Monday, March 31, 2014


CREATURE of habit, that’s what I am. 
There’s something comforting about knowing you have a routine.

It’s safe knowing what comes next.

And yet, sometimes wouldn’t it be fun to throw off those shackles and live life a bit more dangerously?

Not train-surfing-at-midnight dangerous, that’s just plain dumb. I mean instead of eating my sensible salad or soup at lunchtime, I stroll online and book a ticket to New York.

Instead of always wearing black, I break out in crimson or cyan, not navy and grey.

Rather than sensible porridge for breakfast I feast on anchovy on toast?
While I’d like to think to myself as a free spirit, flexible in attitude and probably the kind of gal who rides a bright retro bicycle with a basket containing a baguette, a bouquet of wildflowers and small happy dog, in reality I’m an adherent to a different routine.
And if I had a retro bicycle, etc, I’d find my dog had eaten the damn baguette and shredded the flowers before we even got home.

But routines also have their benefits.

When you wake up in the morning and the newspapers and broadcast media shriek disaster, war, takeovers, death and damn politicians embezzling instead of doing their job, knowing you can make coffee the way you like it is such a comfort.

Going outside rain and shine to feed the feather riot who always run expectantly towards me as though I carry platters of caviar rather than small bucket of pellets, is so enjoyable it’s a pleasure rather than a chore.

I love riding my bike to work and waving to the lollipop ladies and bus drivers on route who always smile back.

Perhaps we should celebrate our routines with the occasional shake-up.
Just enough to shake those shackles.

Friday, February 28, 2014

BEANS, Beans, beans

DESPITE the crazy summer weather, the beans have continued to flourish.
The really hot dry spell killed off a lot of the bad bugs which saw the beans plants shoot up about a metre.
As well as Blue Lake, the other varieties including Scarlet Runner Beans and Lazy Housewife are also going (ahem) bananas.

Monday, February 24, 2014


PUMPKINS are one of the easiest and most satisfying vegetables to grow.
Toss the seeds in, thin out the seedlings, cut off any excess globes and a few months later these wonderful orange and yellow veggies are ready to be turned into soup or roasted with and served with goats cheese and thyme.
In my new vegetable garden i did indeed toss the seeds in but neglected to thin them out enough with the result that the pumpkins are not taking over the garden, the lawn and some are even climbing up the fence and giving the beans a run for their money.
But its a great problem to have.
Now the plants are well established, i have taken down the fence and the hens can ramble around them and eat any insects silly enough to pop their heads up.
Roll on autumn.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Big Red

TOMATO time is here again.

Last night I spent a couple of hours weeding and getting rid of dead plant leaves in the Cluckingham Palace tomato bed which is chock-full of cherry tomatoes.

Sweetbite bite cherry tomatoes

It's a fun time of the year with the different varieties of tomatoes are ripening at different stages, so there's a constant supply of yummy types.

Rouge Marmalade tomatoes
The free range chef Annabelle Langbein has a great recipe for Harvest tomato sauce...

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

RHUBARB, Rhubarb, rhubarb

IS there anything better than yummy old rhubarb?

I simply love chopping it up, adding a tiny sprinkle of brown sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice before heating and eating.

Or baking in a pie.

Even adding stewed rhubarb on top of porridge!

Today's Weekly Times carries a great article by Peter Cundall on growing this divine vegetable.

Thursday, January 16, 2014


THE ABC has reported that researchers in southern NSW are attempting to develop a new chicken that produces green eggs.
They want to genetically modify chickens with a gene that glows, so layer hen operations can tell if there's a female embryo inside the egg before it's incubated.

Each year, millions of male chicks in Australia are culled because it's unviable to keep them.

Read more here...

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


THIS heatwave means mulching is essential.

Last night I collected two bales of straw and this morning, one was put in the chook run.

After cleaning out the hutch, all the lovely old straw was placed in the garden and the feather riot were cackling with excitement with their new clean hay.

The second bale is on the hutch's corrugated iron roof so it is both out of harm's way from the gals and will act as a good insulator in this heat.

And languid the chooks are not!

The hot weather does not appear to be stopping them from dashing about eating unwary insects.

Although we are down to three eggs a day so two of them are holding out.

But in this weather, who can blame them?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Cool chooks

KEEPING my hens cool and watered during the heat this week will be an additional challenge.
Along with their usual deep water bowl I'll be adding two more into their enclosed pen.
Plus positioning the market umbrella to keep them in the shade.
If you kave any backyard chooks, be sure to check they have constant access to fresh, clean, cool water.
Also look out for snakes and other reptiles who may be attracted to the chooks water supply.
Hilda enjoys prime position on the bird bath

Friday, January 10, 2014

Tasmanian backyard egg sellers could be fined

TASSIE'S backyard chook breeders have until tonight to register their feelings on new regulations that will introduce heavy fines for the sale of unstamped eggs from unregistered flocks. 
Under draft food standard regulations, anyone who sells eggs – no matter the size of their flock – will be required to register their name and address and the number and location of their birds and stamp each egg with a unique identity mark, The Mercury reports.

Those who fail to comply face a $650 fine.

Information about egg producers in Victoria can be seen here.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

New year's eggs

SEEING the first eggs of the new year is always exciting.
It's a nice way to start off with fresh eggs for breakfast. So on January 1, I made pancakes and gave the hens the left-overs as a reward.
The little devils tried to get into the  basil posts growing seedlings and the cherry and rouge marmalade tomato beds yesterday and I was just in time to stop Hilda from tearing down some cherry tomato branches.
I've been a bit lax in staking them up enough so must get into it.
Coincidentally, Peter Cundell addresses staking tomatoes in the Weekly Times today.  

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Free range debate

THOSE of us lucky enough to have chooks in the back yard know the joys of enjoying delicious, free range eggs.

However, labelling laws in Australia are all over the shop - pretty much any egg producer can call their eggs free-range.

On Monday January 6, ABC Radio ran a story about a group of Australian egg producers are urging state and federal governments to create a legal, enforceable definition of free range eggs. Listen here...

Meanwhile, the feather riot continue to produce the best darn eggs this side of Geelong. 

Friends say I'm fortunate to be able to keep chooks and I have to agree.
So if you have a spare patch of garden, think seriously about giving a couple of former cage-hens a loving home.
They will reward you with more than just lovely eggs.