A day off from the slog and back into it with gusto.

I’d reached the point where I was very nearly sick of the sight of Ballan. All work and no play had pushed to boundaries of my sanity and it’s been a long time since we’ve had a holiday so, when the weekend of the Kyneton Show came rolling along again we were very keen to go.

Last years show was very nearly a wash-out with showers on and off all day long. It was a day for rain coats and gumboots and yet, still a lot of fun. This year was much finer with some cloud but a goodly lot of sunshine too. Makes for a much more pleasant day. Like last year, we met up with friends from Trentham and with 4 adults and 8 kids off we went. First stop was the local politicians stand to collect helium balloons for those that wanted them and then on to the Kyneton Baptist Church stand where Jasper and Allegra got some help to build a bird house. It was well thought out and a brilliant concept – grab 2 bits of wood off this pile, 1 from here, another 1 from that pile and 1 more from the other pile then come back and nail it together. I was most impressed by the patience of the man who helped Jasper to build his as Jas, armed with a hammer, would suddenly be no longer watching what he was hammering as he was fascinated by the show train that kept whizzing past. It was a sheer miracle that fingers weren’t hammered I tell you. ๐Ÿ™‚

We’d forgotten to bring our pram up so we were faced with the idea of carrying 2 rather heavy wooden bird houses back to the car or around the show. Fortunately the next stall offered to hold them for us until we returned. ๐Ÿ˜€ We bypassed the kids painting tent in favour of the miniature coal-fired traction engine, which of course being crazy Thomas the Tank Engine fans, my children simply adored. THIS year however, Jas actually had a ride on it. We saw the show train (again he went on it this year), the petting zoo, reptile stand (how CAN people wear snakes around their necks), the raptor exhibit (how glorious is the wedge tailed eagle!), pony rides and all the usual side-show alley amusements.

Steam powered coal driven traction engine

Oh so happy to be here

 

The wedge-tailed Eagle can have a wing span of up to 2.27 metres (7 ft 5 in) and is one of the largest birds of prey in the world.

By this time we had hungry kids and hungry adults so we sought out some shade and tipped out the contents of our bags. A pretty divine lunch of sausages in bread with all sorts of yoghurt, fruit, veggies, dip and other such yummy fare followed. MUCH cheaper and healthier option than buying lunch there, and tastier too I reckon. Ironically, last year there was a huge line for the big corn-dog hot chips van. This year its attendants all looked incredibly bored. In all fairness it was a much colder day last year too.

On our way to our picnic patch we had arrived at the one and only even I wanted to see. The fowl sheds. ๐Ÿ˜€ Chooks galore! I tell you though, you can hear them a mile away, with roosters of every size, colour and shape imaginable all crowing their little hearts out! I was mightily impressed with several of the birds in there. Firstly was this GIANT and I mean absolutely HE-UGE Australorp Rooster who I would have to say is the most impressive rooster I have ever set eyes on. He stared regally down from his cage like a haughty king surveying his domain. He really was exquisite. I reckon he was the size of a good-sized turkey just to give some perspective. On the other end of the scale were the Old English Game roosters and there was this one little fellow who was about the size of Honey, our smallest Pekin Bantam hen who strutted around like he owned the joint. For anyone who has ever read the Belgariad, this fellow was DEFINITELY a Prince Kheldar of a rooster. And the crow on him! Far bigger than you would credit his tiny body for. He must have got stage fright as I walked past though because he muffed it at the end which made me giggle. There were also geese which honked at us as we wandered past, 1-5 day old chicks, including quail chicks which were much bigger than I would have thought, ducklings that I would guess would have been 6-8 weeks of age and some ducks too. I got to see my first real Muscovy duck and I am most definitely impressed with them. The 2 drakes were also very regal looking and unlike all the roosters and ganders all making their presence known, the stood there silently surveying the chaos around them. The duck also just stood and watched and not a sound did any of them make. It backed up one of the reasons I had for choosing Muscovy ducks – they are known sometimes as quackless ducks as they only quack in times of extreme stress. I’m sure our neighbours will appreciate that.

Anyway, once lunch was overย the kids all had a lovely time in the kids tent painting plastic bottles upcycled into pin wheel fans.

Upcycled bottle pin wheels – sorry about the dodgy photo

We headed off after that with 3 very tired kids and 2 almost as tired parents, but back to Ballan where Martin continued to work on Trevor whilst I made further progress on the chicken run before heading home for an ultra early night.

Today was a huge progress day. As we’d collapsed into bed very early last nigh, we of course woke early so Martin made the most of it and took off on the bike some time just after 6 whilst I lay in bed awaiting the bombardment of 2 children that never came. Jasper and Allegra actually slept in, 7:15 and 7:30 respectively! If a day at the show is what it takes to get a sleep in past 6:30 I reckon we need to find a show to attend every day! BRILLIANT! ๐Ÿ˜€ We dragged slowly through the morning, mostly due to me suffering a junk food hangover (I’d eaten some chocolate and chips (crisps) on the way to Ballan) as well as a raxed neck from lugging 14 kgs of baby on my back for most of the day. By the time we finally got to Ballan it was nearly 11 so Martin hauled off with the trailer and a sleeping bubba to pick up some tires whilst I got to work with my new tool.

I’d been dreading the need to sew together the different rows of wire we’d used to create the fence. Weaving in and out with wire then pulling it taut was likely to become tedious and extremely labour intensive very quickly and I’d been procrastinating all week about going up to the house to do it. A chance meeting and conversation with a lady I’d met at a Kyneton Transition Hub wicking bed workshop a few months back which was overheard by a friend of hers, resulted in me getting a huge get out of jail free card! She described to me a wonderful tool that would help me crimp C-rings around wire which would work perfectly to close up the layers of wire. A quick google search and a husband in Bunnings at 7am this morning meant I cut several hours worth of work down to about 45 minutes! Only need to finish securing the wire around the water tank, fitting the door and then doing up their accommodation (new roof, nesting boxes and perches). Hopefully the kids play ball tomorrow and I can get it done.

Crimping pliers

Pliers holding the C-ring…

… The ring holding the top and bottom of the chicken wire together…

 

… Crimping the C-ring…

 

… And done!

Due to some predicted low temperatures, my final job before heading home was to frost-proof my frost sensitiveย plants which so far, is pretty much everything I’ve planted. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ The beans (all 27 of them so far), the tomatoes, capsicum, corn, watermelons, pumpkins and zucchini are all buried under straw and even some dried grass from mowing and the spuds have been buried under compost. The kids and I will go up again tomorrow and I’ll move the mulch to go around the plants, not on them and then help the potato plants to come through a little more. They may be a little too buried for optimum levels, but protection was the main aim here.

The temperature in Ballan was forecast to drop to 3 degrees tonight which puts it in to the zone possible for frost. Iย don’t really understand yet about the conditions needed for frost but I do know that 4 degrees or under is the frost range but I’m not taking any chances. I’ve used whatever straw is available to bury my tomatoes, capsicums, beans, zucchini, pumpkins and watermelons. This is the tomato and capsicums under their bed of straw. I hope it’s enough.

Peekaboo capsicum

 

The spuds, also sensitive to frost, received a different covering – compost! If you bury their leaves they will turn into roots and potato roots grow spuds. I’ll go up tomorrow and dig out the tops of the leaves to allow them some more sunlight but tonight they rest warm under composted horse poo. Toasty!

Here’s a couple of other photos from around the place too.

Exciting times. This is my kitchen buried underneath its plastic whilst the house is painted!

The first harvestable item! A currant! Could be a black currant only half-ripe but I think it’s a red currant. They’re all mixed in together so it’s hard to tell.

 

Onions popping up and doing their thing

The radishes I planted in between the carrots are popping up. Here’s hoping they do better than the failed milk carton pot ones.

Mulberry flowers.

The tyre edging/garden being filled with compost

A temporary measure to contain the kids when we’re driving the car around or for safety around Trevor.

 

Orik in the animal nursery

No photos of Allegra from the show – she wasn’t so much into doing things this year and I didn’t get a photo of her building her bird box. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Well, bed time for this little black duck. See you on the green side.

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4 thoughts on “A day off from the slog and back into it with gusto.

  1. narf77 says:

    Whatever you do DON’T plant meat berries! They go under the benign name “josterberry” and me, being the closet fruit gormand that I am (don’t eat much of it but definately want the weirdest kinds…) bought a few josterberries to plant out in town. They are prolific…they look interesting…they promised to be a cross between blueberries and gooseberries BUT they ended up meatberries…a weird taste of meat and vinegar. Not something you would want to eat but the blackbirds LOVE them so maybe they could be used as hedging (they grow like topsy) around your currants and berries to attract the birds away from your actual desirable berries/currants. Our little long suffering mulberry had been buried under mounds of banana passionfruit and had tried to escape the black plastic bird netting that dad made me put over it to stop the birds from eating all of the fruit…he never once set foot in the jungle of banana passionfruit to collect any of this fruit mind you…just wanted to stop the birds from getting it…sigh…so after a major untangling event which defoliated almost the whole tree and left the remaining leaves tattered and torn this year the little mulberry is thanking us with a massive crop of mulberries already covering it. I plan on letting the birds eat as many as they want this year. Call it my “free go” for all of those years of slaving underneath a net and them having to cling tenaciously to the bird wire watching the fruit rot underneath :). Those bird houses will be lovely on your property and even if the birds turn up their noses…they will act as amazing bug houses :). Put them near your veggies and the beneficials can move in and help you protect your crops. We planted out our beans on Saturday and they are amazingly happy out there. Never having bothered to plant them and being too lazy to google planting distances I KNOW we planted them too close but they can climb and whatchagonnado eh? ;). We are going to have to build another garden bed for a punnet of bicolour corn that we have languishing in the glasshouse and our purple king beans and our tepary beans…I bet you don’t have THEM! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • I was offered Josterberries on Saturday actually but I like to stick to heritage stuff when I can or at least, non crosses. Josters definitely don’t make that list.
      No I don’t have those beans, details?! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m gonna be planting m beans well close together too. Sod the “must be planted” rules. I reckon they’re commercial planting distances anyway as I’ve never followed those rules and the few crops I have successfully harvested worked just fine. Those that failed did so for reasons that had nothing to do with planting distances.
      Our mulberry is planted near the chook pen. When it gets nice and big it will drop fruit into the chicken pen. It’s also very water tolerant (and I believe it will handle high levels of salinity too) so we will be replacing at least a portion of our silver poplars with some more mulberries. I remember very well the deliciousness of my Nanna’s homemade mulberry pie.

      • narf77 says:

        I remember mums mulberry pie and silkworms and trying to find the one person in our class who had a mulberry tree to get the leaves who became the most popular person in class right up until we discovered that lettuce leaves will do (and make red silk!)…Tepary are arid desert beans from the US and I am trialling them for future growing in the back quarter of the property that is high and dry. They apparently grow without any additional watering in drought conditions…sounds right up my alley! ๐Ÿ™‚ I have both brown and speckled blue. If they grow and set seed I will collect it all and save it for next year and will send you some if you like ๐Ÿ™‚

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