Sunday, October 28, 2012

Not about the farm or the garden

Yesterday was Grace's 15th birthday so it is all about her. She is easy to please and was really taken with her birthday cake this year. I have to say it was one of the easiest I have had to make. I saw the idea on Pinterest and it really requires no instructions, what you see is what you get, a chocolate cakes iced and surrounded in Kit Kat wafers and topped with Snarties. I chose the smallest cake tin I have because I knew it was going to be a big ask for the four of us to get through that much decoration. As it happen, only three of us have tried, I really do not like cake overly unless it is a cheesecake so I passed (so far).
Kit Kat and Smarties cake

 The fifteen years since she was born have flown by which I am sure is what any mother would say about their children. This is the girl who at three thought that headstones in a cemetery were to tell you the name of the flowers there and that because of photos she had seen, that I was alive when the world didn't have any colour.
5 years
 This is my very favourite picture of her. Five years old and truly a sweetie.

15 years
And now almost grown up but still there is quite a bit of the little girl in her personality. She loves her family, her violin and piano and just about any creature you can name.  And I love her.

Friday, October 26, 2012


Black Indian Runner ducklings
 I had to be patient today but I was rewarded with a glimpse or two of the new ducklings. They are cute and tiny but it is always a marvel once they are hatched, how they actually fit inside their eggs. The mother duck is being very protective of these new little hatchlings and she isn't afraid to use a bit of force to keep onlookers away. Though her quack is much worse than her bite.

There is a lot of nesting going on amongst the poultry.

 Our white turkey has a clutch of eggs. She chose the nest which is a bit on the small side for her having been made with chickens in mind. I guess in real estate jargon, it would be called cosy. She isn't sitting tight yet but I don't think she will be too long because she has quite a collection of eggs. A turkey can cover quite a few eggs when the settle down and we have had thirteen hatch out from one mother before. Too many for us to eat so we sell them privately or through local poultry sales.

Marie, the Wyandotte has chosen an old lawnmower catcher as her nesting site. She is sitting on a clutch of duck eggs. There isn't any point in us hatching out the chicken eggs because they are cross bred with the little Sebright rooster and any birds would be too small to be worth the effort of plucking and their egg laying potential would be questionable too.

There is another duck incubating a clutch of eggs but her picture refuses to load onto blogger today. She has made her nest out in the open (in their night pen) which is typical for our ducks. They don't care if they get wet, they just sit tight.

I love the baby poultry. They have cuteness in spades but it doesn't make me want to touch them. I loathe the feeling of birds. The girls will pick them up and pet them but I only pick up a bird if I have to. Not sure why but they just freak me out a bit.

Pink geranium-gives a 1970s retro feel to the garden
Lastly I wanted to mention a new online gardening community. Blooming blogs has just started up and looks like it will be a good place to link up with other bloggers or even just to get some feedback, advice or to find a new blog or two to read.
We have a big birthday here tomorrow so it's action stations in preparation.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

No batteries for the camera. Not a big deal but... there are brand new, freshly hatched little black ducks I want to snap.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Running on Empty

Empty water tanks that is. We have never had both of our water tanks on the house go dry before but it happened on Sunday night. I'm thinking that there may be something amiss with the tanks because we have had much drier conditions before, had an extra household member and haven't run out of water before. I am definitely giving thanks now that we installed other tanks for 'just in case' because we now need that water. When you live in town with mains water, it is easy to not give water much of a thought. Turn on the tap and out is comes but relying completely on rain water is a completely different matter. Anyway, we have water at the turn of a tap now that we have pumped some into our house tanks from the auxillary tanks. A spot of rain would be much appreciated though just to be sure.
California poppy- Red Chief

 I know others are feeling the dry too but unlike the garden at Thistlebrook, my garden is looking pretty good. Things are growing well although the grass areas are quite dry but I have never been one for a manicured lawn so that doesn't trouble me a jot. In fact, if the grass doesn't grow too much then I don't have to mow it which can only be a good thing. Grass in the paddocks is another matter entirely, that I want to grow and be lush and fresh.

Chameleon rose (always in bloom for Grace's birthday)

So, even more careful water usage is on the cards here.Mulching the garden(almost all done), perhaps using a wetting agent, watching for ways to reduce evaporation of stock water and being vigilant in the house. I'm not sure if the predictions for a hot, dry summer are going to come to fruition or not but I am going to act as if they are and take the right actions and precautions. It doesn't hurt.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Broad beans

Today is HOT. It is amazing what a difference that week makes, sub zero temperatures last Thursday night and the mid thirties today. I have taken off the flannel sheets and replaced them with light weight summery ones. Grace was most impressed yesterday with her fresh bed linen and said it felt like a motel bed. I must have tucked hers in extra tight. Hope has even requested a swim tomorrow but I'm not sure I'm quite ready for that.

In preparation for the heat and the even hotter and most likely from predictions, drier weather ahead, I have been spending the mornings in the orchard replenishing the mulch around the trees and berries. I am certainly getting a cheap workout.

I think this week I will mulch the vegetable garden too. The soil is warm and if left unmulched, it dries out quickly and in summer some plants would need more than one watering a day. I use lucerne mulch that I get from the same place we buy our lucerne hay which we feed the sheep when necessary. They usually have bales which for whatever reason are not suitable for stock feed but are more than adequate for the garden. The only drawback is that weeds are introduced to the garden that haven't been here before, Johnson grass and Thorn apple just to name two.

Today I have been processing beeswax. And slowly but surely, each time I do it I am for one thing getting better at it and for another, I am actually starting to enjoy the process. Thank goodness for that.

It is time for chickens to be fed and that's my job too.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Paying it Forward-seeds

Carrot- purple dragon

Seeds are big deal to me. Almost everyday I am planting seeds or collecting them or even eating them. Most of the seeds I use are heirloom varieties which come with a history and often a little more flavour too. Swapping seeds or even giving them away is great way to keep things growing. Last week Gillian offered some of her excess seeds and I took up her offer.

If you would like to learn more about the plight of seeds the impact on food production/freedom then there is a film that can be downloaded from here.

Anyway my little bit for spreading seed is to give some of my own seeds away. I have some beans (climbing princess) and a few moon and stars watermelon seeds(I don't have a lot of these)  that I will give away. Unfortunately I can only send these within Australia and not to Tasmania or WA because of quarantine restrictions. But other than that I am happy to post them. Just send me an email (sunnycornerfarm  at  hotmail dot com    or there is a link on my profile page) with your name and address and which seeds you would prefer.

happy growing

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Life's hard

Is it just me or do others get sidetracked regularly?  I have a pile of things on my to-do list and at the end of the day I find half of them un-done because I had to do something that cropped up. Yesterday it was an unexpected jaunt up to my Nan's house to dismantle a chicken pen which is now going to be useful here. Today a goanna has been disturbing the chickens so I have to put down tools every so often and scare it away. Thankfully it can't get into the pen and do any damage there. It is all good though. How boring would life be if it went too smoothly and all of my troubles a trifling. For that I am grateful. I think the real answer would be to make a shorter to-do list.

I could very easily get sidetracked online too. Maybe on the next rainy day I will let myself because there are a number of blogs out there that I really want to spend some more time exploring.

Now back to my jobs.

Ornament Swap 2012

I haven't joined many swaps this year for whatever reason or perhaps for no reason at all really. It just happened. But I decided I liked the sound of this one so join I have. The more the merrier right so if you feel like it, click on over to Christina's page and join up. It closes on 21st October.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Whatever the weather

 Well, well. We are back to spring again after a brief bit of winter last week. Today would have to hvae been just about perfect wetherwise. The sun was shining but it wasn't too hot and I spent most of the day outdoors. There was a bit of damage to a few potato leaves from last weeks frosts but not so bad that they won't recover. Thankfully.The sunny weather doesn't make for the best photography though, the colours area little washed out.

Immi, Karmen and Liz.

I love my little black lambs. They don't stay black for long so I enjoy it while it lasts. Soon enough they will have white bodies and only black faces and legs. Still cute and very much the quintessential storybook sheep. Most of our lambs have names and the three above are named for three of Tom's friends from university (at their request). They may stay on the farm for breeding or sold to another Suffolk sheep breeder. Prices start around the $300 mark so they aren't cheap  but Suffolks are a great breed to keep and care for and they are from registered pure bred sheep. Then again, some rams can fetch prices in the thousands.

I moved my wrought iron garden setting into the vegie garden today. There was a perfect spot for it by the lavender and I'm hoping to have a few tea breaks and a lunch/ dinner or two down there this spring/ summer. Besides that it will give me a nice place to have a rest while I work outside. With todays warm weather I planted kidney and borlotti beans, turmeric, squash and a couple of watermelon (moon and stars). Also a couple of bromeliad plants from my Mum and a couple of lilac plants from my Nan's garden. I also took some of the lilac blooms from her tree (they are on the table above). I had a great day, I hope yours was good too.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Blustery weather

 We have had a sudden turn around in our weather.It seems to be fairly widesdpread with snow close by, a frost here this morning and wet, windy and cold weather for the past two days. Not really unusual for this time of year but my outdoor thermometer is telling me that there has been a difference in over twenty degrees C in the maximum and minimum temperatures in the past couple of days. I think that's what has the most effect. You get used to be warm and then all of a sudden it is cold again. Thankfully I hesitated in planting out some tomato seedlings (though I did plant out a couple of rosells) on Wednesday because it was too hot. I'm sure they would be fine in the cold and wet but perhaps not the frost that we had this morning.

And in what seems to be the way of things, a ewe had to be assisted with delivering twin lambs yesterday in the rain. They are big lambs and both had their left front feet facing backwards. Just a little bit of a helping hand and they were both on the ground and up and about in no time. Sometimes it is very hands-on and not for the faint hearted.

Puss gets to live the life though. We have had the fire on all day and she has hardly moved. Being a cat, I'm sure she thinks it is just for her benefit.

Tonight I am going to get a bit of sewing done. It is just the weather for it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Half Way

 We are half way through lambing. That is, half of the ewes have had their lambs. The ewes were with the rams for about 6 weeks so theoretically, there could be a six week lag between first and last lamb. It isn't usually how it works for us and I hope it isn't the case this year either because it really is better to have them all at a similar stage at the same time. It just makes stock movement and care more simple and less stressful. The rest of the ewes look close to lambing so fingers are crossed.

I couldn't resist a lavender and bee picture. They are just working so perfectly together right now.

I have noticed I haven't been posting much in the way of cooking lately. That is most likely because dinners have been quite simple affairs because of the busyness. Something that can be made in the crockpot or prepared earlier in the day and just assembled easily at dinner time. Baking (apart from the high tea) has been just old faithful recipes which never fail. No time for testing and tweaking this week.

The last few nights I have really been so tired at bedtime. I like the feeling of being tired from working doing things I love to do. The income is terrible but the rewards are amazing.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Whilst offline

 There has been plenty to do while the computer has been out of action. Lambs are being born including a set of triplets. So that is enough to keep me busy even if it is just time spent watching their antics.
Bee on sage flowers
 The bees are in a flurry of both nectar and pollen gathering. Nectar from the sage is just becoming popular as the lemon-scented geraniums flowers start to wain.

Tim weeding
 The vegetable garden is the place to be. The summertime weed onslaught isn't here yet so the work is pleasant, the weather is good and there are plenty of good things to snack on along the way.

High Tea for Habitat
Last week I also had my High Tea for Habitat.Plenty of goodies were made and shared in the name of a good cause. Besides that I love any opportunity to use my old china that I have collected and to try new recipes. I would have liked to have our tea party outdoors but the wind was too gusty. So it was tea iside then ooutside for a garden and farm tour.

Charlotte picking snowpeas
So therer in a nutshell is what I have been up to. Of course there was the usual mundane things of every day life. These are just the highlights here.

Testing, testing...

I am using a different computer. I'm not liking it so far but I'm sure things will improve once I know my way around better.
A crashed computer last week has kept me offline. Most of the time I am happy to know next to nothing about the workings of computers and all things technical but when they just stop, I would like to have a clue about what went wrong. Of course the problem was fatal and the old computer(which was quite old as computers go) is no more. Thankfully I back-up my photos each month as truly of all the things I have on the computer, my photographs are the only things that matter.
Now I have a few jobs to do outdoors and then hopefully I can be back a bit later on.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Glad to be home

 A very quick trip to the city and back (to take Tom 'home') might mean delicious and decadent treats in cafes.
 And it might also mean catching up with family (in this case my sister and niece) but, I am ever so glad to be home. I am tuckered out from to-ing and fro-ing. I get teary when I leave Tom in Sydney and think maybe we should just move there too but by the time I am half way home, I am fine and not a bit enchanted with the idea of moving home. He is fine of course, the girls don't really care a bit and Tim is quite stoic by nature. I have my very own life here and that is as it should be.

 And that life is full of prettiness right now. Many of the lavenders are in full swing. The bees are completely taken with them.

Lavender and bees
 The bees work fairly methodically. They generally land at the bottom of the lavender flower and work their way up to the top sipping from each tiny true flower along the way. They are very clever and I can and do watch them for quite some time. That's where I have been having my morning cuppa each day, amongst the bees in the herb garden.

Snow pea
 This is pretty to me too. Snow peas are delicious. The girls only eat them raw so many don't make it out of the garden to the kitchen but that is just fine. And besides, if you can't beat them, join them I say. They make a great gardening snack.
Globe artichoke
 Pretty ,pretty globe artichokes just poking up their heads. They are a fairly recent addition to our table and even if we didn't eat them at all, I would grow them anyway. They make such a spectacular addition to the herb or flower garden. Though I have this one in the vegetable garden, I won't plant another one there, they take up too much room.
Purple sprouting broccoli
Pretty in my opinion too, the purple sprouting broccoli. What can I say, I am a vegie fan and I don't think there is one I don't like even the much maligned Brussel's sprout is on my favourites list.

Now I am off to do a spot of baking because my sister is actually visiting me at home tomorrow for morning tea. Morning and afternoon tea is my favourite way to entertain.

P.S. My good friend Vickie told me that she has had trouble with commenting because of the verification codes being difficult to decipher. Hence, I am switching it off and turning on comment moderation in its place. Hope that helps any wannabe commenters and maybe even causes some 'delurking'.