Monday, January 10, 2011

From little things...

Big things grow.

I love that song.

Saturday night's dinner consisted of an odd-assortment of treasures found in the freezer.

I'm trying to do the $21 Challenge at the moment. I'm not perfect at it (I keep forgetting to cross items off my inventory as I go, or adding to them when I buy new items), but I'm doing okay. Let's just say my last grocery bill was a little bit less than previous ones.

In my freezer I found a packet of sausages, two packets of chicken kebabs (6 in each of two flavours) and a packet of Spanish Mackeral that The Groom caught a week or so ago. So we had them all for dinner with some salad.

There was enough left over for lunch the next day so I used up some of the fish with some cooked frozen mixed vegetables and mashed potato and made fish cakes for afternoon tea yesterday.

They were delicious and I had some thousand island dressing in the fridge as a dipping sauce.

There's even leftover mix to make more today! They'll be for dinner, I think.

After fish cakes yesterday, Little Man decided it was time to relax in the hammock.

Lucky him. He didn't have to clean up the mess in the kitchen!

I'm still working on the chicken yard.

It's a bit wet there at the moment. We've had rain almost everyday this year so far.

Sometimes it's about 100ml, usually it's 10ml.

Yesterday, after this photo was taken we had a good bit of rain. Some suburbs got 60-odd ml, we only got 14ml (my apologies to those who are still waiting for any rain at all, let alone decent falls). After the rain passed I threw in heaps more straw from the big bale outside the chicken yard to try and soak things up and give the ladies something to scratch around in.

I have old security screens laid on angles against things to provide shade and shelter from eagles. I move these around every now and then for variety. The plastic packing pellet and screen to the right of the photo pretty much stays in the same area though; the grass is very lush there and the chickens love laying in the long grass.

I've hung the hand line reel in the tree for fun. It was what The Groom used to string fishing line along the top of the 'roof' of the yard to hopefully keep the eagles and hawks from getting the chickens. You can't see it but it's to the right of the white bird netting.

There's plenty of shade from the trees, too, but the afternoon sun comes in from behind where I took the photo - enough to dry out any wet patches in the chicken house, but still keeping parts of the yard shady.

I've got some bread pallets and milk crates laying around to give them something to stand on it the ground is too wet, or I use them to allow the grass to grow without them getting at it. We've had so much rain lately I haven't had to worry about saving grass for them - they're refusing to eat kitchen scraps as there's so much grass, weeds and bugs already.

In the yard I have got planted a bush lemon seedling, a pigeon pea (there were three, but the rain has killed two plus the native mulberry seedling), three rosella seedlings and a little container of comfrey. They're all inside wire cages. On the outside, near the back of the yard, I planted a young passionfruit against the mesh fence. It will provide more shade for them eventually.

This is Augusta, she's my favourite. She's really sweet and the others pick on her a bit.

She's a real 'lady' who carries herself well.

Her only 'vice' is that she loves to peck at the holes in my crocs. She must think my toes are worms or something.

This is Ginger (a.k.a Chicken Wing). She came from a neighbour's flock and along with her 'sister', Morgan, is downright evil. Morgan and Ginger are relaxing away from the terror of their rooster, so they look a bit scruffy with missing or torn feathers. They gang up on my two store-bought ladies and are quick to let the girls do the hard work of scratching up tasty morsels then racing in and picking them up for themselves.

They grew up free-ranging so the chicken yard must be a bit of a novelty (or frustration) for them.

This is the lovely Maude. She has been sick lately but now she's doing better. She was rather listless, gurgly and off her food. She had a runny nose and sneezing. I was worried it was something serious but she's picked up and on the mend.

She also picked on Augusta, but since being sick she is nice to her. These two have been inseparable and the reason why I couldn't isolate Maude during her illness.

Yesterday we found this really tiny egg in the chicken house.

The ladies are not all laying, I think it's just the free-range girls who are laying right now. I know Maude and Augusta have laid, they each laid normal sized eggs the day after we got them.
I know that Morgan and Ginger are laying, we've seen them, but they're laying on the straw on the ground under their perch. Morgan sleeps in the laying box. I think Maude has gone off the lay since being sick, and I'm not sure about Gussie. We're only getting two eggs a day at the moment.

Anyhoo, this egg was tiny. The shell was hard and bumpy and had the tiniest yolk inside when I opened it. The white was firm and intact. I let the dogs eat it.

Today, we're back to two normal sized eggs.

The Princess collected the first egg this morning; Little Man brought in the second egg about 1/2 and hour ago.

Hopefully there are more to come... Little Man wants to bake cakes!

1 comment:

  1. How did your children's cake turn out? It certainly sounded interesting! Love the photo of the hammock, reminds me i should get ours out of the shed. Just not sure where to put it. Your chook yard is way more interesting than mine. Will have to think about what i can put in there for them. Now that i have had the chook yard ripped and the what looked like a rubbish tip lol removed, i can plant in there when it cools down. Maybe the poor plants might stand a chance now. I have been thinking about putting some pigeon peas in there, but don't really know much about them, will have to find out. Glad to hear your little chook is feeling better. I hate it when any of our pets are off colour - it's times like those you wish they could talk to you!!


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