Monday, September 30, 2013

Chickens don't lay BLUE eggs

Nestled in a carefully constructed nest, in the "spare room" of the chookhouse is a small deep nest, with 2 blue eggs!

I have never liked the construction of this chookhouse.  In his ultimate wisdom, Mark thought that hinging the lower part rather than the top lifting up would be more weatherproof.  But, all that happens is that you can't get into the nests to collect the eggs, without being 1 foot tall, or kneeling in wet grass.  So I usually go into the chookhouse (which has it's own dangers - poo on shoes, chickens escaping).

Today, I crouched down, and as I collected hens eggs I noticed a lot of hay and straw and chook feathers in the spare nesting box.  On closer inspection, I saw two small blue eggs!

When I brought Montana-Rose out to see, a starling zipped out of the gap in the door and flew off.

I do hope they will be able to raise their chicks without our cat Grover getting the mum or dad?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Can the Broad Beans survive?

My broad beans were so mangled by the atrocious weather a week ago, they have been sporting a black, burnt look.  Some of the tops still have flowers, but all the underneaths have been blown sideways and everything burnt off.

I do wonder if they are worth saving?  Mark, who loathes eating them, would say"NO, definitely not!".  But I am worried that they will hate being planted now, with the weather too hot, and dry.

Ho hum, what to do? what to do?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A wind, or a Hurricane?

Tuesday 10th September 2013 - News Flash! Winds up to 225km per hour hit North Canterbury.  Anderson family huddle in the lounge while extreme winds buffet the house.  The children of the family go to bed without fuss and go to sleep, blissfully unaware of the malestroem raging outside.

Anna paces up and down, worrying about chookhouses, and woodsheds.   Mark helps her to put away the BBQ furniture and the patio heater, and to weigh the spa pool cover down with large rocks.  Then, Mark, always the pragmatic one, goes to bed.  Anna paces up and down some more and then makes a foray into the winds.  Battling her way to the gate, the hinges of it break off as she goes through, leaning into the wind.  The chookhouse is safe, and all doors are still shut.  The woodshed is still standing.  Thinking it might get even worse Anna makes her way to the 4bay shed and retrieves the Emergency Kit, complete with torches, candles, food, matches and more.  Just then the power goes out and all is plunged into darkness.

Fighting her way back to the house, she makes it through the glass doors and inside to safety.    The house is dark, and she lights some candles.  Then she gets ready for bed.  But going around the house to check for broken windows and more, it is then that she sees out the doors a fire glowing at the corner of the property!  Soon there is smoke, a red sky, and emergency vehicle lights can be seen.

Worrying about the fire catching into the boundary windbreak Anna puts back on her clothes, ready to make a run for it if necessary.

Several hours go by.  The chimneys whistle and bang, windows bend and rattle, and all manner of noises can be heard outside.

Eventually the fire dies down in the distance and Anna makes her way back to bed, to try and get a few hours sleep before daybreak.

And, look at the aftermath...fences down, 20 large pine trees down, trees down over the road, and chairs and bits of corrugated iron everywhere.

We will be chainsawing for the next year to get all this cut up!  And then replanting the shelterbelt, and then splitting the wood, and stacking it, and, and,'s a big job!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

A Beehive has arrived!

Not the up-do, but a hive full of busy, buzzing bees.

They came today, a Sunday, delivered by a very nice bee man.  These bees are rented.  We are paying $300 per year, and get 10kg of honey.  Apparently, they leave 10kg for the bees, we get 10kg and they get 10kg.  They are going to come and service the hive every 6 weeks.

I must say it really was an incredible sight when they were delivered.  Beeman and his daughter suited up with allover bee suits, I stood a good 10m back.  They took the bees out and shook them into the hive, and my goodness, the frames they took out were filled with the most amazing sound!  not only was there a crescendo of buzzing but also a tornado of bees over the hive.  I was surprised none came to pay me a visit.

We have been given some instructions on irrigating (only in the evening, so we dont drown our bees).  To report clusters of dead bees, or swarms if we see them.  Also it seems they also have territory fights with other bees, and we will know if there has been a battle if there is lots of chewed up bits of wax outside the hive.

Its' pretty exciting and I am looking forward to learning a bit more about them

Monday, September 2, 2013

Muck Raking and "Cow Poo Soup"

Spring is in the air! and I am planning for a wonderful year of veges.

On walking out of my front door today I noticed that my Blueberries were all covered in weeds and in dire need of some attention.  Their ground is stony and hard, and not very nutrient rich.  So I started to think on something Hubby had been commenting on a few weeks ago.

Out in the paddocks where he feeds the cows, where the round bales of hay sit in a feeder while cows stir up all the mud, there is a pad of hay still sitting.  So I wheeled my barrow round and filled her up with this amazing, fragrant, hay rich, poo rich, stinking, amazing goo....and started spreading.

BEFORE (above): stony, hard, weed ridden, non nutritious...

AFTER: (above): rich, moisture retaining, nutritious, fragrant...

I have also been making "cow poo soup"  - a 40gallon drum in the vege garden, filled with water, and then add 4 large cowpats (fresh or dry, doesnt matter).  I've been feeding this to my garlic (who are hungry) and to the brassicas.  Wow, they love it and are really growing.