My Pins

Monday, October 10, 2016

Not Too Fowl

Welcome to the new chook yard, come on in and let me show you our latest project.
It's very rustic and recycled but the girls seem happy.

Our dear old ladies still have the run of the paddock but we will be getting some day olds soon and we wanted a smaller enclosure for them to grow up in and occasionally it might be handy to have the flock contained anyway.

Do you remember the falling down shed that we renovated? We have the fowl house located at the right hand side and the nesting box protruding into the main shed with an easy access lift up lid and vermin proof feed store. There is also a door for the human cleaners to enter and easily shovel and clean the nice new cement floor.

Adjacent to the fowl house is this quince thicket that provides the ladies with cool shade and shelter and they can dive for cover here when they feel threatened by overhead larger birds of prey.

At the moment it is in blousy pale pink bloom and a beautiful quiet retreat this human too.

We have literally made it from scrap, utilising the rolls of recycled wire we already had (which dictated the height!) and the reclaimed timber from many sources including an old picnic table set. In a couple of the photos you will have spied a plastic covered structure that we now call the "poly-tunnel". In it's previous life it was the "cat cage".

The previous owners had it attached to the side of the house for their dozen plus cats to have outdoor time. Above left is one of the first photos of the yard when we moved in. The tunnel is reinforced and covered and large enough to stand upright in and will be invaluable for bringing frost tender plants on to advancement for our short growing season.

It serves a dual purpose being incorporated into the fowl yard fence line. It is firmly screwed into/between the cemented fence posts making it very secure in high winds and it becomes part of the fence itself saving us more building materials. On the back of the poly-tunnel we are building compost piles.

I've been looking for the right building project for years to be able to use these reclaimed mouldings. A bit of whimsy and definition for the yard making it a little more decorative and less utilitarian.

I'm loving the views from my kitchen window and everything is finally taking shape, getting tidied up and finding it's place.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Hungry Gap - Fennel

The hungry gap is that period between late winter and early spring when you've harvested most everything you've been over-wintering and the new season abundance hasn't kicked in yet.

Fennel planted in mid to late summer can be that fresh burst of flavour that enlivens your plate with exciting flavour and you don't need a lot, just a few sowings will do.

We've been harvesting the fennel over the last four weeks, eating it baked with simple olive oil basting or my favourite way - in salads. I've even been harvesting some of the ferny, feathery tops for a subtle aniseed flavour in omelettes and steamy hot buttery, potatoes.

Sorry, no foodie shots. more of an after thought really.
I love the fennel finely shredded with some finely sliced cabbage and a fruit like; chopped mandarin, sliced orange or finely sliced yellow delicious apple. All these ingredients are seasonally available and at their peak now and they go together so sublimely.
What about some lovely winter Tasmanian walnuts from their shell and lightly roasted with pickings of parsley and mint. Finely shredded "spring" onion (onions plantings not quite ripe and ready in big bulb form) added for a bit of zing.
Simply dressed with Tasmanian olive oil drizzled over with a splash of white wine vinegar or a squeeze of winter abundant lemon juice.

There is nothing nicer at the end of winter than some alive and fresh flavours from the garden. Plan for the hungry gap and feel blessed with abundance all year round.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Fairies in Flood

I love a bit of fairy gardening but I haven't quite re-established it at the new house. I located a box of all the bits and pieces and they are higgledy piggledy under a tree so far. 
One of my jobs whet my appetite though....

I felt like one of the luckiest girls in the world yesterday when I was asked to display the new fairy range at a gift shop in town.

The little weather resistant painted houses have solar panels located in them and glow at night. What fun! Little meadow mats also bring little plots to life.
This is not how our "meadow" is looking however....

We've had lots of rain and the minor flooding turned a bit major as creeks backed up at culverts with log jams, paddock debris and general human rubbish. We have wild ducks flying in to swim and gorge on floating dead worms and snails.

Every morning I have to wade out to the rain gauge in my gumboots as we collect data for the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. The chooks spent the first night out rough as they became stranded from their quarters with the rapidly rising water. The sheep have found a high patch and have plenty of feed.

Now to find those fairies.....
Hope they stayed high and dry!

If you want to see more of the fairy items I unpacked yesterday click here

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


Another piece of my Christmas planning arrived today.
My Christmas cards!
I have used Moo previously for post cards and business cards and all things compared with other "DIY" print companies, I decided they were best value for money and quality. 

I chose a few of my favourite photos from last Christmas and decided these three worked best with the print proportions etc. They are a flatish matt type finish rather than a glossy photo finish.

You can have the card blank, customise a greeting or choose one from their list. You can even customise the back. This lets our family and friends know where to go to for our day to day doings and photos during the year.

I'm halfway through gift #1 but as predicted I keep wandering off outside to work in the garden but who could blame me, the sap is rising and the soil is warm. We are expecting several days of storms and flooding rains over the next 4-5 days so I should be able to finish by the end of the weekend.
Thanks for sharing your plans and project comments in the last post. Its good to know we are beavering away together. How are your plans going?

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Gift Planning

I know there is three months till Christmas (don't groan) but I am starting my planning now.
Handmade takes time so I have to line my projects up and have some sort of time frame in place.
This year we are excited to have our travellers returned after three years roaming so it will be a special time having all the family home.
I'm planning to do the knit projects now rather than later as I notoriously loose interest in knitting when the weather warms and I have a couple of sewing projects in mind for later.

This is something I'm working on for Ted and we'll have to keep it a secret. I spotted the yarn some months ago and knew straight away that they were her colours. It pays to have a vague plan for your gift box all through the year so when you spot things you can ferret them away for the right moment, saving anxiety, time and usually always money.

Now is also a good time to plan cuttings or sow seeds for garden gifts.  
Do share your ideas and plans here to inspire us.

Monday, September 19, 2016

A Corner Is Turned

We have turned many corners this month, weather-wise and house-wise. 
It's been just over twelve months since we actually moved in and a LOT of the work has been done and we are living comfortably and joyfully.

We are creating a garden now rather than just the emergency food growing area. Everyday I try to spend even just 10 minutes weeding and transplanting self sown seedlings around the place. The garden is still low on the budget stakes as we continue to repair the house and using what nature gives you is a fine and frugal way to create abundance.

We are blessed with beautiful flood plain silt and humus of many ages and are putting down stronger roots and sending them into the soil of our community too. We are bringing in the spring blossoms and welcoming the change and new friends into our life.

The pressure to get things done has relaxed and we are enjoying the journey and getting back to some normal activities.

I bit the bullet and ordered a pressure canner from America. And yes! You can use your Fowlers jars so need for extra jar purchases.

I've been canning the dried beans from last summer along with some chickpeas, giving us a ready to use product from the shelf instead of having to plan ahead 24-48 hours with soaking and cooking times of dried legumes. 

We've been scoping out potential country hanger and runway sites close to home for the shearer's plane. He is getting close to finishing it now that he has less house reno demads upon him. I'll post some photos soon.

We've been scoping houses too looking at trim colour options and fencing and landscaping....

The Heritage specialist builders are still at work in the front room putting layer upon layer of traditional lime render on the walls and paint stripping continues also. Our next big and hopefully final piss-problem to deal with will be the front threshold. It will need to be replaced and these guys will be in charge of that as well.

After 12 months I have finally been able to clear out all the furniture and building materials out of the children's' cubby house and restore it back to it's original intended use. I can't wait till Julien visits and discovers it for the first time.
All in all, there is a positive change in the air and we feel like we are home and blessed.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

"Where'er You Walk"

See what delights in sylvan scenes appear!
Descending Gods have found Elisium here.
Come, lovely nymph, and bless the silent hours,
When swains from shearing seek their nightly bowers

This harmless grove no lurking vapour hides,
But in my breast the serpent love abides.
Here bees from blossoms sip the rosy dew,

O deign to visit our forsaken seats,
The mossy fountains and the green retreats!

Where'er you tread, the blushing flowers shall rise,
And all things flourish where you turn your eyes.

extracts from "Where'er You Walk"
by Alexander Pope

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