Friday, September 15, 2017

Eggtrepreneur

I'm excited to have my first few egg customers this week. It's great news, as the eggsplosion continues... we're getting 8-10 eggs a day at the moment, and as much as I'm enjoying an egg for breakfast and making custard ice-creams, there are still too many for us to consume. And they are so lovely, I'm very happy to share them. Here are the first lot packed up and ready to go.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Snow glorious snow

Just as spring started to show her face, the biggest snow of the year hit and covered everything in a
deep, white blanket. We woke to heavy silence and eerie blue light. The snow was glorious, it must be said. The dogs were up to their bellies in it. The chook house we built over the weekend looked a little different under a huge drift of snow. I'm glad we didn't have to head into town and brave the roads. Instead, we had an early morning romp in the front paddock with the dogs. David had lit the fire by 7.30am and I put a beef casserole in the slow cooker at lunchtime. It is just that kind of day. Stunning, I'm sure you'll agree.


Chook mansion

No really - it IS a mansion. It even said so on the box. On Saturday we finally had a day of beautiful weather to be working outdoors, and spent it constructing a kit chicken coop ordered online from Backyard Chicken Coops. It was surprisingly easy to put together. Whoever designed the kit really thought of all the little details and the instructions were clear. The finished house looks fantastic and now I just need another day of clear-ish weather to add the straw bedding and move in our 12 hens and Vladimir the rooster. Can't wait to see them all settled in!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Signs of spring

It has snowed three times in the last two weeks at our place, most recently this dusting that we woke to on Sunday.


Still, there have been many signs of spring appearing. Buds on the fruit trees. Birds are more active. The days are longer (no more walking in the dark before 7am) and the light is different. Daffodils are popping up in the front paddock.


It was a gloriously sunny start to spring today, but still chilly. We woke to a thick frost, but glad not to be down in the thick fog in the valley.


Once the fog cleared, the blossoms down in Franklin village looked so pretty against the blue sky, I had to stop and take a photo.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Eggsplosion

This year's pullets (all 10 of them) have started laying, albeit mostly tiny little eggs. Their eggs look so cute next to the bigger brown eggs laid by the two older Barnevelder hens. So for us it's time to eat more yummy eggs for breakfast, custard-style ice-cream (it uses five yolks), omelettes, patties, fried rice, cakes, quiche, frittata and anything else that uses eggs! I have sent off the forms to register as an unaccredited small producer so hopefully I can sell some of our eggs via local shops, markets or to friends. Want any?

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Ranelagh General Store

For a long while, we've driven a few kilometres out of our way to Ranelagh to buy sourdough bread from Summer Kitchen Bakery. More recently, there's been another great reason to make the detour: Ranelagh General Store. Lovely coffee and the best. muffins. ever. Previously, that honour went to the Red Velvet Lounge in Cygnet, before the change in ownership. The burgers for lunch are to die for. I recently had a duck and orange burger with slaw, oh my dog... speaking of which, if we have the dogs with us, we can sit outside, with Baerli's enormous bulk blocking the entire footpath. A few weeks ago, we were lucky enough to attend a friend's 50th birthday dinner there, as a private function. The small cafe was decorated so beautifully and the food was fabulous. I especially love the vintage elements they use like the water jugs. It's so warm and inviting. Must be about time for another visit.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Free range chicken

One of Tasmania's largest poultry producers, Nichols, has recently launched a new ethical free range chicken product line. The birds are housed in 'villages' of four movable sheds each housing 720 birds (a much lower density than the thousands housed in one shed under other poultry production systems) and they are free to come and go from the sheds as they please.

I had the opportunity to have a look inside last week on a field trip. While it is still a little shocking to see so many birds living such short lives, the conditions were clean and spacious, the feeding and watering stations looked great and many of the birds were enjoying themselves resting outside the sheds or pecking in the grass and mud. The large, green paddock we visited contained four of these chook 'villages'. Check out the video on their web site to see it for yourself.

While at present the ethical free range product represents less than 10 percent of the chicken they produce (the rest is barn raised under the RSPCA standard), it is hoped that customer demand will grow and production can expand. It's good reason for us Aussies to eat a bit less chicken and be happy to pay a bit more for it, I reckon. I'll be checking out our local supermarkets to see who stocks it.