|We might have got a new puppy also....|
We also have a new family member. Little Gus is a 7 week old Great Dane X Bull Arab (which is also apparently not actually a breed, but a cross between a German Setter, Greyhound and Bull Terrier). Basically he's a bitza, and probably a big one! These types of dogs are used around our way for pig hunting, but Gus will be in charge of security on our property. Taz is a good barker, but just a little bit small and cute to deter anyone and she also doesn't hear the cars coming down the driveway before I do! I want people to think twice about opening the gate is one of us isn't in the yard with the dog. We had great success with training Taz to stay safe in her puppy box, and we are doing the same with Gus. This is leading to confusion, as Taz still responds to the command "in your box" and "on your bed" by getting in the box! Training is going to be very important with this big dog, so that will keep us occupied for a few months.
We've continued to be lucky with the weather, with hots days interrupted by just enough storms and showers to keep the grass green until we get the first frost.
Staying in a motel for a week was a real challenge. The breakfast provided was cheap bread and spreads or cereals and dead milk :( I don't want to sound ungrateful, I know there are hungry people in the world, but I also know that food like that makes me feel really unwell. My usual breakfast of eggs and a raw milk smoothie is kind of difficult to do away from home. I compromised with egg and ham quiches from the bakery and banana and yoghurt. If I was more organised I would have taken hardboiled eggs with me, but you never know if you'll have somewhere to keep them cold.
|a home-grown roast chicken, with the carcass ready for the stock pot|
Now that I'm back home, I am so excited about getting back to my old habits of baking soaked dough bread, sprouting, fermenting and enjoying all the veges in our garden. I am also planning to do a three-week detox (supervised by my naturopath, more on that later), but I'm waiting for Pete to be home as he's keen to join in!
When we checked out bees early in the month we were worried that they didn't have enough honey, but lately they seem to have found enough nectar and are starting to fill out frames. We currently have seven full hives and one nuc (nucleus - only 5 frames), with two hives and the nuc at Eight Acres and rest at Cheslyn Rise.
We also had one rainy day and managed to spread grass seed by hand around our two new dams, which we hope will prevent erosion of the banks. We haven't had a chance to plant our perennial pasture seed yet though.
|mainly capped brood, with honey above|
The hens have finished moulting and now that its cooler, they seem to be laying quite well. We certainly have enough eggs for ourselves and the dogs. The chicks from February are now fully feathered and about half the size of adult chickens. They eat a lot of grass and we have to move the chicken tractor every day, so I am looking forward to starting them on free-ranging. We will have to think about culling old hens and roosters soon to make way for the new hens.
Pete counted the days since we took out little bull to Cheslyn Rise, and we were expecting calves this week. The first two had already arrived when we checked on Saturday. Surprisingly, one is red! From a black angus heifer (although she does have some suspicious white patches on her belly, she probably has some hereford genes). The bull is of unknown origin, but probably mini hereford X lowline. He is small and the calves are small, which makes for relatively easy births for these first calf heifers. Seven more to come!
|one red calf|
|and one black calf|
Once again, this time of year brings chokos by the bucket-full. The pumpkins are also looking promising, and I suspect this is due to the beehives placed near the garden this year. The bees seem to have gathered plenty of bright yellow pollen. I thought the bees weren't going into the garden, but clearly they are finding the pumpkin flowers ok.
We also have lettuce and asian greents. I picked two of the best capsicums I've ever grown. Beans are still appearing. And the hydroponics is now producing lovely red cherry tomatoes. I really need to sprinkle out some more seeds and tidy up ready for a winter crop, but I will wait until the hot days are over, as I haven't been watering half the garden.
I'm going to have to do a full post about the house because we pretty much worked on it for two weeks with my parents, so there has been a heap of progress. We also had our plumber and builder doing some work. This is what's been done since my last update:
- Kitchen walls primed and one coat of ceiling white
- Shed guttering plumbed to two more rainwater tanks, mezzanine floor started
- Exterior paint on all walls, trim of doors and windows started, just a few fiddly bits left to finish off
- All fittings and tiles for the bathroom collected (except for the vanity) and builder/tiler ready to start work
- We are looking at organising a hardwood overlay for the floors, which are currently soft hoop pine with gaps (then we can get the kitchen built)
|do you notice anything missing off the front? |
we have a window awning to rebuild as it was rotten
Last time I reviewed Use and Value Diversity, I said:
"We try to create diversity in many areas of our life, this means planning to have many different ways to satisfy our needs as well as each different thing we do serving many purposes."
|chickens are crazy enough without adding other animals!|
- Activated charcoal soap and charcoal drawing salve - these are both supposed to be good for acne, and other things that need "drawing" like boils and skin infections. I've got some frankincense essential oil, which should be lovely in this salve.
- Soap with pink salt as an exfoliant, and then soap with salt water to make a harder bar (its called soleseife).
- Honey and oatmeal soap as we still have some honey left and I'd like to see how that turns out.
- For winter, I thought that this vapour rub recipe might be worth a try
|here's the charcoal soap|
Here's a few blogs that turned up in my newsfeed this month:
Eat Real, Stay Sane - real food lifestyle without losing your mind or social life, lots of recipes and tips for eating real food.
Tamsininamania - which also has a lovely instagram account and had great success tanning a sheepskin following some of the info in my posts about tanning a steer hide!
How was your March? Did you get some time off over Easter? What are your plans for April?