Archive for December, 2011

Christmas Greetings

December 20, 2011
Merry Christmas   from the Howe family.
The Christmas hat is being modelled this year by Acacia, one of our Araucana hens.  She is quite a tame hen, although I sometimes wonder if that is just because she cannot see us coming!

No chooks were harmed during the making of this email.  Well, only her dignity I guess.
And here is a photo of all of us, just in case you’ve forgotten what we look like.  🙂
I was very blessed to be able to go for a very quick trip to Perth last month.  It was my Mum’s 80th birthday and we decided at the last minute that I could afford to go.  It was just wonderful to spend a few relaxing days with Mum and Dad and I really loved being there with them, just hanging around together.  My sister Linda who lives in Canada sent Mum 80 roses, 1 for each year, which filled the house with blooms.  My other sister Alison had organised a high tea birthday celebration for Mum so I was able to see quite a few of the extended family there which was nice.  We then spent a couple of days at Ali and Philip’s home which I had not seen before, so that was terrific too and we got lots of talking done.  We hadn’t run out of things to say before it was time to leave though!
Shortly after I returned home, Alison and her daughter Amy came to visit for a couple of days.  We managed to squeeze in a trip to Cradle Mountain and down Maracoopa Cave while they were here.  Amy went for a couple of rides on Lydia’s horse and we also managed to find an echidna, pademelon, possum, bettong and platypus on or near our home for them to see as well.  It was great to spend more time talking and reminiscing with Ali again and getting to know Amy a bit better, and we were very sorry to see them go.
Caleb also had a quick trip to Perth in November, and got to go down to Albany as well.  He was well looked after by his friends Judson and Adrian, and managed to be well enough to enjoy the time with them.  Sam is now planning his trip to Albany for Mitchell’s wedding in February.  He still has no firm plans of where to stay down there, but hopes to have it sorted soon.
Last month we hoed up a 300sqm plot, hiring a rotary hoe this year which made it much easier than digging with the mattock, and planted out a bunch of spuds.  We have Brownell’s, Kennebecs and Nicolas in this year with a few Dutch Creams.  There is such a variety of potatoes over here!  I’ve planted out my Tagasaste (tree lucerne) seedlings and am anxiously waiting to see if anything eats them.  I also have a small plot of corn happening this year, so we are hoping for no frosts for a while.  My veggie garden cage is going well so far.  It is crammed full of silverbeet, cabbage, brocolli, peas, sunflower, lettuce, beetroot, kale, spring onions and a few tomatoes and celery and looks like an oasis in the desert.
We have a number of hens with chicks around now, mostly Araucana chicks this year apart from some French Marans that we hatched from fertile eggs that Lydia bought.  Sadly we have some disease going through our hens at the moment.  From our autopsy’s and research we believe it is Lymphoid Leucosis which is a virus that causes cancer, particularly in the liver.  It seems that all we can do is breed from chooks that are resistant to the disease, and since it can take months before the affected birds show any signs (lethargy, weight loss) it is going to take us quite a while to work through the problem.  It is quite distressing as we are rather fond of our chooks, but hopefully we will end up with a flock that is hardy and disease resistant in the end.
We have also been finally sorting through our storage shed, going through all of these boxes full of stuff we brought with us from WA.  Some has been rain damaged, some rat damaged and some we wonder why on earth we brought it.  We are almost finished now and are repacking what we wish to keep into plastic tubs this time.  When this job is finished we want to sort through the car parts, but it all takes a lot of time.  Maybe by the end of next year!  Firewood will have to take priority now I think.
Well, I think that is all of our news for now.  May God draw you near to Him in the coming year.