Archive for the 'chooks' Category

First fruits

One does not like to boast, but this evening we had our first entirely home grown meal from this new garden. Everything we ate, I grew from seed. On the menu were zucchini cakes (I make these, amazing with tomato relish) using eggs from our chooks and a salad of tomatoes, cucumber, baby spinach, beetroot leaves, basil and nasturtiums.

This is what real zucchinis look like. One that something had a nibble at, one that was hiding under a leaf and turned into a monster, one that got more sun up one end than the other. What must they do to commercial zucchinis to get such uniform shape, colour and size? As a consumer of commercial zucchinis, I dread to think. I wonder how many such beauties they throw away.

* Sussex trug. Tony excels at gift giving, really.


A swim on a hot day

Aunty Bec is the first of our girls to go “broody”. She’s been holed up in a nesting box for weeks now, rarely venturing out even for food. I have of course had many suggestions as to how this pattern could be broken (such as jailing her in a nestless enclosure or dunking her in a bucket of cold water) but they seemed unthinkably cruel to me. Besides, all she really wants is to be a mum. Nevertheless, the time has come to do something. The poor little thing is skin and bone, comb pale and floppy, showing no sign of letting her maternal yearnings pass naturally. I gave in and decided that on a 32 degree day, a cold bath might not be so bad. Luckily, Grandad was here to do the honours. Aunty Bec seemed rather to enjoy herself.

Gardening in the round

This peculiar round structure was the first thing I noticed when the real estate agent showed us our house. There it was in the middle of the front lawn, covered with grass and weeds and hosting an indignant brush turkey who was obviously freeloading. I had been looking at Brisbane’s rental properties for weeks, holding out hope that I’d find one with an innocent patch I might claim for vegetable gardening. And there it was. I was leased.

You may not realise this but circles are a special shape in the world of gardening. In the language of permaculture, they have the best time and motion efficiency. For the past few months my circle has been planted with a green manure crop of fenugreek, mung beans and clover, biding its time and waiting for the real planting action to begin. This weekend we finally found leisure to dig in the green manure, errect a little fence and let the girls enjoy a working holiday. Their first few hours were spent in orgiastic dust bathing.

Being situated right at the front (where most Australian houses have only a modest bit of rockery and a letterbox), this garden is visible to all who care to notice it. I love to see the reactions of passers by, like the man who was obliged to wait patiently while his two dogs longingly eyed our chickens, or the daily throng of school children saying “Look Mummy, chookies!” or the couple who regularly stop their exercise to offer encouragement and check our progress.

The round bed will have to wait a little longer before my visions of a bountiful mandala planted with flourishing organic veggies are realised. For now, it’s proving a great conversation starter and a dream holiday location for the chooks.

Eggs at last

Our girls have settled comfortably into their new home and have finally been named; Kate, Sam, Bec and Sarah after the four lovely Aunties my children have. I think this idea may have come from Sarah, Plain and Tall. We were away when Aunty Sarah decided to give the first egg-y gift, only Tony was here to enjoy it. Since then the score stands at Frizzles: eight, Layers: zero. Some of the eggs made it into this cake:

The bantam eggs are tiny, but so perfect. Almost all yolk. After boiling a couple for lunches today, I rolled through the nap time marathon of wiping hands and faces, nappy changes, toilet trips, stories, singing and breastfeeding before finding myself with leisure to enjoy them. A bit of salt and pepper, some chopped parsley and olive oil and I was enjoying the best (certainly the most satisfying) egg sandwich of my entire life.

Introducing our ladies

What we have here, ladies and gentlemen, are two Frizzles, one ISA Brown and a Black Australorp. We’re thrilled to welcome them home. The wonderful Ingrid at CityChicks (whose services I highly recommend) helped me to pack my tiny car with two children, four chooks, a bale of hay, a bag of mash, a double nesting box and sundry chook treatments.

We’ve already had one escape; when the door of the ‘house’ happened to be shut at roosting time, our Australorp went in search of a dignified perch. Fortunately, Tony found her in the garage sitting on the mower. Being on the adorable side, the Frizzles (‘Cribbles’, ‘Fiddles’ or ‘Squiggles’ as they are known here) have endured a good deal of cuddling on their first day. But they don’t seem to mind.

About Me

A girl with a camera, a toddler and a sewing machine. Making sense of Germany... and life in general.

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