Thursday, 17 January 2013

Change in the weather

OK so this entry is just a blatant excuse to post this cute picture of Boss ( and yes she is moulting!) attempting to shield her over-sized brood from the breeze on a chilly summer's night last weekend. The babies, despite losing their fluff seem to have been in no hurry to feather up, meaning it was all a bit of a shock to the system.

Where in the world would you have a week that started with a 39 degree day followed by a 20 degree day, then some other random in between days in the 20's finally ending with a 40 degree day...Welcome to Melbourne...

While the animals and plants must be confused, I am just thankful we have managed to escape the worst of the heat wave that has recently enveloped the rest of the country. Stay cool everyone.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

The chook saga

Its been a bit of  roller coaster on the chook front over the past few months.... first came sadness, then anticipation, then relief and joy and happiness.

Sadness because  a few months ago our girl Spazz passed away. Something not quite right had been going on for quite a while, sadly something that not even a drive across town to the bird vet and a bill to match could solve. We watched her slowly losing her rough and tumble snatch and grab approach to life. I knew thing were drawing to an end when our other chook Boss also figured out something was wrong and pecked and kicked her away. She died peacefully on a beautiful spring day and  I buried her in the spot where she had dug and scratched the native violets out of existence.

The question came next as to what to do with Boss. Chooks are flock birds and don't live happily alone. At that time of year its practically impossible to find large 'point of lay pullets' as the year's crop has just finished hatching. But Boss had one thing on her mind apart from laying eggs and that was sitting on them.

It 6 of her own eggs to get her to bed down overnight on her clutch and we were ready and waiting. A quick trip out to her home farm at  Bannockburn to collect a precious cargo of 8 fertilised eggs.

Boss sat tight for days on end and we changed her name to 'Miss Clucky Mama'. She only ventured off for 10 minutes to eat, drink, drop a big steaming pile of chicken manure, engage in  power dust bath before bolting back to the nest.

21 days later and the wait was over..... five perfect little hatchlings poked out one at time from a protective 'mum' (we found earlier that 3 of the eggs  were most likely unfertilised and were not developing).

"Hello baby"- still a bit dazed and confused following the arrival of chick number 1

Locked up with the brood.

At first everyone was confined to an enclosed nest box area but within a week poor boss suffered 'cabin fever' with five little ones under her feet and took them all downstairs. They haven't looked back since!
First venture into the veggie patch
As I am sitting here typing 5 little scruffy little things (they look like feathered baby dinosaurs) are rampaging round the yard  scratching and digging running poor Boss ragged in their constant hunt for bugs and seeds.

At home in the garden

With one confirmed baby rooster (hes got attitude already) and another one or two possibles, I am doing my best to visualise tasty roast chicken and how when to dispatch..... (will keep two pullets as friends for boss)

Junior rooster (centre) One month old today! he's already lived longer and happier than an average KFC bucket!

Saturday, 5 January 2013


I am currently enjoying the last day of a very nice trip up to the far north coast of NSW. We have spent the last week holidaying (about and hour and half south of Byron Bay) in the sleepy village of Iluka on the mouth of the mighty Clarence River. It's a southerners vision of the ideal holiday - days on the beach spent in  (almost) tropical climes - so its kind of ironic that yesterday while poor Melbourne and the rest of the country sweltered we were practically the coolest place in the country!

I do feel extremely blessed! Free access to holiday home (once a home for a time for my late Grandmother) and hoping that the poor garden and the pets are being nursed through the heatwave by poor Naoko (a Japanese student who's kindly house sitting and has probably done more plant watering in two days than she ever thought possible).

Whenever I travel to regional Australia or even to my parents home in Canberra (where everything endures the trip down from Sydney and suffers for it!) I am always reminded how lucky I am to live in a capital city and have access to cheap and fresh vegetables and produce. Thanks to the domination of the big two supermarket giants and their insistence on centralised purchasing through the capital centres, travel outside Sydney and Melbourne away from the wholesale markets and suddenly the price of supermarket  fresh food goes up and the freshness goes down. On the way up here I was greatly excited to stumble upon a farmers market when we made a quick pit stop in the town of Glen Innes. Talk about amazing fresh bargains! $3  for a dozen free range eggs, $1 for a bag of the tastiest kipfler potatoes, $2 for a bag of fresh beans and $1.50 for fresh zucchini! Almost as good as home grown!

My partner 'G' (bless him) has been busy getting in touch with his inner hunter, wading out in the shallows  of the river each night armed with nothing but a torch and a hand spear.... when the wind has been behaving he's been bring home fresh flatheads to add with my vegies.  I am approving of this more 'sustainable' approach to fishing as it not only is it putting food on the table but its also putting a end to my usual concerns about his amateur fishing... spend $10 on bait... (that had to be fished from somewhere not necessarily sustainable).... and come home with nothing.

I wanted to upload a picture representing the simplicity of holiday life....... freshly caught flathead fillets with steamed vegies (complete with daggy melamine crockery that finds its way into every holiday home). Unfortunately the telstra 4G thingo is not cooperating with blogger so for now you will need to imagine!