Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Lettuce get growing...

THIS burst of warm spring-line weather will see many of us getting down and dirty on the weekend.

Me, I'll be preparing my garden beds for spring planting and one of the first crops I'll be planting will be a variety of lettuce.

Peter Cundall has the good stuff on this delicious vegetable in the latest Weekly Times.

This year I'll be planting mine from seed and will be trying some heirloom varieties from Diggers.

Now all I have to do is make the beds chook-proof so when the feather riot are free-ranging the seeds and plants will be safe.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


RHUBARB and apple crumble is one of the delights of late winter.

There's something about making the buttery smell as it cooks in the oven and it's one of the few dishes which actually tastes as good as the fragrance suggests.

Last Saturday night my gardening and hen-keeping friend Madeleine made one her fabulous crumbles and she and Barrie invited a few friends around for dinner.

The rhubarb, apples and eggs in the crumble are fresh from their garden - what a delicious treat!

Madeleine with Violet

Monday, August 26, 2013


I NEED to borrow a goat.

Last Sunday I chopped down metres of bamboo to clear out the side of the chook shed and studio.

Hard work but so worth it as I also have a zillion bamboo lengths to use as stakes for the tomatoes, peas and beans I'll be planting next month.

Now a goat would be useful as they eat anything, including bamboo which is notoriously difficult to remove bar nuclear fusion.

The feather riot get stuck into the bugs hiding in the bamboo leaves.

The chooks were very helpful in eating all the insects who rushed out of the bamboo leaves.

Now I face the onerous task of digging out the bamboo roots. Once this is down I'll lay down some crushed rock or topping and I'll have a good place to keep the rubbish bins.

If you know anyone with a goat for rent, let me know.

Friday, August 23, 2013


A NEW garden is a heaven of possibilities.

Now I've moved from my established fruit and vegetable patch to a garden which consists mostly of level lawn, a few old sheds, massive eucalyptus and a rose bush in need of a good prune, it's time get out the secateurs, space and garden fork.

The first thing to do so I can sort out wat i want to grow where is to look at the soil and drainage.

Jan Juc was chock-full of clay, whereas my new abode in Geelong seems to have a really nice friable dark brown soil.


It took seven compost bins in high rotation to combat the clay so I reckon I'll be right with three.

But just to be sure, I've been noting during the recent rains just where the water is draining to.

As usual Peter Cundall is on top of this topic.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Keep QLD free-range

CHOICE, the consumer advocacy group note the Queensland government has stealthily scrambled its own free-range standard by increasing stocking densities to 10,000 birds per hectare.

Until recently, regulations in Queensland said that stocking densities for 'free-range' eggs must not be more than 1,500 birds per hectare.

That means they have increased densities by 667%!

Consumers who choose to buy free-range eggs should be able to do so with confidence.
image of Save free-range in QLD!

Currently the Model Code has a maximum of 1,500 birds per hectare. T

his Code is now undergoing a review, however the decision by Queensland undermines these efforts.

Send your email to the Queensland government and let them know that 10,000 birds per hectare is not free-range!

Scrambled not stirred

FRESH eggs collected from under the hen make one of the best breakfasts.

This morning I made scrambled eggs with pepper and basil.


Just take on egg and beat with a hand beater.

Add some cream or milk and beat gently

Sprinkle in some chapped basil

Put the rye bread in the toaster (or better, on a grill pan)

Pour the egg mixture in a non-stick pan greased with butter

Push the mixture into the centre of the pan until almost cooked

Slide onto the toast and add some cracked pepper.

Thanks girls.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

New hen house

CLUCKINGHAM Palace II is nearly finished and the feather riot are thrilled with their new abode.

Moving house is nothing compared to moving garden and chickens, as any chook-keeper will tell you.

Firstly you have to create a fox-proof, safe environment for the gals. Then you need to move them at night when they are more docile. Note, carrying a box of sleepy chickens is a lot easier than dealing with recalcitrant, squawking hens in broad daylight.

Anyhow, Hilda, Gidget, Layne, Philly and Ledger survived the experience (far better than I) and have settled in beautifully, still laying all the way.

The old shed with green plastic before the transformation
into Cluckingham Palace 2 - to the right is the studio.
My new house came with a north-facing yard and five sheds, one of which looked like it had been a greenhouse. Using a range of mostly recycled materials, I've converted it form a raggedy-looking shack into a clean and safe  hen run.
Here the shed has been transformed into Gidget's Chook Shack.
Steel sheeting from the carport roof has been used to create a windbreak and extra-secure skirting along the bottom of the wire walls and doors.

With help from a friend, I stripped off the heavy-duty plastic and replaced the walls with avian wire and cement sheeting. An old built-in wardrobe was cannibalised for the hutch and the doors from a wooden TV cabinet were also used.
On the shed roof i found an old wooden ladder, which was chopped down to size to allow the hens an extra roost.
All I have to do now is paint the cement sheeting on the next fine weekend and it's finished!

Friday, August 2, 2013

On yer bike

ACCORDING to a new government report, cyclists who commute save the economy $21 a time.

Saw this on the BUG website and it's interesting to note the report said the economy benefits by more than $21 every time a person cycles 20 minutes to work and back and $8.50 each time a person walks 20 minutes to and from work, according to a policy statement released by Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Tuesday.

As a keen bike user, I'm looking forward to spring (29 days and counting!) when it will be a bit warmer and lighter and perfect commuting weather.