Well today was supposed to be hatching day. I say supposed to as there was no hatching occurring today. No peeping ducklings, no proud mumma, no wonders of new life to show my pint sized permies. In fact, today there were no eggs either. On Friday evening we decided we were out of time to get Mandy into safe quarters to raise her babies, safe from the attentions of their much heavier fathers (muscovy drakes weigh approximately twice as much as the ducks do. They are big boys.) and safe from the other hens and roosters too. However as Martin grabbed her she managed to break one of her eggs. I felt AWFUL! Like a murderer. We’d killed one of her babies!
But then the smell hit.
And then the smell concentrated.
And then we realised what the smell was.
If you have never smelt rotten eggs before then thank your lucky stars. I hope fervently that I never EVER have my senses assaulted by that revolting stench again. More subtle than rotting road kill but just as potent in its ability to induce the dry heaves, I sort of kind of had to pike and let Martin clean it up. Our chook pen is a goodly distance from the house but I could smell that one rotten egg outside my back door!
Mandy eventually settled down to her new apartment living but yesterday my nose was once again assaulted by that same revolting smell. Taking a peek inside her little chooky townhouse I saw she had booted the lone chicken egg that had made its way into her nesting box (we left it there to minimise further disturbance to the poor Mumma to be) had been booted from the nest and had broken and another of her eggs had also rolled down and out of ther nest but miraculously hadn’t shattered. Looking inside the nest though we realised another one had and upon picking up the last remaining egg I realised I could see the liquid inside leveling itself out every time I moved the egg. So sadly, her entire nest was rotten. 😦
We do however have one of our Dorking hens laying away from her nest so I think she’s about to go broody. I’m keeping her eggs separate and if she starts to sit her nest then I can pop them underneath her. Exciting times. 🙂
Our bad news regarding the ducks continues though. Molly, our gender confused pure white drake was noticed to be limping badly on Saturday and upon closer inspection was seen to have a nasty cut on his left leg, still bleeding. We had guests up for lunch who then helped to chase down and corner the poor bird whereupon he was bundled into our all purpose carrier crate (used for ducks, hens and cats as the need arises) and carted off to the vet in Bacchus Marsh. We were lucky to get the bird specialist vet though who was able to treat poor Molly’s wound, bandage him up and send us on our way with antibiotics. As much as I don’t like the idea of antibiotics, I feel that it’s, at this early stage in our education, a better option than letting an infection set in. The poor fellow is lined up, wrapped in a towel and has a tablet jammed down his throat twice a day by Martin, a big bandage on his leg and quarantine to keep him out of the water. He’s not a happy camper and nor are his fellow ducky play mates who can’t figure out why he can’t get out. Milly is however taking full advantage of the fact that his rival is locked up and has been chasing poor Mandy to ground with frequency. I suspect that when she begins to lay again that we might need to leave her eggs be and see if she begins to sit again. THIS time she will be moved into her quarantine in the early stages of her period of confinement, not at the end.
We’ve been planning and learning, replanning, discussing, deciding and most of all researching for our food forest garden out the front and one garden bed has been tacked together and I’ve layered over 2 thirds of it with newspaper and cardboard and some of the smaller poplar branches to keep it from flying away. We need to hit up the rest of the current poplar forest and chainsaw them down (they’re rotten weeds that send suckers up left right and centre) and then saw them into manageable pieces to line the bed with before topping it off with some horse manure then compost. It’s been earmarked as the location of next years potato crop and the future home of our olive trees as it’s the highest and hence driest (drainage wise at least) point of our property. I may also plant an avocado tree in there I think as they like dry roots. it’s all extremely exciting and I cannot thank Geoff Lawton enough for his free videos whch have given me so many ideas and such a wonderful education into permaculture design. A Permaculture Design Cource (PDC) is much desired but the 2 necessary factors of finance and time are missing from the equation and it’s not going to happen, at least for now so his videos have been a real blessing. I know there will be much more I could learn with a PDC and I just hope I don’t make too many mistakes.
A friend of mine who also hails from Victoria although sadly in another timezone and hemisphere 😉 has started up another blog. Linne from A Random Harvest fame has just started sharing some of the stories from her life on Thought and Memory and I cannot recommend enough that you check out, like and follow this blog. This lovely lady has done it all. Horse and cart eating wild forage through the back roads in southern British Colombia (with small children too), driving across the state to harvest peaches for canning for the year, growing up in a house we would call a tiny home these days and so much more. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for this new blog and I urge you to have a look. 🙂
I came across this film in a blog I follow – Vegetable Vagabond – and it’s been a fascinating one to watch. Please have a look and a think. It will make me think the next time that I buy seeds. Places like Diggers Club promote the different varieties, often organic, of seeds and bulbs out there too. 🙂 All I can say is thank goodness for the seed savers out there.
Another inspiring video I’ve come across is one by a fellow called John D Liu who has also linked up with Australia’s Geoff Lawton. Liu’s video is quite amazing when you see the terraces and the work that was done in China. By hand! Makes me feel really lazy when I want to hire a bobcat to do my small area of garden.
And last but by no means least (in fact probably most) are Geoff Lawton’s videos. Lawton is one of the most passionate permies I have as yet come across. If Bill Mollison and David Holmgren are the fathers of permaculture then this man is their prophet. However he doesn’t preach about them as gods but as their concept as a bringer of abundance. In fact, my ears have heard the word abundance more times than I ever thought I would. It’s most definitely Lawton’s favourite word but it is also one of Jasper’s favourite words too. Everything is in abundance to him at the moment.
PLEASE, check out these films. They are totally worth your time watching them and there really is something for pretty much everyone here, no matter your climate, land size or topography.
http://www.geofflawton.com/fe/33811-property-purchase-check-list This will change the way you look at every hillside, every property for sale, every piece of land you drive, walk or probably even fly past. I couldn’t believe how quickly my eye could see what he had pointed out.
http://www.geofflawton.com/fe/46743-5-acre-abundance-on-a-budget What he does on 5 acres here will astonish you.
http://www.geofflawton.com/fe/33812-urban-permaculture-the-micro-space 60m2 of pure mind-blowing wonder. You will simply NOT believe what you hear and see on this film. Truly! And Angelo, the owner of this little slice of abundance (this word will permeate your vocabulary completely 😛 ) also has his own blog (thanks Fran) Deep Green Permaculture which I am now following and keen to trawl through the archives. 🙂
So, as you can see there has been a LOT going on, above and beyond several visitors, our shed happenings (or lack thereof), our unpacking (also lack thereof due to the lack of completed shed), veggie bed plantings (broad beans are coming up but have all been pecked out by the wretched free ranging chooks who will not be allowed to free-range the garden again if they keep up that behaviour 😦 ) and much more. Oh, and I’ve just started up another blog, one that will focus more upon our permaculture journey with the kids. You’re welcome to check out The Pint Sized Permies if you would like. 🙂