Sunday, 11 October 2015

Early October 2015 - Farm update - Chickens, Honey and New Things to make life easier

I am on a quest to de-clutter and make the limited space in our home more practical instead of picturesque. As no magazine editors have ever actually knocked on my door requesting to photograph my  decorating, I'm beginning to wonder why I have all these "things" placed about like a picture from a magazine collecting dust and cobwebs.
As anyone who loves "things" will know, it's not such an easy task, but having listened to an expert speaking on ABC radio during the past week about this very topic, I'm taking her advice and starting slowly.
Now I should let you know that my "things" are mostly collected over the years from Garage Sales and Op-shops, have little monetary value, but are lovely to look at and bring me pleasure.
Yesterday, sitting with a cup of tea and thinking about this, I moved the recipe books that sit on the bench to this little nook in the large kitchen dresser. I had to remove the decorative items from the dresser to other places, but a couple of pieces went onto the clearing out pile.
This pile I will photograph and place an advertisement on "Barossa Online Classifieds" Facebook page. Some items have gone into the pile to go to one of my favourite Op-shops. Yes, I know, I'll probably bring something else home when I go in there to deliver my donations.
I feel a sense of achievement already as my Kombucha jars have a little place of their own now, where the recipe books used to be, and that bench has more space for me to work at.
The plan is to clear some other shelves in the kitchen, but I'll wait for a scorching day when I'm confined indoors.

 Early this week it was warm enough to extract some honey from the hives and to try out our new electric four frame extractor. It worked like a dream and I no longer need to wind the handle like I did with the old one that we used ever since we first started with bees in 2004.
Crikey, a few hours of honey extracting in the heat of summer was quite exhausting, but now it's a pleasure.
Brian researched on line and bought ours from on this site on Gumtree  The follow up service from Sally Middleton was first class. She responded quickly to any of our questions and couldn't have been more helpful.
The tap had been broken during transit so Brian informed Sally who had a replacement tap sent to us within a few days.
A couple of phone conversations followed, and we have became great friends since. Hoping to visit her and husband Brian at their property at Woollombi in NSW some time in the future. (Another Sally and Brian team).
Some wonderful friendships have been formed over bees and honey sales.

An incubator full of seventy something eggs hatched successfully last week. This hen had gone broody so Brian had her sitting on a golf ball and was ready to accept the chicks when they hatched out. The chicks will grow and learn about being chickens from their surrogate mother. She can't cover them all to keep them warm, so inside their shed there is a globe with large light shade hanging a few centimetres above the ground for the excess chicks to sit underneath to keep warm.
The roosters will be for our table and the hens will be our replacement laying hens, with a few for sale as well.

The hay contractor was called two weeks ago to cut our hay paddocks. This year has become warm much earlier than usual. In previous years our hay was cut in mid October. The number of bales will be well down this year as the crop of mixed pasture grasses was not very tall. We have a few bales remaining from last year's cut and we will just have to use the hay sparingly and hope it sees us through until next year. Now we're waiting for the contractor to return and bale it into large round bales.

This small kitchen garden was completely overgrown with weeds and plants gone to seed so I got stuck into it last weekend. It's always quite a dilemma at the end of the seasons when I'm waiting to collect the seeds but also need the space to start planting the next crop. Any suggestions?
This bed is my "self seeding" garden where chooks are banned so the seeds can fall and grow where they are happy.
However, there is such an over abundance of the pesky earwigs here, it makes growing anything a real challenge, so we caught three hens and left them in this garden for two days. There are a couple of lettuce plants and some silver beet that I wanted to protect so I put up-turned buckets over them. It got quite hot so we moved the market umbrella to create a shady spot for them.
They scratched and gobbled up earwigs busily, each laying an egg among the rhubarb.

Thanks for visiting today and don't forget to leave a comment so I can look at your blog too.

I'm off to plant some beans and cucumbers now.
Happy gardening!


  1. I just joined Barossa Online Classifieds. Gorgeous blog as always! Annie xx

    1. Hi Annie, do you have a similar site in your area? Thanks for your comment. :)

  2. Hi Sally, great to see what you've been up to :) I never thought of giving all those chicks to a clucky hen, she looks quite stressed, haha, never thought so many could come out of a single golf ball, poor girl! Great idea though, I will try that next time we incubate :) Also exciting to see the honey, we have a hand crack extractor, but haven't tried it yet....

    1. Well, Farmer Liz, I'm having to pinch myself right now as I get my head around seeing that my FAVOURITE blogger has commented on my simple little page!
      If you do follow Brian's rather clever way of putting the chicks with a surrogate, I need to add that he puts the chicks under a brooder light for a day or so (with chick crumbles and water) until all chicks have hatched and are of equal strength. He then places them under the hen, keeping a watchful eye on her for the first hour or two to be sure that she is accepting them. Good luck with your honey flow this season and hopefully you will get a chance to use that extractor. Hand winding is great for preventing flabby arms! :) And huge thanks for your comment!!

  3. Hi Liz I just found your blog today through Down to Earth - Rhonda Hetzel. I love it. I have always loved the idea of self sufficiency and a less consumer driven life. We are down sizing to a small home near the beach (just owner building) There is not a lot of garden, but we are planning to grow as much as possible to eat. thanks especially for the ice-cream recipe, I was just thinking yesterday, I would ilke to make some but don't have a machine anymore, and there it was. thanks heaps :) Yvette

    1. Hi Yvette, Thanks for your lovely comment. I'm certainly feeling very humbled by Rhonda's kindness. She certainly has a wonderful way with words doesn't she. So glad you like the icecream recipe. I've found that our fresh cream from Daisy is too rich for this icecream so I adapted it to include some milk as well, chill it well then into the icecream churn. But if you're using store bought cream you shouldn't have any problems. I like the sound of your "down sizing" and owner building your home. How exciting for you. :)

  4. A golf ball ... what a brilliant idea for a 'fake' egg. I have a number of rubber fake eggs that I have been using but they have now all been nibbled at (by mice or rats I guess) so until I find another marble one like I used to have, a golf ball would make a brilliant substitute.

    It's little tips like this that make blog reading so brilliant.

    1. And it's lovely little comments like yours that makes blog writing a joy! :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...