Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Cherries and berries

The Green Shed in Grove opened last Saturday, a much-anticipated event in the Huon Valley. It's your one stop shop for cherries, pink eye potatoes, raspberries and other Christmas-time delights. David visited a customer in the same road today, so on the way back he picked up a big bag of new season cherries. Delish!

Meanwhile in my own garden, the strawberries are ripening and the blueberry bushes are laden with clumps of green berries waiting to ripen. And aside from the berries, there are green cherries and plums, tiny apples and pears. And before you ask - all are under nets this year so hopefully the birds won't get them. The possums still might though.


Sunday, December 3, 2017

Can we borrow your ark, please?

It's not quite forty days and forty nights but it's starting to feel like it. On Thursday evening a storm hit, with hail, thunder and lightning (all rare where we live). Since then, it has rained solidly without pause. Throw in some gusts of wind and it's pretty unpleasant out there. No gardening for me this weekend. I've been awake since 3am, listening to rain pelt against the house, worrying how my chickens are faring out in their house where I've left them locked in for the past two days. And the tiny chicks with mother hen out in the chook tractor in the orchard. I've put in some protective shields so they seem OK, although it is very soggy out there.

Our water tank is overflowing, dirt and gravel are washing down the driveway and a large pond has appeared at the corner of our property where there isn't one normally.

We live at 450m above sea level and our neighbours have a boat sitting in the middle of their front yard which always seemed a little optimistic, but it now looks like its in a flowing river. If the water keeps rising, maybe we'll need to borrow it. Do you think they'll mind if we take the dogs?

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Beeswax food savers

As well as a few plants, I also picked up some pretty beeswax cloth food covers from the Market @ Franklin last weekend. You warm them slightly in your hands and shape them around the food or container. Cheese, snacks, fresh ginger, fruit and veg... anything but meat. You need to keep them away from heat, and either just wipe them clean or rinse under cold water. After only a couple of days of using them, I'm hooked. Much easier than plastic wrap and better for the environment. Apparently they last at least six months, and when they're dead, you can compost them or use them as fire starters. And they smell nice. Like honey.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The circle of life

In the land of poultry-keeping, you lose some, you gain some.

One of my hens recently lost use of her legs. She spent a lot of time sitting down, or making strange stamping motions with her feet. I first suspected bumblefoot, but on checking her feet there was no sign of swelling or infection. After separating her from the flock and checking her over thoroughly again, I couldn't find anything broken and started to suspect Marek's disease - not good at all. I could have dispatched her myself, but she was eating and drinking just fine, her eyes were OK... so I took her to the vet yesterday. He said it was some kind of neurological condition, with messages from her brain not getting to her legs, and unlikely to improve. We could try generic kinds of treatment - antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and the like - and then end up having to euthanase her anyway. She wasn't laying eggs and may have been in pain. So long story short, she didn't come back home with me from the vet today.

When I got back from the vet, I decided to go and check on the broody hen whose eggs were about due to hatch, and lo and behold - four healthy-looking tiny chicks were standing next to her cheeping! By the time David and I collected some chick feed and a water container to take down there, along with the camera of course, five little chicks were visible and mother hen was off her nest. I couldn't see signs of movement from any of the other eggs, but you never know. Either way, five new chicks is great news. A sad and happy day in chook land.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Specially steam boat

Last weekend there was a steam boat rally from Franklin up the river to Huonville and back. In fact there were all types of powered boat - electric, motor and human - all looked so beautiful out on the Huon on a hot sunny Sunday morning. We would have loved to take up the offer of a ride on the Nancy, but we were looking forward to meeting old friends from Sydney at Willie Smiths for lunch, so we had to pass. It was such a beautiful day to be sipping cider too!

The title of this post comes from a Thai restaurant menu David and I have kept since the 1990s. The description of each dish was generally one word more than its name and provided no additional clue as to its contents. So the dish called 'Steam Boat' was described as 'Specially Steam Boat.' A tropical cocktail bore the description 'A refreshing tropical'. We were none the wiser.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

$3 each

Today's purchases at the Market @ Franklin: a walnut tree and two basil plants. $3 each. A large jar of blackberry jam, $5. We also made considerable inroads into the Christmas gift list, with Huon Pine goods, native pepperberry and more that can't be revealed yet lest the recipient actually reads my blog.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Sitting hen

Surprisingly, one of our Barnevelder hens has gone broody. The breed isn't known for it. We discovered her sitting in one of the nesting boxes on the weekend, and based on her reluctance to move (I got a healthy hiss and peck on the hand!) I decided to leave her there and put more eggs under her. I don't know how many eggs she is sitting on in total. Many chicken owners don't want their birds going broody because they want them laying eggs. But now with 12 hens, we have more eggs than we know what to do with. So hopefully Vladimir has been doing his job (he certainly seems to be kept busy in this department) and she will hatch some chicks. But it's very early days and I'm not counting... well, you know.