Works continue apace

We’re hard at work once again here, this time upgrading the chicken/goat pen. Continue reading

Tired

I am tired. Exhausted, pooped, weary (my Papa used to say he was weary – sorry, nostalgic moment πŸ™‚ ), worn out, buggered, stuffed, knackered, all done in, fried, zonked, shattered. I am also elated, stoked, happy, pleased, proud, satisfied, contented, over the moon. It’s been a busy weekend.

Achievements this weekend include finishing the chook pen. Ok, so it’s not quite ready for them to move in but the fences are el completo, the door is up, although not yet lockable and the nesting boxes and perch are in. The nesting boxes are an upcycle job from junk existing left at the house. It was one of those shelves that are all boxed in (if that makes sense) so it’s been turned on its side, I’ve attached (ok, Martin attached) 2 bits of 2 by 4 to stick up in the air and after a large hole was drilled through, a piece of chopped down poplar branch was jammed in and drilled into place. Total cost? A few cents of electricity to run the drill and a few screws, non of which were actually bought for the job but lying around from previous jobs. It weighed a tonne so a bit of Egyptian engineering helped us manoeuvre it into place.

Rolling…

Rolling…

 

Rolling…

Martin also managed to get Trevor working again. He’s since mowed most of the grass flat again and made it worth while digging out the whipper snipper again too. The garden is looking a LOT neater and the snake risk is much lower. This has definitely been on the brain a lot of late as there is a snake road kill on the road into town that has had us both on the watch. Now that the grass is too short for them to hide in though we are both beginning to relax. Well, at least a little. Sadly, Trevor hit a stump and broke the belt that runs the mowing attachment. He can’t mow right at the moment but he’s earned his keep hauling a hole lot of crap and junk out of the creek. Sadly the fallen tree was a little too ambitious. Worth a try though.

I also got stuck into some planting. With the help of a few more loads of soil, the north and east sides of the chook pen are tyred in place (take THAT Mr Fox) and planted out too. There are a few tyres on the south side so, planted in anti clockwise order are: 3 tyres of marigolds, oregano, curry bush, thyme, rosemary, 2 with pyrethrum, curly leaf parsley, 2 more pyrethrum, then the rest either have sunflower seeds or sunflower seedlings planted. They will become chook food once ripe and hopefully a wonderful beneficial bugs only invite too (no shirt, no shoes, no service unless you’re a beneficial bug πŸ˜› ).

These are some of my marigolds. More to be planted in the tomato beds and in the rest of the tyres along this south side of the chook pen when I get more soil and newspapers. πŸ™‚

My pot-bound and water starved oregano has responded well to being planted and watered (funny about that) and the curry bush I struck from a sprig a few years ago.

Wonderful smelling thyme which was also very potbound and neglected before being repotted in anticipation of the move and is thriving even more with just a little love, next to the rosemary I also struck from a sprig of a rosemary that was all woody and near the end of its life (it died within 6 months of me taking the cutting)

2 pyrethrum, a parslet looking a bit sad and sorry for itself and 2 more pyrethrum. They will make a wonderful and natural organic and safe insecticide. Well, safe for us anyway. Sorry bugs.

Sunflowers…

… More sunflowers…

 

… And even more sunflowers! All for chook food. πŸ™‚

I also planted out another of my no dig beds. This one is currently half full of purple sprouting broccoli seedlings. I will add some other brassicas in there too to fill up the bed. Only one more to plant out now, the second tomato and capsicum bed. I’ll also be planting some more marigolds in there as they are of assistance to tomato plants from what I’ve read. The tomatoes all got a water with Epsom Salts too. It’s supposed to be liquid gold for marties. We will see how they like it.

Kind of hard to see and some were looking a little worse for wear but we will see how they go.

 

My tomatoes and capsicums… Some are doing really well but some of the capsicums are looking pretty sad and some of the tomatoes haven’t grown much.

The mulberry tree is absolutely covered in fruit too. I am most impressed and will be planting a LOT more of them (they’re water hungry which makes them a good replacement tree for the silver poplars and they can be harvested for us to eat (and thoroughly enjoy I might add) as well as providing food for the chooks with any fallen fruit.

Not bad at all for its first year planted in our garden.

And even more on the higher shoots

TheΒ radishesΒ are growing well and I may also have a few carrot seedlings coming up. It’s hard to tell at this point and they may well be radish seeds that got washed out of line. Time will tell.

Ooo I hope they are carrots.

Beans and spuds are doing very well too.

The kids have had a ball too. They’ve spent a good deal of time in various states of undress or swimming attire and playing Β in the half wine barrel of water. They’ve had bike washes (they had their balance bikes and rode them through their bike wash πŸ™‚ ), baby wash (Orik seemed to enjoy it too), a couple of friends over to visit and a lot of running around and playing.

I also had the pleasure of meeting one of my blog readers today who is a resident (and a rather new but extremely knowledgeable one at that) of Ballan. I’ve come away relaxed after an hour off from the kids and working, well welcomed to Ballan by jelly slice and a simply divine hot chocolate from Michellez cafe (near the butchers) and feeling like I know some more people and things going on in the community. I was also introduced to some further locals and I feel very much more like a local now too. We discussed blogs too. Check out her blog here. The offers of help have absolutely blown us away too. Thank you so much!

Anyway, my brain is totally fried and I can no longer see to type so I’ll pick this up in the morning.

Night all.

 

Slept like a log! Best nights sleep in ages. Can’t imagine why. πŸ˜‰

So, what else happened on the weekend? Well, our chooks have been on the blink as far as laying eggs goes. I was pretty certain they had a hidden stash but I had been unable to find it. They haven’t been showing any signs of being broody – in fact I think they’ve all decided to be career chooks this year. If I’d seen signs of dedicated desire for motherhood I may well have sourced some eggs but alas it’s not played out that way yet. Anyway, on Saturday, through sheer luck I happened to be doing the egg hunt and just happened to see through the grass and spot an egg. I pulled away the grass then ran inside to get 2 egg cartons. I found 15 eggs! Yep, 15! Not a bad haul from 3 girls who probably lay ever 2nd day each. The best bit is they all passed the float test. πŸ˜€

15 pekin bantam eggs to add to the 2 I collected this morning and the 2 others I had in the fridge… I also have 15 organic eggs I’d ordered (Aussie Farmers) before I found the giant haul. 34 eggs. Quiche?

I’ve also noticed that more of our ‘fwowers’ are coming up. The ‘sturshuns’ have popped their heads up, the ‘I yisten’ is well and truly up too. I’m hoping to move my seedlings up to Ballan this week as we are at the point I can begin to move up a LOT more boxes so I think we might end up doing a few more trips each week which will allow me to water the seedlings when I’m up there.

We’ve also decided upon names for the various areas of our property. Our house has been named, as has the chook house and the veggie garden. I’m sure the shed will earn itself a moniker once it’s built too but in the meantime, I’m off to go and make some signs for the chook shed and veggie garden. I’ll share details once they’re done and not before so no asking. πŸ˜‰

Well, the morning has disappeared and it’s time for lunch. I have small people reminding me of this fact with increasing frequency. What is it about 4 year olds who are permanently hungry? Bread rising, yoghurt culturing, about to start souring a chocolate cake starter too to trial sourdough chocolate cake (it seems almost anything is possible with sourdough).

So, what did you all get up to on the weekend?

Sunburned and satisfied

We’ve come home from the weekend up at the house feeling a little sunburned and very satisfied. We’ve not managed to achieve everything we planned (do we ever?) but we’ve done heaps and I’m stoked!

Our trip up Saturday was mostly spent in Ballarat organising things. We’ve signed the paperwork for our solar hot water system so things are all on the go there. We also grabbed carpet samples, although that took absolutely forever. We would choose the same weekend as the Ballarat Show to try and sort everything out, wouldn’t we. :/ It took us a lot longer than we had hoped but we did achieve all we had to and back to Ballan in time for some lunch and to our delivery of star pickets. The afternoon was spent putting chicken wire on the chook pen, planning out how to make it resistant to sly old Mr Fox and then heading home to pick up the necessary tyres to do the job. Yep, tyres. Recycling at its best. πŸ™‚

Sunday was started by Martin getting up early to get started working on Trevor who sadly, is still not working. Even sadder, he STILL isn’t working, but that’s not through the fault or lack of knowledge of his mechanic. Our mechanic firstly wasn’t able to leave as early as planned by a severe case of missing house keys and then when we were given permission to come up and join him at Ballan, he was promptly interrupted by the love of 3 small people wanting to spend time with their daddy. Since the kids were occupied, I unloaded the tyres and set them out upon the bottom row of chicken wire. What we’ve done is, using u-nails, attached the bottom row of wire so that it’s half laying on the ground and half forming the walls. A layer of newspaper on top of the wire to keep the weeds down then a tyre on top which will, at a later date, be filled with soil and then herbs or flowers. I’ll probably put a few tyres in the coop too, filled with a mix of soil and sand to provide them with areas for dust bathing. I’ll probably need 2 more trailer loads to finish off.

My ultra straight fencing posts for the chook pen.

The other side isn’t really straight either but it is a little better at least. String lines next time.

Peekaboo

Containment! πŸ˜‰

Tyred little boy! πŸ˜›

View of the chook shed, water tank and northern fence of the chook pen with it’s tyre gardens ready for planting.

Tyres with their newspaper underlay.

I spent the rest of the afternoon attaching more chicken wire to the posts whilst Martin mowed the veggie garden area and dug in another post for the chicken pen. I need to add a top wire and wire off 2 small areas but the majority of the wiring is up. Now just to sew the different rows of wire together, install then wire around the door, wire around the water tank, install the watering system and build and install some feeders. We also need to re-roof the pen as currently any water run off will either dribble down the outside wall or even worse, the inside wall, whereas we want to harvest it so need some sort of run off to which to attach the guttering. A long way to go on one hand but the end is in sight on the other. Oh, I need to put in nesting boxes and perches yet too, but the nesting boxes will just be an upcycle job on some box shelves left behind by the previous owner so not too much to do on that at least.

We’ve started moving selected boxes up when there’s room in the car too so we are officially on the move. Looks like it will be 2 weeks until we sleep up there but we are into that final countdown now which is scarily exciting. I’m stoked too as my guestimated date of moving, the 10th and 11th has been the start of us moving. πŸ˜€ On the money or what?! Very much looking forward to spending our first night in the silence of a country town as opposed to next door to the rush of a freeway but not looking forward to the final packing then HUGE task of unpacking. Then we need to pour some effort into doing this place up, ready for rental. We learned the hard way the other day what happens when you fail to focus on your house… The gutters overflowed… Just a little! I had water pouring into the house at a rapid rate of knots. Fortunately Martin was home to clear out the small gardens worth of weeds and trees we found in the gutters. 😦 Poor guy had a free shower whilst doing it too. And “duly noted” to the need for focusing at least some of our time here.

So, we are here, Monday morning, ever so slightly sunburned, elated at all our progress and already focusing on next weekend. Saturday will be a day off for us all though. Kyneton Show here we come!

My “fwowers” from Allegra.

Allegra hijacking poor Honey the pekin bantam.

Kisses for Honey

My pumpkins

13 beans! Sadly one looks like it may not make it – we had a late frost which seems to have dodged my tomatoes but affected this one single bean seedling.

The kids spent their time running around in the buff and playing in the wine barrel bath filled with water. No photos to share, but heaps for their 21st birthdays. πŸ˜‰ They had an absolute ball though.

A swing, a trailer strap, a convenient branch and 2 happy kids.