Thursday, 31 July 2014

Blown away?!

It's been very windy here today. Nick and I went into town and I was blown off course when I rounded a corner of the footpath. Not only was I buffeted by the wind - it inflated my plastic shopping bags for added pulling/pushing power!

As we drove home we noted capsized street signs and fences. Our rubbish bins were laying on the ground and as passed the Fox-proof Fowl Fort, we saw that the girls' house was upended! I really hope no-one was inside when that happened!

I righted the house and started putting the nesting box back together where the floor pieces had fallen out.  It seemed a good opportunity for a thorough clean, so I tossed the old straw onto the ground.  The girls enjoyed scratching through and pecking for slaters etc too.  Nick sorted out their water and got some new straw, while I removed the tray-floor (from beneath the roosting area) and scraped the muck into our compost bin. 

The chookies will definitely appreciate their cosy, clean house tonight.  In the past hour the temperature has dropped from an amazing (unheard of?!) 18 degrees to just 8!

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Hen-tirely comfortable!

When talking with Madelaine yesterday, I asked why she had chosen her particular breed of chooks. She replied that most people prefer brown eggs.

We were a bit surprised by her answer.  Even though we'd requested white and black girls, it hadn't occurred to us that they could or would lay different coloured eggs!  Of course, we asked what colour eggs we'd get - and it seemed there was a range of possibilities, including creamy pink and brown speckled!

I heard cackling this morning. When I went to investigate, Pooh II was inside the chook house, nestled over a warm brown egg. 

Later in the day I spotted Obsidian making herself quite comfortable in one of the nest boxes. A while afterwards I found a lovely pinkish egg! 

Although Judge Judy and Jo are keeping themselves mostly separate from the Hollyburton girls, there are no squabbles - and it's good to see that two of our new chookies are already feeling comfortable enough to lay.

Monday, 28 July 2014

New girls!

Our original four girls were gifts, retirees from Seven Hills Organic Farm.  Prior to moving here they lived on a five-acre lot with fox-proof fence and a guard dog.  It was definitely chook heaven!

We weren't able to match that standard of accommodation but our chookies are/were definitely well-loved.  (Sadly, late last year Pooh Chicken and Princess Fiona died, both of natural causes). 

We talked about getting more company for Jo and Judge Judy but there didn't seem much point doing so before our extended Yowah holiday.  We've been home since May though and it's definitely colder, so I wondered if they would appreciate extra friends to huddle with at night.

I was scrolling through my FaceBook newsfeed on Sunday night and spotted a photo post from Hollyburton Farm - "Got some sweet old girls that need to be moved on to retirement homes they will lay all spring but they are only laying a little at the moment. Anyone keen? $5 each to good homes!

Not surprisingly the troops were keen, so I sent a FB message and followed up with a phone call this morning.  I requested three chooks and asked for black and white when offered a colour choice.

We collected our new girls after school.  At some point in the afternoon, I decided two black and two white chooks would be a better option - and then we could have nicely organised colours!

Madelaine was happy to round up an extra retiree and showed us the area where one of her huge flocks roam, watched over her Maremma sheepdog, Billy.

It was late afternoon when we unpacked the new arrivals into the yard with Judge Judy and Jo.  Our original girls were not impressed and it is fair to say there were some ruffled feathers!  A pecking order was quickly established and though there was a bit of a stand-off at bedtime, all seemed reasonably happy to be at fairly close quarters in the roosting area (after some prompting)!

Saturday, 12 July 2014

From little things ...

At the time of making our loo more cosy, I didn't give much thought to similar bathroom insulation - even though the larger room was equally in need of help! 

Instead I made a terrarium, having been inspired by this story that was doing the rounds on Facebook.  I didn't have a lidded vessel, so used this large jar - and put a tiny frog in with the ferns.

That one small frog prompted me to gather many of my other frogs, to live along the bathroom bench.

It was then that I looked at the window and opted to give it a make-over. 

After rummaging in the storage container, I discovered the other green mattress cover as well as some froggy fleece originally bought to make jumpers for the girls, many years ago!

The first green mattress cover works well on our kitchen window - and I really like the chook bunting.  The bathroom window is a bit taller, so I added an extension for more coverage.  I was tricky and included narrow ribbon ties, so the extension can be rolled up during the day, if desired.  The frog bunting matches and I'm quite pleased with the overall look. 

You might notice the fly-screen was revamped also.  I found a lace remnant in the stash (leftover from my first wedding dress)!  It was just the right size for the frame and Nick did good work fitting it securely.  The lace is much prettier than the worn-out fly-mesh and the pale green works well with all the frogs.  The frog button on the basket bow isn't quite as old as the lace - it was originally on one of the matching frog dresses I made for my girls when they were quite young!

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Garden Masters?!

Erin constructed several self-watering tubs last year. She planted them out carefully - and then Tea ate their contents during her "don't fence me in" period!  The tubs have been empty since. 

During the week Erin, Vaughan and I visited our local, new-ish Masters store.  My main aim was purchasing ferns for my terrarium project (more on that later) and some extra 3M picture hanging strips for my various decorating projects.  I'd seen some 75% discount plants in the gardening section but was side-tracked by the ferns, so only remembered the bargains as we were exited the carpark.  I re-parked the car and went back into the store for a better look at the sale table.  I made my selection of a flowering succulent for the bathroom - and the saleslady helpfully pointed out two more stands of plants. There were a few vegetables so I picked several of those also.  What a bargain!  10 seedlings for $5.86!

I'd already planted my raised bed but Erin had room in her tubs for these new arrivals.  We planted them today.  I helped a bit, though probably was more photographer than gardener! 

Hopefully our bargains will like their new home.  We have kale, bunching broccoli, standard broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and romanesco.  I'd never heard of romanesco but am really looking forward to seeing it grow - how funky is it?!