Friday, August 31, 2007
Nice things that happened include spending lots of time with my little sister and little Stampy. At 3 1/3, Stampy is completely adorable, gorgeous, and lots of fun. I don't know how my little sister ended up with such a well behaved daughter, as we were very naughty precocious little things!!!
Stampy loved the baby chickens, feeding the ducks and patting Maurice. We spent the WHOLE DAY at the zoo, which was most wonderful.
Pa Kettle aka the Cougarnaut came over after work with an excellent bottle of wine to watch spicks and specks AND the chaser. The Duck Herder has completed her marking and now has two days to relax before starting her new job.
Even more exciting, Sherdie the Rocket is planing a lightning visit to ONC* during September which meas that I may have the Rocket AND the Cougarnaut all here at the princess castle in the same time/space which is definitely something to look forward to, or at least make a batch of muffins for!
Oh, today I tried to enter Maurice in the Backyard Poultry's online Poultry Show. While taking some pickies, I got this one of his little head. Shows off his kind eyes, don't you think?
Mr Duck Herder is sad and depressed because he has damaged his calf again (lower leg folks, not the baby cow) which means his training is behind, he is in pain and facing the existential crisis of an aging athlete. I made muffins and let him lick the bowl, but even that didn't seem to help and he as gone to bed for a nap.
Thats Me. Cherio!
*Our Nation's Capital
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Yesterday I watched him call Jenni over to the rosemary bush, showing her how to pick off the little flowers and gobble them up. The little babies are just as happy to run under him as they are Nefley whenever someone calls out a warning. Maurice is, by all accounts, the quintessential gentleman, and a model for all menfolk everywhere, and of any species.
Also, work has started up at my new farm, with a bout of serious weeding and blood and boning. I need to move a heap of worm castings, but somehow, all the wheelbarrows in my life have flat tires at the moment, so obviously there is a little bit of maintenance to do first. I have transplanted some Jerusalem artichokes up there, and am keen to get some broad beans, peas and comfrey in as soon as I can, but can't do this until the worm castings have happened. sigh. I hate going to the hardware store. But I am very excited about those windrows of lovely worm castings!
And finally, today was the last classroom day of our bush tucker course which culminated in a delicious feast of wallaby sausages, kangaroo, emu salami, and lots of salads, bush tucker flavoured salad dressings and so on. Next Saturday we are going to converge on the Yaralumla Nursery Native Plant sale armed with our lists of botanical and common names, and the Saturday after, we are going to go up to Tidbinbilla to see the moth cooking stones and have a picnic.
There are a few species I would love to introduce into our garden, but more about that next week, subject to a successful bounty of little tubestock of selected varieties!
And finally, I have been thinking a lot about kiwi fruit this week. My beautiful vines are starting to swell, and hopefully this year will be the year that we get our first significant harvest. For folks who are interested, Kiwi vines are either male or female, and you need about 1 male vine for every 9 or so females, and if you grow them from seed or don't know what you have, here is how you tell:
The flower on the left is from a male vine, and the flower one the right is from a female. The main difference is that the female flowers have the white thingies in the middle, and the males don't. I have included this picture as a bit of a spell, because in a couple of months I want to be able to reproduce it with photos of my OWN flowering kiwi vines! fingers crossed OK?
Sunday, August 19, 2007
I love this photo. It shows my little sister and I just as we were - wild, free little bush babies - tossing our manes in the wind and roaming for miles. I still remember that blue and while dress (one of the few I owned), and how it was so much easier to wear my big brother's gumboots rather than my own.
I still miss my Nana. We were very close and I loved her very much. But my little sister is coming to visit THIS Thursday. With MY niece. All the way from Brisbane. When my little niece was born, I flew up to Brisbane to be with my little sister for the birth. And that little "Stampy" as we called her, just refused to come out. I was up there for weeks and weeks - phoning work every couple of days saying - "There's still no baby......." but finally she arrived, and I was in love, and soon they will be here. yay!
And finally, Miriam wanted to let us know that he is pretty over the whole baby chicken thing, and really, my time would be better spent focusing on DUCKS. It must be coming into spring, because he is getting all gorgeous and aggressive, chasing me whenever I walk past, pulling the tags on my blundstones and generally being cute. Hello Miriam, we love you! and yes, there is no one more handsome than you mate.
Speaking of daphne, an old friend I visited today (with a bunch of gratefully received daphne of course) just phoned to say that the duck herder broccoli I gave her was just fabulous. (well, she knows how to make a Duck Herder happy - just gratuitously praise her produce - simple!)
Friday, August 17, 2007
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Lessons learned from this latest batch include making sure that there is better bedding in the nesting box to prevent eggs from falling through the walls of the nest out of sight, and making sure the bedding is dense enough to prevent the girls from making the nest so deep the eggs end up resting on the wooden floor of the nesting box. Silly fluffy chickens - they could learn a lot from their ducky neighbours about serious nest construction, that's for sure.
Anyhoo, little Nefley is trilling and cooing happily to her little ones while Jenni and Maurice look on. I went to take some photos this morning, but the batteries in the camera were flat. Hopefully they will be all charged up by tomorrow and I will be able to get a shot of Mum and both babies.
In other news, today I found some Brandywine Tomatoe seeds. There has been far too much raving and ranting about how yummi these are around the traps - so I couldnt be left out! I wonder if it is too early to start them off in the glasshouse.....perhaps a few more weeks just in case.
Monday, August 13, 2007
Photos to follow as soon..........
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Tonight we had leek and potato soup - duck herder leeks and organic taties of course- sprinkled with tiny duckherder broccoli flowers. I like using broccoli like this - finely sliced and raw over the tops of soups etc. And of course, toasted sourdough with heaps of butter!
The uni is only 15 minutes away, and I must say it was lovely getting home in time each day to go for a run while it was still light. Usually I don't get home until 6:30 or 7:00, BUT only 5 more days of that to go too!
In other news, it is not just me that approves of the new office arrangement taking form in the bike room. Poppet is just as happy sitting on my laptop as she is sitting on Mr Duck Herder's lap top - so I feel like the feng shui mustn't be too bad in there!
As you can see, there are still lots of blank walls, no shelving and a lack of floor coverings but it is a lovely place to work - looking out into the back yard.
And as for little Nefley - Last night after the trauma of loosing 4 eggs I candled two of the remaining ones, and both had live little chicks inside. As of 5:00pm tonight, no little babies, and no discernible peeping. Ten pm tonight is the official 21 day mark - and it has been cold so it is possible it might take a little longer.....it is also possible that something has gone wrong and they may not hatch, but Rhonda, keep those cigars handy just in case!
Well, that's me. I had better pop outside and lock those rascally ducks up, check Nefley once more and get to bed - another early start tomorrow. sigh.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Things are getting very anxious now - only one or two sleeps to go until those remaining little eggs hatch - baring any other mishaps.
Hang in there Nefley!
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
I couldn't do it without Mario, my wonderful Italian neighbour and fellow community gardener. Mario is only too happy to come over and help me butcher and prepare the boys. We have an easy way of working - I get everything set up, and one by one, I bring him the boys, which he kills (I am not sure how because we both agree I don't have to watch) and then we set about dipping them in hot water, cutting of the ends, plucking and gutting.
Mario has taught me so much. I like working with him because he is gentle and respectful of the birds and does nothing to scare or stress them unnecessarily. He also loves his own chooks - and this makes a difference, to me at least. And at the end, we split the proceeds. But there are some rules:
1) can't eat anything with a name
2) no matter how delicious they are, it is getting increasingly harder to eat extra boy ducks, because they are so smart!
3) Only eat boys.
4) Don't eat anything you can sell
Generally, I wait until young roosters start waking us up, or after advertising 8 week old ducks in paper, we are left with some adolescent boy ducks who suddenly become fractious and start getting beaten up by Miriam. It is surprisingly easy to sell young drakes, so often I don't have to face that problem.
But, this obsession with Silkies, and the existence of Maurice means that there will eventually be extra Silkie roos. I am sure that it will be no problem selling extra silkie hens, but the roosters may be a problem. So could I eat a silkie- with their black skin, flesh and bones?
How black do you ask? Well, this black:
There is apparently, a whole world of folks who love eating these little fellas. Have a little look here for instance. And apparently they are quite tasty. hmmmm. Perhaps my project for the next little while will be to find some recipes. I will get back to you on this one........
Monday, August 6, 2007
It certainly messed up my carefully applied eyeliner, I can tell you that for free.
Paul Potts is my new hero.
Sunday, August 5, 2007
Saturday, August 4, 2007
Hee hee hee!!!
I can see trees and plants and chooks and ducks from where I sit. I can hear cranky ducks. I can still see a lot of bikes, but well, my little workspace is squished into the bike room after all. What folks cannot see is a roadbike inside the front door, and a silly triathlon bike in the spareroom, which also has the iron and ironing board precariously placed beside the bookcase. Yup, life with an athlete. sigh...
Other exciting news, Joe came around today with some new shelving for the greenhouse. It is WONDERFUL! There are 4 levels, and heaps of height for lots of plants. I just have to gather enough warmth to go out once more and brave the cold to finish putting everything back in. While Joe was working, I was sitting around, chitter-chatting and keeping him company. Maurice, it turns out, is a LAP chicken. He loves just shnuggling down in my lap while I sit, and then while I was walking around, he just perched on my arm. He is a COOL silly chicken. Not smart mind you, just very cool.
My folks came over to visit, and they agreed Maurice was quite beautiful in a silly fluffy chicken kind of a way too. He did the same shnuggling thing with my Dad - just sat quietly on his arm, nestled up against his body. hee hee. I wonder if he would like to sit just here beside me on the end of my desk. Perhaps I will make him a little cushion to sit on. I'm gunna love this working from home thing!
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Maurice the silliest fluffy chicken has finally worked out how to get up the ladder to bed unaccompanied by an adult. (yay Maurice) He is up there now, pretending he knew how to do it all along.
Those gorgeous ducks are laying an egg each EVERY day, without fail, and are building the biggest nest in the world. The poor things try and fool me every morning by carefully covering their eggs with straw and futon wadding - so cute. (oh, Miriam the drake is NOT laying every day)
After a 12 hour day I returned home to find Mr Duck Herder had fed the ducks, arranged my new office and was putting the final screws into the new second hand desk. (yay Hubby!) Mr Duck Herder had also found time to defrost some organic mince and make home made hamburgers complete with fresh herbs, home grown garlic, chilli and lovely spices! (That man has way too much time on his hands)
The Duck Herder has also been overwhelmed by the response to her previous blog. Thank you folks, for all your kind words on this and Rhonda's blog. I was actually a little bit nervous about posting such a personal spiel, but now I am glad that I did.
So, here we are, it's 9.00pm, and I am exhausted but happy, I feel very very loved, and now I am off to bed. Seeya.