Saturday, February 4, 2012

Around here..

I did something yesterday I've been wanting to do for ages..I pulled out our chook dome tractor and dusted the cobwebs from it to put it to use again. It' had been sitting there for months, abandoned after the fox visit of '11. Even though we had re-stocked with new birds, I just wasn't ready to go back there again. But yesterday I was!

The six circular beds that I use it on are looking a hideous sight, it is well and truly the neglected garden, living on volunteers and lasagne/sheet mulching. I had really noticed the deterioration of the soil too, without any chooks visiting them it was lacking their glorious manure-ey deposits. Dry, wormless soil that was verging on sterile..achh!

Of course, before I could position the wiry confine, the bed had to be cleared of any harvestable food. Not a lot was growing there..just  a small amount of celery and a few eggplants plus some scraggly silverbeet which weren't going to do much, however I did manage to fill a bucket with good sized spuds!


I really don't know what variety they are, I often randomly plant unidentifiable potato shoots from the pantry! Anyhow, naming aside, they're quite a nice potato..certainly generous in size and good for baking and roasting. A bit floury though, so not so good for boiling/salads..


Once the bed was cleared (which also unearthed - literally(!) a couple of self sown avocado and apricot saplings which I'll pot on), I was able to position the dome...

..and call the 'girls' over. It's always funny to see chooks travelling their first time along a specified route! I want them to go a certain way and under NO circumstances am I going to let them frolic and dust-bathe in what IS actually growing in our garden!

A long stick poked into inviting escape routes helps to block off areas where they are curiously headed for. A container of seed also helps too...guiding their movements using a 'Hansel and Gretel' approach..

It took about five minutes for them all to make their way from one side of the house to the other and once the seed was scattered inside the dome, they made their way in there without any hiccups at all.


Even though it is a fairly small space, they do seem to love it in there! The remnants of previous crops, any stray bugs and a good layer of (in my case) dry, crumbly earth to scratch and dustbath in are all ways to a chook's heart..

I ended up positioning an old beach umbrella over the top of the dome...until I can locate the thick, green tarp that I used to use. They also require fresh drinking water, so until I get around to purchasing another drip feeder, I am carting their eveyday water holder over from their permanent pen. With the umbrella up, it really does look like a chook resort - I wish I had've taken a photo!

Heads down, bottoms up = busy chooks!

Celery was so-so, although the silverbeet is rightly skeletonised now after their first afternoon inside.


Walking them to and from the enclosure will get easier with time, they are creatures of habit and will stubbornly follow a path once they have traveled it a few times.

Elsewhere in the garden, cucumbers are coming every couple of days! I'm so excited as I've never managed to grow a decent crop of them. I'd love to have enough to pickle! We go through loads of bread and butter cucumbers here!


lebanese and bush champion cucumbers
Our late corn is also pretty happy in it's sunny little patch out the front. I love the idea of gardening 'out front' so passers by can have a nosey on what's growing at our place! They might even go home inspired and plant something in their own garden.. Do you garden 'out front'?


There is lots of homemade yoghurt being eaten here lately, along with bottled peaches and berry jams stirred through...yum! Do any of you make frozen yoghurt? I was wondering if you drain it first before freezing.. I'm pondering over giving it a go in icy-pole format, using berry jams for flavouring...


There are only two left at primary school now, with the eldest starting secondary school this week and embracing all the new, exciting things it offers..(including a good dose of attitude at times!)..



I hope your week was enjoyable. I really want to say thanks for your amazing support of the
Slow Living 2012 - Month by Month diary! It positively made my week to see lots of you as excited about it as I am! Here's to a great month of goal-kicking!!


(If you would like to join in, you can do so at any time during the month. Just leave a comment in this post with a link back to your blog. Diary entries will be updated at the end of each month, so if you don't feel like reviewing January, there is always February to think about!)


31 comments:

  1. Happy chooks are just the BEST thing to watch!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ah the beginning of high school. I taught hs for 25 years so I know of what you speak.

    Your cucumbers look great, what variety are they Chris?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Rose, it takes a special person to do this, I'm always in awe of teachers..especially for this age group!

      The cucs are Lebanese and Bush Champion. The bush champions are quite prickly and need to be peeled - they're skin is a little on the bitter side. ;)

      Delete
  3. We garden out front! When we bought this place we immediatley thought about how good the front was to use as our vegie garden, the back if for the dogs and entertaining, the front is shared between the trampoline and the garden area. once we are more established we are going to put a small fence around the area to really define it. We also uprooted some shrubs and planted in their place dwarf citrus trees. I love being able to walk out the door and immediately see/attend to the garden - makes me smile. I too have cucumbers and corn growing at the moment and also some pickling gerkhins (not that I know how to pickle anything yet!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds wonderful, Sheridan! It seems that slowly, slowly is the way to garden out front...here I'm slowly taking over hubby's favourite car parking spot, each season it is encroached upon just a little more! Enjoy those cucumbers :)

      Delete
  4. I LOVE your slow living diary idea. I'm going to join in and will have my post up on Monday. I'll come back and leave a link once it's up.

    I like that its a bit like us all sitting around chatting over a cuppa. Thank you for starting it.

    I make frozen yoghurt - I add either honey, jam, or fruit (or combinations of each), blend and then return to freezer either in a container or icypole moulds. It's like icecream - if you want it to be creamy (instead of icey) just add more of whatever sweet ingredient you are using. Delicious!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fantastic, Tricia, I'd love for you to join in! Looking forward to your post.

      Thanks for the yoghurt advice..will be getting onto that tomorrow. :)

      Delete
  5. Loved looking at your chicken tractor and garden, Christine. We find the same with our chickens and sheep...that same routine everyday and they happily go where ever you want them to go.
    will have to try making Tricia's frozen yogurt too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, such funny creatures..goats too I find need a routine, as I'm sure you do too! I imagine that will be goaty frozen yoghurt happening at your place?! :)

      Delete
  6. Your "chooks" are so CA-UTE :) :)...They really are quite adorable, for chickens ;) :)

    I make my own homemade yogurt with raw milk. I haven't ventured into frozen yogurt. However, I do enjoy a nice bit of raw honey with my yogurt from time to time. It's a nice mix of tart and sweet :)

    Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww, thanks, Heather, I do believe you are the first person to call them adorable! I suppose they are in their own way... :)

      Delete
  7. I have some herbs out the front and planted our apple tree in the front yard too. I would plant more out there but my husband has got to come around to the idea first, he has to let go of the lawn!!! Lol!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I do hear you, Lisa. Good luck with that one..again it seems to be a slow process..!

      Delete
  8. Just found your blog via the greening of gavin via someone else ( can't remember) and find it inspiring. May even join you for the diary entries if I may.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kate, it's great to have you here - I'm so pleased you are joining in! :)

      Delete
  9. Oh i love chickens! one day i will have a few of my own for my urban paradise. Your yoghurt and fruit looks delicious and has reminded me to get some on for the night. Thanks for sharing

    ReplyDelete
  10. Yep..always a late night job here too, Racheal - and often forgotten too before bed! The chooks are so nice to have around..their clucking, cultivating and of course eggs. The antics they do are a great source of entertainment, too! :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. I really wish our tight space had allowed for a chook dome! We could make a rectangle one and move that over our beds, but for now it's too much like hard work.

    That spud is an impressive size, Christine. Enjoy it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can understand that, Wendy. It IS a lot of work to set up, but once the enclosure is made, the actual gardening suddenly becomes a whole lot easier. All of our compost scraps are tossed directly on the beds and the chooks scratch them into the soil..producing the most wonderful black earth full of worms you ever did see. The spuds were a great surprise! :)

      Delete
  12. We used to use a chook tractor too and I miss not having it and for that matter chooks too. We don't garden out front, well with veggies anyway, but that is because we bought in one of those new estates with covenants and things. You potatoes, cues and corn look great, really healthy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Chez - hopefully you'll manage to get some chooks again someday. We're really enjoying the cucumbers - I often munch on them straight off the vine! ;)

      Delete
  13. It's so nice your chooks are back in the dome, Chris! You won't know the beds in a few weeks time! Our won't eat celery either, but they love the leafy greens!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope so, Celia..although I am thinking that they may need to stay on this bed for a few weeks on it's own - all the other beds have odds and ends of summer crops which haven't reached their peak yet. Nice to hear your chooks have the same tastes! :)

      Delete
  14. I love reading your articles, I always feel inspired to do something around here. I think I'll make that chook tractor..... We're a front yard gardening family, I felt all that time spent mowing was wasted so I've mulched the lot (it took a few years to get to this grassless point), planted fruit trees, nut trees, many of the permanent crops like rhubarb, and a herb garden, since the kitchen in my house is closer to the front door. There's usually a bamboo teepee with something climbing on it - today it's pumpkins, and I also plant nice structural plants like zucchini. Beetroot looks incredible planted amongst my roses with it's colour, and silverbeet never looks out of place! It's been a nice way to make friends with the people regularly walking past my house.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi, yes please id love to be included in your slow living journal group. Id even made it over here yesterday to introduce myself and ask if that was ok but I got distracted by all the wonderful things on your blog, you are so truly inspirational! Ive book marked lots of your posts with things id like to make/do/grow already:) Im looking forward to folowing along with everyones journals xx
    Yes I made the wooden baby toy bar with some help from my dad, id seen some online for $100 and up so I decided to have a go at making one instead and it was quite a nice project

    ReplyDelete
  16. oh and im so sorry to hear about your chooks being taken by a fox, I had this once before too, very sad. The new girls look like their enjoying the chook tractor

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hi Christine,

    I just put a link to your calendula soap over at:

    http://www.soulemama.com/soulemama/2012/01/the-apothocary.html#comment-6a00d8341c4ea853ef0168e6ec8762970c

    I hope you get some new visitors,
    Love Julie

    ReplyDelete
  18. Ooh, Kate, I can just imagine your beetroot amongst the roses -this would look spectacular! Thanks for sharing your veggie happenings, it was lovely to read about them! :)

    Thanks, Karen, the fox incident was deeply upsetting but one of the risks we took when keeping poultry. The new girls are such fun to watch and I think (fingers crossed!) they have finally/already learned the new route to the tractor!! Whoop! :)

    Aw, your sweet Julie. :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Cucumbers look fab! And I tagged you on my blog.

    ReplyDelete

Hi there, so nice of you to stop by! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I love hearing what you are up to. Christine x

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...