grrrrrrr. I feel very frustrated with myself - I CRACKED and bought a new letterbox. What a waste of money and resources. I am PERFECTLY capable of making one - but haven't gotten round to it - for years.
I ran over our letter box for the third time this week. Every time we take the lid off to get the mail out, it falls apart again., It has been resting on the ground for months since the naughty little street urchins down the road took great joy in knocking it over and smashing it last school holidays. Rather than get a new one straight away, as a little sign of defiance I just cobbled it back together and keep on using it - hoping that they felt embarrassed each day as they walked past.
It has been a carefully constructed pile of bits of wood with rocks holding up at the sides and a rock on top. The poor postie has to lean down , lift the rock off and put the letters inside without the whole thing tumbling down. Once I was coming back from a walk the same time as the posty was leaning down from his bike, trying to get the letters in - I was so embarrassed I had to keep walking past my house until he had done the street and I could double back.
Anyway, I have been keeping my eye out for an arty clever hand made one, but they are either too expensive or too boring. And every month that goes past I feel badder and badder about the poor posty. We got ANOTHER one of those post cards from Australia Post letting us know they were concerned about the security of our mail, and the compliance of our mail box. And then I backed over the whole thing again.
So Lacuna Sabbath afternoon was spent at Bunnings looking for the least conservative letterbox. Nothing elegant or frugal about this purchase -that's for sure.
BUT, on the up side, I have found a buyer for my clever home made chicken run. I am very proud of this run - I made it out of almost all recycled bits and pieces. It is fox proof and comfortable for the chickies in Summer and Winter. And on Monday it is to a new home in Hall with a lovely family who are looking for more comfortable digs for their 4 bantam hens. Yay! And they LOVE that it is hand made out of recycled stuff and thought it was very cleverly put together. (preen!) So I am hoping that somehow this makes up for the stupidness of my letterbox purchase.
Did you know one chicken house equals 1/2 a letterbox?
God bless those who suffer from the common cold. Nature has entered into them; Has led them aside and gently laid them low To contemplate life from the way side; To consider human frailty; To receive the deep and dreamy messages of fever. We give thanks for the insights of this humble perspective. We give thanks for blessings in disguise. Amen
Well folks, many of your are teasing me with outrageous tales of tomato seedlings and asparagus. Spring comes slowly shnuggled up here next to the mountains. We have had lots of frosts this week, and there is still a definite chill in the air.
Folks in ONC know not to even bother putting their tomatoes in until after the Melbourne Cup unless you are prepared to coddle and cover them every night.
But even so - there are definite signs of spring.
Above is a little pici of the Red Shatoot Mulberry. hmmmmmmmmmmmmm! just FRAUGHT with potential and promise of a bumper crop.
And if you look REALLY closely, just there, under the Rhubarb leaf - is out very first spear of Asparagus from the new 2 yer old crowns we splurged on with a gift voucher from the local nursery. ....sigh..... I have been LECTURED at great length by Mr Pickle that I must only LOOK and not TOUCH and certainly not TASTE my lovely asparagus spears until NEXT YEAR!
Sheesh. Bit rough I reckon.
As here are some more "fraught with potential" shots of newly planted seed trays in the glass house - lets see, I planted broccoli, silver beet, onions and probably quite recklessly optimistically - BRANDY WINE TOMATOES. There are some other things as well, but I couldn't find the texta, so didn't make any labels, and now it is too late - I have totally forgotten what I planted where. Not to worry - a surprise is lovely too!
And here is the nest that Amelia is making - I have let her keep the last weeks worth of eggs, and hopefully she will sit soon.
And here is Jenni's little clutch of 11 hopefully Jenni/Maurice cross eggs!
And here is a little bit of naughty duck action. There's Amelia - contemplating another raid on the fluffy's dinner, and here is Miriam - attacking my fingers.
Well thats it folks. I will continue to watch your respective springs from behind!
Well, here we are again at the Lacuna Sabbath end of the week. Hooray!
Despite the high levels of neglect over the past week, I popped up to the new farm yesterday to find lots of little pea seedlings sticking up their little heads. Looks like the peas, snow peas AND sugar snaps have all germinated. The tiny onion seedlings have taken well, and are even growing new leaves - if you can call onion leaves "leaves" that is. The comfrey has sprouted and the leeks are doing well too. Even the broad beans have popped up, although they are going to have to get a wriggle on to compete with the pattersons curse that has re sprouted.
I need to organise an automatic watering system in the next couple of months, but while it is still cool, things should be OK. So far, the sawdust based soil seems to be holding up OK. It is a new and weird experience working in this loose, dry soil - so different from the rich black wormy stuff that I have created at the community garden. I am sure that in a few years time new farm will be just as rich, productive and familiar.
As for closing down the old farm (community garden plot) - I might have a buyer for the chook run I made down there. I am looking forward to transplanting Bianca, Charlotte and Gretel home to the backyard. Another of the big things to do here is to cut out a wattle tree along the fence so that there is enough room for their deluxe chook run.
Lucky Maurice - three new lady friends! Even if they are the wrong breed.
Speaking of Maurice - I am SURE I caught him giving it a very good go in the bushes with Jenni earlier in the week. You would all be so impressed - he was quick, gentle and proficient - didn't make a big fuss - no violence and no crowing about it after. I love watching Maurice grow into his role of patriarch and protector of the ladies and their little ones.
Jenni now has 9 eggs in the nest. I suspect she will only lay a few more before she decides to sit. Its all happening here in fluffy chicken land folks!
And now for a Nashi update - after a bit of research on the internets I suspect that rather than frost damage, Hosui and Kosui have budjump. Most of the flowers seem to loose their petals before they even open, and inside each flower is sort of sparse and crumpled. Hosui has a couple of flowers that look half decent, and Kosui has quite a few, so this morning I might take a little makeup brush out there and try and cross pollinate a few. I haven't noticed any bees in the back yard yet, so reckon that if I want any nashis then I have better take matters into my own hands! That's the other thing I have noticed about new farm - there are ZILLIONS of bees buzzing around all the flowering rocket, kale, cabbages and broccoli. But I have not seed any here in the backyard - so makeup brush it is!
I love my job, I love my job, I love my job, I love my job, I love my job, I love my job, I love my job, I love my job!!!!!
Well, I love my new job folks.
It has been a big week with lots of travel but I feel tired and energised and excited rather than tired and bleak.
I love this free range chook living in tutti fruiti time thing.
In other news, Jenni the lovely silver silkie has laid 5 eggs. I think I may have caught Maurice the stupid fluffy rooster doing the other thing I really need him to do beside being chivalrous and beautiful- there was a bit of a kerfuffle in the bushes the other morning, but he may have just caught his silly feathers in the lomandras. Baby Maurices? (Maurici?)
time will tell and other homilies...
Sadly, it looks like most of the blossoms on one of the nashi trees may have been burnt in the slight frost we had last night. nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! They are not even out yet. This is the same tree that didn't even flower last year. The other one (Kosui) is budding up nicely, but it needs the first for pollination. sheesh.
Lucy C was wondering how to check eggs for fertility before they start developing.
Well, this is how:
Crack the egg into a shallow dish. Wiggle it around a little bit and under some good light, look at the yolk until you see a little raised opaque dot/blob. It usually rises to the top of the yolk with a bit of a gentle wiggle. Do not confuse this little blobby bit with the taily bits at either end of the yolk that hold the yolk suspended evenly inside the egg. The little blobby bit you are looking for is actually the tiny fertilised bit of the egg - the zygote? It is attached to the yolk because the yolk becomes the food source for the little chick or duckling when it hatches.
Anyway, in a fertilised egg, this tiny little blobby bit looks a bit like a text book picture of Saturn - a tiny dot with fine whitish concentric circles around it. In an unfertilised egg, this little blobby bit is cloudy and unorganised. The difference is unmistakable once you have seen a fertilised egg.
Regardless of whether the egg is fertilised or not, it is probably time to pop the thing into a heated pan with a blob of butter, or into some muffin mix 'cause there is nothing you can do with it now except eat it!
Lucy C you could try this on one or two of your duck eggs - seems the little buggers are wasting them!
Sprinkles yesterday. Showers overnight. More showers today.
What bliss to wake up to the sound of raindrops on the metal roof. There hasn't been HEAPS of rain - but it is raining none the less.
Today Stanley and I drove out to Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve for what was meant to be the cumulative outdoor excursion to the moth stone oven bit of our Bush Tucker Course. But only three of us turned up, and those present did not include anyone who actually knew where the moth stone was! I think the rain scared people away. Anyway, after having a leisurely cup of coffee (thanks Stanley!) we decided to take a guess and traveled up to Hanging Rock. This is an amazing place - once a regular camping ground and meeting place for the Ngambri and their buddies from across the other side of the Goodradigbi River, a few valleys further to the south west. I have read that the vast, sheltered overhangs all around the base of Hanging Rock would have been lined and hung with possum skins, making it cozy and warm and sheltered from the cold, wind and rain.
My understanding is that soonish (early spring), when the Bogong Moths would start their annual migration down from South West Queensland through to the Snowy Mountains, and across the Brindabellas, folks would travel up into these beautiful mountain valleys to take full advantage of these yummy, fatty, full of protein moths. The moth stone, apparently, is a carved out hollow on a flat granite rock that would have been heated with a fire long enough to be able to roast the moths on top. There are lots and lots of incredibly significant sites in these Mountains. This is one of them. But we didn't find the moth stone.
Hanging Rock is a beautiful place - and it is easy to imagine heaps of folks gathering around the base of this HUGE granite stone, surrounded by beautiful rocky torrs, fresh water and cozy fires.
I left feeling happy and in love with the mountains.
In other news, for those of you who nurse an interest in Nefley and all things fluffy - here is a picky taken this morning during a break in the showers. As you can see, the little babies are growing up fast. I now think there are two partridge (perhaps) and too black chickies there, rather than two buff as I first thought. They are feathering up very darkly in their little wings and tails.
And perhaps even more excitedly, Jenni has started laying again. I am torn between breaking this first egg to see if it is fertile, or just waiting and trusting that Maurice is doing his thing. Neither me or Mr Duck Herder has caught him at it so to speak, but he is a quintessential gentleman, so it is possible that he is being discrete and not "crowing" about his exploits in the chook house.
How exciting - baby Maurices!
And finally, the Nashis are almost bursting into flower. The Mulberries are not far behind. We are not talking about the Avocados any more. And the Kiwi Vines are swelling and threatening to bud soon too.
Bring it on - I am ready for spring - BRING IT ON!
So a couple of days ago, I was at big school, meeting with some of the sustainability folks, and on our way to our next meeting, one of them said "how 'bout we just get a coffee on the way"? and THEN, proceeded to purchase a takeaway coffee in a POLYSTYRENE cup!!!! Which was thoughtlessly discarded into the rubbish bin en route to our next meeting.
I didn't know what to say, or where to look.
I mean, I TRY to not be judgemental, but HONESTLY folks - the uni campus is where this person WORKS - EVERY DAY! They have an office, and a kitchenette, and tea and coffee making facilities. How hard is it to carry your own mug????? Your are meant to be TEACHING about sustainability - not just the theory, but the theory in ACTION. HFS people.
And this person is LOVELY, funny, caring, passionate, committed. but......
There are some basic things we know about ourselves, which with a bit of self awareness, should help us to plan.
Thing we know number 1: we need WATER. REGULARLY. We can safely predict that if we are out and about for the day, we will at some stage need to have a drink. So folks, WHY would anyone buy bottled water? Surely it is just a matter of taking a refillable water bottle or biddon or whatever you want to call it with you? You can refill them whenever you like!
Thing we know number 2: In addition to water, some of us need regular infusions of caffeine, so again folks, why not keep a coffee mug or traveling coffee mug handy??? Why would anyone ever be so SURPRISED by a sudden caffeine yearning that they would need to purchase one in a polystyrene cup? And, I have never found a cafe that refused to wash out my travel mug and refill it.
Sorry folks, I know I am ranting to the converted, but I was so shocked.
Does one polystyrene mug matter?
Anyhoo, those of you who know the duck herder may suspect that this rant was just a cheeky way to introduce you to a new purchase. Please welcome STANLEY.
Three lovely things happened to push me to purchase Stanley the life time granteed thermos.
1) my new job will require much longer treks into western NSW, further than the 1 travel mug filled up again at a cafe half way distance I have previously been able to get away with. Therefore, Stanley, who can keep water hot for 26 hours and cool for 28 will solve the vast distances in time and space between good soyachinos on the Lachlan Valley Way and into the bowels of NSW.
3) At the ZOO last week, Ma and Pa Duck Herder turned up with a picnic lunch, and for the 3rd time in my life, Pa Duck Herder proceeded to impress me with the elegant construction of a lovely cup of tea sans fire in the middle of nowhere.
So, I did my research and discovered that if you are going to buy a thermos, you should by one called Stanley because he will last forever, and apparently, will survive being run over by a bulldozer (The Cougarnaut provided me with this extra bit of information based on river rehab experience). And I reckon that if you are going to buy something new, buy the best quality that you can!
So there you go, rant over. And, now I own a 1.9 litre thermos!
I may need to give that person at uni a coffee mug. A second had one.