Archive for August, 2008

Mllkenunny Times 2

August 28, 2008

I thought it was time for another update.  The weather has been slowly but surely warming up lately.  Daffodils are coming out and wattles are beginning to blossum, telling us that Spring is almost here.  I have a bunch of seedlings coming up in the greenhouse and a bag of seed potatoes waiting to be planted too.

Interestingly I have two different types of seed raising mix and as an experiment I decided to plant some of the same seeds into each.  I know the pictures are small but you may be able to see a bit in the photo below.  The seedlings in the left side came up first and my immediate thought was that this must be the better soil type, however the seedlings in the right side are much larger now and are showing signs of getting their second set of leaves, whereas the ones on the left are not doing much growing at all in comparison.  The seedlings at the front circled in blue are kale and you can probably see them best.  The seedlings circled in red are lettuce and the size difference is quite noticeable.

Lydia’s chickens are growing apace, they are 2.5 and 3.5 weeks old now with feathers on their wings and even tufts of tails coming.  They spend their days outside in their miniature dome, but come back inside into their brooder box in the evenings to keep safe and warm.  By the morning they are keen to go out again and make sure to let us know their opinion with very loud cheeping.

Just to prove that we can make poultry houses that are not domes, we have started to make the new turkey house – a rectangular structure made from welded box pipe.  Kim has been teaching the boys to weld on this job, using his Henrob oxy welder attachment, which he picked up a while ago at a clearance sale over here.

Kim loves the Henrob as it is much better than a normal oxy and can even weld things like stainless steel, which he proved by welding the handle back onto the lid of my frypan.  However for now it is just great to be able to use it to get a good home for the turkeys.  We have the frame and door complete now, but need to paint the welds and attach the wire mesh and sheet metal sides.

We plan to make the turkey house quoll and devil safe, so that the turkeys are not restricted to being behind the electric fence.  They will be able to wander around the block during the day and get safely locked up at night.  The turkeys currently free range in the paddock with the younger pigs also being out during the day.  It is all very well except that the pigs delight in knocking down the roosts and busting up the dome by scratching themselves on it.  If and when the turkeys begin to lay eggs they would not last very long with the pigs around as they just LOVE eggs.  Actually, when I say the turkeys free range, what they really do is hang about outside the vege garden area.  I had visions of them exploring the paddock, snapping up grubs and pecking at greens but in reality the gobbler likes to display to the chooks through the fence while the girls look wistfully at the greens in the gardens and wish they could get in to eat them.  Sigh.

Kim preached at Deloraine Uniting 2 Sundays ago and at our own church last week.  I thought what he said was good.  He used the same sermon for both services, which was good as it took him a long time to prepare it.  How do you preaching folk out there manage to make sermons in a reasonable amount of time?  It would have taken Kim over 40 hours to research, contemplate and write his sermon and it surely must not always take that long?  Pastors do have other tasks than preaching after all.  I am sure Kim would appreciate any helpful advice as it seems he may be asked to speak again.  We are somewhat surprised at the response to his speaking, I am sure some folk must not like what he says as it is quite challenging, but others seem to greatly enjoy it.  He speaks clearly and well but does tend to read his sermons rather than extemporise, but that does not seem to bother anyone either.  Truth to tell there are not a lot of speakers to be found out here in the country, and even fewer pastors, so I guess they are used to people who are not practiced speakers.  Anyway it is a great responsibility but also a great blessing for him to be able to preach God’s word.

We have had some health issues lately, Sam and Caleb in particular seem to suffer from a lot of ill health, often with gastric problems.  It often seems like we never have the two of them well at the same time.  I have had some migraines lately while Lydia retains her title of the healthiest person of the family.  However thankfully most illnesses are not major, just annoying as they stop us getting things done!

Last night I was looking at some old channels between long gone garden beds at the back of the house and thought I would put them to some frivolous use.  So we now have the first 3 holes of the Milkenunny mini golf course.  Skill is of no help in this course as the ground is not level at all and abounds with weeds.  🙂  The kids and I played a game and had a good time so I thought it was 30 minutes well spent.

Sun fun and snow

August 16, 2008

We decided that if we wanted to see snow again this year we better get a move on or it would be too late.  We had fresh snow on the mountains this last week and since today promised to be lovely and sunny we thought it would be a good time to do it so off we headed.  We stopped on the way at lovely little spot by a river for a picnic lunch.

It was almost rainforest in places, and had picnic tables, pit toilet and wood barbeque spots with wood.  Rather nice really and I presume people could camp there.  It was part of Mole Creek Karst National Park.

Then we continued on.  We had been told to take the road to Devils Gullet and that we would hit snow on the way.  Sure enough we did.  It was a pleasant 12 degrees at home today, well pleasant if you were in the sunshine anyway.  However it was only about 2 degrees up on the mountain.

Since our snow chains only fit the old volkswagens and not the cars we currently have licensed we parked and went for a walk on foot – as did a number of other families.  We enjoyed snowball fights on the way.

After a little while we got to a small area where people were sledding down a sheltered slope on body boards.  They offered us the use of their body boards when they went to get lunch and we gratefully accepted.

Sam could really get up some speed, and at one stage even bounced up the rise onto the road.  I thought he was going to just keep going down the mountain!

Caleb was going rather fast too, and as always looked pretty amusing with his head of hair.

I took a somewhat more sedate method – as in not face first!  It was still fun.

Lydia liked the sitting up method best too.

Josiah of course had a great time, even when falling off.

Zia was wearing soccer boots which gave him a great advantage in walking up the slopes.  We have decided we must get our own body boards for next time we go.  It was good fun.

Kim didn’t have a go this time – his arthritic ankles were playing up – but he did enjoy taking lots of photos.

Thats it for now.  🙂

Counting the chickens

August 13, 2008

Our chicken hatching is complete and as well as the three original grey chicks (Australorp cross) we now have another 6 yellow chicks (Light Sussex cross Barnevelder). This second hatching was much better as we got 6 chicks from 12 eggs of which 1 was infertile. They are growing at a rate and we are now able to keep them all in together. Even the undersize chick seems to be going well so far.
Lydia even put them outside in the run we have prepared for them for a little while today so she could clean out their brooder box.  They had a ball scratching at the dirt and running around, but it was too cold to leave them there for long even with a heat lamp inside.
Our poor longsuffering dog has even been introduced to the cause of all that chirping.
I have to admit that they really are cute!
All but one of Lydia’s pullets are laying now, and even my old Isa Browns are laying pretty well.  We got 11 eggs today.  There is a variety of shapes and sizes.  The dark brown ones are from the Barnevelders, the white ones from the cross breed bantams or Australorp and the rest from one other cross breed hen and the Isa Browns.  We have no trouble disposing of the eggs, especially not at this time of year as most people’s hens have not come back on the lay yet so I can pass them on to church folk and neighbours with ease.  If we still have a surplus to our own needs then the pigs LOVE them.
The weather has been rather cold this week, and this morning we even had a smattering of snow on the ground in the clear areas.  Not enough to make a snowman though!  I picked up some stock feed from a farm on the other side of Mt Roland today, and the farmer whose land is about 380m above sea level said that he had about 2-3 inches of snow this morning – but that it didn’t last long once the sun came up.