Thursday, April 24, 2008

farm hunting

This morning Pa Kettle and I went farm hunting. (....again)

We got there so early, and we were up so high in the mountains that it was still foggy.

Is this the Duck Herder's new farm?

In other news - BEHOLD - the 2007/2008 Kiwi Fruit Harvest!

Hunble, but delicious. Next year folks, next year........

And to end things on an even happier note - those lovely ducks!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

off the streets

Something that has been keeping me off the streets lately is crocheting. I am definitely getting better at it. Here is my first attempt rug. Mr Duck Herder wants to know if it I am making myself a security blanket. (!) It is almost finished.

Last measurement was 137cm x 131cm.

Ma Duck Herder, and her friend Dot have both put in orders for rugs too. But I think I want to move on to scarves and shawls. I have purchased many balls of lovely coloured wool. I think I am ready to try a new stitch! Maybe even some designs..... squares 'n stuff......who knows! Hopefully something faster than a blanket in double stitch!

but it does keep me off the streets.

In other news, after seeing poor Mrs Nefley pom pom head run straight into the nashi tree trunk while attempting to escape from being chased by a duck, it became apparent that she couldn't see. Pom pom too big- as you can see from the picture below.

So I gave her a Mohawk. She can SEE! And I think she is very happy now. The funny and adorable thing about silkies is that under those silly pom poms they have the most beautiful, large glossy dark brown eyes. You would just never know it.........

Sunday, April 6, 2008

I dun these!

Cucumbers in garlic mustard vinegar

Weekend Farmer wondered about the recipe I used for my cucumber pickles - well, here it is!

  • 7 small (1 kg) green cucumbers sliced
  • 2 tablespoons coarse cooking salt

Garlic Mustard Vinegar:
  • 3/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 and a 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon white mustard seeds (I used black)
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • (also, I added some dill seeds)

Combine cucumbers and salt in large bowl, cover, stand 24 hours.
Rinse cucumbers under cold water; drain. Pack slices into large sterilised jar, cover completely with garlic mustard vinegar, seal. (I keep the jar in the fridge - and waited a week before tasting)

Garlic Mustard Vinegar: Combine vinegars, water, sugar, seeds and garlic in saucepan. Stir over heat. without boiling until sugar is dissolved. cool.

Recipe adapted from "The Book of Preserves", put out by the Australian Woman's Weekly.


farm hunter returns

Where has the duck herder been? - BUSY! Work has been busy. Here is proof - the duck herder at work! Can you believe I get paid for this?

What is she doing? Well, this is a little trial we are doing - seeing if we can compost kerbside collected green waste without an expensive shredder, without adding water, and without turning every week. I am mixing up some wonderful Effective Microorganisms (love bugs!) The clever thing about these bugs is that they are a mix of aerobic and anaerobic (and also some friendly yeasts and fungi thrown in for extra love) love bugs. After we sprayed this lot, we covered it with plastic to keep the moisture in and protect the anaerobic love bugs. It is very clever - so far with our trials - the temperature shoots up to almost 70 degrees within 48 hours - this is the aerobic microbes doing their thing. The initial high temperature pasteurises the while lot - killing any seeds or pathogens. Then the other buggy friends take over. The temperature drops down to between 50 - 60 degrees, while the whole lot ferments along nicely. No smell, just love. Big huges piles of bokashi!
So far it is working REALLY well - and we will save THOUSANDS if it continues to work. Because of the anaerobic process, we should only have to turn once (at 4 - 6 weeks, and then after another 4 - 6 weeks, uncover the pile and spread it out to dry and cure. voila! Much better than an aerobic system that needs to be turned every week!

And here is the duck herder again - resplendent in hi vis, perusing the level of contamination folks are putting into their green waste collection.

"preen" its a lovelly day when you can make 20 tonnes of compost before lunch!

Did I mention I loved my job?

In other news, here is a little shot of one of the three remaining adolescent children of Nefley - how cute! I am keeping all three of them!

And here is a blurry shot of Camilla - the new secret chicken. She has just started laying - lovely little white pullet eggs. Why is she secret? Well, unlike all the other hand raised animals in the back yard, who trip you up while you are walking because they are so bold and tame, Camilla runs and hides whenever she sees a human. She is slowly becoming more confident , but she is a secret chook because no one ever sees her!