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18 Jun 2017

Freedom!

We often let the hens out in the front yard, particularly on a weekend. They love it.
Weeding and fertilising
Watch dog so adventurous hens don't trespass in back yard where the veges are growing.
 Mumma hen also had a residential relocation.....and we supplied a bodyguard for her and her offspring. She keeps him a wingspan away at the moment but I think he'll be more than a bodyguard soon. After playing second in charge to Figjam since he was a "teenager" he's very pleased to be allowed to flap his wings and crow without receiving a physical chastisement! I'm considering which breed of hens to add to his flock as I'd like some meat producers without purchasing commercial meat hens.
He also needs renaming as "Junior" doesn't sound dignified enough now he has a missus and kids!

The perfect end to a lovely Winter's day.

Cheers,
Robyn Louise XO








17 Jun 2017

Wet Worms

I checked the worm farm a few days ago and discovered that very cold nights make for morning condensation and strange things grew in my worm bed.

On the other side though the worms seemed fine and there was no offensive smell. 

The top tray and the middle tray were quite soggy, though the inhabitants weren't affected. 


I added oat straw troughs in the bedding to soak up moisture. Also, spreading the bedding more evenly through the 3 layers, as well, will assist in evening out the moisture.

After I emptied out the worm fluid, into a container, the bottom tray was layered with dry straw/grass and then the worm farm remained open in the sun for a couple of hours for the moisture to reduce.
 


As I won't require worm castings until Spring I'm trying to breed my little workers over Winter and I'm thinking that the longer, shallower bathtub (the one underneath) will make a nice new home for some of my worms in the near future.


Any advice on increasing worm populations and creating a worm habitat in a bathtub, from those who have done this before, would be most appreciated 😊.

Cheers,
Robyn Louise XO



16 Jun 2017

Anonymous Posts

Over the past fortnight I have been receiving anonymous posts that either don't make sense re grammar or have dubious links attached. They are for posts that I made long ago as well.

I've marked them as spam  and deleted so apologies to anyone who has made an honest comment but has difficulty with the English language. I do have trouble with it myself at times and I've been using it as my main, and only, language for over 50 years! I've also changed the availability of access to my blog so I'm unsure if I have now made access to some of my regular followers a problem.

Please if  you would like to be a follower of this blog then don't be an anonymous commenter. I have been hacked before and it took me weeks to track down the fix for it and that involved rewriting some code. It was a big learning curve for me and a few posts vanished as they were infected. I have published the odd Anonymous comment, in the past, but it's not something I now do as it's just not worth the trouble that can follow :(.

Cheers,
RobynLouise XO

14 Jun 2017

Personalised Muesli Slice

I've made this muesli bar slice since the day I found it about 2 years ago. During the last 3 weeks or so I've bought some different ingredients and formulated a fruit and sugar free (not sweetener free) recipe so that PC can have some energy snacks on hand that won't give him a hypo due to his DNA quirks.


Muesli Bar Slice                                


1 cup rolled oats
½ cup wholemeal SR flour  
½ cup desiccated coconut
½ cup chopped almonds
¼ cup pepitas
4 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp linseed meal
4 tblsp sunflower seed
 ½ cup rice malt syrup
 125g coconut oil
 2 tbsp honey              
  • Place oil, honey and rice malt syrup into a saucepan and melt until the ingredients can be mixed together reasonably well
  • Mix all dry ingredients in large bowl
  • Add oil mixture to dry ingredients and mix until sticky
  • Press evenly into a greased slice tin. Use a potato masher to flatten out
  • Bake @ 180c for 20 - 25 minutes until golden
  • Cut into bars / squares when cold
  • Keeps for 5 - 6 days in airtight container

As it is the sweet taste of sugar that triggers an unfavourable reaction with PC this recipe has been altered specifically to suit his individual needs. 😀 They are very filling and because of the content of dry ingredients they are a slow release energy.

Cheers,
RobynLouise XO


27 May 2017

Treasures, Travelling and 'Toys'!

We were about to leave, a week ago, to collect some woodworking machinery when I checked the cranky nesting Silver Lace Wyandotte. There were peeps coming from the nesting box but I had to wait until the next day to take these.


3 out of 6 hatched, however, I suspect the eggs from some of the other hens either weren't fertile, or were jiggled around, as all 6 hens insist on using the same nesting container and there's a discrepancy with whose turn it is next. 3 is enough for a cold weather hatch though as no one will be left in the cold and it won't be too stressful for a first time hen :). Mrs Wyandotte was nameless but from now on she's called Mumma, as none of the other hens go broody.

Our trip that day was rainy and cold and we collected two machines from 350km away. PC is pleased with the price he paid and is always glad to have me travel with him, especially when the drive is boring because of rain, as it's easy to become weary just driving along a highway. I have neglected to take photos of the bandsaw and the lathe but there will be some in the future when they are used.

After a day at home we were off again, on Sunday, travelling the same route but the weather was lovely apart from some fog early in the day.
20 mins from home

2.5hrs from home

15 mins from destination and these tunnels give me the heebie jeebies!
The drive home was pleasant.....
My favourite roadside resting stop.
....except the old truck decided to have a fuel problem and we had to have quite a few stops, and nurse it to the closest town to home, and we overnighted there. Temperamental old thing was fine in the morning but PC will have to service the diesel fuel lines.

Another lovely day for the remainder of the trip home so I took a few pictures to pass the time.
The first two pics are taken 30 minutes from home.


 This one is 15 minutes from home...

and as you follow the turn in the tarmac road we are 5 mins away and on the edge of the village.

This is the reason for the trip and PC already has plans for some items he'd like to make for the workshop and the house. He couldn't wait to unload it, clean the old sawdust off it, and ensure it ran well!




Lol, boys and their toys! I'm sure I can suggest a few jobs for him to use them for, in the future, when he has completed his immediate plans :P.

Cheers,
RobynLouise XO









12 May 2017

Preserving and Bulk Buying

We've been busy stocking up lately.
We were gifted a couple of kilos of tomatoes recently so I found a nice, easy recipe and made some tomato relish in the slow cooker. The recipe, and my alterations, on the recipes page. I'll be giving a jar to the donor of the tomatoes as a thank you.

I have a habit of skimming through the local Facebook buy, swap and sell page and discovered some wheat and barley at around half the price we usually pay for it, but, it was in the bulk buy form of a 200 litre, or 44 gallon drum, purchase for each type. After discussion we decided that it was worth it, as 2 drums of each will last us at least 6 months, and there is already a mouse plague on it's way over from the west so prices could rise. The sealable metal drums will protect the grain and we can refill them from the same supplier each time. Good for us and good for a local farmer who sells direct from his farm :).

Shifting the heavy drums from the trailer, after we had them home, was a bit of a challenge and meant some interesting manoeuvering to avoid back strains at one time.


With the forklift, and some blocks for support at strategic moments, the drums were set up under cover until the contents are required.


So now the chickens and herbivores have their pantry filled until Spring!
Cheers,
Robyn Louise XO

8 May 2017

Autumn Activities


The last couple of weeks have been a mix of relaxation, warming winter food and either planting cold season crops or feeding and mulching areas for the Winter so they will be ready for planting in Spring.

Sunday 23 April we met with my daughter, her partner and her friend at Iandra Castle, Greenethorpe - which is about 45 minutes from home - for an open day and took our picnic lunch. A fitting place for PC and I to go :). The property has a few open days a year and we will probably attend the next few to see the changes in the season in the gardens.
Here are some outdoor views and the sale sign when the property was subdivided in 1916. The property was huge and I want to locate the history as the owner was revered by the locals due to the services etc he implemented for the area.




 


 It would take too long to decide which of the inside views to post as there were so many interesting things, so, if you ever visit Young, NSW,  Australia then type this into your computer search engine -http://www.iandracastle.com.au/open-days -  and reserve a whole day to look at it. It's definitely worth it!

Mmmmm...... A couple of Winter warmer recipes I've recently discovered online. Both meet the approval of PC....I'm having a run of success there!
The one above is Teriyaki Chicken and the one below is Chick Pea and Vegetable Curry.
Both can be frozen and reheated but the curry goes a tad mushy due to the vegetable content.

There's been some more rain this week. Only a few millimetres but the seedlings virtually jumped out of their trays. PC dug out the old grape vine and softened the soil for the pea seedlings to go along the east fence in the next few days. I've been researching and I can grow a fig tree in the conditions here, so when the stump of the other tree is removed, it will be replaced with a brown turkey as that is what I have had success with before in extreme summer heat and frosty Winters.


Right -This is a close up of the white patches in the above garden. We had our first frost today! No wonder I felt half frozen when I climbed out of bed this morning...brrrr.

The moss on the rocks appreciates the recent moisture as well. I thought frost may hamper it's growth but it seems to thrive on it.



I'm looking forward to much observation and note taking during my first Winter here :).

Cheers,
RobynLouise XO

23 Apr 2017

Baking Breads

I finally decided to give the breadmaker a workout again during the last week. A plain white loaf  was the initial warm up. The flavour was good and the texture wonderful even though the appearance was a bit wayward. PC said he won't be able to eat shop bread again!

This was followed a couple of days later by a fresh  herb and carraway loaf.  The fresh herbs were home grown coriander and lemon thyme and I had some dill, that I dried, from when I purchased fresh dill for another recipe. I will be making this bread again as it's a real treat.

Today was another white loaf but I baked it using  the preset timer just to familiarise myself with the procedure and see if the loaf tasted as nice as the first one. It did and it wasn't as wayward looking. Must be to do with the liquids being given a chance to slowly soak into the dry ingredients before mixing. We used it for our picnic lunch sandwiches. The bacon, onion and cheese pizza scrolls were handmade and they were well received. PC likes all the new taste offerings :).

Have you baked any breads lately?

Cheers,
RobynLouise XO.

17 Apr 2017

Autumn April

As Autumn is finally here - weather wise - there’s been a few things happening around the garden and household.

Pruning,

propagation and planting,

harvesting - along with a little home produced craft and

the last flush of blooms.

Last Saturday we visited Murrumburrah/Harden and stopped by this place for lunch.

Some clever person made this to commemorate the cottage’s decade of trading after repair and refurbishment.

I spent much time looking at the handmade items there and even purchased one. A very nice lined and quilted sewing machine cover with a side pocket. It fits very well on my Janome Decor.


PC was very interested in the building itself and the original architecture.


Thanks for visiting!
Cheers,
Robyn Louise XO