Bad chicken owner

This story starts last week. There is a big old chicken coop here that I use occasionally for the chickens if I need to lock them up during the day but it is going to be really hot. It is bigger, more shade and they can dirt bath. It is not fox proof, so they don’t spend the night.


Last week, I went to Melbourne for the day and locked them in there. When I got home I let them out, Maggie (one legged chicken) stayed behind. Later in the evening I went to move her to their actual coop for the night, I picked her up and started to leave, then something stung me on the back. My first thought was bee. Not concerned. Within a second it happened again. Not a bee, a spider? I dropped to the ground (unsure why!) Put Maggie down. Realised it was a flying something and tried to swat it away. I lost my glasses. I decided to run. I left Maggie behind. Terrible. The thing ended up stinging me between 25 and 30 times. I think it was a wasp of some description. I felt like a terrible chicken owner for leaving a lass behind.


I suited up in my bee suit (after panicking that I was going to die, taking anti histamines and generally behaving irrationally) retrieved Maggie, could see no nest, will not be locking the chickens in there now. Chicken owner lesson learnt.


Yesterday. I had my bee meeting in Melbourne. It was not hot here. I knew I would stay overnight in Melbourne so needed to lock the ladies up before I left. Beatle would not come out from under the house. I spent almost an hour trying to lure her out, no luck. Wily little thing. I was then running quite late, had to cancel plans I had before the meeting. Had to make a really hard animal owner decision.


I left. I left her out, unprotected. I felt really bad. A terrible chicken owner. So I drove home after the meeting instead of staying in Melbourne. I got home around midnight and commenced the search to find her. I suited up in my bee suit to check the old coop, possibly one of the more ridiculous moments of my life, midnight, bee suit, flash light. Nothing tried to sting me. No chicken in there. I spent a good 20 minutes looking for her. I do not like going out in the dark here. There are too many kangaroos, They startle easily and can be aggressive. It was a nerve racking search. Oh the spider possibilities. Oh the kangaroo possibilities. Anyway, I finally found her, chickens are extremely docile in the dark, I picked her up and returned her to the coop, bee suit and all. I felt quite lucky that she was alive. The guilt would have been immense if she was killed by a fox. Lesson learned. Beatle is a repeat offended in scenarios like this where they are getting locked up before their bedtime. Next time if it is not a full day outside she is staying locked up til I leave for where ever I may be going. Such a naughty chicken. Such a bad chicken owner. I hope no one saw me in a bee suit in the middle of the night creeping around looking for a chicken…


Bottling Summer

Waste free Pesto. Refilled olive oil. Bulk refilled pumpkin seeds. Home grown garlic and basil. Repurposed jars.

I have put a few batches away in the freezer. I feel quite far behind, I have yet to be organised enough to count how many jars go into the freezer each year but I am sure I usually have more in the freezer by now.


Maybe next year I will hang a calendar in the kitchen and mark down when I make each batch and then count them up at the end of the season.

I look like a smoker, I actually just use the same technique to pick each leaf and it leaves me stained. It took quite some time to wash this off. Ingrained in the lines of my skin.


I have popped a few jars of pizza sauce in the freezer. Tomorrow I will cook up some pasta sauce and freeze it. I am like a squirrel collecting my nuts for Winter. Even though at this very moment it is 37 degrees C in my house (99F) I know Winter is coming.

As an unrelated side note. I had a run in with a door frame, my hand slipped while I was cutting carpet and smacked right into the frame. I think the door loves me…


Frustrating just doesn’t cover it

I have taken on many projects in this new house that I have not had the skills or experience to tackle but have tackled them anyway. Most of them have either worked out well from the start or with some extensive googling have been saved and ultimately worked out ok. Not the gas heater hole. This has plagued me from the minute I first walked into the house. I saw it as soon as I walked in the front door on that first inspection and thought ‘well that will be one of the first things to go if we buy this house’.

I didn’t wait long til I began researching the removal of it. Due to safety issues there is remarkably little information on the internet. It all stated (with the exception of one person who added no how-to details just suggested to wing it) to get a professional. Gas being explosive and all. I was relatively confident that I could safely remove the heater as there is no gas plumbed to the town I live in. I had already called the company that left gas cylinders here and they had collected them. There was little chance of gas being an issue.

I blame ignorance and google letting me down on the information front but gosh golly was I suprised about the size of the hole in the wall. In the lead up I had pulled tentatively on the edges of the heater to try and see what connected it to the wall. Nightmares ensued of masses of spiders running out of the wall so I left it intact til I had reinforcements here (people and bug spray). With some brute force the heater was removed and lugged outside. There it sat for months just looking trashy. Reminding me of the troubles inside.

This hole.


This hole has been a battle. I have used nearly an entire bucket of joint compound attempting to fix it. Slathering on great swathes of the stuff. It just kept cracking. I eventually realised that the plaster board that I didn’t fix (immediately next to the hole) had too much wiggle (walls aren’t supposed to have a bit of bounce, are they?) which was contributing to the cracks. I screwed the right side into the stud. That side stopped cracking. Success. The left side, no luck….

I have let this drag on for months. It stares at me across the lounge. The crack, the general unkemptness (new word there!) the failure. I eventually came to the conclusion that I should have put a new stud in and cut the original plaster back (to make the hole bigger) so that the old studs were exposed and the new plaster could be attached to those old studs as well as the new one.

Last week I finally decided to do something about it. I hacked away at the plaster, removed what I needed to, added a stud, cut the old plaster back and properly adhered that to the stud. I chucked the new piece of plaster up and added ALL the liquid nails I could get my hands on then added a heap of screws for good measure.


4 coats of joint compound later (much thinner coats than my first attempt). It still hasn’t cracked. It is so close to being finished. Sanding is one of my least favourite jobs, I have spent hours upon hours sanding this now hated area. I will sand it no more. I am done.

Now with a lick of paint, I am calling it done.

It will get a second coat of paint today. 24 hours after first coat still no cracking. It is not completely even if you run your hands over the wall but who does that? No one is to touch that wall!!!

It will probably crack in the future as the house moves. Some strategically hung photos will have to suffice as disguise. I give up. If the flooring people crack it when they put the new skirting boards on I will cry. Then head to the store to start printing pictures and commence planning my new lounge photo wall…. I am done.

And then there were none…

Gosh I enjoy a good Agatha Christie novel, yes I know the grammar is incorrect for what I am trying to say  but I couldn’t resist…

The manky carpet is going, going, almost gone.

I have pulled up the carpet and the underlay in the hallway, golly the wood underneath was filthy. I shudder to think how many decades of dust and skin cells had accumulated under there. What a great time for the vacuum cleaner to die.

Yep, that is the carpet in the end room. Couldn’t find my utility knife to cut it.

I have stopped pulling the carpet up til I get the vacuum cleaner serviced. I cannot handle all that “dust” without being able to vacuum it up (I have a very strong aversion to loose skin cells). The new flooring goes down in February. Removing the carpet has really increased the ventilation in the house. There is no where in the hallway that you can stand and not see outside. Nice. Actually not too bad in Summer but thankfully it will be fixed before Winter returns.

The cats are enjoying the new breeze


Also the front of the house has been removed. The little ramp and verandah that led up to the front door has been removed by builders.

If they decide to return (gosh they are hard to pin down) they will be re-stumping, rebuilding (with a step instead of a ramp) and adding guttering. It will look so much nicer than the rotten, broken, kinda scary stuff that was there. Can’t wait!



When I was a child we called these Fairies. I do not know why. Maybe because they seem to fly, maybe due to their incredibly delicate nature. The reason I do not know, but Fairies they were. If they had the “key” in them then you could make a wish.


I found out this week what Fairies are.

I pulled out the incredibly spiky thistles as the bees did not seem interested in the purple flowers. I thought that this was job done. Mission accomplished. I was unaware that the process of going to seed would continue once the plant had been unceremoniously yanked from the earth (with a shovel, man are they spiky, they made me bleed so many times).


Each flower turns into approximately 7 billion Fairies. Those “keys” are seeds. The Fairy transports them far and wide and before you know it this will become Thistle Farm.

This is slightly before the fairies develop but I cut all the heads off that I could see and threw them in the bin before I thought to take a photo. These are some that I missed. I am not willing to let them get further just so I can take a photo. These were cut off as soon as the photo was taken.

I guess I should have worked out that they were some sort of seed as a child but it honestly never occurred to me. This has been an eye opener of a week. Thistles. All this time when I was throwing the key away and making a wish I was aiding and abetting Thistles!!! I cannot believe it. Mind Blown.

Glorious photo of Franklin to soothe my soul after this life altering discovery…


Weeds, weeds, and more weeds

And yet still there is more. The weeds are out of control. I am tolerating them at the moment as they are the only greenery. If not for the weeds I would be surrounded by a dust bowl.

These are all new to me weeds so I am unsure which ones are fairly harmless and which ones are going to take over and rule the world.

This one seems so pretty and harmless. How could such a delicate flower do any wrong? I have been admiring these for weeks. Hopefully they don’t overnight grow thorns and attack the chickens, or me.



I was fairly excited when I saw these. Self seeded melons. So welcome when I lost all my melon seedlings to frost. How exciting. I have been keeping an eye on them for weeks to see what fruit grows.


Yesterday I saw the fruit, doesn’t actually look so inviting. A little googling later. Invasive weed. Damn. No free melons for me.

Actually a poisonous invasive weed, not just any old invasive weed. I only grow the best 🙂

Over the Summer there have been at least 10 more new weed types seen and thriving. I should really be taking pictures of all of them for identification purposes but also so that if some turn out to be real nasty (corkscrew weed seeds or the horrible bindi- I have dedicated days and days of my life to pulling them out of the fields!!) I will know what their flowers look like and can pull them out before they set seed.

I love a wild look garden. When there is no garden I can appreciate a wild weed look. Lucky I can embrace this as it is the specialty of the farm right now. Wild and weedy. Also kinda dry and dead in parts. Can’t win them all…

Ahh technology

Constantly out to baffle me.

I take my photos on a camera then use a thingy to get them on the computer. That thingy broke just before I posted my last post. One of the wires detached itself from its home. With the aid of a butter knife and a mini screw driver I was able to open the thing up and used masking tape to hold the wire in place. I uploaded the photos and published the post. Success.


Pretty pleased with myself. I then put it in my bag with the intention of asking my brother to weld the loose wire back on. As only one of the 3 wires had detached it was easy to see where it should go. In my bag the other 2 detached 😦 RIP Thingy.

My sister in law very kindly gave me one yesterday that she no longer uses. I am back in the photograph game!!!

A spiky spiky thistle that I allowed to stay and flower as I thought the bees would like it. As beautiful as it is, I have yet to see a single bee on any of them. Hopefully I can pull them all out before they drop seed.

Slowly plodding through tasks here. The day is framed around watering the garden, every day different plants get watered, based on a flawed roster in my mind. Then I move to other tasks like the deck.  My sister and I bought a pump designed for pumping dirty water and have been watering the garden with dam water. Better than wading into the dam and filling a watering can which is what I was doing. Gosh it is pretty in the morning.


The deck is coming along. The actual bit you walk on is done the only thing missing is stairs. Currently I am working on the railing. This is all that is done so far…


I stole some comfrey from my old garden and it is sprouting up a treat. As I was transplanting it this morning I had a good look at this self seeded un-watered tomato that is growing nearby. It is a small plant, tiny actually. The fruit looks like no tomato that I can remember growing. I am interested to see what it tastes like. Whilst gazing fondly at the tomato I noticed a self seeded basil. I love basil! I have never in all my gardening career had self seeded basil. I am beyond thrilled. It was just over 42 degrees C (108F) here a few days ago, how this little plant survived I do not know. I am now going to watch it keenly.


Maybe it is a relative of the mini roma tomatoes I grew last year?


My intentional tomatoes are growing well. I don’t think I have grown this one before and of course there is no label or name to jog my memory. I think maybe it is Sweetie. Anyway, it is growing lots of lines of tomatoes that are a feast for my eyes.



Now I am off to find 4 containers to put underneath my worm farm. I need to put each leg in a container and fill it with water. The meat ants have discovered the food in the worm farm and think it makes great snacks. This should stop them. Fingers crossed!