big girl came to investigate what it was that they had found, it was a good idea to just let her have it.
That sounds like normal sorting out of the pecking order mischief. I think your approach will be perfect.
27-01-2012, 03:53 PM
Since the beginning of summer, we have so many drizzly, rainy days that have been overcast and cold especially at night,that I got quite despondant about getting a decent crop this year.
I dont like being in the garden when its wet.
And wind, arhh.
My sunflowers blew over so they have been staked upright and are now starting to make some headway.
Seems silly to stake them but never mind.
I had to prune out the laterals on the tomatoes quite severely and that seems to have helped.
The beans are starting to hold the main tomato leaders up the sunflowers although there are afew that just want to run along the row.
One thing I noticed with the potatoes, was that the plants that were just put ontop of the soil and then mulched grew tubers really close together and you had to yank them to release them from their root, whereas the others came out of the soil easily- not sure why that was.
The chooks or wild birds kept scratching around and uncovering them so there were more of them that had green bits on them.
Still gorgeous tasting tho.
I discovered that if I boiled a big pot one night and the next thickly sliced them and shallow fried til crispy then stirred through some Tom Yum sauce that had alittle water added, that they were absolutely divine.
Crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle with just that hint of hot and sour.
Things are growing slowly this year.
I was worried that we wouldnt get any sweet corn, but had a sneaky look at afew of them and they do have kernals even though it rained and was so windy.
The soy beans are look like they are doing well.
The normal beans are only just flowering now.
We harvested the rogue potatoes growing along the fenceline for Xmas dinner and they werent too bad but the first lot I planted were disappointing.
Of the two rows that were planted in trenches, one row gave 700-800g each and the other 800-1kg each which was the same as the row that I where I just put the tuber ontop of the ground and then mulched.
Next year I will have to grow french marigolds here as those nauseating little white worms were all over the tubers and had migrated to the ginger plant.
Not something you want to see just before dinner.
Its these same bugs that wreaked the cannellini beans there last year.
I thought they would be long gone but they werent.
I think the seed we got was infected with them.
That and the pigeon peas which were completely eaten by them before they even got to sprout.
Cant see our supplier admitting to that, but its alittle obvious when you have three different types of beans sown in the same tray of individual pots and the others were not affected at all.
I've given up on the okra and the melons this year, its been too cold and they are just not moving, nor are the jicama or luffas.
The only way I can see these doing well here is to get that greenhouse built and I will probably have to do it myself....typical bloody tradesmen, home is always last.
Actually I think even the choko vines are having a hard time too.
The thornless boysenberry has nasty thorns, so that is getting pulled out,fortunately my brother was given one that Is thornless and he has alittle one he's going to pot up for me.
The Galeau d'eyesine pumpkins we have growing on the roadside garden have gone crazy and have so many pumpkins on them I am impressed.
To start with, the little bobbles were growing yellow before they had flowered and my heat sank cos with other sorts that meant that they were going to fall off, but No, they didnt and the first lot are really big.
Im still not sure I've got the right seed because they were supposed to be pink pumpkins with peanut sized warts all over them...just have to wait and see.
There are a couple of monsters there though.
The oil seed pumpkin I planted under the apple tree definietly should have been put in earlier and so far they have only made one pumpkin between the three of them.
Not all bad though cos at least I have fresh seed for next year and one will produce alot of seed, so we will still get to eat some.
The strawberries and black raspberries have finished, the red raspberry is still flowering and has afew nice bunches of fruit coming along.
The chooks seem to like the black currants and the two I got tasted quite strange.
Its the first time I have ever eaten these and Im not sure if I like them or not, they are different-florally.
I thought I had lost the chicks this week.
I forgot to shut the door to their kennel and on my saturday got up late and could nt find them anywhere.
3 hours later I found one behind the garage and that afternoon, I was sitting on the park bench at the back of the garden wondering how ai was going to tell hubby that I had lost our chicks, when I heard a familiar sound coming from over the hedge.
They were in the back neighbours place.
I have no idea how they got there but after grabbing a bowl of wheat I got over the hedge, got them to come feed right by my feet, caught them and toss them back where they belonged.
Their intergration is going slowly.
I had to lock houdini in a rabbit cage because she was attacking them.
Not sure if it was because she had gone broody and I had put them in the dome with her.
She was in solitary for 3 days with just water and no access to the nest box and seems to have been cured.
02-02-2012, 06:03 PM
I just raced out to close the chicks kennel only to find they werent in there,damn so I went off to close up the dome ....but I cant, cos the chicks are roosting on the top of the door and top edge of the dome.
And I thought they couldnt fly!!!
I had the big girls locked in all day today because it seemed that the chicks were afraid of them and let them out for abit tonight.
Obviously they are willing to be near them now which is great.
I've got to get them to see that they would really like to be in the dome rather than on it.
I climbed the 'trellis' next to the nectarine tree today to pick all the fruit off.
That was a bit of a drama with mum saying 'now dont you fall, I cant pick you up' so of course I fell over the other side landing on my arse, stuck,feet sticking up, most undignified.
The choko vine and pumpkin growing on hubbys side broke my fall but I wound up between the trellis and the old trunk of a peach tree that hadnt rotted down yet.
While I was stuck, I took the opportunity to tug on the vines to see if the baby hazelnuts were still there .
They are completely covered in vine except for a leaf or two and seem to be hanging in there.
Its alittle early to be picking the nectarines and they are not all ripe but this is the first time we have had any harvest from this tree>
I noticed today that they were starting to get the dreaded brown rot, so they have to come inside for a wash in my cheese making sterilising solution.
I'm hoping that will stave off the rot til they can ripen alittle more then I will bottle them.
I didnt think we were going to get any eggplants but have been hand pollinating them anyway.. now I have 3 on one plant so far so which is great.
Things are starting to look up, we have flowers on the cape gooseberries, another flush of strawberries,tiny peppers and even two of the melons are flowering with lovely little fluffballs.
The calabash has set a fruit and I can see more coming along,so at least seed for next year.
The funky french pumpkin IS a funky french pumpkin and the monsters are starting to get that burnished orangey pink look to them and the odd pinprick of baby warts, haha.
I thought I'd pulled out the salsify- it looks like a narrow leaf plantain, but I found 4 so all is not lost.
The pearl drop onions have been collected after I saw that they were leaning over, most of them were quite small even for pearl drops but a good handful were a decent size.
These are in the porch to dry out, along with the purple onions I picked up yesterday.
I'm going to keep the big ones to replant next year so they set seed.
The purple ones, I'll replant too but to grow abit bigger.
The white onions havent formed bulbs and look like luscious leeks so we'll have to wait and see how they turn out.
I've been dipping into the large jar of pickled eggs I did last week, they have been sitting on the bench so I could keep an eye on them.
When I found that the jar was loose and so hadnt sealed, I snuck some to munch on-wonderful.
This lot were done in a sweet vinegar with the elephant garlic,some whole all spice and a bay leaf, so a delicate flavour that doesnt overpower the eggs.
The ones I pickled today have some chilli included for when we want abit of spark, that jar has sealed but i'll still keep it on the bench to make sure they were cooked enough and dont start fizzing like they did last year.
I just had to eat a carrot, tiny as they are but yum so carroty.
Which brings me to the subject of Asparagus.
I was re reading how to plant them for when that time comes and was amused to read that you should not eat the spears for the first few years.
Having never grown asparagus before, the reason for this made alot of sense, but when you actually look at the size of the spear-why would you even consider doing that?
They are only 2-4 mm in diametre at the most and dont even look worth bothering with.
One of the Copenhagan cabbages is enormous and ready to be cut.
I'm not going to though cos one the things on our to do list, is to get a cabbage to set seed.
I have no idea how long it will take though and am not too sure if there is anything that can be done to speed it up so the seed set and mature before the frosts arrive.
I know thats still afew months away, but I would have expected it to make a start on that by now rather than keep on getting bigger.
06-02-2012, 01:58 PM
I have managed to upset yet another neighbour.
One of the chooks got frightened when the little puppy who now lives to the left of me came to visit.
It wound up flapping up onto the woodshed roof and over to the neighbours to the right (and front).
I did go over straight away to chase it back but he was already angry by the time I got there.
I really dont understand why he was so angry,it hadnt done any damage and there is no garden To damage or scratch amock in, but he was even after I tried to explain how it came to be there.
Sometimes people are just plain stupid,this guy has no garden in his yard, just a couple of zen rock type features and a scalped lawn.
I think I have more reason to be upset when puppy comes over because he upsets the girls and makes them skittish- he doesnt actually chase them although I do think he may have been the culprit with the last missing chick, but that would have been by accident than him going into actual hunting mode.
Puppies mum and dad were out so after walking him around the yard trying to get him and the chooks used to each other-and Axle, our tomcat so he wouldnt beat the puppy up anymore,I popped him in the now defunct chick kennel.
Not much later on I noticed that the door was open and puppy was gone so I figured he'd been rescued.
The other day, puppies dad came over to tell us that one of our pumpkins was trying to hitchhike to Taupo.
We went out to have a look and one of them had fallen off and rolled down into the gutter.
Its not a mature pumpkin but still weighs in at 5 kgs, so its inside now and hopefully will dry out and still be good to eat.
Pumpkins obviously like growing here, the plants are doing so well.
I feel like I should be cutting the really big ones off already so there will be more nutrients for the ones coming up,there are 3 that are enormous.
I think next year I will plant out the other french type we got out there.
It has leaves that completely cover the whole area and will be better at acting as a ground cover to smother the grass that grows there as we as the other weeds.
That one is the Musee de Provence and I snuck it on hubbies side to deal with His weeds.
Its growing so thickly that I cant actually see if has even started to grow pumpkins yet, but it does look pretty.
The nectarines did not ripen before the brown rot ruined them- didnt take long which is disappointing.
I have a nasty feeling that I need to wear my glasses more often.
The chicks seem to be facing off against each other with hackles raised....baby roosters?
I really did think they were hens.
The larger one has beautiful markings on its wing feathers and is much more developed than the smaller one....sigh
Maybe it just sibling rivalry.
06-02-2012, 04:54 PM
Hey mischief once had a not so nice neighbour myself. He had a dirt garden. sheesh. I saw a program the other day and the guy was a chook expert. He said if you can't tell the roosters from the hens this is what you do. Get a comb and put it under the feathers. If the feathers have rounded edges, odds are they are hens. If the feathers are more pointy they are more likely to be roosters. Haven't tried it myself but worth a go I reckon.
07-02-2012, 02:16 PM
I had been staring at their feathers and thought that they were rounded, but I hadnt been able to catch them to really get a good look....
I think I might have been wrong and will either have to catch them to see or wait for them to start crowing.
Actually the neighbour is usually really good, that might have been cos I had been giving them surpluses, which I havent had so much of this summer and it hasnt helped sending interlopers instead.
07-02-2012, 04:23 PM
I'm wondering if sexing chickens is like home pregnancy tests? I mean - in both cases if you wait long enough doesn't it become sort of obvious?
08-02-2012, 05:27 AM
Yes it does, but in this program the guy was having a feast and wanted to use the young cockerals and keep the hens. So he needed to separate them out for the cull.
14-02-2012, 06:50 AM
I think we are finlly getting somewhere with the chicks integration.
On friday night, the smaller one had hopped in the dome and up on the perch but the other one was hiding-almost dark and it still wasnt ontop.
Saturday morning I had to go to work early so in predawn light I went out to feed them.
The rooftop chick had wiggled its way under the cover so I tossed some wheat around for it when it decided to come down-it didnt and it was still there when I got home so I had to hop in the dome and shove it in the right direction til it fell off the roof.
Good thing I had replaced the wire mesh with nylon bird netting, made it easy.
Last night,it was still going ontop of the dome but decided to hop in when I feed the girls some left over popcorn.
This morning they are getting chased alittle bit but are still getting to eat so I'm going to leave them in there.
One thing that has become apparent with all this carry on, is that these hens have a higher regard for their eggs than the battery hens had.
I could leave one egg in a rogue nest and they would still keep laying in that.
With these hens, if I take any out they immediately go off and lay somewhere else.
Broody mum is missing again and I think she has gone broody again and sitting on all those lovely eggs.
Even though she is white its really hard to spot hens when they are sitting quietly and dont want to be noticed, its almost like they are sending out magical vibes saying' you dont see me, pass on by..'
I have not been watering very much.
Me and mum are doing a little experiment with her watering as she always does and me when I normally do, which isnt very often.
I have always felt that plants should do what god created them to do and once they have been planted and watered til they are established, that they should just do their thing.
I water for alittle bit after planting because I recognise that their roots have not established in the soil as they would do if they were self sown and so need alittle help.
My plants are just as healthy as hers some are more advanced and some not.
The 2 self sown Principe Borghese that came up after all the planted tomatoes are just as healthy and have never been hand watered.
One grew along the trellis I had set up for the melons-they died but the beans, garlic and onions under them didnt.
I cant walk along this part of the temp path now because it had bushed out and covered the area.
Unlike last year where the plants sprawled over the ground these are leaning down then growing upright again and have alot of little fruit.
The first lot-Albenga Oxhearts, that were first to be planted with the sunflowers have most of them now growing up the sunflowers and being held with the pole beans-Pippi's Georges beans.
Once I took off the lower laterals and the lower leaves, the sunflower seemed to be able to cope with them.
The first lot of fruit got eaten by the chooks as they started to redden, so I will either have to leave the hens in the dome all the time or collect the fruit and ripen them inside which I used to have to do due to wild birds eating them.
The second and third lot of toms also got planted with sunflowers and beans but their sunflowers didnt take off and still look spindly.
I havent pruned the laterals on these and they have grown all over the path so I have had to use the gap set aside for the peanuts to grown into as the path the reach them all.
Perhaps because it has not been so hot and humid this year I have got away with doing this and not had the fruit rot like they usually do when left like this.
I am impressed with the Sub Arctic and Russian red plants, they caught up with the others and are fruiting just as well with fruit almost at the ripening stage too.
The sub arctic'sunflowers didnt grow and two have a Blue ridge Kale between them and have Savoy cabbages near them and are not fussed at all so Im pretty sure this thing about them being bad companions is not nessasarily true.
I didnt have the room to plant the green sausage toms in the garden proper when they needed to go in so these were put in the beneficial insect border.
They are supposed to be a determinate type and only grow 2 foot high, they havent and are acting as a ground cover instead-very thickly, so its just as well this season has been they way it is or they would propbably be rotting by now.
I did cut the 2 biggest pumpkins off the Galeux D'eyesine in the hopes that this would leave more nutrients for the smaller ones which did not seem to be growing very well.
With all the fruit formed up, very few were actually continuing to grow and were withering.
The first was 9.8kg and the second was 14.2 kg.
Good thing we found a locally made pumpkin cutter so we wont have to use the axe to cut them up.
The Musee de Provence plants growing on hubby's side and still winning against the convovulus and choko vines.
They look very healthy and I can see flowers poking out from under the leaves and have seen bumble bees visiting them, so here hoping they turn out ok.
Neither of these have been watered after they were planted and I think the musee leaves look better because the other being grown on the rock wall garden is more elevated and exposed to the wind and in full sun all day whereas the musee is sheltered and gets dappled sun for a good part of the day.
The Queensland Blue that self sowed in the second potatoes bed have taken over and covered this area, so Im hoping that they will keep any potato tubers from getting to much sun now that these spuds have died back.
They dont seem to have as many fruit growing yet but are still expanding their territory.
We have been munching on sweet corn.
I decided not to cook it and have been enjoying it straight from the garden.
Delicious, dribbly not as sweet as last year but the cobs are all filled except for the very first one.
The soy beans growing between 2 rows seem to be doing ok and the pods are filling up from the bottom up.
They are starting to get leaned on by the pumpkin though so may have to give the bully abit of a chop back.
I want soy beans more than I want more pumpkins this year.
The pole beans growing with this lot are slower to come away and it looks like the ones sown in the middle of the block are not growing or not as well.
Those growing around the edges are at the top of the corn and starting to intertwine with each other.
Loads of flowers and quite alot of beans forming up.
Im sure that now that the nights are not freezing like they were, these have suddenly sprung up with the leaves looking alot more rounded and open-they did look like tight and shivering before.
More flowers which I have been hand pollinating because the honey bees have left and the bumblebees are not interested in them.
There are two that are doing better than the others, one next to a tomato and gets alittle mid morning shade and the other growing with cape gooseberries gets dappled sun.
Mine are looking way healthier than my friends' plant even if hers have bigger fruit on them,Im sure they will catch up soon.
She babied her two plants over winter and planted them out in late spring where as I sowed mine in spring and planted them out in early summer.
I got to taste one of her fruit, I had forgotten what it tasted like.
They actually remind me of the woolly nightshade berries we used to eat as kids-they both taste 'yellow'.(never got sick from eating those but dont actually know if they are considered poisonous or not).
None of the trees were watered after the initial planting stage-we did have a drizzly december so I didnt have to over this period and inspite of not being watered at all since they are all doing well.
The Cherry looked like a long stick stuck in a pot and now has 4 branches that are 3-4 feet long, pretty much the same with the Plum.
The mulberry and pomegranate initially looked like they had died but grew back from the bottom rather than the branch tips.
The mulberry has made it past the tops of the pumpkin and choko vine and looking glossy.
The pomegranate and persimmon are both still quite short but looking healthy.
The kumara looks ok but it does have alot of friends growing with them and Im not sure if they like this or not but the leaves are glossy and thick so I think they are ok.
The popcorn has rust starting on their leaves.
These are growing in a spot that is quite sheltered and think they are not getting enough air flow.
They are just about to the point af tasselling with the top most leaves still looking nice.
We have self sown buckwheat growing in this set of beds too but like the ones I sowed in spring they are not being visited by the bees and have flowers all the way up the stalks and are only just starting to get ripening seeds-even teh spring sown ones which I find quite puzzling.
We got to eat our first ever green macerati cauliflower which has a lovely flavour and is hubby's favourite so far.
'The purple one is slower to come up and the white ones were earlier and all eaten ages ago.
14-02-2012, 06:51 AM
I was quite pleased with myself in spring and had things on the trot all the time but got lazy over december and january so Im way behind again and will need to buy seedling again.
I have been pickling the surplus eggs for winter rather than giving them all away but cant help eating out of the first big jar so thats going down at the same rate that the second one in filling up.
The first lot of sauerkraut got made from all the cone head cabbages,I will have to wait another week before I open it up to see how it is going but its smelly like its working quite well.
This cabbage is odd to look at when you are used to seeing round cabbages but is a small to medium sized one which is great because it gets used faster so no cabbage sitting in the fridge losing nutrients.
Im going to grow more of this one.
I have noticed that the hens didnt pay very much attention to the cabbages that were healthy and growing well but have savaged those that were struggling to grow to the point where there is nothing left on 3 of them.
14-02-2012, 03:52 PM
Wow, your garden sounds chockers mischief!
I went away for a month and when I came back the toms and spuds had bad late blight. Not too hard getting tomato plants out, but spuds are everywhere.
At least my plan to brow loads of beans for drying's working: it's a great year for runners!
I've tried the 'three sisters' method this season. Apparently the Native Americans only grew beans, corn and squash for drying like this, so I planted 'Navajo black' corn, anasazi beans and Marina di chiogga pumpkins which will all dry well. The corn can be eaten fresh too, it's coming along, but everything's really, really slow this year.
Did you send me kumi kumi seed? Wherever they came from, they're going nuts! Tis the season to play 'pass the chubby zucchini'...
14-02-2012, 05:46 PM
Ah cant remember what I sent you, I dont have kumi kumi but if they are round and go slightly yellowish as they are ripening, I may have sent you some Austrian Oil seed pumpkins.
The flesh isnt too bad but the seeds are huge compared to the ones you will get in the shops and are easy to clean up and dry.
Just remember to put them in a glass jar when dried and leave on the bench where you can see it to make sure it doesnt fog up and go rotten.
Parts of the garden are chocka but the last 3 beds are just heavily mulched due to trying to get rid of nasty viney weeds that I want to be able to see to pull.
Sometimes I look at what we've got so far and I am really pleased, other times I look at it and just see all the problems.
I have been very lucky with the toms and pumpkins.
Alot of people around here have had to pull them out due to blight and rotting.
My biggest problem with the potatoes is that some of the chooks have decided that they really like them to and are busy digging them up and eating them raw.
Im glad you said everything is slow this year.
I have been feeling like a broken record making excuses on alot of things.
Some of my lack of surpluses has been my own fault-sweetcorn and cabbages/caulis.
Its only just recently that the nights havent been freezing and Im sure the warmer nights havemade a huge difference to the cape gooseberries and eggplants.
I was beginning to think that my 'laziness' as mum puts it with my watering was the cause but my tomatoes are doing as well as hers and my peppers have fruit on them where hers dont, even though hers are growing under wide eaves, get watered at least every other day and she started them earlier.
I was down at her house tonight and checked out the competition,so far only her cherry toms are ripening.
Today we both decided to thin out the lower leaves and laterals cos it felt like the humidity was going to cause problems.
Thought it was funny that we both did this independantly of each other.
I think I have figured out how to use the photoblogs new way of loading pics so Im going to borrow her camara again-forgot to bring it with me tonight, and I will post pics of all the beds including the really messy botch ups that I dont usually show.
You said this black corn is good for drying, are you going to use it to make tortilla or polenta?
I thought the Chiogga pumpkins had really hard shells, how will you manage to cut them up?
I got sick of eating zuchinni without tomatoes so I let them go to marrows-quite nice if let store for awhile when they start tasting really sweet.
14-02-2012, 06:19 PM
Honestly, I haven't really looked at what I'll do with the corn. I've got access to wood ash as the weather cools, so I can make lye. I need to research what the Navajo use corn for.
Basically, I'm just sucked in by the idea of black corn! The ears better fill out though, there's at least 3 ears each plant and I'm a bit worried I won't get enough nitrogen into them.
Yip, chiogga's an ironbark. I haven't grown them before, but in the past I've always found dropping tough pumpkins onto concrete does the trick! If that doesn't work, it's out with the machete8)
15-02-2012, 05:02 AM
I just got a comparison picture in my head.
On one side theres you whacking your pumpkin on the concrete to get it open and on the other is a bird whacking its snail to get it open.
15-02-2012, 09:47 AM
Considering the population explosion of young thrushes this season, I think snails will be in short supply. The birds can have my pumpkin fragments:)
15-02-2012, 05:56 PM
I found a source for the Japanese naked barley-purple glutinous type at the Koanga Institute/nurseries.
I have been wanting to grow something over winter other than select weeds and thought a winter crop of grain would deal with three situations...
Defray the cost of the chooks food
Grow a carbon crop to add nutrients to the garden
Supress unwanted weeds that grow shockingly over winter.
They also had the hulless barley (white) so I've talked mum into letting me grow one type at her place so I dont get a wind pollinated cross.
They sent me out a booklet on growing nutrient dense food which I need to read again but one thing thing that caught my eye was when Kay Baxter talked about using compost etc to add organic matter to the soil and something not being right with it.
I thought ..yeah how come after all this time I still have soil that is not retaining moisture the way I was expecting it too.
The reason apparently is because I have been adding so much leaf composty things and not enough carbon composty things as in the stalks of grains/corn.
I feel better now and not just because it rained so I dont have to spend hours watering the garden.
Milmore downs (NZ) sell hull-less barley which is where Koanga nurseries get theirs from if anybody was wanting to buy quite abit of it.
I had lost my info on them and couldnt remember who was supplying this.
28-02-2012, 02:10 PM
The second lot of potatoes in the middle bed finally died back so I got on my hands and knees and harvested them.
These were left to dry out for a day and then bagged up.
I thought I had saved more of the old chook pellet bags but I only had two so one went inside the other which was then filled up with spuds.
I still had heaps left so I lined 2 plastic shopping bags with newspapers so there were at least 4 thickness on each side and filled them up too,then covered them with at least 4 layers of newspaper so no light got to them.
I cant remember exactly how many seed potatoes I planted but I think 2 rows had 8 and one had 6 making a grand total of 24 seed spuds.
I weighed them and have 23.5kgs not counting some that were too green to eat or were too hen pecked and would go rotten in the bags.
One thing I noticed was that under the two plants that had ants nests, the tubers were larger and just as many as those without- not sure how this works.
Most of the tubers were small, some very small with only afew medium sized ones.
The plants had only been watered for the first little while-in rained all through december and was overcast all january-strange summer, more like an extended autumn.
I dont mind little potatoes, infact I like them better than huge ones, so I am pleased with these.
At the moment they are sitting inside the back door til I figure out where I am going to store them.
I have noticed that I seem to have a psycological barrier to over filled gardens.
I couldnt figure out why I had suddenly stopped sowing seeds in trays to get ready to plant out.
First excuse was, well its christmas and I was too busy but then january came and went-forgot to sow at the right time oh well I'll do it next good sowing day.
February went and still the porch is empty of seedlings-'I'm intergrating the chicks and I need them all out so they dont hurt each other and they are digging everything up so there is no point in sowing more seed...- what the hell is wrong with me?
So much for gardening like your life depended on it(as Grahame says)?!
When I looked at the garden, I had one side chock full and the other side is completely empty!!
The only logical thing I could come up with was I was feeling overwhelmed and stopped sowing more seed so I could cope with everything I already had going.
Actually, what made me think this, was when my step sister and her partner came to visit.
They went up to have a look, said "Its so full" and bolted for the house again.
I have decided to give myself a break and not beat myself up over it.
The beds infront of the Feijoa tree have been fenced off with some plastic netting I found lodged in some trees along a river after some heavy rain afew years ago.
This is to stop the chooks from going in there and I have broadcast wheat to grow over winter.
That deals with 2 1/2 beds.
The dome is currently in the middle of the bed that runs along the front of the hedge.
As I still have problems with paths and bed widths(I'm sure the bloody dome is expanding),I am going to rotate the dome around the 'hedge bed and the middle bed so I can properly lay out everything.
I still have the old yellow gum edging from the original vege garden and this will edge the beds.
I have given up on the idea of a nice neat herbal edging-it keeps being either dug up or swamped and dies.
I am going to splash out and get some proper bark that takes years to break down for the paths and put some sort of weed mat under it.
I undertqnd now why people go for solid paths around the beds- its so they dont have to even bother to think about weeds in the paths.
I figured that once I have the hedgeside bed properly marked out and then the middle bed, that I might feel like I have some sort of control over the whole thing.
So far I have a freezer load of sweet corn,potatoes to put away,8 enormous pumpkins drying and a handful of delica squash that I got sick of eating and let mature.
These are quite small and so far are hardening up well.
When hubby brought home a pumpkin cutter I decided to do the big pumpkins again and let a friend do the butternuts.
As it turned out those rotted but we still have loads of pumpkin to share.
The pumpkin cutter is a locally made contraption using a Brazilian made machete(my son in law was most impressed and I think made homesick by this),that was attached to a cutting board so it works like a guillotine and it cuts through things like nothing else.
We are starting to get tomatoes, but now have blight on some of the plants and will have to harvest these and try to ripen them inside or turn them into chutney.
The last two pumpkins we cut were 16.2 and 16.5 kgsand there are two more coming along.
They better hurry cos the vine is starting to get powdery mildew.
The musee de provence pumkins growing on hubbys side still look good and green but because they are growing so thickly I cant even see if there are any fruit in all that growth and I dont want to walk through it in case it sets the plants up for powder mildew.Just have to wait and see.
I decided to harvest the Soy bean plants today.
These have mostly gone brown except for the one right on the end of the row.
I havent researched how much they should have produced, but dont think they have done brilliantly.
I will keep the seed for next year-I would probably only get a cup of miso out of this lot.
Ne'mind, I still have to find a source for the Koji culture in order to make the miso anyway.
01-03-2012, 09:14 AM
We pulled out all the tomatoes.
Out of 19 plants we collected 25.5 kg of tomatoes that didnt have any blotchy blight on them and were colouring, so they should, fingers crossed, ripen up inside okay.
So in no particular order...
2 Green sausage that got planted in the beneficial insect border and forget about we got 2.8 kgs.
3 Sub Arctic that were planted out last and not ever watered or staked=7kg
4 principe borghese that got hit badlyt as well we only got 3.5kg
from 6 Albenga oxhearts, not counting what we or the chooks have already eaten, we got 8.5kgs and the poor ol russian reds and delicious that were terribly attacked we only got 3.3 from 4 plants.
These are lying wherever there is space ie on the living room and office floor where they cant get trod on.
With so much stuff lying around, it has made me realise just how much so called modern homes are ill equiped to deal with harvest time.
I literally have no where to put things.
This was a problem in December too when I was trying to dry out the mustard seed in the porch.
There was so muchof it it took up all the porch and unfortunately my Very tidy clan relatives came to visit and embarrassed me into putting in all in the compost.
Luckily some of resowed and is already flowering and setting seed so all was not lost there.
I wont be sowing mustard as a winter crop again, it just took too long to set seed which is why I grew it.
I should still get enough to do alittle pot of mustard and save some for seed, based on what has self sown.
The game plan for winter is to check out different winter grains and I will need to work out a solution before they ripen inlate spring so these can be dried and threshed out.
As well as the wheat at the back of the far mandala, I've sown hull-less barley(white) where the last lot of potatoes and delica squash were and on the roadside garden, I have over sown the pumpkins with the black hull-less barley.
I have kept aside alittle bit just incase it turns to custard and I need to grow some of these over summer for new seed.
Im doing all this because I know I wont have much time over winter to do much of anything and hope this will not only give me chook food but act as a weed suppressant.
The first lot of barley seed I found was on trademe but after afew months it had weevils in it so it got chucked out on the roadside garden and forgotten about.
It grew, I forgot I had thrown it there,it ripened up and went golden brown which looked lovely and I thought it was barley grass not barley so I mowed it up and have no idea where I put the clippings.
Yes, I feel stupid.
We had an odd thing happen with the hens the other day.
I had let them out late afternoon again and had puppy come visit which I didnt think too much about at the time, just took him home again.
When I went to shut the dome up we were missing 3 hens and my heart sank,I thought puppy had munched them.
They still hadnt turned up the next morning and again puppy came to visit while I was feeding them.
I was quite cross and growled at him before taking him home again.
I did notice the other neighbour outside having his morning smoke and think he must have been able to hear all this.
About 3 hours later, I was up in the garden again and walked passed the dome to find 2 of the hens that had been missing were now in the dome and later that afternoon the last one appeared in the garden out of no where.
I started to wonder if puppy had frightened them into flapping over the fence again and tidy neighbour had taken them for a drive and then brought them back after hearing me having a go at the dog.
There is just no way those hens could have put themselves back in the dome it was locked down tight.
Makes me wonder if the one I thought had gone broody and is sitting on a hidden rogue nest is or is she now living with someone else?
So from now on Im only letting them out when I can stay up there with them.
I wound up babysitting the puppy that day cos he kept coming over.
His dad cant figure out how he is escaping from his fenced off yard and after having a good look myself, neither can I.
I did let him know about someone that has a kennel and cage run that they are selling but I think he's probably going to get a chain instead.
02-03-2012, 04:26 AM
Mum had to pull her tomatoes too cos they were just starting to get blight.,well her self sown sweet 100's got it, so she puled the lot.
She couldnt remember exactly how many plants she had but we worked out she probably had around the same as me.
All up she got 28.3kgs.
Most of hers were Oxhearts and Amish paste with 3 Beef steaks that my daughter gave her.
These were impressive with up to 18 huge fruit on each, which miffed daughter cos they were better than hers.
So mum won the tomato round.
We had some more fierce winds yesterday which blew alot of things over including the Cape gooseberry.
I can now see heaps of fruit formed up and found a chilli plant that was buried under it all but doing really well with lots of chillis starting to go red so it looks like I will be winning the chilli round.
13-03-2012, 07:32 PM
The cheese making is going really well.
I havent had to feed any to the chooks for a couple of weeks now, although they did get the yogurt again which for some reason was just nasty when I went to take some to make the next batch- must check and see if hubby has been eating out of the container.
I need to get some new culture now cos that was the last of it.
I didnt like the cheese I made a couple of weeks ago cos I must have put too much salt in it-really salty- but my daughter loved it so I gave it to her and luckily her fiancee thought it was wonderful too.
I was abit worried that he wouldnt like it.
Actually, it alittle sad cos everyone else likes my cheese except for me-most of the time it just doesnt taste the way I expect it too although last weeks one does show promise.
I have been expecting it to go yellow like the bought stuff and have just recently twigged that they may be yellow because they have food colouring in them
I was looking at the Madmilie.com website and found that you can get a food additive that makes the cheese a nice yellow colour which is apparently really good especially with blue vein cheese-giving a nice contrast in colour between the blue and yellow.
Up until then, I thought it went that colour naturally when it was properly made and aged now I'm not sure whats what.
I just took a break to get a snack out of the fridge and found an old cheese wrapped up in some lunchwrap this actually taste quite good- I have no idea how long its been sitting there for.Nice smooth texture, bit of a rind starting up-does taste alittle of cow as my daughter puts it, but nothing too strong.
Now I just need to find out how to get it so it melts when you grill it.
Soft cheese is all very well and good but, I like cheese toasted sandwiches or even just grilled cheese on toast....so how do I make it so it does this?
I have decided to move up in the world and bought a proper cheese press which should arrive any day now.
Up until now I have been trying odd things to press or semi pressd the cheese.
I dont reccommend putting a large tin of fruit on to do this after I managed to smash a dozen eggs that were innocently sitting nearby.
I expected this to press the cheese evenly but it decided to lean drastically and toppled in a rather dramatic fashion.
Tje safest way I came up with was to put a whole heap of holes in and ice cream container and its lid.
the cheese was put in this lined with cheese clothe and a cut up lid fitted inside of the container.
First I had this upside down using its own weight to get the surplus whey out-stuck ontop of said large tin of fruit, but it was never an even shape.
Then I took to putting another ice cream container on top filled with the really hot whey as a weight.
This works but you do get bulgy out sides rather than nice neat ones.
Afew weeks ago, I realised that the wooden square thing that came with the sauerkraut shredder is perfect when lined with the cheese clothe, a bamboo mat put underneath and ontop, being place in a shallow baking dish and turned every now and then to get the top to flatten out.
Nice, neat and square.
I never use this to shred the cabbage, I think you are supposed to to stop from grating your fingers, but I found I got alot of waste when I used it.
The sauerkraut I made just recently has turned out great which is a relief.
I went back to basics and just did the cabbage and salt with nothing else
This is the first time I actually got to fill the crock up and maybe I filled it abit too much but it tasted wonderful and is now filling up the fridge.
I got in the poo with my daughter for buying this fridge, it only had one star on its energy count but to be honest, I never even looked at that.
Our fridge was old and not working too well so I bought one in a local shop that was on special and that was only a fridge not a fridge freezer.
I thought that seeing as we already had a freezer we dont really need a fridge that has one too...hmmm.
(i love it)
Its still alittle too cold for the cheese though so I have taken to keeping the cheese in there during the day and letting it out at night to breathe.
I did have some in various cupboards, but found them crawling with pale coloured sand fly type bugs, even though the cupboard was closed.
I dont know how they got in there and didnt want to eat what they had been crawling over.
So far, the only vege type thing we have bought this summer, has been the red hard necked(?) garlic I spyed at the supermarket and had to try to see if if it was any good-it was and I have two left to that I am saving to plant out.
I have to say that it has been really hard going past pre season tomatoes AND NOT BUYING ANY.
In some ways its been an eye opener realising how much is sold that is out of local season.
Im not sure if it is just because we still arent that great at getting things to grow up fast enough, or if its because we have taken for granted the hothouse or imported foods as normal.
The vinegar in the big jar of pickled eggs started to go murky which had me worried so I pulled it out of the pantry and cracked it open to see what the damage was.
I am still not sure why it has gone like this but think that it is because I didnt soak the little pearl drop onions in brine before I added them to the jar.
The eggs taste okay and I'm still here, I its not contaminated with anything noxious.
Actually, they taste fantastic and I'm really please that hubby thinks the eggs are alittle on the tough side even suggested that I over cooked them and made them rubbery.
I did tell him that vinegar does that to eggs-makes them feel alittle tough in texture, but not too stridently...all the more for me, I love them.
15-03-2012, 03:38 PM
Just collected the last two pumpkins from the roadside bed, the smaller one had gone soft and horrible so I threw it in amongst the roses under the apple tree to do whatever it wanted, the other was 10.1kg and in very good condition.
The Musee de provence pumpkins growing on hubbys side still look luscious and green and Thick, so I still have no idea how well they are doing.
Their war with the chokos has risen to new heights with them both racing to the top of the nectarine tree.
The blue popcorn has finally started to tassel up, its leaving it alittle late so I dont know how these will go.
I wanted to see if we did have a cross between the supermarket and blue so I sowed some saved seed.
4 plants were 2 feet higher than the rest so I interfered with the experiment and cut those ones off at the knees.
The Maori potatoes that were growing in the next bed finally died back so these got dug up.
I had ben given 6 tubers last year and put 2 in on each side of this bed and 2 in front of the Avocado seedlings-those got all eaten by the chooks.
The bed closest to the central path was an amzing black colour compared to that on the fruit trellis side.
There didnt seem to be much difference in what tehy produced tho, all up we got 3.8 kg of tubers.
Some of them were almost growing like rhitsomes and didnt look like potatoes at all.
There were alot of really tiny ones that I tried to collect so I didnt have rogues all over the place.
It was quite hard to spot the roots in the really black soil so I probably have missed some.
Half of the sunflowers blew over again and a couple completely snapped at ankle level damaging the beans that were growing with them.
I have noticed quite afew things falling over this year and am wondering if it is because I have added so much leafy green composty stuff and not enough carbon.
I have even had to stake upright some of the Asparagus plants which insisted in falling over the path.
The dome has been shunted back to the first bed along the hedge and the central path has been scrapped clear of everything-this got flicked onto the whole bed.
2 old lenghts of timber that I had used in my original vege garden have been used to edge this bed.
I had a long piece of aluminium...something, which got cut into just over twice the depth of the timber and that hammered in with a mallet to hold them in place.
I had to dig out the 2 clumps of Irises from along the walkway, they were what was causing the dome to stick out into the paths.
Over the weekend I picked up a bought moveable chook pen from my neighbours place to take to a friends making both parties very happy.
While I was there I learnt that my hens and the puppy had been visiting them too.
We started off talking about the chooks getting into Barrys place and that I was annoyed with him for not letting me know straight away that there was a probelm-my point was if you dont tell someone that there is a probelm you shouldnt get too upst when they dont know to fix it....so they told me how the chooks were getting in through the fence and where abouts the spot was that they had covered over.
So when I got back from delivering the run I checked it out....
Big holes where cats, maybe had been making little sleep spot and big gaps right thru the hedge from one side to the other.
Last week I 'split' the hedge by cutting it back quite dramatically.
It needs doing again but I'll leave it to recover for abit.
This got done because it was so thick and hard to properly trim the top evenly.
I have half the hedge right so far, but will leave the rest to recover before I hack at it again.
Luckily we still had some concrete rubble in the might be useful area so now no more gaps anywhere in the hedge.
They werent too upset about them getting thru cause the two that were going over were laying their eggs on the lawn, so they are more likely to wish they hadnt mentioned it.
They decided to let me know that 'my' dog had come visiting and they had found him in their front lawn area by the road so took him home and put him in the kennel....
I had to explain that it wasnt my dog but I would let his dad know so it wouldnt happen again, which if course it did for a couple of days but now seems sorted.
That poor dog has wound up in the'I dont like your chooks in my yard' neighbours back yard.
I think the postie put him in there.I was going to leave him there but when I saw what he was doing to the gate-jumping and trying to clamber over leaving nasty marks in the stainwork, I snuck him over with me before they came home.
The red raspberries have finally started to set fruit.Delicious and they have started to set runners as well, not too sure what to do about them, might just let the ones around the waterchestnut barrel and strawberry bed alone and just transplant anything that turns up in the paths.
Still getting lovely sweet apples and there are afew oranges left too.
The dome is supposed to be on the bed just before the one that has kumara in it.
They are not looking at wanting to be dug up yet or even in 2 weeks time so it is just as well I decided to shunt it back 2 spots so I could finally get that bed and path sorted so I never have cause to complain about it again.
Wonder if I should plant raspberries in the hedge?....might be interesting....(snigger im so bad).
So anyway, the Anise hyssops has been flowering fantastically and smothered in both honey and bumble bees.
I think I was supposed to harvest the plants when they started to flower but just couldnt bring myself to do it.
I thought I might just put up with substandard anise hyssops tea and make up for it by saving the seeds and seeing if they are of any use in the kitchen.
The Lemon verbena has been in flower constantly this summer and I have so many leaves dried or drying, I have an old pillow now pegged to a wire coat hanger right by the back door so that as soon as one lot is dried it gets popped in that.
Every now and then when I go in or out the door, I give it alittle pat which sends the scent wafting around me.
23-03-2012, 06:43 PM
I love my cheese press!!!!
Its made of stainless steel and is solid so I shouldnt be able to break it, ever.
This week, I'm having a go at making Gouda.
Just taken it out and wrapped in cheese clothe before putting it back in for the third pressing for 12-16 hours.
In this I have added cumin seed which has been sterilised by boiling for 10 minutes.
Dont have any cheese wax yet tho, but according to the recipe I'm working with, I have afew weeks before I need to get that.
I forgot about the yogurt again this afternoon, its been sitting longer than it should have before I strained it.
One thing I have noticed with this is that the cream does not turn to yogurt but sits on the top looking luscious but smelling and tasting quite sour.
I still have issues with sour food that has been sitting around as being off, but have been assured that this is not neccessarily true unless there is a lack of hygiene.
So inspite of this bit of nervousness I now have this in a cheeseclothe lined colander.
We both prefer thick yogurt to the thin watery stuff and I refuse to use gelatine in it.
Found yet another 3 pumpkins from the funky french vines while I was mulching the top of the rockwall and around the baby trees with lawn clippings.
All the vines that were growing down the wall were rolled up on the top of the wall the other day so they were breaking down quite nicely by the time the mulch went on.
We have some more ferns move in along one spot on the wall, so the competing grass was pulled away to let them get ahead.
I thought we might also have another native- NZ Toetoe (pronounced toytoy), but after doing alittle research on the leaf structure on the net, its the South American Pampas grass so that has to go.
It gets very invasive and is hard to get rid of once its mature, especially in amongst rocks!
I seem to have lost one of the Alders and I dont know whether to take a cutting off one of the others or use that spot to transplant the nectarine seedling that is growing in the wrong spot by its parent.
I did notice this last winter but promptly forgot about it.
Then in spring I was just about to tear it out when I stopped.
It occurred to me that I actually have a naturally forming tree.
Fukuoka-san talks about the natural shape of trees.
Unfortunately it wont be a fully naturally formed tree after I dig it up and re plant it because I will be damaging its roots in doing so.
Last winter it was 6 inches high, now it is 3 feet high.
I'm wondering if this exposed spot would help to counteract the dreaded brown rot that we get when the humidity gets out of hand.
I hadnt been able to get close to the kowhai tree I planted along here til today and was relieved to see that it isnt being wrecked by snails as was happening when I first planted it.
I'm probably going to piss people off here but ....
This is one tree I will use snail bait around to keep it alive.
I have tried growing these on many occasions without it only to lose them.
Snails are not native to NZ-there is a really beautiful one that is said to grow 15cm.
Not sure if that true or not, but it is a forest dweller and very rare.
So to alleviate the pain of my confession....I put a very small amount inside a very small glass jar, less than a teaspoonful.
This is then placed so that rain cant get in and under cover so birds are not attracted by any snails that go back out.
This is checked at least everyday if not twice and any dead snails are removed to another jar til I dont get any more snails.
This is left in the sun to dry out and then it goes in the bin with the lid on.
So while I say I dont use nasty chemicals on the property anymore, this is the one exception and I feel that I take all possible precautions to keep any of this from getting into the soil or to any wildlife.
End of justification.
Over the last couple of weeks, when its not raining or blowing a gale,I have been painting the house.
I wanted it to be green but hubby wasnt too sure until he came with me to visit a friend who lives in a cute little cottage that is surrounded by trees.
Her cottage is painted in a dark green with burgundy trim- yeah, I raised my eyebrows when she told me the colour scheme- but it actually works there.
The cottage disappears into the trees and it looks quite magical.
He wanted to do the same colour scheme, but after I pointed out that this only works because she is surrounded by tree and that our place would need a very light green, he finally agreed.
Somebody told him that a recycling centre near his work, let people remove the paint pails that others took there, so he had abit of a fossick and made me up a sage green paint from the ones he found.
So I now have 5 10 litre pails, all the same colour.
He also got a big drum to mix them all up in before dividing it up to make sure that it Was all the same.
I probably have enough to do the garage as well.
At first I wasnt sure if I liked it as I was thinking a pastel lighter colour so I painted the woodshed and wall next to it to see if I liked it or not.
I figured that it didnt really matter if the woodshed was this green and then when played with it abit more to suit.
Our neighbours have told us they like the colour, which is a definite bonus.
From across the road the house disappears behind the plum and apple tree.
This time of year the eye is drawn by the very red tall dahlias in front.
We had our first meal of maori potatoes.
Alittle scrub betwen the hands to get the dirt off and not much cooking time, tossed in little butter with salt and pepper-wonderful.
The texture is slightly different to white potatoes, but the taste is pretty much the same.
Apparently there are other types, one which intrigues me has purple skin but white inside.
Kohunga nurseries have a number of heritage varieties.
The big jar of pickled eggs is no longer murky.
After I ate a couple I put in more sweetened vinegar in and left it on the bench to keep an eye on it.
I dont know why it decided to clear up but it has,could the extra vinegar have done this?
23-03-2012, 09:24 PM
mischief, I've never bought Koanga spuds, but I've eaten kowiniwini and karoro; they're both very good. If you haven't grown 'pink fir apple' and like waxy spuds, they're my favourite 'early'.
I have a packet of quash slug bait. I doesn't come out much and it's supposed to be reasonably low-toxicity. I've never heard of them eating a kowhai. Are you sure it's snails and not the native kowhai loopers?
24-03-2012, 03:02 AM
It could very well be the looper, but it is very suspicious that I use the bait, the snails die and at last a kowhai recovers and thrives.
Forgot to say that the Walnut tree has started to drop its nuts this week and I have been out everyday to check it cos I have a nasty feeling that a rat has discovered the tree.
I have been finding well chewed shells compared to the nibbled ends of last year.
24-03-2012, 12:38 PM
I wish I lived up the road from you. I'd offer to be cheese and yoghurt tester for you...
Don't beat yourself up over the snail bait - it isn't getting into you soil or food supply.
24-03-2012, 03:33 PM
I think this one is highly edible.
Maybe its the cumin seeds in it but it taste fantastic already.
My cat went nuts today.
She came into the kitchen when I had just taken the cheese out of the mold and was trimming the rough spots off, even tried to jump up onto the bench to get at it which she has never done before, so it must smell really good.
I ran out of rennet a while ago,I have been using cider vinegar to set the curds, which works really well but I wanted to start making 'normal' cheese so on friday I bought some rennet from our local commercial cheese maker-vegetarian rennet and used that with the gouda culture.
She has never reacted to my cheese like that before.
And actually remembered to take out some of the whey and store it in the fridge to use next week as that ones starter culture.
If this works I wont have to buy culture again.
05-04-2012, 07:24 PM
I took the cumin seed gouda up to AK with me.
Bro swears my cheese gives him a bad case of the screaming shits and wouldnt touch it but dad loved it.
I forgot to take it with me when we visited my step sis, so dad will probably scoff the lot.ne'mind
The first one I made with the press got visited by sandflies, I didnt think too much of that at the time but it got worms so thats now chook food.
I decided that we needed a better storage system and part of that will be to wax them, so I'm now waiting for the wax to arrive.
The other day I found the chook dome completely out of the garden and sitting up right in the parking area.
It felt quite strange to be sitting in the truck looking at this thinking 'what is wrong with this picture?'
At first I thought it was a late april fools joke cos it was sitting the right way up complete with sailcover on.
Then when I got out of the truck and was buffeted about by the wind I realised that was the culprit.
We never used to have winds like this, well not unless there was a nasty wet storm,so I'm not sure what to do about this.
The girls were understandably, very skittish and 3 of them would not go back in the dome and today they are still out.
One of the bantams had gone broody, so I had gone off to collect some Austrolorp eggs for her to sit on.
After this fright she wasnt sitting in the nest box but running around with the others.
I wasnt sure if she would sit on them but put them in the Guinea pig cage we got, caught her and popped her in the run to see if she would go into the nestbox and stay there.
So far so good.
Today the spca brought around a cat trap so we could get rid of a mum cat and 3 kittens that decided to live in our back yard.
I hadnt realised that they were even there until puppies' dad mentioned them.
They can not stay, two is plenty.
I keep looking at the neck feathers of the 2 new 'girls' and I am sure they are long and pointy and not round like the hens are but they are not trying to crow or act like randy roosters so I really dont know.
Be good if the were quiet boys.
I have been trying to find out how to make milk vinegar.
A friend told me that their grandmother used to make it and she thought it was with the whey.
Not much luck so far on my search, infact on the net I keep getting - 'how to make plastic with milk'- do we need any more of this stuff or would it be biodegradeable?
Havent tried it yet and not sure that I will.
Instead I sprinkled the last lot of whey with bread yeast to see what would happen.
Hubby's away working this week so I wont be made to throw it out.
At least it isnt stinking which must be a ggod sign- not sure about the wrinkly crust on the top tho.
The wheat I broadcast over a couple of beds in the back mandala is growing.
It would be helpful if I could be sure that this was in fact wheat and not just grass but I guess I wont know until it starts producing heads.
I've been spending abit of time helping a friend with their new web page.
Thats the online communtiy webpage called wazzub.
If anybody tried to signup with just typing in the details I gave in general chat, it wont work, during this prelauch time you have to have an invite code,so, if anyone wants it, PM me with your email address.
I like the idea that they are willing to share the profits with the users and that they are actively trying to help out charity organisations with this as well.
When I first heard about, my first thought was- do we really need another facebook/twitter/ whatever, but after hearing more I hope it works.
Be nice to show corporations that you can still make money and share surpluses.
Its probably going to have glitches when it firsts starts up, but I guess that only to be expected with something new.
Havent been able to get much house painting done.
Still need to get the second coat to on, but I learnt very quickly (without hurting myself) not to stand up ladder when its windy.
I thought I would be okay painting the side that wasnt getting the wind directly, but then the wind changed direction didnt it-you never saw a girl scurry down a ladder after her hat so fast.
The green egg eggplants are doing fantastically.
After a slow start we are now getting quite afew each week.
The skins are still alittle on the tough side.
The black eggplant is growing but doesnt seem to be able to hold its fruit.
I have been using the chokos in stirfries- I was watching a Korean foodie on the food channel and took note of how he was using them.(ah, yes, I do occasionally watch tv)
So far my choko repertoire consists of-
stirfry, sliced and steamed then laid on rich creamy cheese sauce ,in with chutneys, grated up to help bulk up apple pie (it takes on the flavour of the apple) and of course, after being dried out for afew weeks in the laundry basket-chopped up and added to soups and stews.
So there you go big M, they can be cooked in a palatable manner.
We still are not buying fruit and vege and I am very proud of that-could probably be eating more fruit tho.
The girls are starting to drop feathers all over the place- even before their dome flew away without them, so its not from shock.
Egg numbers are down to around 3-4 a day and it would be helpful if I could get the scaredy-cats back where they belong because I hear them cackling but have only found the egg somebody laid in the laundry tub hanging on the compost bins.
25-04-2012, 09:11 AM
So far new broody mum still seems to be doing her job but she doesnt seem very happy about it.
I am having to keep the girls in the dome all the time cos most of them still try to roost in the orange tree rather than go back where they belong and two of them hide from me and are still not locked up, maybe they have gone broody to and I should catch one of them somehow and put them on the eggs.
I wouldnt mind the hens being out and roosting in the tree if it werent for the fact that they eat young seedlings that I dont want them to eat.
Maybe I should be looking at some method of protecting the newly planted beds til they are too big to damage.
After studying up on coppicing again, I wondered if it would be possible to make a dome using coppiced material-chestnut for around the bottom because it lasts longer in contact with the ground, hazel abit further up cos its tougher or maybe just willows to make the actual dome itself.
Unless I can find an exisitng tree or two I will be waiting awhile to make one.
I found the Osier/basket willow at Southernwoods nurseries- I'm sure I asked them if they had this but was told not, only to find out that this year that they do.
Perhaps they dont know what the different types are used for.
The 'beneficial insect border' got tidied up and mulched.
I found things I had forgotten I had planted.
Gooseberry seedlings do not like growing in amongst zucchinni and nor do Teasels.
They both look alittle worse for wear but are hanging in there.
Found another rogue potato with a very nice crop of tubers, although alot of them had green tops.About the same weight as the planted ones and very tasty.
The TP tree seed have sprouted everywhere with the biggest being 2 feet high already.
I have pulled out all the ones that are growing in the wrong spot and used them to mulch the border.
The 4 o'Clock marvel have been pulled over away from the mulched area so their seeds drop where I will mow.
I'm going to have to thin these out or plant them somewhere else.
They sprawl and cover quite a big area which is not so good, but the bees just love them so they need to stay(somewhere).
The Tea Camillia is doing well, but still too small I think, to take cutting from.
The Plum tree is too close to the garden and I cant decide whether to just leave it there and deal with it or to move it in late winter-annoyed with myself.
The cape gooseberries have taken over the whole bed and surrounding paths and have heaps of flowers and fruit on them, but I havent found any fruit that are ripe yet which is worrying.
I was reading Kay Baxters garden blog and was relieved to see that they have had a hard time getting things to ripen this year too-not enough sun when you really need it.
The capsicums are well formed but not going red-I dont like green caps.
The Kumara patch is still looking fantastic with lots of leafy growth, not sure what is happening underneath until I get to dig them up.
I'm hoping this nice hot dry weather we are having now will help make good tubers.
I love kumara and would choose this over potato if I can get it to grow well.
The blue popcorn is looking very raggity and dead but it isnt.
I had a sneaky look at the cobs and they arent blue so it is as we probably all thought and these crossed merrily with the supermarket type that were grown on the other side of the garden.
The cobs are very petite this year but I learnt that even the maize crops the farmers are growing are almost half the size this year so they arent happy either.
I do wonder why I bother trying to grow these different types of corn when there is a real risk of cross pollination with the maize.
I have been carefully collecting and drying seed for next year and storing them in small glass jars -baby food jars that a friend of my daughter fed their son out of.
While, I am thrilled to have them, I think its terrible that kids get fed this stuff, especially when mum is a stay at home and has the time to cook it up.
I waxed the first cheese last week, it was about 3 weeks old,doesnt look like shop ones, bit lumpy bumpy but aim happy with it.
It feels like I have a present that I discovered in the top cupboard and have to wait til Christmas to see what it is.
Yogurt is going good, made feta and camembert this time.
The feta recipe called for rennet and culture and has a completely different texture to what I am used to-I think I prefer the crumbly sort you get from using lemon juice or vinegar.
I had to buy some containers to store the cheeses in and some extra mats to go underneath them.
So far the camembert is looking ok and starting to get that furry look, it smell abit odd though, but so far so good.
I tried to recreate the cottage cheese again without success, it just wasnt the same,funny how a mistake can taste fantastic and following the recipe doesnt turn out.
Try, try and try again.
Hubby's been helping someone fence a section off for their daughters new horse and had to cut down quite afew small diametre trees to make the required straight fence, so we have been getting afew loads of firewood to dry out for next winter.
Alot of it is black wattle with alittle manuka-I was scratching around to see if I could find any seed pods but didnt.
Actually, Im not sure if it is manuka or Kanuka sounds the same,looks similar but isnt the same type of tree.
In the end I wound up buying some seed for the pink manuka.
When I went to collect the last lot of fertile eggs, I drove thru an area that I knew used to have these scrubby trees growing up the hills.
These are now all gone and replaced with exotics and grass.
This made me realise that I have not seen any in my travels.
You could tell manuka cos the hillsides would be covered in white flowers making them look like they were covered in snow.
I decided we had to grow these to make sure they dont get lost completely and will look around for the white flowered type as well.
I emailed the dept. of Conservation to find out if they had any information on what NZ natives can be coppiced, I have a feeling though that because they are evergreens, they wont be able to be coppiced.
25-04-2012, 09:35 AM
mischief, I don't know the science, but my folks coppice the evergreen Australian Melaleuca alternifolia for oil. I can't remember the details and I think it was to do with oil rather than coppicing, but they decided against growing manuka. Looks like it will coppice though.
Corn's off the list again, I can't justify the strain on my soil. Wll, I wanted to grow drying beans and this summer's been ideal for the runners. At this rate the vines will be alive for months.
25-04-2012, 04:57 PM
Looks like Im going to have to stop being so lazy and actually water the garden from now on.
I got quite afew beans to dry but not spectacular-unless they didnt like growing with the sunflowers.
I think the sunflowers may have got abit stressed with the pole beans growing up them.
Today I was hacking the stalks up and noticed that there are alot of brown marks on the sunnies stalks where the beans had made contact- I guess they were just too tight and pinched in on the growing surface.
Have to look around for another sturdy stake idea.
This year for me was to try out the companion planting things to see if it made a difference but I didnt really do that so I suppose it turned more into the year of cheese or Pumpkins.
25-04-2012, 05:02 PM
I love reading your posts. I put my french beans on some old bit of fencing this year and it worked well. Will have to harvest, blanche and freeze them soon.
22-05-2012, 06:27 PM
Not much happening over winter,I'm working everyday again and most of the time onlyhave time to feed everyone and chop wood for the fire before its too dark to see.
We did have afew dramas afew weeks ago.
The long lost hen I thought was just gone, turned up.
At some point I might find the clutch of eggs she had tried to hatch out.
She hopped into the dome again which she now realises was a Huge mistake cos when I came home I had to rescue her.
She had been so severly beaten up she had raw wounds on her back and head.
She now lives in the porch and I just dont have any time to do anything other than let her be for now.
I have managed to get her to come up to the dome to eat(outside of it) so the others can get used to seeing her around again.
She hangs out with the hen that simply refuses to go anywhere near the dome since it blew across the yard.
I wasnt sure if she was even going to live when I first got her out, but after a week or so her wounds scabbed over and appear to be growing new feathers.
I thought she was going to have bald spots for the rest of her life, but she is looking pretty good.
We definitely have two roosters,they still arent crowing and they do look pretty, one is more colourful than the other and is the dominant one.
He has stopped pecking the hell out of my leg when I turn my back on him which is good or he would be being visited by my son in law with something somewhat sharp.
The kumara finally died down and I have managed to dig up one row so far.
Alot of them were really thin and long, not practical to cook,but I did get quite afew that were nice and fat.
There was one FAt one just sitting on top, half and half out of the soil,the hens had had a bit of a nibble-one of the orange type which tasted fantastic, but I havent got to digging up that part of the bed yet.
In spite of the frosts we've had, the cape gooseberries are still green and still flowering.
Im not sure that they are ripening tho,its been so long since I grew these that I just cant remember and dont know if I should go along and collect them all or leave them till the frost kills them off.
I dug around the baby nectarine tree to severe all the roots so when its time to dig it up and move it, it shouldnt suffer so much from shock,it still has leaves on it and although we are getting alot of mild frosts, the days are hot.
Actually think some are hotter than the summer days we had.
The broad beans self sowed where we had obviously dropped beans so I havent had to resow these.
The mini popcorn were an absolute joke this year and were simply pulled off and fed to the chooks who chased each other around the yard trying to steal them off each other-dumb really, cos there were more than enough to go around.
I obviously sowed the Turnips ans swedes too early- they grew to small basket balls before we could get through them all and are now too strong tasting for my liking but I have been assured that the chooks will love them if I cook them up for them.
I did get to harvest the pumpkins on hubbies side and got 6 that looked all the same size and shape-around 5 kgs.
I didnt weigh all this sort so I dont know exactly how heavy they are.
The second frost we had killed off all the greenery so I could see where they were.6 were so big I had trouble carrying them and odd bumpy shapes.
I've got the camara back so I'll take some photos of them.
Once again the porch is full up with Stuff, but this time its all mine from the garden.
22-05-2012, 07:31 PM
It's nice reading what you are up to because your change of season predicts what I have around the corner for me. My pumpkins are starting to fill out but aren't quite ready to pick yet. I haven't explored the nooks and crannies of pumpkin land, but there are at least 10 that I can see and probably that number again hiding!
I'd love to see a basket ball sized swede! They might be OK if you use them to make stock from.
My kumera never dies down, it just stops growing quite so prolifically in winter. But I don't get frost here (yay! I don't like the sound of frost...). I just go out every so often a pick up a bucket load to put in the cupboard, and repeat the trip when that lot runs out. There are rodent nibbles on most of them so I'm obviously feeding the local mouse family, but the cat reaps the benefits of a nice juicy mouse a few times a week and that is just that little bit less cat food. All works out in the end!
26-05-2012, 06:09 PM
There is supposed to be a type of Kumara in the Islands (dont know which one sorry-probably Samoa or the cook Islands), that has the tubers growing around the edges of the plant abit like Potatoes.
This was told to me by a girl I used to work with who 'caught' her mother trying to bandycoot her kumara patch thinking they grew like that here.
She thought it was funny and I didnt think much about it afterwards because it wouldnt grow here being too cold....but...
it should grow for you seeing as you are tropical/subtropical, if you can find it.
I could try asking the girls I work with now if they know about it but most of them are second or third generation and dont seem to be into their gardens.Their mums might remember.
I do have a big swede in the garden I found under some cape gooseberries but it isnt quite basketball size.
The turnips are really strong tasting so Im going to have to cook them up on the woodstove for the chooks.
Next time I'll know to sow them in mid/late summer so they are the right size for winter.
The biggest lesson I learnt about pumpkins is NOT to walk through them once they were growing well as they seemed to get powdery mildew soon after Especially if they were wet or had dew on them.
I like to let them store for a month orso before I eat them so they dry out and firm up-I dont like soggy pumpkin.
Our cats dont seem to eat their toys so they wind up being tossed in for the chooks who stand around them eyeballing them first with one eye then the other before they hoe in.
27-05-2012, 03:28 AM
I have an abundant amount of privet and see that some have some experience working with it here. What should I be thinking about in respect to how privet and permaculture work together or not?
27-05-2012, 03:14 PM
First response is the classic...It depends.haha
It does depend on where its growing, how you are growing it-as a hedge?or is it popping up all over the place?Do you trim it before it sets seed?(You should)
My privet is mostly growing in the hedge, it wasnt planted, the birds I guess helped poop it there and it does a good job.
I let it flower cos even tho I do suffer from hay fever everynow and then, it doesnt seem to be the privet that does it to me and I quite like the smell of it.
It seems to attract alot of bugs to the garden which the Fantails love.
The hedge trimmings get scattered over the garden when they are cut at teh right time(and are short).
If I have got lazy and left it too long then they are left in bunches between rows of plants or seedlings to protect them from being dug up by our cats and to drop all there leaves there.
When the leaves have all fallen off, with the last lot I laid them ontop of the compost bin to give the compost a bit of shade from the summer sun.
From there, I have tried to use them as stakes for growing peas, but I seem to be hopeless with Peas and now leave them til winter-now...after feeding the chooks each night, I gather afew of these branches even if it has rained, break them up and use them as kindling for the evening fire.They dont seem to hold much rain water and still burn ok but obviously not, if its been a heavy down pour.
After afew days they are dry again- you can tell by the way the branches snap or not.
I have one small privet tree that regrew from the stump right next to one of the baby Avocadoes I planted along side our garage.
I have left it there as a frost protector for the Avo and when it too large or branches get in the way, I snip it back and chop it up for mulch around the trees.
The other one growing under the
largest Avocado tree gets chopped off at the ankles every now and then but I only do that when it starts hitting my face as I walk past.
This one tends to grow long branches that grow outwards rather than up and screen the door to the garage from the road- I like my privacy and like that nosey people cant see in when this door is open.
All other self sown seedlings are ruthlessly pulled out when they are quite small or I have differculty getting them out, these usually just get used for mulch on the nearest bed and dont re-root.
I make sure the roots of these are up off the ground just in case.
27-05-2012, 08:36 PM
I started clearing up some of the older pumpkin vines today and now have 9 pumpkins sunning them selves on the the back deck. And that was less than 1/4 of the pumpkin area.... oooooooOOOOOO That's going to be lots of pumpkin! Maybe I can find a gluten free pumpkin scone recipe somewhere.
28-05-2012, 10:12 AM
Maybe I can find a gluten free pumpkin scone recipe somewhere.
13-07-2012, 06:39 PM
Well, my surplus of pumpkins has paid very nice dividends.
One of my neighbours now brings me packs of mussels when they get some given to them and I have a very nice bottle of home brew whiskey-smokey bacon flovoured.
To be honest I cant really taste that, but it is a very nice drop all the same.
Houdini, still lives in the porch, I've managed to get her to hop in the dome for each meal and some times she is still there at the end of the day.
Come nighttime, she's back in the porch.
I'm sure its because she is addicted to cat biscuits and cant wait til the door is open in the morning so she can clean up whatever the cats left behind.
I still havent got the other hen back in the dome at all.
I am currently trying to feed everybody in there with the door open but she just wont go in, even with me not letting her have any wheat outside, but she wont budge and I havent been able to catch her.
With all the vegetation dying back over winter, its been easy to see where all those annoying nests of eggs were-there are little pockets of eggs in 7 different places that I have found so far.
Two of these I did know about but after being empty for so long I stopped checking on them.
The one in amongst the ferns is being used again and I have taken out the three most recent leaving some nasty old things behind.
I would never have found the ones tucked away in the pumpkin patch while those were still growing, so I think I'll assign the roadside garden as the official patch from now on.
I have started collecting the old eggs as I find them and popping them under the nearest fruit tree and covering them with abit of compost.
I'm pretty sure they wont explode unless they get trod on and thought they would fertilise the trees.
A couple of weeks ago,I was running late for work, raced outside in time to hear a cock crow!
I didnt have time to stop but when I got home I set up one of the rabbit cages in the hallway and popped the pretty looking rooster in there.
When I went up to close the dome up for the night the other one started, so I had to haul the other cage inside and get Him in as well.
For afew days I lived with 2 lively young boys in my hallway, til my son in law came to rescue me.
Hw showed me how to quietly and stressfree kill chooks.
Or it should have been.
My daughter and I were in the living room having a cuppa while he was storing some of their stuff in our back yard.
In he walked with the rooster and explained that holding it as he was by the 'ankles' kept them quiet, then holding the head just so and click- broken neck,.... or so we thought.
The rooster was limp and appeared to be a corpse, so he took it into the kitchen put it in a tub I had ready and put the jug on to boil.
While it was boiling we started hearing scrabbling noises coming from the kitchen and found to our horror that the rooster was regaining conciousness, so SIL had to do the deed again only this time making bloody sure the thing was actually dead!!
Just as I was thinking 'Ok,I think I can do that', to 'thank gods it wasnt me doing it I would have had the jug boiled before I started and be in the process of ...arhh'.
So lesson learnt-make sure it is dead.
We all decided that perhaps it would be better to break the neck and then bleed it out by cutting the jugular.
Doing it this way,(properly the first time), means that you dont get that frenzied running around....
I had a traumatic experience when I was very little, seeing chooks running around with no head and squirty things where its head used to be and so even after buying a brand new hatchet(to make sure it was sharp), I couldnt do the deed.
I still have a cage, or rather a hutch in the hallway, hubby was bemused by this when he came home and I dont think really knew what to say about it, so, he did the wisest thing and said absolutely nothing.
I called the vet to see if it was possible to de-voice a rooster and was told that as far as he knew it wasnt illegal but that it wasnt done very often- he had done only 5 in the last 15 years so I asked him to do ours, even though the chances are slim that it would work.
He was more concerned that the rooster would not make it through the anasthetic.
'Mister', did make it but still crows, in fact he seemed to be more rooster like when I got him back home with his girls and really showed them all a good time.
I'm sure its not as loud as it used to be but both my neigbours' bedrooms are on the side of the house closest to our back yard.
Sooo... every evening before I go to bed I collect the rooster and bring him inside.
He has got used to being handled and doesnt kick up a fuss when I pick him up.
If its dark I can now tell if I grabbed the black hen by mistake as she gets most offended, so I take my nasty little mitts off her and go for the other black shape on the perch.
In the morning I stand back and open the hutch door.
I found that he is used to me herding him from behind and rather than trying to get him to follow me.
Off he trots down the hall to meet up with Houdini at the cat biscuits, he chases her outside and I chase him.
He doesnt even poop on the floor any more.(good thing we have wooden floorboards and not carpet)
Last weekend, hubby begged to be able to crack open the Gouda that I waxed and had stashed int the cupboard.
It was in there out of sight because I was afraid that it had 'blown'.
The top had started to bulge slightly which I had been told was a sign that bacterial contamination had occurred.
I warned him that it was probably chook food but he cut ti open and had a taste and declared it to be mighty fine cheese.
Surprised, I had alittle myself.I could taste an aftertaste that you dont normally associate with Gouda so I had a swig of cider vinegar to kill off any bugs I may have ingested.
After a couple of cheese, mustard and rocket sandwiches,I popped some under the grill to see if it would melt and IT DID!!
Finally, cheese that will melt like its supposed to.
The reason for that odd aftertaste became apparent.
It was contaminated with blue vein mold.
Not strongly so, but with the cheese grilled it definitely made that flavour come out.
I had put alittle swiss cheese culture in it as well cos I had wanted holey cheese and couldnt remember if gouda did that or not.
That must have been why it bulged abit.
This week, I had a day off, so after having a sleep in, breakfast in bed and doing much needed housework, I got all Alliums planted out.
yes these are all in two beds right next to each other so I have to make sure that only the pearl drops are allowed to flower and set seed next year.
Our super market had got in some hard neck garlic for the first time ever and I was down to the last 2 cloves before I realised that they might not get any more in-which they didnt,so these will be grown as a future 'seed' crop.
There are alot of shallots that I grew last year and had braided a la purplepear,some white garlic and pearl drop onions that I will let set seed.
I got two different types of tree onions from Koanga nurseries and all the tiny red onions I sowed way too late last year.
Hopefully they will grow alittle larger this year and that I cant stop them before they try to set seed.
Opps, just realised that I am going to have to put some distance between the tree onions (and the pearl drops) or they will cross.
Apart from that, things have been let do there own thing and are looking alittle shaggy.
13-07-2012, 09:56 PM
I love your rooster story! What a privileged chap he is...
14-07-2012, 05:21 PM
Its cos he's sooo handsome an virile...haha
(and I really do want to have his chicks, although I really do think bantam type hens are not what we need,pity the Austrolorp eggs didnt hatch out.)
17-07-2012, 03:16 PM
We might have a WatchRooster.
This afternoon, he started crowing but it sounded odd and seemed to getting louder each time.
I had let them out of the dome so they could have a dust bath under the trailer, when I went out to see if anything untoward was going on outside, I found the lot of them milling around the courtyard instead of under the trailer where they normally were that time of day.
Over by the truck I noticed a couple of plastic bins that I hadnt seen before.
Looks like the council have sent us some useful things-one bin to put plastics and glass in and another to put other recycleables like tins etc...
So now I have them out by the back door and have two 2 litre milk bottles in the appropriate bin.
I'm looking forward to the end of the month so I can start getting my farm fresh milk again and not have to buy shop milk for the next 9 months.
Just hope whoever it was that delivered the bins doesnt tell on me about having a rooster.
17-07-2012, 09:26 PM
Just tell them it is a stuffed one with a sound recording in it to keep the foxes away....
17-07-2012, 09:34 PM
Mischief, I always take note when I hear the roosters (and the hens) talking loudly, and when they are huddling with necks craned I can be sure somethings is amiss...
18-07-2012, 05:49 PM
Mischief , I read that you put the Choko in with Apple Pie.
Thanks for the tip. We got 30 off one vine
and it occurred to me that maybe we can use it with Rhubarb too.
Just have to freeze it since they dont come out of the garden at the same time.
With Chutney is a good idea too since it will not go completely mushy.
18-07-2012, 06:50 PM
haha,we dont have foxes around here.
I figure I should be reasonably safe unless the neighbours have reason to be annoyed.
I'm going to have to figure out a better system for summer though cos I leave for work really early on the weekend and wont be able to put him out at 5am.
More and more I'm thinking that I need to have a 'setaside area' for the chooks out of the garden.
In winter, the soil is pugging terribly even with them on a spot for less than a week.
My contemplations so far are leading me to eyeball hubby's side in the back corner where the pumpkins were last year.
I'm thinking that fenceline would be a good spot to build a sound proof roosting house.
Puppies dads' garage would block any noise to them and their back neighbour and it would put the chooks as far as I can from the ears of the neighbours on the other side.
I might be able to bribe one with fertile eggs or hatched chicks to replace their hens when they get too old.
I am looking forward to learning more of Roostertalk,be interesting to see how it differs from hentalk.
Do you know how long fertilised eggs can be kept before they become unuseable for putting under a broody hen?
I had heard that they could be kept til you have enough for a clutch but cant remember how long that is.
So far we have two laying everyday, which is fantastic for the middle of winter.
My advise is to make sure you pick up every single one or you will have the same problem I had this year-way to many plants and everyone getting absolutely sick of them.
Chokos (despite what some say) are great to cook with.
I prefer to leave them in a basket-not plastic for afew weeks somewhere cool so they dry out little and arent so mushy.
They take on the flavour of other things they are cooked with.
My favourite for them is still peeled, sliced and steamed then placed on a big puddle of really cheesey sauce with salt and pepper.
When they are allowed to dry out before cooking they have a nice delicate beany flavour.
I found another use for frost clothe.
I became wary of using the old sail bit as a cover cos I was having to tie it To the dome and with the really strong winds we have had got worried that this woud continue to blow over the yard.
With the frost clothe, it has 4 corners compared to the 3 on the old sail.
I found if I tie a knot in each corner and then ease the prong of a electric fence standard through it; it stays in place and I dont have to worry that it will catch the wind and take the dome with it.
I blocks the wind as well as the rain.
Its been on for a week so far and handled some ferocious winds we had on monday.
My son in law told me that the company he works for had to throw out heaps of pavers after they finished a large job.
I was really shocked that they would just dump these and told him if this happened again could ge ask his boss if I could buy them left overs from them.
As it turned out they still had a pallet and a half that hadnt gone to the dump so he was able to save these for me.
I also got another large book case and some reinforcing mesh to use for more trellises.
The bookcase went into the office and is full of hubby's books leaving more room in one bookcase for me to get more books.
Now I need to let my dad know I'm up for more books and give him a list of things I want.
He loves going garagesaling and secondhand bookstore hunting and was disappointed when I had to tell him we had no more room for any.
I dont know if we have enough pavers to do the courtyard yet but I dont think we will need to get too much more to pave it properly.
I am so looking forward to this being done, hopefully we wont have anymore weed problems with these down.
The pavers are the proper driveway sort which means they wont get damaged with the car being driven over them.
I think with all the mesh we have now, we may be able to do the outer edge of the garden and I'm hoping that when they are covered in beans or whatever, that they will help break the winds we get while still letting good airflow in.
I'm not happy with the french pumpkins we grew.
The Musee de provence turned out to be really mushy which is okay for pumpkin soup but not nice for roast pumpkins.
Both that and the Galaeux d'eseyne pumpkin seem to be prone to rotting.
The musee... have started rotting from around the stalks in both the huge ones And the smaller 5 kg ones I gave to friend.
The chooks love them like this but I didnt grow these for them.
I dont think I will grow these again.
I have never had problems like this with pumpkins before and it wasnt due to holding them by their stalks-I didnt do that.
19-07-2012, 12:22 PM
Mischief , I read that you put the Choko in with Apple Pie.
Thanks for the tip..
A common use of the horrible thing when i was a kid.
It does not taste like choko, but apple, which is a good thing. Apples must have been expensive?
IMD everyone had a choko vine growing in the backyard usually over the out house ( no sewage in Sydney subs. until PM Whitlam!) in the backyard (everyone had a big one of those too!)
A recent HSC (final tear public High school Exam in NSW; marks are used to get matriculation) English exam was a comprehension(?) piece which was an essay about chokos growing over the outhouse. Anyway the Australian demographic has changed and we are probably now one of the most multi-cultural of nations. It seems about 70% (?) of students had no idea what a chocko was and the whole question had to be abandoned!
Nowadays a common body of knowledge like fairy stories/ Biblical stories/ Historical memes cannot be assumed ("Cindrerella complex" was one a friend had to explain in an English class)
06-08-2012, 04:38 PM
I just collected the mail from my mailbox and was surprised to find(and maybe alittle horrified) one envelope had an 'ID RECORDED' sticker on it.
Bloody hell am I being watched now!!!
I couldnt find Koji culture to make real miso with and the only thing I could find was from a saki Homebrew place, so I ordered a small amount of this.
I have been reading a book called Japanese foods that heal and this explains for me how miso is made amongst other things and what the name of the culture was.
It mentioned that the same culture is used in a number of different ways, including that of Saki making so....now I have Koji but I have no soy beans to make miso with cos I only have alittle for seed.
I cant wait for these to grow me more beans, so my next step is going to be finding soy beans to make my very first lot.
I dont actually want to make saki, it makes you legless and you dont realise it til you try to get up and walk away, not a good look.
I dont like the idea that I have drawn attention to myself.
Not because I am doing anything wrong, I am not, but still it is unnerving to get such a thing in the mail and think somebody might think I am.
This week was supposed to be a time of contemplation after working all winter before working all summer- I have no idea how the hell I am going to get everything done but it just has to be this way this year so I have to be much more organised than I have been with my time management.
I need to wash down the kitchen,utensils and fridge to try to get rid of the blue vein mold that is obviously floating around-if the last gouda was anything to judge by.
and Kings seeds are running late with their catalogue, so no breakfast in bed dribbling over the catalogue.
Through a friend, I found somebody who can teach me how to spin wool.
I have my grandmothers old spinning wheel and a fleece to practise on.
This friends' friend decided to have a craft day when I couldnt be there, so I sent the fleece over to see if it was any good for spinning.
Unfortunately, not only is it not good, it was apparently riddled with noxious mites and unuseable for anything except compost and was quietly disposed of for me, much to the embarrassment of my friend.
I had told her if it wasnt any good for spinning then maybe she could use it to learn to make felt, so we were both disappointed.
The upside was that she came back with a Kefir grain starter for me.
I thought she was going to get a trusted sourdough starter and have no idea of what to do with this.
I did find the suggested website to learn more about this new and strange thing and did manage to find out how to freshen it.
This was supposed to take 2-3 days so I figured I had some time to do my research.
When I came home from work yesterday, it was already solidified and I have had to pop it in the fridge to slow it down.
One thing that made me sit up and pay attention when I was reading the webiste, was that kefir grains can be used to make a milk vinegar!!!
I can see that this could be a very good thing.
I like pickles, my friend is much better a making them than I am,(I am much better at growing things than she is),she prefers to use milk vinegar to any other even though it is more expensive.
If I can make the vinegar and grow what we need for NICE pickles and she makes them that would be fantastic.
07-08-2012, 06:12 AM
Great to see things progressing Mischief. Kate too has taken to spinning and knitting/ We have two more grand kids now and they grow so fast that the winter is too long for just one cardy. P love what you attempt with ferment as I am keen for it too but other things seem to get my time. Good luck in your adventure.
07-08-2012, 04:26 PM
I've been visiting your website, I have it on my favourites.
I am hopeless at knitting so I was suitably impressed with Kates' work.
I can crochet up a storm tho and was looking forward to using my own spun wool-soon.
I saw your Oat flaker, I didnt know there was such a thing and know from the stories my grandmother told us that fresh porridge taste so much better than the bought stuff.
So far the one you have is the best I was able to find so I have asked my son in Brisbane to buy me one and ship it over.
I do know where to get Oats so thats next on the list.
Choice for breakfast-porridge with fresh milk or fresh eggs on kefir sourdough toast,yum.
Tonight I made our first kefir sourdough loaf.
Just a little 2 person thing and I could have let it rise alittle more or maybe cooked it alittle bit more, but i was pleased with the texture and the taste.
And the fact that I only got the grains on saturday, had to split it because it was needing that,got a dough to rise and bake.
I was so tired saturday night my eyes were almost crossing and then trying to find out how to use this thing I had vaguely heard about but had no idea really.
Thats another Aussie website= user.sa.chariot.net.au (from memory so I hope its right).
Its abit differcult reading 'bouncy style' writing when your tired and just want short sharp and to the point facts so I have this bookmarked as well so I can keep going back to it.
With the miso, I have had no luck finding a bulk supplier for the soy beans, I even asked roosters' dad to help and all he could find was soy meal.
Thats abit frustrating, I was expecting to have to use the more oily type soy assuming that this is what the farmers feed out to their cows but so far only found the meal which I think would be fine for cattle but not fresh enough for miso.
Actually I was hoping the oily one was what we found as I had this idea that as it fermented, the oil and tamari would rise to the top and act as a seal, and perhaps making the mix alittle on the sloppy side to encourage this.
The search will continue or I will have to grow enough to make it....or perhaps I could have a go with a different sort of bean while I wait.
With the last lot of milk I got in Autumn, I decided to do alittle experiment with the last few litres.
I kept it in the bucket with the lid sealed shut for the last 3 months.
I wanted to see if it was true that milk does not grow bacteria if it is clean and in a sterile container.
When I opened this today, the cream had risen to the top as usual and looked alittle puffy but definitely that cream goldy yellow colour.
I did try to pour it through a sieve to get the whey out but it fell into the stock pot along with the whey, so that bit didnt work out so well.
I had thought that perhaps I would have our first lot of milk vinegar, but not this time.
The whey was clear and the curds at the bottom were a pale milky white.
Not one spot of bacteria of any colour that I could see anywhere through it.
I did have a taste of the cream, whey and curd and found them to be very sour and not particularly pleasant but not off tasting at all.
Because it is almost spring, I gave rooster's dad my copy of the herbal handbook for farm and stable so he would have time to read it and maybe order any seed that he wanted to add to his pastures in time for the start of the growing season.
I've told him that he really needs to look at getting afew more types of animals on his property and suggested a couple of Nubian goats and Frisian milk sheep.
Unfortunately he saw through my ploy saying neither he nor his wife had time to milk animals for my cheese.
07-08-2012, 07:04 PM
Sounds like your dad didn't come down in the last shower....
08-08-2012, 06:29 PM
No.He was alittle more succinct than that too.
Today, I dug up and transplanted the nectarine seedling that was growing in the wrong spot in the garden.
I had hoped that it would go dormant for me to do this as all the other deciduous tree had, but it didnt.When I saw that the end of the shoots were starting to sprout I thought it best to move it.
In Autumn, I had cut the roots off all around the-wretched them, I think is the term.
I knew roughly where abouts that was done so dug maybe a spade width out from that so I could remove the top layer of soil just out from that.
This enabled me to dig the seedling out more easily.
I knew there were actually two seedlings growing together and had intended to re plant both of them, but when I saw that the secondary one had roots only in 2 quandrants I didnt bother.
From working at the nursery, I learnt that the best root formation after a tap root was for the seedling to have a major root sticking out in 4 different directions.Three evenly spaced is okay, but this had no roots for 50% of the diametre of the potential root ball which means that it would have an unstable root structure.
Its now mulch.
I have been doing alot of walking around,alittle weed pulling and alot of reading and thinking.
I am not happy, feeling that I have an information overload and visual explosion of inedible greens going on and I still havent found any soy beans to make my miso.The chooks of course are in paradise and they tell me so in alot of different ways.
I have alot of decisions to make,
Where do I plant out all those asparagus babies?Do I really need to dig such a deep trench for them?Would they really bury themselves so deep if they had simply dropped as a seed and started to grow?Why do they say to do that then?Should I give some to my brother,I know he wants me to...
My first clover experiment...did it work?I have no idea,I cant see many strawberry plants in the bed cos alot of other things have moved in too.
Strawberry pups are growing in the path,should I dig them out and put them back in the bed or did they grow out their because they dont like the bed?Do I just step over them?
Why the hell do the chooks suddenly decide to completely scratch up where I just planted my pearl drop onions, not once or twice but three times.
I had resorted to protecting the last two (all I could find out of nine), with the cut of top of a 20 litre container.(with a rock on top of it).
Rhubarb between the Avo's.
I expected to see them all to be growing really well, they were the last time I looked afew months back but now there is only one.
This was supposed to be a dual purpose plus thing, with them suppressing the weeds between the Avo's whilst providing that little extra acidity, marrying beautifully in with the strawberries(which so far do look good there at the moment)and the granny's bonnets, which havent come up yet.
I've been here before...why do we have paths?Should I just splash out and buy that barkmulch and put it down over weed mat so I never have to worry about it again?Should I do away with the compost bin and just chop and drop everything, and use all the lawn clippings just on the paths?
I just about started to say.on the plus side like I normally do, but I'm not sure all that was actually a negative.
S o far two of the hens have started laying their eggs under the ferns in the courtyard and a third jumped in to have alook but hasnt decided yet whether or not its a good spot.
I really should find that plastic egg to stash in their so it picks up their scent so I can remove that old one thats been there for weeks and must be getting nasty by now.
I cant take them all out of their or they go hide them somewhere else.
Houdini has taught the other smaller bantam type hens how to get out so now I have 3 roamers and little miss red is looking more and more like stock every week.
08-08-2012, 10:24 PM
Red Rooster! (Do you have that in NZ?)
Geoff Lawton (I think it was him anyway) says permaculture is 100 hours of thinking for 1 hour of action - sounds like you are on the right path!
09-08-2012, 06:56 AM
haha really? I wish it looked that way then.
The rooster is a barnevelder, the little red hen is I dont know what yet.
She doesnt seem to be the broody type so far- if she is laying eggs, they would be fertile and she should have afew by now but hasnt gone into hiding yet.
On the Koji culture experiment,I am getting some barley so I can have a go at making the sweet syrup mentioned in the book.While I have managed to keep one stevia plant alive in the bathroom over winter, if this syrup turns out like in the book, it would have more uses than the stevia.
The sugar beets turned out to be very labour intensive and hard to deal with so I have only a couple ticking over to keep seed going, just in case I come across someone who wants them.
13-08-2012, 07:44 PM
I thought I had killed my kefir grains.
When I checked them this morning, there didnt appear to be that froth or fizzyness I had read about and when I stirred my hand through the milk, there didnt seem to be many globs..ooh.
I did swish air through the milk thinking that cos I had the lid on the bucket that maybe it hadnt been getting enough air.
This evening, I checked it again and Voila la! frothy top and thick globbyness.
They must have needed that extra stir and seem to have come to life.
I have the lid slighty off the bucket now.
I was little bit worried that They might get infected with blue vein mold cos I still havent sterilised the kitchen yet.
This stuff does taste quite odd in a refreshing sort of way.
I havent had another go at sour dough yet and I do need to find another suitable container before friday when I go get our milk.
We have been pigging out on cottage cheese and cream cheese this week.
For the start of the new milk season, I decided to start at the beginning of my cheese making book with the fresh type products.
Yogurt is always made straight after the drinking milk is taken out and gets popped in recycled bought yogurt containers to share with my family.
I do pasturise this before I make it as it is sitting in the hot water cupboard all night.
Once the culture has been added and I m sure that it has dissolved all through the milk it gets portioned out between everyones containers and they all sit ontop of the hot water cylinder til morning.
(It would be nice to get completely away from plastics and one day we may be able to do this, meanwhile we just recycle what we have to hand and as they are food grade plastics, I think they are probably our safest choice for now.)
I then leave the milk overnight so the cream can rise to the top and skim this off and put it in the fridge.This at least goes in a glass jar.
Hubby devised an ingenious solution for this- an old metal keg that had been cut in half arrived in my kitchen and frozen ice cubes placed around the milk bucket insured that it stayed at low temperatures over night.
I was churning the cream in an antique glass butter churn that hubby found in his wanderings, but it does take alot of time which I just dont have right now.
My mum loves it in her coffee and it tastes wonderful on our breakfast.
Cream was something that used to get bought for special occasions like birthdays or Christmas and I feel very spoilt now that I can just go to the fridge and help myself to some whenever I want.
The first cottage cheese, I made in autumn was completely by mistake and some knowledgeble friend said it tasted like a really good ricotta and offered to buy a regular supply off me.
I didnt tell her it was supposed to have been a gouda.( but the curds wouldnt firm up properly)
This week I made another cottage cheese that was almost as good as that first one.
The cream cheese was even better.
I thought cream cheese would be really hard to make because it tastes so lovely and rich. It wasnt,it was dead easy.
I had lunch with a friend and took some of this cream cheese with me which we had on crackers with her homemade chutney.
I left her a little bit for tomorrow and she gave me a whole jar of the best chutney I have ever tasted and I have placed an order for a years supply of this.
So.... now we have 2 types of cheese that Have to be made every week as well as the cream, as well as the yogurt.
I'm not too sure if there will be enough milk left to make a decent sized hard cheese when I get to that part of my book.
We may have to collect our milk twice a week.
In the garden, I have been lazy and not done much apart from wandering around trying to remember where I planted out all those hard to find herbs I got off trademe last year.
I couldnt figure out how a 'parsnip' got to where it was-the chooks had scratched out the soil from around some of it and it wasnt til I noticed a label on the ground near it, that said Elecampane, that I even remembered that I had infact planted one there.
It should flower this year.
I was surprised and pleased to see that the flat leaf parsley had regrown in the exact same spot it was the year before last.
It had gone to seed and I gayly strewed them all over the section,only to find that none of them grew, so we only had the curly leaf parsley last summer.
I think the flat leaf sort has a nicer flavour so I was really pleased to see it and have been harvesting it for the last couple of weeks even though its only 4 inches high.
I dont understand why it didnt grow last year.
From my readings this winter, I discovered that the wound wort I had got was also known as betony.
When I told a friend that we had this,she got so excited and asked if she could have a cutting.
The Angelica has sprouted up again and looks much better than it has for ages and I have even found what I think are seedlings of others.
I was so annoyed last year that I only got two seedlings to grow in the trays, that I madly sprinkled the rest of the seeds everywhere, not really expecting them to grow.
One thing I dont understand about this herb is that all the books I have read say that this decreases the need to sugar in jams and preserves etc..., but when I tasted the leaves (which are suppposed to be Nice in teas), they taste flat like celery leaves.
I'm wondering if any of those authors had actually tasted/used this herb, or did they all merely copy each other.
I also wonder if what they are actually talking about is the preserved stalks put in said jams etc.
But....to make these crystalised gems, you need to use lots of sugar as well as extra effort.
I remember how much time and effort it took for my grandmother to make all those delicious candied peels from the lemons and oranges and cant see how using crystalized angelica would be any better than just adding the normal amount of sugar to their jams.
One concerning thing I discovered this week, is what I think is the entrance to a rats nest in hubby's side of the yard.
It cant be a rabbit hole-we dont have any and I am sure I would have noticed one of those in the yard.
I stood all over the soil above this and felt quite queasy when my feet started to sink into the dirt.
What do I do here?
Do rats have a place in my yard- thats not really the sort of diversity I had in mind.
13-08-2012, 10:30 PM
I had a rat anomaly. Just one, regular visitor. He would steal things, mostly worm food and then jump out at me. My wife would retell the anecdote that he shouted "Daddy" as he jumped at me. I assumed that if he met a girl, I would be in trouble.
I had to drown him, just in case. I'm still not happy about it, but it had to be done.
14-08-2012, 08:58 AM
I do understand that Rats are carriers of disease and this is why it is unacceptable to allow them to exist when you find them in your space.
It obviously is not living in our house, which I would simply not put up with, but do they have any redeeming qualities?
Rats are not native to our country and all types were brought over here with people.
The Maori dealt with them by feeding them in specific places so they would not invade the food stores, and supposedly also used Them as a food source.
I will not be eating rat unless I am starved to near death and am not even considering seeing them as this sort of resource.
I think I should trap it and kill it just because they present a real danger to our native bird life, but then I should be doing away with our cats and dogs and hedgehogs and rabbits and.....
where does it end?
I find myself questioning my right to kill things because thats what should be done.
I dont want the competition for the walnuts that drop from my neighbours tree, or my eggs that the rat maybe finding before I do-mixed feelings and perhaps thats not being very rational.
I have friends who keep these animals as pets! and love them telling me that they are very intelligent and trainable.
I read a story about a man in a cottage who also had a rat friend that ate out of his hand.
He didnt suffer from this interaction.
14-08-2012, 08:18 PM
They make a good supplement to my cat's diet...
15-08-2012, 06:11 AM
It would be nice if they ate the whole thing though, instead of leaving bits behind....and if they did so OUTSIDE.
15-08-2012, 08:30 AM
I've ALMOST trained the cat not to sit under the bed in the guest room and leave the spleen behind. ALMOST....
15-08-2012, 08:33 AM
I do understand that Rats are carriers of disease and this is why it is unacceptable to allow them to exist when you find them in your space.
It obviously is not living in our house, which I would simply not put up with, but do they have any redeeming qualities?
Rats are not native to our country and all types were brought over here with people.
The Maori dealt with them by feeding them in specific places so they would not invade the food stores, and supposedly also used Them as a food source.
I will not be eating rat unless I am starved to near death and am not even considering seeing them as this sort of resource.
I think I should trap it and kill it just because they present a real danger to our native bird life, but then I should be doing away with our cats and dogs and hedgehogs and rabbits and.....
where does it end?
I find myself questioning my right to kill things because thats what should be done.
I dont want the competition for the walnuts that drop from my neighbours tree, or my eggs that the rat maybe finding before I do-mixed feelings and perhaps thats not being very rational.
I have friends who keep these animals as pets! and love them telling me that they are very intelligent and trainable.
I read a story about a man in a cottage who also had a rat friend that ate out of his hand.
He didnt suffer from this interaction.
I know how you feel Mischief. Had a bit of a rat problem here a while back. I heard a noise in the dining room. I had taken down some pictures from the wall in preparation for painting. I looked behind the paintings and there was this rat dragging a steak bone and the bloody thing just looked at me as if to say, "Well you didn't want it so it's mine go away". Yes that brazen! Now I'm not scared of much but I have a fear of mice and rats so I was beside myself and the rat finally ran off downstairs. It was a brown rat and not a native one. No ferals allowed. Bush rats don't come inside.
I hate killing anything. I got one of those traps that catch the rat and doesn't hurt them, thinking I could catch it and go for a drive into the bush and let it out. However, they are far too smart to be caught in one of those things.
I read up about rats in the Australian context. We have native rats and mice but also illegal immigrants. They don't have good eyesight but their hearing is super and they are very intelligent. You can teach them to come when their name is called etc. PETA advises not to kill them as others will just move in to take their place. So learn to live with them. I DON'T THINK SO!!! Sorry can't have rats in the house. If they were outside I would probably leave them. I found a dead one down near the dam. Don't know if next door neighbours are poisoning or not.
So had to go for the traps that go snap. No poison. I caught two rats downstairs in the trap. No more now for weeks but I leave the trap set just in case. When they went off, I had to get a pair of long tongs and carefully pick it up and take outside (scary stuff). The currawongs swoop and take the tasty treat away.
So traps may be the way to go but it is awful.
I always think of that movie Willard, where the friendly rats turn homocidal. eeeeeeeekkkkkkk!
The trials of living in the bush! Good luck Mischief.
20-08-2012, 09:37 PM
This week, I fossicked through all the goodies SIL had left in the garden shed for me.Lots of weedmat that was going to be thrown out after their contract finished.
I spent quite abit of time cutting this into slices to go down the path, making sure it was wide enough for the edges to get tucked in under the timber edges.
I hadnt realised that he had scored so much of it.It defintiely has been used cos I kept finding sharp bits of wire tied to it with long spikey ends.So far the main path between the garden that runs along the boundary hedge and middle bed has been covered.I found that I could tuck the ends into the soil to secure them by using the garden trowel.I poked the edge downwards and alittle towards the rest of the mat-back onto its self.Then the next run gets poked in back towards where its going to go, so far they have stayed put even though I havent got the bark mulch yet to go ontop.
After doing the main path, I used the leftover bit of that run to make temp. paths in the hedgeside bed.
I wanted to see how many 4 foot wide beds were actually there if the whole thing was done out like this.We will get 7 along here.I doubt they will all stay that size all the time, like when its time to do potatoes or corn there.
These arent made with single lengths and I have found I can do the same tuckin trick on the ends here too.
Its not perfect as 3 of them did need something to hold the down when it got windy.
These now have long bits of sunflower stalks lying down the middle of them.
I'm sure that when I mulch the beds with clippings, that will be enough to keep them in place.
Last week, I made the cream cheese with some yogurt that had not thickened properly-pasturised it first just in case.That was lovely.
This week, I took out our drinking milk, skimmed the milk before making our yogurt and cottage cheeses made without the cream and when it came to make the cream cheese, I put most of the cream back in...simply divine.
We use this on our bread instead of butter, big globs of it.
I still havent been able to make milk vinegar,I must figure it out at some point and hopefully this ill be before my friend needs it for our pickles and chutneys.
Afew days ago, I was telling my mum that I needed to buy bread cos it looked like I may have somehow killed the kefir grains and couldnt make any bread.
Later,when I went out to feed the chooks, I found a loaf of bread on the bench by the back door.
I think it as from puppies' mum.(I had left them some eggs by their backdoor last week).I think this is so cool-did she hear us talking?It was still frozen, so I popped it in the freezer so it didnt go off.We dont eat alot of bread and found the last little bit would be bad before it got eaten.We just take out however many slices we want and if we're using butter, it spread much easier without ripping the bread, or let it thaw and spread it with the cream cheese.
I finally found a source for soy beans but was horrified, when they told me it was going to be $12/kg and that they could drop that to $10 if I bough a sack of it.....going to have to find a friendly farmer with abit of land whose willing to let me use a small plot to grow our own.This year, we will just have to see how much we can grow per square metre and take note of how much seed gets used to be able to work out how much space it would take to grow enough to make a years supply of miso.
I didnt know that this is also used to make traditional Japanese pickled vegetable til I read that in my 'Japanese foods that heal' book
The frost clothe tied to the bottom of the driveway gate looks....unusual, but it is keeping the hens in the backyard.I found that if I wrapped the edge of the clothe around the board that holds it down, that it doesnt come loose and allow gaps for them to hop through.
The area on hubby's side where I planted the hazels,mulberry and pomegranate got cleared of choko bits,grass and as much convovulus and blackberry.
I had afew hoops covered with frost clothe and sprinkled some wheat are the entrance and inside to encourage some of the hens to go in.When three did, I closed it shut and left them in there for afew hours for them to clean that area for me...worked a treat.
I will be mulching this area and will see if I can get some climbing type plants to grow in here, havent decided exactly what yet.
I dont know whether to put the hops plant here or on the fenceline on the other side of the parking area.
Those neighbours like a drop of homebrew so they might like to share some hops.I'm sure it will grow enough for the both of us...will have to ask them, just in case they dont and it goes wild on there side.
21-08-2012, 09:32 AM
I bumped into Elisabeth Fekonia at the Permaculture meeting last week. Well 'bumped' isn't quite the right term - she was speaking on fermentation (you should have been there for the miso tasting, spread on sourdough rye....). I mentioned that you where going to contact her about your dairy question. I didn't get a chance to ask her where she gets her soy from, but she makes her own miso, soy sauce and tempeh. You two really should chat - I'm sure you'd learn a lot from each other.
I saw a story on hops growing over the weekend - don't they grow up a string and get to be REALLY tall? Or are you letting them run along the fence line?
21-08-2012, 03:57 PM
I did look at her web site, but didnt think she would be able to help me find the soy beans seeing as I am in NZ, but she might know so I should ask her.
Ah yes, hops can grow up to 9 metres and are traditionally grown up a string or three.I was going to try it along a fence.I keep thinking about how great the house used to look when the Ivy was growing over it,(before it started getting out of control) and would love to have it all covered with something again.
We would have to put brackets along the walls with wires running between them for a vining thing, apparently it help to have air flow between the wall and the plant.
I havent been able to find out how well hops grows horizontally or even if it will yet so that is why the poor thing is still in its pot.
I wish I was at the workshop too, its differcult to try new things when you have know real idea of what you are doing.
Feels abit like reinventing the wheel when you know somebody already has a working copy.
I did have a taste of tempeh absolutely years ago before such things were really known and wasnt sure if I liked it or not.
If she is making soy sauce too....ahh I want to move....
21-08-2012, 04:19 PM
A house of hops! That could be a tourist attraction.
I have only ever had Elisabeth's tempeh so I have nothing to compare to but hers is really nice. Save up for the airfares and you can stay at my place while you do her workshop...
21-08-2012, 04:57 PM
Does she do one over Xmas-january?If so, you're on!!
21-08-2012, 07:35 PM
Possibly. I can't see that she has any on her calendar for them but she may just not have booked them up that far yet. I'm serious about the house offer though. I might yet be back in Cambodia around then, but you can have a room here or I can arrange a billet for you with someone else if I'm not in the country.
21-08-2012, 08:05 PM
Ah well, just have to start saving my pennies and see closer to the time...I would love a chance to wander through your garden!
30-08-2012, 08:21 PM
We have a baby rabbit living in the road side garden. I went to check on the nectarine seedling and interrupted it feeding on grass roots under one of the olive trees.
One side of me thought 'how cute' the other said 'oh shit!This little bugger is going to eat my seed and seedlings'.
So, another bit of a problem.
I went to buy the chooks sack of wheat like I always do when I start to run out,only to find that they didnt have any.The sales rep just happened to mention that he thought the suppliers might be starting to stockpile it due to what is happening overseas with all the droughts etc...not good, that means the prices are going to sky rocket.
I had to buy whole maize instead, which the guy and girls love.
I was seriously considering growing maize on the roadside garden just for them and under planting with butternuts for us and family, but with yet another rodent likely to eat it all, once again, I feel stuck.
I did think of catching it and finding it a mate to start our 'rabbit warren, but it was such a puny looking thing, I wasnt sure it would be worth the effort.
It doesnt look like my broadcasting of barley has worked in this area, I can see what looks like barley grass starting to flower and it doesnt have the long spikey beards that the proper grain barley grows which is disappointing.
I was sure I had sowed heaps so at least some would grow.I'll have to wait and see what happens.
The chooks loved the barley grass that I found elsewhere and fed to them.The rooster came to check it out first and did his little croony-noise, calling the girls over for a feed, so at least I know what to do with the heads of barley grass when I find them.
I finally got around to putting something up along the internal fence between the garden and hubbys' side.It was supposed to be wires for brambles to get tied to, but after thinking Imay need to put the chooks somewhere out of the garden for abit,instead, I used the old plastic mesh I found along the river bank and some that hubby found for me after I said I didnt have enough.
I put his lot along the bottom, cos it was square mesh and more sturdy looking.(And also a very bright Orange), with my lot along the top- a more faded pink hexagonal mesh., with just alittle bit left over.
That gives things something to climb up and will keep the chooks in once the front is blocked off.I dont think this will be a permanent fence.I dont have anything to fill it with yet.
I found a Thornless bramble-probably one I planted two years ago and couldnt find again-dont know how it did that, but anyway, its now been transplanted to its new trellis.I did find another one, but will wait til a better day to transplant that one.These Are thornless, so I am quietly pleased.
The northern boundary now has reinforcing mesh 'trellises' around most of it, in readiness for the shit load of climbing beans I am going to plant here.Most of this came from SIL and only one had to be cut in half so they would fit better.I have some poles at each end, sunk into the ground and the whole lot tied up with yet more baling twine.
The rooster doesnt seem to be able to fit through the gaps in the mesh, which I thought was interesting.If/when at some stage, I need to replace the hens, perhaps it would be a good idea to get a bigger breed than bantams.Keeping those out would mean mesh fences and mesh gate-that little tidbit has been tucked away for future reference.
We have got the middle bed edged with the old timber from the old veg garden, it just needs something around the curved bit on the end, so I might go and see if my mum is using something I gave her ages ago that will work there.Then, I'm off to find bark to fill the paths.
Roosters' dad came by to drop off my farm and stable herbal, they liked it so much they have ordered one for themselves.
They are on tank water and thought the size they have would be about the size we would need.
I showed him 3 spots where we thought the water tank could go, but werent sure cos we didnt know what diametre it was.
One was just going to be too hard to get the tank into and would have needed an extra crane to lift it over the garage, the other spot wasnt wide enough, unfortunately.I thought it would be good there cos it would act as a windbreak ( the southerlies hit the side of the house and are deflected up to the garden)...so need to find another solution to that problem.
Now we just have to save some money to buy the tank.The downpipes etc are sitting waiting somewhere resonably out of the way til then.
I originally didnt think you could get concrete tanks any more because all the ones I have seen have been the big green plastic ones, but it seems that these are still being made and this was what was reccommended.They dont heat the water like the plastic apparently do-this can cause algae and bacteria to grow in the water which would mean having to use additives to counteract that when/if we hooked it up to the house.(I wanted a tank for watering the garden after I heard on the grapevine that the council will be putting metres on the water connection)
Finally managed to mow the lawns so one set of beds have been mulched to kill the weeds so we have a clear bed to start planting.I've choosen the hedge side lot to start with.
The dome is stuck again waiting for the wheat to grow and ripen.I dont want to move it on these spots after seeing how badly the small sowing of oats got munched.
The door to the dome is open and everyone goes in to roost at night.Two lay their eggs in the nestbox in there, two lay in the part of the compost bin that is aging,one lays in the ferns by the steps and one was laying in a wicker basket I had in the porch til I upset her by walking past- I havent found her new nest yet.Not sure if the other tow are laying yet or not.
The rooster still comes in at our bed time,haha,my daughter stayed with us for a couple of days,I did tell her that I brought the rooster in at night and that he will probably wake her up at 4.30am.
She said she did hear him-pretty hard not too seeing as he was right outside her door-but she thought 'how cool' and went back to sleep.
I have a wonderful family to put up with such a crazy me.
01-09-2012, 01:04 PM
A fermenting thought for you....
I was watching a video of a naturopath from NZ talking about how to help parents change their kids diets when they have austism or ADD type issues. She was big on using fermented food and recommended making green coconut water kefir. Which sounds really interesting, but the thought of having to break into a coconut and not chop my arm off stops me from wanting to give it a go. She also talked about making your own nut or seed milk (almond, sesame etc), then adding kefir to make a nut yoghurt, and then draining that to make nut cheese. That sounded really interesting....
Where do you buy your cultures from? I might have to stop thinking about this and actually do it.
It's probably time to harvest that cabbage and make sauerkraut too...
01-09-2012, 08:10 PM
um, I got mine from a friends' friend.
I think she originally got it from http://users.sa.chariot.net.au
Dont really like the taste of it in milk.I have been dosing myself every now and then because it is supposed to be good for me, but like most 'medicine',I 'forget' to take it.
I wound up dehydrating alot of the sauerkraut I made cos I made so much and was the only one eating it.
Our supermarket doesnt seem to have coconut in the vege section-just a little place, so there probably isnt much of a market for that here, I could check out the local fruit and vege shop.
That would be an interesting taste sensation.
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