Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Vegie Update 28/12/11

About 3 weeks ago I cleared out 3 of the 4 vegie beds and they needed planting out. I had let the chooks into them for a bit to scratch around and so on and then 1.5 weeks ago I bought a heap of seedlings. Fortunately I only got around to planting them today. I say fortunately because of the big storms we had on Christmas day it meant that they didn't get destroyed!

Today I finally planted them all in the garden and vegie beds

This bed, Vegie Bed 1, has snow peas at the back, celery, capsicum and lettuce at the front and basil planted in all the gaps. At the back of this bed is some reo that I have put into the ground for the snow peas to grow up (I love recycling)

In Vegie Bed 2, this was planted out at the start of December and has Corn up the back

Capsicum in the middle and a zucchini plant at the front. I also planted out some basil today in there. There were 3 zucchini plants in here but more on that later

In Vegie Bed 2 there are self sown tomatoes from last year popping up everywhere - this one is amongst the corn and I think I will leave it there to see what happens

This is down the side of vegie bed 2 and there are tomtoes popping up here too - I plan to leave most of them there also and grow them around the wire (thanks for the idea Wayne!)

Vegie Bed 3 has more corn up the back, more celery, basil and lettuce

I decided that having 3 zucchinis in vegie bed 2 was two too many so decided to relocate 2 of them. I don't know if they will survive or not but it was that or just pull them out and not try, here they are in their new location and I also planted a new zucchini with them

I put 2 Beefsteak tomatoes into pots and today I decided that I would plant them into the garden - here they are at the bottom/ front of the pic. These were grown from seed at the same time as the 2 at the back of the pic - they seemed to do better in the pot so I hope they continue to do ok now in the garden

I also planted some Butternut Pumpkin today. I am going to get them to grow up a trellis. This trellis is (I think) an old single bed frame that I got out of next doors rubbish cage when they were building. Did I mention I like recycling?

In front of the pumpkin I planted another two zucchini

I will mulch them all tomorrow and tomorrow I will be buying more seedlings for Vegie Bed 4 which is currently empty - I'm thinking some beans but unsure what else at this point

The First Egg From My Chooks!

Today I got my first egg from my chooks!!

My chooks are almost 21 weeks old now and should be laying eggs but they aren't, so around lunch time today I had a stern word to them to let them know that if they didn't start laying eggs soon that there would be trouble! They are still really cute and fun to watch so there wouldn't really be trouble but still, ya gotta threaten these things sometimes ;)

This afternoon I heard one of them making a huge racket from out the back and then the other ones chimed in so I went to investigate. One of my chooks (Bessie - yes I can tell them apart now!!) was sitting in the laying box and had moved all the hay around but there wasn't an egg. I think I then freaked her out and she left the chook house and went around to the narrow side of the house. I figured I should probably leave her alone. She kept making a heap of noise and then she went quiet so I went to go check things out. As I turn the corner, the three chooks are all standing there and Bessie is kind of squatting and I was wondering if that meant an egg was coming, sure enough a few seconds later an egg appeared from all the feathers and rolled along the ground!! Amazing! Not only did I get my first egg from them but I saw it happen!

It was tiny!

I decided it had to be eaten so pan fried it

It was so small, this is the cooked egg on a bread and butter side plate. It tasted pretty good

Comparing the red comb of Bessie to Polly and Daisy I think it might be a bit longer before Polly and Daisy start laying but at least one of them has started. I also hope the eggs get bigger in size

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Home Made Pumpkin Soup and Stock

Today I decided that it was time to use the two frozen chicken carcasses in the freezer to make some stock - they were from previously home cooked roast chooks.

I bought some extra little chicken bits, I usually use chicken wings as they are cheap, but used some other cuts as they were on special and had both skin and bones with the meat which is key.

After browning off these chicken bits in some butter to create some flavour. I then added 3 home grown leeks, a carrot 3 sticks of celery and some home grown garlic and heated them up, after a few minutes I added the frozen carcasses and then covered it all with some cold water and added in some home grown herbs of thyme, oregano and rosemary and then left it to heat up and summer away for over 3 hrs.

Stock cooking

I then strained the stock in a tea towel lined strainer and returned the liquid to the pot where I added butternut pumpkin, a sliced onion and a carrot.

Stock strained

Pumpkin cooking in the stock

After cooking for about an hour I then whizzed it all up and with some added cream, salt and pepper and voila

Pumpkin soup

I reckon that this is the best stock that I've ever made and that also means the best pumpkin soup I've ever made - Winning!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Chook Update 7/12/11

My chooks are getting really big now and are now 18 weeks old so any day now they might start laying eggs - it's very exciting! I actually thought one may have laid one this morning as before I let them out for the day they were making a heap of noise! But no egg.

One of my chooks has been exploring her flying ability lately but to the frustration of the other two she is the only one that can fly up onto my outdoor furniture - the chair and the table where she started eating my basil seedlings. Their wings are getting clipped again on Friday

I've also bought a grain mix for them and I feed them that out of my hand - 2 of the 3 will eat out of my hand but the other one still wont... yet.

Here they are eating some broccoli leaf

Proudly Queen of the backyard

Watcha lookin up at eh??

You can't reach me nyer nyer!

And then tonight she got up onto the top of the chair - you can see the other chooks below - they are very jealous

Up close through the window

Vegie Update 4/12/11

A few weeks ago I dug up a new patch of dirt and planted some vegie seedling, unfortunately these seedlings got attacked by something (I think snails and slugs) and they literally disappeared - it seemed that each morning something would be gone.

This is how the bed ended up - with only 6 corn plants left out of 11 and all my zucchini, capsicum and spring onion plants gone

So what i've done now with that space is leave the corn there that survived and planted a heap of sunflower seeds - lets see if they survive.

So with my seedlings no longer being there I decided that I needed to plant some more, so in Vegie bed #2 I planted some more. I was going to leave this bed empty but decided against that in the end. After 4 days they are all still there

More corn



Out of bed 2 I pulled out two self growing tomato seedlings and transplanted them to the area where I had planted all my tomato seedlings - some of my seedlings didn't quite take. I didn't put milk containers around these as I figured if they grow then they grow - unfortunately one of them has vanished - I expect dug up by the chooks but here is what I transplanted originally

I also bought a Lemonade lemon tree that I am going to espalier - it's bigger than I expect so my espalier frame that I was originally going to do needs to be bigger (the reo behind on wooden posts concreted in the ground) which will still involve wooden poles concreted into the ground but with wire or fishing line run between them for the support. It will be planted in the wine barrel once the structure is done. I pulled all the flowers and about 20 small budding lemons off the plant once I got home - I don't want any fruit on it until at least next year

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Tommy Toe Cherry Tomatoes Update

My cherry tomato plants are going great guns! They are starting to get so big I'm thinking maybe I shouldn't have put 3 in each pot

Monday, November 14, 2011

Chooks Update 14/11/11

My chooks are getting a lot bigger and the colour of their feathers are changing, they are starting to get a darker brown around their neck area

I really love their colourings

This is Polly - she is very friendly and will peck my toes, try to grab my pants as I'm walking and will eat out of my hand - she also likes to peck my iPhone when I go to take a photo - this is an action shot of that