The trouble with simple living is that, though it can be joyful, rich, and creative, it isn't simple. ~Doris Janzen Longacre

The best way to bring a sustainable change in the world around me is by bringing the change in myself

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Our feathered Friends

Driving back from LavenderHill on sonday afternoon to Sydney, we drove past a sign "Silkies for sale" well we had to stop there anyways for fresh orange juice. They have the best OJ so if you every driving to Taree or Port Macquarie, do stop at Moorland and buy some juice. I bought my first chookies ever, just so excited, forgot I needed a nice home for them but that was soon sorted. Bonnie & Clyde soon got 2 more friends Thelma & Louise. Then Ginger & Fred came along, they're Buff Pekins. Yep three of them went broody with 20 eggs amongest them, all sitting happily sharing one nesting box ... Ginger got to raise two chickies. Not a good success rate .... Lesson no 1 .... to many hens in one nesting box.

Ginger is a very good little mum, defending her babies with puffed up feathers making her look a lot bigger than she really is. Well we will soon see if silkies are good mums as Thelma & Louise are sharing a nest with only 4 eggs. Should start pipping in about 7/9 days Only one will get the chicks too look after. Bonnie has only just gone broody and is sitting on two eggs but I might just exchange her eggs with 3/4 austrolpe eggs. Too late in the breeding season.

They 8 weeks old here, and have just found a loving
home, looks like a pair, one's got the startings of a comb.
New Mum's thinking of naming them
Maryann & Gilligan... I like that.

Building a chook houses and run is really not such a big deal
but it needs to be warm&dry and secure from foxes, dogs
and cats. Keeping chooks in your backyard is a great way of
using up kitchen scraps. We give our chooks old rice, bits of porridge, a little finely grated carrots, spinach leaves (no lettuce) and watermelon. A litlle container of Darling Downs chook food. Most afternoons they get to free range for about an hour before they take themselves to bed. Most councils will let you keep a few hens but no roosters.

Advantages of keeping chooks in your backyard.

Fresh eggs ... real tasty eggs with bright yellow yoke

Less wastage ... they eat kitchenscraps & food that would have gone waste

Hours of entertainment ... just love to watch them having a dust bath or chasing bugs

Great little helpers in the garden ... great manure and scratch around for insects

It's great for small kids to keep chooks. They learn to take care and love animals. It is important to handle them calmly and quitely with adult supervision, so not to hurt or scare the chooks or kids. So much better than getting a bunny that is soon forgotten. How many kids can take a chook to show & tell?


You need to clean the chookhouse once a week

Sprinkle a little lime on the floor once a month, it helps with lice prevention. Worming is important for healthy birds.

Another forum for you to join.

You could be walking the dog and picking up pop.

A very good blog on keeping chickens I have just discovered.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Composting and Recycling.

Ever wondered how much we contribute to the Landfill Site around the world?

How many more holes are we going to dig to throw away "Stuff" mostly made out of recycleable materials?

Every item you buy has some sort of wrapping or box, but it's what we do with it that counts. Protesting to manufactures about the usesage would be great. But they only hear what they want to anyway. We can help sort out our own waste into recycle bins provided by Councils and Recycle Centre. Food scraps,teabags and peels all compostable so investing in a worm farm and some chooks are just one way of dealing with this problem. The weekly bin is only half full aand still working on reducing the waste. My worm farm has been going for 10 years with very little effort. In return I get worm juice which I dilute for my plants and eventually castings to mix with a little soil or potting mix.

Our local recycle centre turns green garden waste into lovely rich black compost or gold as I call it ... a 10/10 for them. I have bought tons of it, had a few loads delivered to spread around the garden. The plant are just loving it, giving me heaps of great healthy crops.

Here in Australia the local Vinnies or Salvos are only to happy to take stuff you no longer want or need.

Just a few simply ideas I use to reuse or recycle.

Plastic 2lt ice cream tubes - Great for freezing, packs nicely into the freezer saving space - I make my own dog food, saving money and halving the cost to feed them. No more tin cans.

Carboard inside the toilet rolls - is great to plant a few seeds, no need to remove them either as them will break up eventually. Great for art projects for school and pre primary schools.

Egg boxes get painted with poster paint, decorated or used to hide easter eggs in. We have a painting session during holidays.

Old bathroom towels get cut into small hand towels which I love to dollie up with bit of material strips and loops to hang them up by - great in the laundry, kitchen or garden.

Plastic 2 ltr milk bottles got cut away leaving the handle bit - used to soak paint brushes in or for scoops for the chook food.

Blue Jeans just don't get thrown away even if they got holes - see Craft Corner.

Sure you could think of a couple of uses other than memtioned.

Happy recycling

Easter Holidays and Road trip to Brisbane.

Let me introduce you to my two lovely grandsons, born just 3 weeks apart.

Cobi (left) and Luke (right) This was taken at
Taronga Zoo Sydney at the Easter weekend.
The Gorillas was a great hit with the boys while
aunty Tanya gave them a guided tour at the snakes and reptiles.
Lovely day had by all.

Easter being not all about chocolate eggs and bunnies, also a time to reflect. We did have an easter egg hunt with the neighbours kids, basket were filled up with eggs hidden under the veggies and shrubs and in pot plants. They did miss a few which got eaten by myself, making sure the cats would not find any and get sick.

We did drive them back but not before sleeping over at LavenderHill +- 1/2 way to Brisbane. A quick trip to pumpkin patch to dig up some sweet potatoes, potkin pumpkin and pick up a few passion fruit.... can see a pavlova coming on ... yummy. Then a stop at Coffs Harbour for a photo session at the Big Banana, and a ice cream. Then another photo at the Big Prawn with fish & chips at Ballina. Don't you just love road trips. We sang along to Old Man Emu (on repeat). Great song but maybe a break would have been lovely.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Finally we bought a little parcel of land we can call home oneday, it's only 2.75 acres but it's ours. Lavenderhill is slowly been turned from a lantana invested grazing property to our dream property. This journey will take us through all stages of clearing, putting up fences, planting trees and building a home for ourselves. Finally living the dream of self sufficency that we hope to achieve oneday.

Gardening is very important to me, not just for growing food but food for my soul. We have spend many a afternoon wondering in botanical gardens. When the kids were little feeding the ducks then having a picnic under the trees.

About ourselves:

We are children of Africa who have made Australia home about 15 years ago. George and myself btw I am Rina, have been married for nearly 30 years, have 3 children and 2 grandchildren. Like any Grandma my two little boys mean the world to me and hope they will be spending many school holidays with us.

Some of my best childhood memories was spent staying with my own Grandmother. They were sheep farmers but after Grandpa passed away, Ouma sold and moved into town. It was here that I remember all the lessons she taught me the old way..... Sadly Ouma passed away when I was about 13 years old..... always wonder what she would have said if she saw how far we have come. Definately one of my role models.

My Hobbies:

I love to give most crafts a go but knitting and crochet is still my favorite. Other craft I have done are cross stitching, stitchery, patchwork, scrapbooking, reading, sketching and painting. Gardening is not just hobby but a way of life, part of my everyday thing just like cooking a meal to feed the body, so is gardening to feed the soul.

Gardening in Pumpkin Patch:

My aim is to feed my family as much fresh produce, grown without using chemicals or poisonous sprays. Dear Husband has help build many a raised bed, pergola or chook house, sometime grumbling because my way works better than his. But it's just that I got this picture in my head.... visions of pumpkin vines, sweet potatoes, rock melons and corn, throw in a few sunflower seeds in those beautiful 3x3 mtr raised veggie boxes. Had a good crop last year, corn were a little misformed but very sweet.

Some sweet potatoes,

passion fruit and

potkin pumpkin

I harvested this year.

Pumpkins were great until the horses dug their teeth into them, did manage to save a few. And heaps of sweet potatoes. This pumpkin was hidden under a heap of vines and weeds, maybe that explains is weird colour. This year we have had heaps of rain so unlike last year we should have a good yield.

Next visit I plan to post photo's and tell you all about planting fruit trees and more.
Thank you letting me into your home until next time