Saturday, March 27, 2010

Feathered Friends

Today I took a few pictures of some of the feathered characters that live on our farm. We have some Isa Brown hens as layers but I am thinking of replacing them with pure bred white leghorns. At least I will replace them with white leghorns when I can source some that are suitable.

Silver Sebright rooster and cockerel

We have Silver Sebrights. They are tiny and flightly. The eggs they lay are lightly tinted and the size of a regualr bantam egg. Our last batch of chicks hatched were all cockerels and we have two more to part with. Unlike the ducks and turkeys, using the excess sebrights for the table would be a lot of work for little reward.

Charles the black Indian Runner

This is my black Indian Runner Drake. My ducks have a lovely temperament and because we have a very large yard, they don't seem to make a mess which is sometimes a complaint from duck owners. I looked far and wide for my black ducks as I only had white and fawn before that. I saw Prince Charles' black Indian Runners and decided that they would make a nice addition to our yard too.

Marie-Buff Laced Wyandotte

In our quest to sell the Sebright cockerels, I advertised on the Farmstock website. Unfortunately there have been no takers as yet but I did pick up a pair of Buff Laced Wyandottes for free while looking around the site.

Hugh- Buff Laced Wyandotte rooster

There are also pekins and turkeys here too but they can wait for another time.

Tonight as part of the Earth Hour campaign households and businesses are requested to turn off their lights at 8:30pm. I am participating but I'm not sure if it counts as our lights are usually out by this time anyway. To make an effort to participate though, I will ensure that all unnecessary electrical switches are in the off position.
Bye for now,

Friday, March 26, 2010

Kitchen Gardening

Today I registered for the new Kitchen Gardeners web site. I was a member of the old group and decided to join up at the new URL. It is a great site for gardening advice and information sharing and also offers membership to special interest groups and has some good blogs too.

On to what is happening in my kitchen garden. My favourite bed at the moment is this one. The kohl rabi and turnips are too tiny to eat as yet but the rocket in the middle is young, tender and spicy. Delicious with the ripe tomatoes and cucumbers that are still coming into the kitchen every day.

My favourite flower in the kitchen garden today is this dahlia. I don't usually grow dahlias in the vegetable garden but I had a spare bed this year and they have flourished. I think it might be the extra attention they have received being in the edible garden.

The Climbing Princess beans have finished being tasty and are now drying out for seed for next spring/summer. I really need them to hurry up because there isn't much room for the winter vegetables to be planted yet.

The potatoes are dieing off and today I dug up some kipflers and pink fir apples for dinner. With lovely freshly dug spuds, I don't like to do too much. Maybe just boiling for 10 minutes and then finishing off in a hot oven with olive oil.

Lastly, a picture of one of the many gourds which have taken over the garden. I think this one is a speckled swan but I could be wrong. It came up next to where I planted the dinosaur gourd so it may be a hybrid seed that was in the dinosaur packet. Apparently gourds cross polinate quite readily so who knows.
Bye for now,

Friday, March 19, 2010

I Love Cooking

I always like cooking and feeding my family and others but at the moment, I am loving it. There is a lot in the garden to be excited about and there is enough left over for preserving for later. I don't buy a lot of new books (well not as many as I would like). When I do buy one It is usually after I have borrowed it from the library and made sure that it is a book that I will use a lot.I used a book gift voucher recently to purchase A Year in a Bottle by Sally Wise. I've already made a number of the recipes up using excess garden produce. Chilli Sauce from the half kilogram of chillies that I picked on Wednesday. It was quick and easy and I cheat by chopping the chillies in the food processor.

My favourite so far has been the Tomato Chilli Pickles. The finished product has a chilli hit without being overpowering and is nice with cheese and crackers but also good for a quick simmer sauce for an Indian style curry.

Another book that I've been using lately is Rachel Grisewood's Manna From Heaven. It is a fun book with great pictures, illustrations and with a story preluding many of the recipes. It is upbeat and just makes you want to get into the kitchen, get cooking and tasting the delicious finished products.

The Tian of Zucchini and Tomato was delicious as a side dish and good as leftovers for lunch the next day.

Chilli Sticks were quick to make in the food processor and are a tasty snack. Rachel suggests them as adult fare but my kids loved them.
As you can see, the kitchen has been productive. Throw honey extraction into the mix as well and everyone is happy.
Bye for now,

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


The local show was a success for us this year. Not only did we have the fun of sewing and making handicrafts and cooking in the lead up, but we brought home some prizes too.Both of my daughters were first place in their cooking sections and also received champion trophies as the best cooking exhibits for their age groups. Grace was also an overall champion in needlework.
In the gardening section, Hope won out over her sister in both sections in the junior competition but Grace was the winner in the open marigolds. I was second and Hope was third. It was a pity that more people didn't enter this year.

On the garden front, we are winding down the summer garden and harvested this Moon and Stars watermelon on the weekend. It was more stars and no moon but it was a nice heavy melon which some of us enjoyed with the rest being fed to the ducks as a treat. If you have seen ducks eating watermelon, you will know what I mean.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Show Time

This week is our local show/ fair. My daughters take great delight in entering as many sections as they possibly can and every year despite their best intentions, leave a lot of their creating to the last minute. No stress for them but I feel alittle worn out by the end of the weekend.
This is Grace's entry for the floral saucer. Some lambs tongue leaves, roses, cosmos, dahlias and some small geranium flowers.

Hope's entry in the gardening sections nursery rhyme novelty.

Grace's collection of six biscuits for the high school cooking section. She made jam drops, chocolate biscuits and yo-yos. The yo-yos were melting moments until the piping bag burst under pressure.

Hope's entry for the 9 years and under gingerbread men. She has been making and icing gingerbread men since she was a pre-schooler so by now she can make them on her own. She hasn't quite managed to master the post baking washing up though unless you count licking the mixing bowl.

Today was the final weigh-in day for our pumpkin challenge. Our pumkin "Bubba" weighed a meagre 14.42kg so I don't think it is a prize contender but Hope sure had fun looking after it. When it has finally finished growing, we will feed it to the livestock as Atlantic Giant pumpkins are not known for their flavour. We will have a taste too to compare it to the other varieties we have grown.
Well, we are off to the showground soon to see if we have any prize ribbons and to enjoy the other events.
Bye for now,

Monday, March 8, 2010

I've Been Away

Our family has had a short break on the coast. We travelled over to Forster, NSW to our closest beach for some fun.
This fish was too small and went back into the lake.
Fishing, paddling and no timetable to stick to. I am back now and will try to post a little more regularly.
Bye for now,