Little Projects

I have been slowly working on an ever growing list of things to do around here.

Finally the building man has given me a start date, the front porch area will be fixed in January.

The fencing man can put some kangaroo fencing in (probably January too)

The dam man can fix the hole in the dam (once the water level drops a bit more so he can get a bobcat in)

My sister and I decided to tackle the back deck. It is going well so far. Steep learning curve but my best friend google has been invaluable.

The garden is coming along (slowly)

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This was taken over a week ago, the sunflowers have opened, the pumpkin is now on the shed roof and the tomatoes have spread out.

The painting continues, slowly, my motivation is low. The green kitchen is now a glorious shade of duck egg blue. The laundry, lounge and my room still need attention.

The bees have been very generous.

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Santa is bringing me an extractor. It will up my honey game significantly.

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Couldn’t decide which picture so you get both. I was so excited by this passionfruit vine, so many flowers (that the bees are loving) but I have the strongest suspicion that it is an ornamental variety 😦

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Summer is here. The uninsulated house is exactly that, uninsulated. Quite hot! when it is 39C (102F) outside it is not much different inside. Monday’s forecast is 40C. I have borrowed a small evaporative cooler from a friend, this should help keep the cats a bit more comfortable. I have frozen corn and water for the chickens. Placed green tree leaves/branches on the metal roof of the bee hives to help keep the hot sun off their roof. Hopefully all is well for the animals.

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When you don’t want to buy a Christmas tree, all your ornaments are at your old house (except a gift from a friend, see the pretty silver bow?) but you want a little Christmas cheer. Just cut down an invasive weed and drag it inside, 2 birds one stone (now one less that I need to pull out)

I really really want to plant all the plants that I can get my hands on and create an oasis of green. As I water each day though using 40L of drinking water just for the tender young plants then weekly 100+L to water the fruit/manuka/lucerne trees I realise that I cannot plant any more plants until I get more water tanks. As I need to reduce the volume in the dam I have been wading in and watering the plants using this water. This is time consuming and messy but it is building me great muscles. It feels like free water though as no one really drinks it (no sheep yet, non adventurous chickens). The bees do drink from the dam so as long as it doesn’t dry up completely all is good. An oasis will have to wait a little longer. I read somewhere (I think it is an old Chinese proverb) that the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, the second best time is today. I am going to add a third best and run with that one… Third best is when you have enough water to keep the plant alive, probably next year…

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I usually don’t have any luck growing beetroot and to be completely honest I don’t remember planting them, I thought I only planted radishes but I must have thrown a few beetroot seeds in (I am always optimistic when I have packets of seeds in front of me!). They have been magnificent. Isn’t nature amazing!!! ps that is the new deck in the background. I will take a proper photo when it is finished, so in approx 5 years…

 

 

 

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Still Lazy, but less so.

I have been taking more photos. There have still been times where a less lazy person would go and get the camera but at least 50% of the time I go and get the camera.

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When fairy lights make the kitchen look cleaner and more magical

I am happy with this, now I just need to make time (and motivation) to sit in this space and write something down.

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Roses making their way into my room

I checked the hives today, booming. The split new hive is finally looking happy and healthy, they had me worried there for a while. They are now stocking up for the Winter. I feel like bees are the ultimate Game of Thrones fans, they are always ever aware that “Winter is coming” even though Summer hasn’t even arrived yet. They have good numbers and no visible disease. Success! I have also stolen enough honey from the original hive for Christmas presents. Thank you little bees! I would like to say that they are generous but it is called robbing for a reason, I really am stealing from them.

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One of the best sights (and smells) in the world, fully capped honey.
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During todays inspection

We had a massive down pour of rain here last week which has helped the garden grow. The weather is around 30ish degrees (C) each day so great plant growing weather. All just plodding along slowly getting things sorted. I am so so so close to getting the kangaroo fencing sorted which will allow the garden to grow so much (in geographical size). Probably by the time the fencing is installed it will be too hot to try and plant stuff but with the amount of seeds that I have, it can’t hurt to try.

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Perfection
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Or is this one perfection?
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All from the same rose bush, it is amazing, there are so many different looking roses, there are others that appear all yellow, some that look almost completely pinky/red, the pale ones, the coral ones. Loving this rose bush!

The sourdough culture is going great, I have recently started keeping it in the fridge. This does not seem to affect its health. Fairly impressed with it!

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Ignore the filthy filthy window (but note the yellow rose, same bush as the above photo). This is my bedroom window. Bit too close I think. He doesn’t look thrilled to see me either…

The jolly old gas heater hole continues to challenge me. I am going to pull it all down and start again. This pains me greatly. I guess I need to remember that every failure is actually just a learning experience. And boy have I learnt a lot. I will fix this hole differently the second time and will apply this new knowledge to all large hole fixing I tackle in the future. Doesn’t mean it isn’t really really irritating. I am currently hiding the problem….

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What crack? I don’t see a problem. Surely I can just keep hay in the lounge. Right?

 

Lazy

I do not have a fancy phone, I do not want a fancy phone. My phone does not have the internet, it barely has a camera, it makes and receives phone calls, it sends and receives texts, this is all I want. So even if I happen to have my phone on me when walking about the farm I cannot capture the things I see. I need to be less lazy and carry my camera around.

I am too lazy to go and get the camera and capture the things that I think are beautiful or interesting or worth having a snap shot of.

I should go and take a photo of the transplanted fruit trees so that I can document their growth (or death in a couple of their cases). The light on a cloudless morning here when the sun is rising is so yellow it makes everything look utterly magical. I should try to capture even a sliver of the magic. In the evening, as the sun sets, the farm over the road gets all misty and the long shadows cut through the mist and create a feast for the eyes. Last night I stood there and just soaked it in for 5 minutes. I should take a photo too.

An hour ago I was digging in a garden bed that I had added compost to a couple of months ago. I thought that as I had neglected it (empty, no plants, no water) all the worms would have either moved so far down that I would not be able to see them or they would have died. I found a nest of happy wriggly worms, this made me happy, probably don’t need a photo of it but if I had a camera with me I would certainly have taken one for the sheer joy it sparked in me.

3 chickens in a row, dirt bathing and loving it, turned in unison to see what I was doing. Cute as buttons.

The most perfect rose. Obviously I stop to smell them! Some are worthy of being immortalised.

A bee on the thyme flowers.

A bee in the capeweed absolutely covered in yellow pollen, having a great day.

A progress photo of the old dog area that is slowly looking more like a garden.

The light coming through the gum trees into the washout that runs the length of the farm, it looks like a peaceful old river bed at one point, not like my farm.

The cat sleeping in a cat like cute pretzel shape.

My new bee hive put on a lovely show yesterday afternoon with orientation flights for the new foraging bees. Joy.

Saying goodbye to the bright green kitchen, saying hello to the soothing pale blue kitchen.

The fluffiest white clouds in the bluest sky with hint of the moon still visible.

The weird looking passion fruit vine is flowering, the flowers are always fascinating to me.

The dam, to record the water levels.

 

I took none of these photos. They will slowly leave my mind and be gone forever. I will make more of an effort to take these photos. Maybe I will go and take a progress photo of the dog garden now.

 

This and That, Bits and Bobs.

The once scary looking roses are blooming and are looking beautiful. The smell is heavenly. I picked one today that was so big the weight of the flower head broke the stem. I felt it deserved its own bowl.

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As Megan correctly identified regarding my weeds I do indeed have Bindi. Now that I know what it looks like I can see that it is everywhere 😦 I have spent hours each day digging it out in a bid to limit the amount of seeds that are spread. There are so many more to go. It is so sharp and it gets caught on everything. I strongly dislike this weed.

 

Little Maggie Moo had a run in with an eagle or a hawk. I do not know what it was but gosh it was huge! I happened to see it and raced out screaming like a banshee. Thankfully the bird left Maggie behind when it flew away . The poor lass has lost all the feathers on her back and has some nasty wounds. Some are puncture wounds from the claws, they are small but deep, others are large and muscle is on show. I won’t put a pic here, I thought they looked fine but it turns out I am not a good judge. I think all wounds look fine, they are just wounds. As long as there is no maggots, that’s the only thing really that makes a wound not fine in my eyes. The fencing man that came the other day asked why there was a chicken in the bathroom. I showed him, he was grossed out. Weird. So no photo. Protein helps the body to heal wounds, so I wanted Maggie who is perpetually underweight to get lots of protein. I wanted to give Maggie cottage cheese but they were all out at the store so I got her some yoghurt. I think she likes it.

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I am still patching walls and painting every surface I can see. I am a little sick of sanding. I have a lot more in my future. That old gas heater hole really has been a steep learning curve. It is still up in the air as to whether I pull it all down and start again or persevere with what I have done. Right this minute looking at it, I want to pull it all down. I will probably settle with a year of sanding and another layer of joint compound or 7.

Next on the DIY list is to tackle the back deck. How hard can it be to replace a deck?

No Food Soup

I felt like I had no food yesterday, this is the first time in a long time that I don’t have a garden to dictate my menu, I hadn’t been to the market to buy vegetables, I felt I had nothing. I decided to make soup. Defrosted some kidney beans from the freezer. Cooked an old and lonely onion, some garlic and some barley for a bit. Added some somewhat tough parsley stems chopped finely (the plant is going to seed) and cooked for a while. Added stock.

When in Melbourne a few days ago I returned to my old back yard (with permission 😉 ) and harvested a heap of broad beans. I peeled those. Pulled the leaves off the dried stinging nettle that has been calling to me from the cupboard, unused, for months. Picked some thyme and parsley leaves. Added kidney beans, broad beans, nettle, thyme, parley leaves to the pot and cooked for a bit.

When it was ready (the barley cooked) I added a bit of lemon juice. It tasted fine for no food soup. I had it for dinner with some toasted homemade sourdough. Thought to myself well dinner is sorted for the next few nights. Chucked soup pot in fridge. Tonight ready to eat same soup, heated a portion up. Tasted it, damn something happened in the fridge, it tastes good!!

I love when food just works itself out. Delicious!

Not pretty, but delicious!

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Oh the weeds

There are so many weeds here. There are weeds and dead dry exposed patches of soil, that is all.

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The bees love love love the cape weed. I left them heaps when I mowed.

After hearing all about snake season on the radio I decided I better mow the weeds. I borrowed my sisters lawn mower and mowed a couple of acres around the house area. Holy guacamole did a lot of spiders run out of the grass, my chickens were nowhere to be found to help me out. I will never walk barefoot out there again. Ever.

Some of the weeds have lovely little flowers. There are all sorts, yellow, orange, pink, purple, white, all weeds but all pretty in their own way.  Except one of them, I have a suspicion which one it is but I am not sure. These weed seeds are the scariest looking seed I have ever seen. If a killer weed seed was going to take over the planet it would surely be these.

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Can you see the hairs on it?

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The sharp end can puncture skin, ask me how I know… They are everywhere out there. Yesterday I was picking them up and putting them in my pocket and they made holes in my pocket working the sharp end through the fabric. I was picking them up (a ridiculous idea as there are thousands and thousands of them) because when I picked old Maggie up to put her in the coop the other night there were 3 embedded in her feathers. I think it is because she is so little and close to the ground and falls over a lot. The other chickens don’t seem affected. When I pulled one of them off her a feather came out too, they are beastly!!!

These ones have already worked their way through general farm detritus.

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They seem to sprout as a group at the end of the weed and then separate and do their best to be as far flung and terrible as possible.

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I also found this little terror attached to my sock, they are as sharp as needles!

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A little size perspective

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The lady that used to live here had horses, I imagine these would have been a nightmare. I carefully packaged one up to bring to Melbourne to show my family ( I bought it back with me, no need to help spread this little terror), it was not a necessary step, there were multiple attached to each shoe lace from mowing the lawns. I can’t imagine what it would be like with a horse coat.

Hopefully once I get the soil a bit better these weeds won’t be able to thrive so easily. The soil here is atrocious, it will be a monstrous task to improve it. Lucky I love gardening!!

Sourdough

I have one failed attempt at creating a sourdough culture under my belt, it was many years ago and I had not tried since. A couple of weeks ago I decided to try again. Last time I measured everything, did it all by the book.  I think I just didn’t give it enough time. This time, I just did whatever I felt like. I read a few peoples methods so I knew the vague gist, then went for it.

It has been a success so far. I have made a couple of loaves that have tasted great. I think it will get stronger and healthier as a culture given time (if I remember to keep feeding it). The bread would have a much greater chance of success if I followed a sourdough bread recipe, not just adding flour and water till it looks/feels right. Also if I looked up how long it is supposed to rest for at each part of its journey. But if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it…

I fed the culture in a bowl and left it covered over night.

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Over night it puffed up and created good bubbles

In the morning I set some of the mixture aside to keep as my culture for future baking. I added more flour as the mix seemed too wet, I then forgot to add salt, gave it a bit of a knead and placed it on a baking tray. I left it there for a few hours, then I baked it.

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As long as there are air bubbles in the loaf and it tastes good I count it as a win. I don’t care so much about shape etc.

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Probably the bubbles will get bigger and better over time. Til then, this is perfectly fine by me!

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Above pic is the starter culture ready for the next loaf.

I am pretty chuffed!