Monday, June 27, 2011

Free Range Chickens

Well, finally got the courage to let the chooks out and it wasn't so bad. No crazy dogs came and ate them, they didn't fall down the creek and they didn't fly up in to the trees.

Took them about half an hour to come out and then they roamed over the paddock. The second day they just came out and in the last fifteen minutes discovered the garden, and on the third day they remembered the garden after only being out for about ten minutes and came running past me to get to it.

Pete thinks it is a blast to fly up on top of the pen. You can actually see him thinking about it, looking up at the top, crouching down a bit and up he goes, with my partner in crime and life and myself saying "no, no, no".

It is good to see them roaming around, though they do need supervision, they are like children, they dig stuff up, roam too far (when you don't have fences this is bad) and they are so easy to watch as they are funny.


There can never be enough lists on how to save electricity, and over at Down To Earth there is a recent post about this very thing. A lot of these we already do or want to do (like get solar panels) regardless, it reminds us of what we should be doing so we go do it.

Here is a thought provoking post titled "Could You Live Without The Grocery Store?" at Life On A New Homestead, about processed food and chemicals in our food. Check it out.

This article about a mouse plague here in Australia that I didn't know we were having makes me think about other things I have been hearing. That there is a rabbit plague and also fox numbers have increased, has the weather improved? Yes it has. Maybe because we have had rain and conditions are good compared to the years of drought.

Friday, June 24, 2011


There has been a bushfire yesterday and overnight across the highway and a lot of bush is gone and black. When I came home from town yesterday there was smoke everywhere and fire up the side of the road and last night our shed/house just smelled of smoke right the way through including the bedroom.

I hope no buildings were lost in the fire and all the animals managed to get away, though I don’t like to think of these things, a fire does do the bush good with regeneration. However all the smoke was not very pleasant but the line of fire on the very top of the big hill looked pretty in the dark.

I think I am addicted to my chooks, I suppose as addictions go this is not a bad one. I find I am planning for things like a chook orchard around the pen and keeping an eye out for more logs for them to walk on and watching them as they interact as a family/flock, good and bad behaviours.

I haven’t named them all as the names seem to develop over time. There is Pink because she is a pinkie colour, Miss Orange AKA Little Miss Naughty and Miss Black, not forgetting of course Pete, named because we wanted to name him that. The other three hens don’t have names as the names haven’t come to us.

Anyway, they seem to fascinate us more than we thought, even my partner in crime and life is addicted I think, but for our number one and only son they just exist here. Can’t expect much more from a fourteen year old though :D


This is a site I pop into from time to time about pandemics, the flu, infectious disease outbreaks and such around the world. If you think there is nothing of note going on in the world in regard to diseases check out the Avian Flu Diary.

This article titled “The true history of Dole, banana plantations, chemical pesticides and human suffering” is reminder of what chemicals can do, and that there are lot of people out there in the world that are exposed to chemicals even though we don’t see it every day.

A post from Taiwanxifu should give everyone pause for thought. This post reminds us we should be aware of our food in all ways, how it is packaged, how it is processed etc etc.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I Am Over Winter

I really can’t wait for the cold weather to be over, I know what winter is like so bring on summer. I want to wear shorts and not jumpers. My world was cold and foggy this morning and I know I have a lot of things to do but it is hard to get motivated when my fingers won’t move.

So here is what our place looked like at the crack of dawn this morning.

Also, here is the moon this morning, it is all glowy. I am using words like that a lot at the moment, no other words come close to this discription, even telling my Tai Chi class to be more flowy (it is a technical term, I swear).

We are planting more natives on the boundary, they are callistamon’s so they will have very pretty bottlebrush flowers. We are using these as screens as we like our privacy, just have to wait for them to grow.

I have two pumpkins on my vine at the creek, the paw paw trees are starting to get some fruit and the strawberries are starting to flower and we have gotten a couple strawberries to eat, very sweet. I have planted some seeds out but it is too cold for them to germinate and some animal have been digging some holes, I seriously need to get a fence up.

In another week we will be letting the chooks out to free range for a short time in the afternoon. I am a little nervous about this but it seems the pig dogs are gone so it should be OK. I will only be letting them out late in the afternoon so they will only be roaming around for a couple of hours, but I do need to get a fence up around the garden. When I go into town for Tai Chi on Thursday I think I will stop by the hardware store and get some fencing.

Pete the rooster has settles in very well and at night he sleeps right in the middle with three hens on each side. Though, there does seem to be some fighting amongst the hens and I am not sure if they are fighting over Pete or they just don’t like each other, but the mean skinny chooks do seem to pick on the plump motherly hens.


I haven’t been on the computer much and have a lot of blogs to catch up on but here are a couple that have caught my eye this morning. I am following this food storage challenge at Denley Diaries, I like having enough in the cupboards to cook whatever I want whenever I want, and also for events just like the wild weather causing havoc in the southern Australia where people have lost power and trees are down and so on.

Another blog is The Glass Half Empty, she has had Rooster issues, as in too many. I don’t have those problems but I know people who do.

I thought this article titled Why The World Isn’t Getting Any Smaller was an interesting read.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Meet Pete

I have been AWOL this week as my parents are visiting but they go home next week so I should be back to normal after that and posting regularly.

In the mean time, please meet Pete. He is much bigger than Dave but he seems to be very nice.

Order has been restored to the flock (we could see it happening before our very eyes) and the hen that had been at the bottom of the pecking order and wasn't doing very well is now a favoured companion of Pete's. He is looking after her and she no longer looks like she might keel over at any moment.

We were hoping he would fit in alright with not many problems but actually feared there would be big fights. However, he just hopped out of the box and went over and said "Hey, I'm Pete" and they said "Oh, OK" and that was it. It was actually a bit of an anti-climax :D

Pete crows a bit in the morning, and at lunch and in the afternoon, but he doesn't go on and on so we are pretty happy about that. Might hear him about 5.30am once and the hens must tell him it is too early and I don't hear him again until about 6am.

So all is well in the chicken world :)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I Love A Modern World

The world was grey this morning, like in black and white photos. There was fog and then grey cloud coming up over the mountain making everything grey and unreal.

The paperbarks are all out in flower now but luckily only a few bats have been coming in for them, they don’t smell but they look good.

I have organised for a new rooster to come live with us, we will be picking him up on the weekend. Hopefully this will sort out the hens and pull them back into line, I have given them notice that this will be happening and to live it up while they can :D

The creek garden is coming along very well, the paw paws are flowering though no fruit yet and the pigeon peas are also growing well. The cow peas aren’t so good but the pumpkin has some little pumpkins that have set that look like they will stay on.

I actually don’t know how people survived back in the day when they were mostly self-sufficient, I have more failures than successes but I can go to the shops and buy what I can’t produce. Back in the day they couldn’t do that, especially if they lived out the back of beyond in the bush, it must have been so hard, no wonder they died young, life would have been tough.

Just basic living would have been hard; getting enough wood for the fire, to cook and keep warm would have been exhausting. Trying to grow enough food to have actual whole meals would have been hard, think about how you would get water to the garden without hoses. My creek garden has no tap at the moment (long term there will be I hope), and the creek has dried up so I am filling juice bottles with holes punched in the bottom and wheelbarrowing them across the paddock :(

All I can say is I love electricity and modern inventions and technology and hope I never have to live without them. While I want to be as self-sufficient as I can, I know there is only so much I can do.

I know I have said these things before, but I do think about it a bit, especially when the power goes out and we have to do things a different way, or when cutting a bit of wood to keep the fire going for a few nights, and that is with a chainsaw and decent tools. I think about it when my seedlings die or something digs into the garden, and I think about it when I go get a trailer load of garden soil because I have clay. I am just glad I live in this world and not way back when, at least I have a load of books for reference (and the internet) if I need to know something. Thank goodness for technology.


I liked this post at Survival Mom about how to complicate your life. We all do things the hard way sometimes (or a lot) and it is often unnecessary, we could do things the easy way like not taking on too much and being able to say no to people. However a lot of us can’t do that, we just have to take the hard road, need to change that.

The Harried Homemaker Preps has a recipe for a natural bug spray for the garden that I think I might try. I am pretty sure I have come across this before, however, I actually don’t use anything at all on the garden but think I might give it a go. I have caterpillars and have grasshoppers, so maybe this will help, I don’t think it will hurt.

Here is the latest post from Modern Muse regarding plastic and rubbish in general, I really need to go back over her blog.

Monday, June 6, 2011

I Hate Being Sick

Don’t you just hate being sick? I hardly ever get sick so maybe that makes it worse, I’m not sure, Anyway I have a cold and while it is not really bad it is very, very annoying.

However, despite having a cold we have been out chopping wood. I am getting fairly good with the block spitter, having to get used to the weight of it compared to an axe, at least it doesn’t get stuck in the wood like the axe.

We have fertilised all the fruit trees in the orchard and also the bananas, tamarinds and passionfruit. A few things were looking a bit sad as we are a bit slack in the feeding department, we water but don’t fertilise too much, a habit we need to improve upon. You don’t get the best out of your trees or garden if you don’t refresh the soil and look after it properly.

My partner in crime and life has brush cut around the garden edges as that hasn’t been done for a while and it was a little out of control. I have also planted the Abika (New Guinea Spinach) into a garden bed and pruned it with the hope that it will take off and the cuttings will also grow. Hope so as it is a very useful plant and I have neglected it for too long.

We really need to get a new rooster sooner rather than later, the balance of power within our small flock is squewif, we can see the difference since Dave died. So I must ring up and see if there is a young rooster that is available to come and live here, hope so, as it would restore the natural order of things, we can see that it is not right without a rooster.

So things are ordinary here, just doing what I have to and waiting out my cold, even a small cold makes you feel like not doing very much, but that is what you should do when you are sick otherwise whatever you have hangs around longer. I am also a big believer in hankies, I carry hankies everywhere, however when we have colds I think tissues are best so we can get rid of the germs into the fire, anywhere away from us so we don’t spread it around.

So I am going to go and not do very much and try and get rid of it, must go make up a hot lemon drink, I have a recipe for a concoction that was given to me a few years ago and have hardly ever used it as I don’t often need it.


When you feel a cold or flu coming on (may be too late for me)
Cut 2 lemons into quarters, place in a saucepan and cover with water and simmer for aprrox 5 mins. Take out the seeds and blend everything including the skins. Store in a jar in the fridge.

Place 3 teaspoons into a cup with some water, hot or cold, and some honey. Drink.


There is a post at Organised Castle blog that inspires me to be more organised. She has been organising her pantry (would love a pantry like this one) and sewing, these are the posts that have me getting up doing these things too, and the little dresses she made are gorgeous.

African Aussie has some great photos of butterflies on here blog, I am going to use them for inspiration for painting, when I get the courage to pick up a paintbrush, as at the moment I am just looking at my brushes and psyching myself up.

Here is an interesting article about bananas which I am going to have to do some more research on. While it is true that I mainly see Cavendish bananas in the supermarkets, it is also true that I can’t remember seeing a Cavendish banana plant for sale, only other varieties. So I need to check this out some more.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Carbon Tax

There has been a lot of talk about the carbon tax that the Australian Government is going to put on business and the affect that it will have on households, especially lower income households. People of course have very strong opinions about it, so strong that I am unable to have a conversation about it and express my opinion. So instead of talking about it I am going to write about it, no-one can talk over me or interrupt and I will feel better as I have had my say.

Without a doubt, a carbon tax will cost us financially at home. The government will tax business, who, will in turn, pass on those costs to us, and life is already getting more expensive as it is. The cost of food, electricity, fuel and all the rest of it that comes with life are on the rise, and a carbon tax will just make it worse.

The thing is, big business will just pay the tax (which we will actually be paying for) and continue polluting anyway. No affect on climate change there. What about the effect on exports? We won’t be able to compete with other countries that can produce cheaper than us and aren’t doing anything to curb their affect on the climate.

Another alternative would be to set targets to reduce carbon pollution over a set amount of years, just make it law, we have to do it. I like this idea better, we have to do something about what the pollution we are producing is doing to the planet. However, households will still be paying for it, the costs will still be passed on like with a carbon tax.

There are always many aspects to any discussion, especially when the topic is something like climate change. Why should we be the only ones doing anything about climate change? We produce less carbon emissions than other countries, our efforts won’t make any difference to climate change as those countries aren’t doing anything.

Personally, I don’t see why we have to wait for others to do something before we act. Why can’t we lead the way? Someone has to be first to do something about climate change, if we all had the thought that there was no way they would do anything ustil someone else did it first, no-one would do anything, ever.

Most of us agree that something needs to be done, however most of us don’t’ want to pay for it. We want to continue to live the way we currently are, with all out high tech energy consuming appliances, we agree that polluting is bad but really can’t be bothered to do anything about it. We complain that life is getting more expensive, how are we going to put food on the table for the family, how are we going to afford to pay the electricity bill and keep the phone connected?

The way I see it, we don’t’ have many choices. The government is going to do whatever they want, taxes are being created and are going up, business is still going to be polluting, the cost of everything is still going to be increasing and we still have to pay for it all.

I can really see only one solution for households. Use less. Consume less. Buy less. Reduce, reuse, recycle, and repair. Between climate change, peak oil and various other factors we are being left with little choice. It doesn’t matter if you believe in these things or not, it is irrelevant, people are struggling to cope with the cost of living regardless of the reason.

You only have to read the news to see that people are not coping financially, that countries are not coping financially. We can’t continue to live the life that we are because we can’t afford it, the planet can’t afford it.

People are losing their homes, kids can’t afford to leave home, forests are being torn down so we can have furniture, GM food is being promoted as the way to produce more food for food security, people are starving to death, people are obese yet malnourished, plant and animal species are dying every day, we are experiencing extreme wild weather around the world, tsunamis, earthquakes, tornadoes, flooding, more people have allergies than ever before. I could go on all day with this list.

I know this all started with talking about carbon tax, but we can’t’ afford to not do anything. A lot of us can’t afford to do something, but regardless, the government will do whatever and we will pay.

OK, so now we have to make some sacrifices. It was always going to come that, either financially or our lifestyle, but probably both. We can’t’ afford to continue to live the way we are with no thought to anything except to complain about how much our lifestyle is costing us.

So here is a short list of some things we need to be doing to cope with the increasing costs of life, it helps the planet, keeps money in our pockets and not placing it in the hands of big business and the government.
• Reduce – use less, think about whether you really need it
• Recycle – buy second-hand
• Re-use – use things over and over till they can’t be used any more, don’t use disposable single use products
• Repair – instead of instantly replacing a broken item, see if it can be fixed or if you can fix it
• Learn new skills, like sewing, cooking, lighting a fire for camping, changing the headlight in the car, mending clothes, hanging a picture, changing a tyre, knitting, crocheting
• Have tool box in the house with hand tools in it, no power tools
• Plant a garden, no matter how small
• Compost all kitchen scraps, keep all paper and cardboard to use as mulch
• Turn everything off at the wall, turn off the standby switch
• Cook more than one thing in the oven
• Don’t buy more electrical appliances, is there an alternative, or can you live without it altogether?
• Spend more time with those whose company you enjoy, go on picnics, have BBQs, play games, instead of sitting around the TV, computer and Xboxes
• Borrow from the library, swap books and DVD’s with friends, use the toy library
• Give our kids less, we all complain how our kids have too much, too many toys or expensive gadgets, well, we paid for them, so let’s stop. Get them useful things or experiences or better yet spend time with them, build things with them.
• Buy groceries on special, and shop with a list and a calculator
• Now this one is going to be a bit controversial. How about we bring up our own families instead of paying others to do it for us. We raise our own kids, do our own cleaning, and cook our own food from scratch. I know it is not for everyone and not everyone can afford to do it, but instead of working full time and paying for all those things you don’t have time for maybe work part time instead. However, I do think that if you choose to have children you should bring them up yourself, that there should be one parent at home, otherwise why have kids if you don’t raise them. I often hear that people can’t afford to pay for child care and now they have to stay home as it is too expensive to do anything else. Well, what is wrong with that? What is wrong with raising your own kids? You chose to bring them into to the world. If you want, go back to work when they are at school, but why work to only then hand over that money to someone else to look after your kids? Told you it was controversial.
• How about we turn off those electrical things and read a book or play a game, be in the garden, take a walk or play with the kids. Make a go-cart, play golf (mini) in the backyard, have friends over or meet up with friends at a park and picnic and play cricket. Go fishing or to the beach.
• Don’t spend more than we earn, don’t take on debt, if you don’t have the money then you can’t afford it
This list is endless, and others have made lists like this, so there are plenty of ideas out there. These things save us money and use less planetary resources, we would pay less tax on goods and services because we are not using them and we would be doing our part for the planet without it costing so much. But we must remember that we can’t continue living this lifestyle because it will cost us one way or the other.

So if the government brings in the carbon tax, which they probably will, we need to use less. Doesn’t mean that our life has to be less enjoyable, just a bit different (or maybe a lot). That we have to produce more at home and give up the takeaway, not go to the movies but have movie night at home on a Friday night with a borrowed DVD and homemade popcorn. There is nothing bad in that.

We have to have a plan for our families to get around carbon tax and peak oil and the rising costs of everything. You see, I want to live on a healthy planet, I want money in the bank, I want kids with no allergies, and I want to be able to go camping out bush with trees and animals. And I want my computer too, I do love technology but will probably have to give some stuff up, I could give up all phones, landline and mobiles, I have no issues with that.

I want it all but I can’t, so this is how I plan on getting around it, it does mean giving up a bit, maybe more than we think, but I think we will gain a lot too, maybe we will get back some of the stuff we lost when we took up spending so much time glued to the TV, computer and Xbox. Things like the skills of cooking and sewing, building furniture and gardening, we will get to know our families, we would have more time for the important things like our kids instead of them being at home alone until 6 or 7pm at night waiting for parents to get home from work.

The kids will benefit the most I think. Better relationships with their parents, the parent’s actually spending time listening to their kids and just doing stuff together. The kids don’t spend so much time on their own, they have good adult influences in their life and don’t learn their behaviours from other teenagers but from the adults in their lives. Being able to talk to parents about the things that are bothering them so they don’t’ bottle it up. Just thinking about teenage drug abuse, pregnancies, suicide, cyber bullying makes me shudder. Our kids will also have a planet to actually live on too, big plus really.

So all this from the carbon tax that the Australian Government will probably introduce, no wonder people write books. So now I have given my opinion, I would rather have a conversation as people have so many good ideas and other opinions that I may not have thought about, but sometimes that is not possible, so here it is. And now it is out there, I hope we find a way around it all soon, it would be nice to have our cake and eat it too, I will just continue reading and gathering ideas and listening to what people have to say and hope we all come out the other end OK.