Archive for September, 2008

Crash go the banks

September 27, 2008

Well, what interesting times we live in.  I find it scary enough watching trees fall, but watching banks fall has a kind of horrific fascination all of its own!  Kim has been studying economics intently over the last couple of years and gives us a daily update on the state of the world’s economies.  Kim has lots of opinions about economics so if you want to chat to him about it – feel free.  He has been predicting the events as they have been happening, like the failure of AIG and Washington Mutual and the rise in fuel prices, and is not overly pleased to see his predictions being fulfilled.

It is interesting to see the media playing down the dramatic events as they happen, but we don’t for a minute believe that the trouble in the States will not affect us over here.  I guess those with funds in Bankwest will already realise that anyway, since the Bank of Scotland has failed and they owned Bankwest at the time.  Certainly the world could become a different place to what we are used to.  Kim’s advice to all of you with excess funds in banks or shares (I don’t know that experience myself) is to buy yourselves some gold instead.  It’s actually very easy in WA as you can go to the Perth Mint and purchase gold by the ounce (or more or less).  You can take it home or store it at the mint and it may well be a good idea to have a little put aside for if things go really bad.

We are pleased to have Kim back home again.  He was sorry that he couldn’t get down to Albany, but enjoyed catching up with family and a couple of good friends while in Perth.  He got back home late Tuesday and is quickly settling back in.  He found our new iPhone quite invaluable while he was away.  It could record his dad talking, point out the nearest ATM or fuel station etc and give directions to get there, play music, be a digital bible or other book (Kim has Matthew Henry’s Commentary on there now), browse the web, send and receive emails and still managed to be a phone.

Lambs are really rather cute but sad to say our sweet little Tavi did not make it.  😦  After some research (where would we be without the internet) and some advice from our neighbour we determined that she had pneumonia.  Despite our best efforts she was not strong enough to pull through, but we enjoyed having her while we did, and losing Pop helped us to keep things in perspective when she died.

Lydia’s chicks have continued to grow, and grow and grow.  They have now graduated to a large dome during the day but still return to their small one in the evenings as it is protected by an electric fence.

The light ones are starting to look a lot a lot like Light Sussex but with some extra markings.

Both our lakes have filled up a bit this week.  They were fuller last year but only had water in for about a week, and that was earlier in the year than this.  This is the one we have dubbed “The Great Lake”, it is south of our garden area.

You can just see the blue of a dome in the background.

This is the “Lesser Great Lake” on the other side of the driveway, which is actually deeper.  You should hear the croaking of the frogs!!!

I’ve been busy planting out a bunch of seedlings in the gardens this week.  I only have frost hardy plants out so far and we’ll see how they go this time.  I do have tomatoes, cucumber and capsicum seedlings coming up in the greenhouse, and I planted some corn into pots just the other day.  I also have some potatoes coming up in the gardens now, though most of my seed spuds are still awaiting planting.

We still have snow on the mountains, just a bit, but I expect it wont last much longer.  The snow stayed on the mountains all winter this year, unlike last year when it just made the occasional appearance.

We had a lovely visit from Ken and Helen Joyce from Albany this week.  It was wonderful to catch up with them and hear some news of Albany and of the folk from the Baptist church there.  Caleb is heading off to Perth in a week for Judson and Cath’s wedding.  It will be a quick visit on a tight budget but at least he is getting there!

More Milkenunny Times

September 14, 2008

We have missed Kim heaps over the last 2 weeks but were so very pleased that he was able to spend the last week and a half with his dad before he passed away on Friday.  They had some precious times together like when Kim’s 102 year old great grandmother came to visit his dad in the hospital, and just to be able to be there and to help in various ways and talk was a great blessing.  The last day in particular was very emotional but rather wonderful as his dad said he was “ready to go home” and was praying and reciting christian songs before he passed away.  The funeral is organised for 1.30pm this coming Thursday and then Kim will probably head home.  He is contemplating slipping down to Albany for the weekend to catch up with a few folks since he is so close (well, compared to here) but really wants to head home as soon as he can, so I am not sure yet what he will decide.  In the meantime he is staying with his step-mum Hope and helping to sort out a few things.

Back at home we finished the turkey house that we were in the middle of when Kim left, complete with roost and 2 nesting boxes.

Then we had to carry it down the driveway to the paddock, that was fun (not!), but the turkeys are nice and safe inside there at nights, and free range during the days.

The boys have also been working on a new pig house for our big pig.   Sweetie thought the wood framed one we made was too narrow so she decided to make some adjustments herself and somewhat widened it, so we thought a new one was in order.

We were tossing up about just putting up a strawbale shelter for her but in the end decided that we would make a metal framed house.  The cost was not a lot different and so we opted for another permanent structure so the boys have been welding up the frame as weather permits.  We are hoping to get it finished early this week.  We are also hoping that this one lasts a bit better.  We measured Sweetie’s length and made it wider than she is long, so here’s hoping!

Not to be outdone Lydia and I have been remaking the turkey dome (which was really too large for the pipe strength) into a regular sized dome again.

Lydia has also got more fertile eggs incubating. There are 12 barnevelder eggs which were sent from NSW, as well as a few from the chooks we have.

Her previous batch of chicks are now 5 and 6 weeks respectively and they live permanently outside, thankfully.  No more early morning cheeping!  Their box has a lamp since we are still having some cold nights, but in a few more weeks they will not need that and they will be able to graduate to the gardens and a full size dome.  It has been interesting to watch them grow.  Their behaviour is so instinctive and so chook-like from such an early age.

We also have a new member in the menagerie.  An ewe in the paddock of some friends died this weekend and we got ourselves an orphan lamb.  Sam has declared himself responsible for her since he was the only one without a critter to care for.  She is needing a bit of encouragement to eat and is pretty quiet so far but hopefully she will get stronger as time goes on and will adapt well to her new lifestyle.  She is about 4 weeks old so is not a tiny lamb, her name is Tavi.  Right now she is sleeping under the bench in my kitchen.  Sometimes I think we are just a little bit mad.  🙂

My seedlings are growing.  I  have planted some out into the gardens this weekend and hope to get more going in the greenhouse.  The weather is still pretty cool over here but I am looking forward to being able to get cucumbers and tomatoes and corn and all those yummy things happening soon.  In the meantime my peas are going great as are the cabbages, kale and lettuce.  I am still learning what to plant when over here but will get there in the end.  Hopefully we will get a better harvest than last year.

Greenhouse Visit

September 6, 2008

Here is my main seed raising area.  I used two different brands of seed raising mix. It has made more of a difference than I expected.  I would like to experiment a bit more with it to see if it is because the Yates one has a slow release fertilizer in it or if it is the soil itself as Yates seems to have a more sandy mixture.

Now a slightly closer look at the seedlings in the Grow Better soil.  The onions at the front are looking good  as are the sunflowers at the back and you can just see the first tomato in the leftmost of the empty middle areas.  There is also one visible parsley in the rightmost middle area.  Still no sign of the other tomatoes in the far right, but hopefully they won’t be long.  I think I actually have one freze lettuce up now too.

Here is our first Amish Paste tomato.  There are more coming.  Yay, I love tomatoes and we really use them.

The rocket is not doing much.  I have put a few into pots with our regular soil to see if they take off any faster.

I did the same with some turnips too, as they have “stalled” as well.

Now a closer look at the seedlings in the Yates soil. The parsnips are looking good up the front next to the shallots.  The red cabbage seems to be taking a while to get going and I think the brocolli might actually be looking better in the other soil.  The celery is coming up now, it is next to the parsnips though it’s too small to see in the photo.

The silverbeet in the Yates soil is looking good, though they do not have their second leaves yet.

They are markedly smaller in the other soil, following the general trend.

Cabbages are similar.  This is the Yates soil.

And the GB soil.  I was careful to try to take the photos from the same distance away to give you a good comparison.  You can see the parsnips on the left.

On the other shelf the herb area is coming along.  The evening primrose and basil are both coming up now.  Today I got a few more trays ready for when my new herbs arrive.  Hopefully they will come this week.

The mustard is looking very healthy.  After taking the photos I pinched them out and the roots were HUGE.  The plants themselves were about 2-3cm high and some of them had roots at least 15cm long.  I have put them 3 to a pot, and am glad that I did not wait for the second leaves with them.

Borage is a funny looking seedling.

The swedes look healthy but there is no sign of second leaves, they are in the GB soil as I had more of it.  Our first cucumber is also starting to appear, although you could not say it was up yet.

Now for a look at the pots.  All the peas are starting to come up now which is good to see.

And here are some of the kale and lettuce that I pinched out a few days ago.

Some of the kale are getting more leaves, they look good.

I pinched out some of the GB soil lettuce at the same time – not hard to tell which ones they are.  🙂

The sunflower seeds that I planted directly into pots are coming up.  

And finally this is my larger lettuce that I planted before the greenhouse was built.  Most of the kale and cabbage seedlings from that planting will probably be thrown out as the new ones look like overtaking them in size and vigour but the lettuce seem to be going well.  I can probably plant them out in a week or so.