Archive for the ‘Horse’ Category

Kitchen Improvements

April 7, 2016

Hi Again

Today we celebrated, not just because it was Kim’s birthday, but also because we finished installing our Rayburn wood stove.  Some jobs seem to take a long time, and this was one of those jobs!

Firstly we had to clear a path for the tractor to get to the side of the shack, pull down the old flue and remove all the lining from the area behind the old stove.  Then Kim carefully edged the tractor backwards to the kitchen wall – with about 5cm to spare on one side to the outside of the walk in pantry and on the other side to the solar hot water system.  We then winched the old stove out onto the carry all and took it away.

The Everhot Stove leaves to make way for the new Rayburn.

Everhot Stove on the tractor carryall

Then he had to repeat the process to bring the new stove into the kitchen.

The new Rayburn stove in the kitchen on it's platform awaiting installation

We decided that rather than re-lining the wall, we would install a window into the gap instead.  We also replaced our small caravan gas stove with a full size Chef gas oven.  The gas bottle will be moved outside through the wall.

New window in kitchen

We made a nice level hearth for the Rayburn and then Kim hooked the boiler up to the solar hot water system tank.  Then it was up onto the roof to put the flue down through the newly cut hole, making sure it was all sealed up securely.

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Finally today he replaced the worn fire bricks and installed a new grate.

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And then we could fire it up and check it all worked – and it worked a treat!  It did a good job of cooking tea and heating the water.  The boiler is a big one and it should produce a lot more hot water than the Everhot did.  In fact after 4 of us have had showers tonight the water temperature still reads at 72°C.  We should even be able to run a couple of radiators from it in the long run if we want to.

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With two good stoves and the walk in pantry, my kitchen is much nicer and better to work in these days.  I plan to paint the new window frame and the hearth and the job will be done.  Actually I may paint the flue black too.

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Lydia’s work has not been busy lately and she has been getting some extra days off.  She has used her free time to get more work done on her pony.  She got a riding lesson and some advice …

Lydia riding lesson

… and then got back into riding Silk again.

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After getting her going nicely in the paddock, she then started riding through the tracks up the back of our property.  Usually the puppy and I have been going with them.  I think I am a sort of two legged, mobile security blanket.  🙂

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Funnily enough, after being concerned the pony would startle and bolt or buck when on her own, Lydia’s most recent problem was that she stopped on the track and refused to move on until Okami and I caught up!

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Speaking of the puppy, she has been growing at a rate!  Okami is now 6 months old and loves life.  She adores old Lupo and has even managed to get her playing with her, in a bitey, non energetic sort of way.

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They are pretty good mates now.  It is quite different when Okami’s friend, a 6 month old staffy called Coco, comes to visit.  They tear around like mad things and totally exhaust themselves.

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We had a great year in the vegetable garden this year, with the best ever crops of tomatoes, corn and cucumbers.

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I bottled SO many tomatoes, it was fantastic.  Sam overdosed on cucumbers and we all enjoyed the fresh sweet corn with tea.

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One downside of our dry winter and long warm summer is that the rabbits have been breeding up.  We don’t usually have them on our property, but they are here this year.  Hopefully a wet winter will send them elsewhere.

Rabbit at rabbit hole

Lately I have been trying my hand at growing some fodder.  Germinated grain apparently has higher digestibility and better nutrition.  I feed it just germinated to the chooks, who happily eat it.  I also grew some longer for the cow and pony to see if they liked it too.

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The answer was a definite “Yes” from the cow, and the pony seemed to like it too.

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Thanks Zorro!

November 20, 2015

Zorro went to his new home today.  Thanks Zorro for many happy times!

Zorro

Lydia riding Zorro

Zorro and Twinkles in the old gardens

Zorro with Twinkles

Zorro

Zorro

Shasta and Zorro

Zorro with Shasta

Zorro

Silk meeting Zorro

Meeting Silk

Lydia with Silk and Zorro

Meeting Silk

Zorro and Silk

Good buddies now

Lydia riding Zorro

ADDENDUM – FEBRUARY 2018

Zorro is up for sale again, and we hear he has been having a super time.  He has had the luxury of being rugged, and has been doing lots of trail and beach rides, arena lessons and jumping!  A much more interesting time than just languishing in the paddock here.

Howdy from the Howes

November 18, 2015
Just thought I would share a few photos about things we are up to at the moment.
Firstly, Kim enjoyed participating in his first photographic exhibition with the local club.  It was great to see a bunch of his photos printed out nice and large, along with the other people’s photos too.
Mole Creek Photography Exhibition

Mole Creek Photography Exhibition

He continues to enjoy getting out and taking pictures of all sorts of things.  He took this one of the tulips in Paul’s garden.
Tulips

Tulips

And saw this echidna on our block one morning.
Echidna (Tachyglossus Aculeatus)

Echidna (Tachyglossus Aculeatus)

We have a good crop of tomatoes coming up this year.  We now plant seedlings in our cages under a cloth grow tunnel to protect them from the frosts in October and early November.  Then they seem to be better established when the warmer weather kicks in and they take off nicely.  Of course they enjoy the compost and chook manure that we have in the cages too, and the netting probably keeps them all a bit warmer as well.
Gardens

Gardens

We decided to let a couple of hens raise some chicks again this year.  This is one of our old Wyandottes who is a very good mum.  I do love watching hens with their chicks as they scratch for food.  The chicks are so responsive when the hen clucks for them.  While most of our chooks free range during the day, we keep the hens with chicks in the area between our pigeon run and the garden cages.  It is covered with bird netting to hopefully keep out birds of prey.  One of our turkey hens is nesting in there too, and just today I saw a poult had hatched!  I love the poults, but they do not survive as well as chicks.  Sadly our gobbler was attacked last week, presumably by a quoll.  He survived the attack, but we had to put him down as he was not eating or drinking.
"Pea" with her chicks

“Pea” with her chicks

We bought ourselves a new wood stove this week.  It is a 90s model Rayburn, in much better condition than the 45+ year old Everhot that we pieced together out of two stoves some years back.  We had some problems with the Everhot this year and decided we would keep our eyes out for a replacement.  Kim finally found this one in Hobart.  The hot water system in it is 4.7kW, almost twice the heat of our old one, and it has enough power to run some radiators as well as heat water.  We also like the flue going straight up instead of out the back.  The colour even matches my kitchen benches!  Kim is going with a friend to collect it this Friday, and it will be quite a job to remove it from the house it is in, down some steps and onto a trailer before the 4 hour drive home!
Rayburn
However that job pales into insignificance compared with the task of bringing home our bus!  It is an 8 tonne electric bus that has been used for camping for many years and is in a paddock just around the corner from us.  We have been given it for free and were hoping we could just tow it home, but it turns out that one of the wheels will not move so we are now looking at having to get it onto a truck somehow and carried home.  Our plan is to renovate it, hopefully partly as a schooling project with Josiah, and to cut the front off and attach it to the back of our shack as a couple of extra rooms.  It is 10m long and in better condition than it appears from the photo.  🙂
Old Buses

Old Buses

We are expecting the lime spreaders to come this week or next to put lime on our middle paddock.  That will help the grass to grow well after we get the paddock all ploughed up.
We also found a lovely new home for Zorro, Lydia’s ex pacer, who was wasting away in the paddock.  He is still here at the moment, as his new owners need to get their fences sorted out before he moves.  He is actually not going very far, just over the hill in fact, but I am sure he will enjoy being somewhere where he gets a bit more attention.  Lydia’s pony will miss him no doubt, but she will still have my cow for company.
Josiah has started playing futsal (a sort of indoor soccer) recently and enjoys it a lot.  It means even more driving each week as the games are played in Ulverstone, a one hours drive from here, but I think it is worth it for him to be involved in a team sport.  Caleb and Sam both played futsal when they were healthier, and they loved it too.
Well, I think that is enough news from me for now!  Take care.