Life, with my dogs, living on one acre in Tasmania. Living on a low income, and with Complex PTSD. I write about all sorts of things. I called my Blog Echidna Home because I have echidnas that live here
I have shared about myself and what my life has been like over the past few months living with CPTSD. It seems to me writing here assists me so much. Seeing my thoughts/activities/feelings in print help me see how far I have come in my life with this illness. Learning to live my life accepting how I move through each day no matter how and what is happening in my life and life around me. I am proud of myself that I keep moving forward no matter how minuscule it may be.
Lets look at what is happening in the garden. Here in the Southern Hemisphere we being our Spring Season very soon; the problem tends to be I along with many others feel the days lengthen and see the weeds growing all the new growth everywhere. I feel the urge to sow seeds. I have to hold myself back and wait wait.. which I have been doing, today I intend to plant a few in pots to germinate in side.
Lets go for a walk around my gardens in the last few days of the yearly Winter season.
I feel like I have done very little during winter, yet when I review the photos I have been doing small things. On top of this each day I walk around and pull weeds out of the paddock area. We have had a very wet few weeks very wet. This has made it more difficult to continue to clear around the fruit trees as the ground is too wet.
The joy of my garden and the hope that I will get seeds in and growing for my own vegetables and food. Rain and colder days are on the agenda for a few more days.
The chooks ahh the chooks sadly I have three roosters, and only five girls. Rupert has been amazing with the chicks but they have all grown up now and I have to attend to reducing the number of roosters, as they will be to much and to mean for the few girls I have. Sadly only one of the female chicks have survived to now. I also lost one of my original hens one of the brown girls. Penny I am not holding out any hope that she is nesting anywhere. My neighbours have also got new hens, and both my neighbour and I have noted that a Sea Eagle has been flying around everyday. This may be part of why my hens have disappeared along with one of the rooster chicks (perhaps not so bad one less for me to attend).
I have been taking my vitamin D as down here we have such low levels of sun over this time of year it is a necessity. It also helps with mood and lessening seasonal affective disorder. (SAD)
It is great to wake up each day, to see how beautiful my garden is looking. I am so thankful to have such a great area to create my space.
I am thankful to those of you who read my posts, blessings to You all. Tazzie
I have harvested some potatoes that I was growing in containers. Whilst the weight of the harvest has been reasonable for my first try. I have been disappointed with the size. Small to mini potatoes. I have harvest about 3kgs only. Looking at weight of seed potatoes I planted was just under 1kg, It is at least a gain. I have planted more in one container, and from reviewing my method of care feel I may not have watered them enough. Time will tell.
The top left photo looked promising with potatoes. This is the third pot I had dug on the right is the actual volume of potatoes. The two photos below are of potatoes harvested from two larger black pots a few days before. I did get two OK sized ones. They will be delicious and yes I am disappointed as I said. It is a learning curve. If anyone has any suggestions I am happy for input.
I was working on my deck and noticed a hen jump over the vegetable garden fence, it sort of looked like Fried, I had to turn the hose of and grab some shoes. I could not see a hen anywhere. I have in there for when Miss Treacle comes in to be with me but gets too hot. She goes in digs a shallow dip and lays in the shade coolness, as I work. I had looked for her there ages ago but this time I found her. She was right up in the back and it was only that I had a torch with me I think I could see her this time.. I was so happy that she was alive!.
I then checked under her,
She was sitting on 20 eggs. She was just managing to cover. I was not sure how long she has been there. So I am not sure how old some of the eggs are. I looked at my chicken coop and my little coop I have used to have a Mamma Hen sit on her eggs and care for her very young chicks.
I have had to come to a difficult decision and that is for the sake of the chicks and Frieda as well as myself I needed to cull the eggs. So yesterday I removed half of them. Nine of which were fertile. I must say Frieda looked at me as I took the eggs, she then looked at the ones she had near her. She looked at me and settled so much easier on the greatly reduced number of eggs. There is of course a possibility that more eggs will not be fertile. Having examined the eggs I removed I feel that she has probably a week to go before any begin to hatch. However I am no expert. I understand many of you may feel that this is horrible and cruel. Yet this is the reality of homesteading. I imagine I would have buyers of them in 20 weeks if they were mostly females for point of lay hens. I would still have to cull roosters (and will have to regardless as I can only have one rooster in my coop). Roopert is loud and frustrating but he is a wonderful rooster caring for his girls and obviously good father material.
I had no real desire to have chicks this year. My small coop needs some work so tomorrow I will be fixing it up if I have the things I need otherwise it will be Monday. I shall then move Frieda and her eggs to the new single Mamma’s Home Coop. It is in the chook run. This is so that the other hens and Roopert will hear and eventually see the chicks. I have put the chick mix to help reduce risk of Coccidiosis (I do not use the medicated one but one that is more herbs based. As Frieda is not laying eggs now she does not need the same food and she can eat this mix. As it is also not a ‘medicated’ mix her eggs when she begins laying again can be eaten. Normally you can not eat eggs from a hen that has eaten the medicated chick feed. for several weeks.
I am growing a bit clucky myself and look forward to having little chicks about. I love how the Mamma talks to them and settles them. How they race about and she teaches them all they need to know. Fingers crossed Frieda is a good Mamma.
So my little homestead is growing.
My meal worms have all become beetles and now I wait for them to lay eggs and worms to happen. It is not a fast process.
My worm farm is doing really well too.
Wallabies are being kept out of the chicken run at evening time I accidentally locked one in one night and it was very eager to leave when I arrived in the morning. I terrified the poor guy even more trying to get it out of the gate.
We have had a lot of humid weather and more storms and heavy rain. In the north of Tasmania flooding was happening, whilst in Western Australia over 80 homes were lost in bush fires. We are a harsh country. The weather has really played havoc with my veggie garden and nearly everyone I know who is only growing tomatoes outside is finding they are ripening very slowly. It is an extremely strange summer here.
Though as I sit here typing the sun is just going down and we have a very long dusk. There is not a cloud in the sky and very strange to see is the green grass on the hills across the river. It is February our hottest month usually and people are ordering water tracks as tanks can get low. Instead my tanks are overflowing and there is green grass. Some of my wattles are flowering again peculiar. If it is not climate change Mr Morrison (Australia’s Prime Minister who does not believe in it) what is it?
I am eating mostly with improvement, I am probably doing half of my routine. The walking the dogs instead of me driving and them running is not happening. I have been blaming it on humidity or heat. I do walk them when we are in towns. Just not the daily walk. Showering is going well and going to bed is much better all with improvement to be made. I am happy though as I am feeling on the whole better and not beating myself up at all. I am moving forward.
I have potted up some Autumn veggies in containers on the deck and some flowers. Reorganising, feeding and rearranging the deck garden. I will share more about the deck and veggie garden soon.
I began clearing out the car port, that continues. I still have to move more of last years wood so I have room for this years delivery.
I am thankful that Frieda is alive. I am thankful that I am managing my CPTSD better than I was last post, I am thankful I am mindful of my triggers, I am thankful for full water tanks, I am thankful we have had no cases of Covid-19 here in Tasmania for ages and life is fairly good here. I think of those in WA who are now homeless. I think of those who live in Melbourne and are back in total lockdown again, and for others around the world.
I hear Roopert crowing goodnight, I too shall take my leave.
Why are carrots so hard for me to grow? This is my most successful crop so far. Any help appreciated . They are tasty, and enough for a meal for me. Or a good supply for lilliputians.
Seriously these were just seeds I had spread about in a few pots on my deck. I am assuming that they needed to stay in for a bit longer.
I wanted to revive the pots and sow some more seeds in them. I have been tidying the deck today. My lettuces are doing OK, one variety has gone to seed. But some others are just developing and the cos is growing, I actually ate some of the leaves of one of them recently with my wee tomatoes. Oh were they so tasty. Just incredible.
Above are some beans I threw in my half wine barrels, along with kale cornflowers and weeds. The iris (brown leaves) have been broken up for composting around them. I ate some of the bigger beans as a snack today. Lovely. I am enjoying my surprise barrels. I sit at my table on my deck when I sow seeds, and often for no real reason I just toss some seeds into the barrels. I am very delighted with what is growing at present. I have kale, silverbeet and a calendula. These are the three pots in the most shaded part of my front west facing garden. Running along the front of the deck.
My idea of keeping the hens and Roopert in their run is failing. Sigh. It has rained and there is green grass shooting. Unheard of in February. Normally our hottest month. More rain forecast this weekend and heavy. Fuller rain tanks nothing will be the joy of this if it eventuates.
My Deck garden is containers. I am amazed at what I can grow in pots. The benefit is wallabies and possums do not get at them. The chooks can not get at them, or dig under them. Even the starlings and black birds do not tend to get into them like the veggie garden beds. I can cover them easily to prevent cabbage moth damag.
Flowers are becoming a part of my deck garden this year and perhaps more so. In with vegetables they make me smile and happy to see.
Below are my firs attempts at making apricot and peach fruit leathers. There is nothing wrong with the one in the tray it is how apricots dry when no sulpher is used. My peaches were to moist and I should have read up more on what to do but I know next time. (they dripped through) I am not happy with these trays which have not been used a lot. They are cracking. To replace them is not cheap. My dream is to save for a metal set up ie very expensive Excalibur Dehydrator which is also a square one, which is easier to put the puree on and the fruit. The temperature is more evenly spread. The difference in colour of my apricot leather the heat/air in the round ones is not dispersed so well. Lovely with some desiccated coconut. I did add a little sugar but not a lot.
The peach ones are at the front and due to their being so moist they dried very differently. I am trying to dry some hard enough no dry enough that I can then powder the peach. I can then add the powder to tea, and yohgurt. Cream ice cream even my weet-bix. It was simpler than doing a syrup or jam, and I am not a big jam eater. I am enjoying the leathers, and will be buying some seconds strawberries to make strawberry leather too. I will freeze the plums I think.
The blackberries are ripening and so delicious. I am freezing these for muffins and yoghurt, and winter porridge.
I am thankful for the rain , as I have enough water for my gardens, I am thankful for all the beautiful things in my garden. I am thankful to Mother Earth for her wonders and how a tiny seed can grow and give us food. I am thankful to my hens for the eggs they provide for me and my dogs. I am thankful for my health and the improving of my mental health as I get back to my routine.
So electric blanket on and for once I am in bed really early. Its 9dC/48.2dF, it only got to 12dC/ 53.6 dF now this is late January in the Southern Hemisphere. It is not right and not the first time that this has happened this month! Then two days later we had temperatures of 36dC/96.8, last week we had similar but by 10 am the day after the cold day it was 35dC/95dF at 10am we ended up at 38dC/100.4dF mid afternoon.
Is it any wonder my vegetable garden is not doing well. I know I am not alone, even my wonderful neighbours stunning vegetable garden is struggling. We have also had unseasonal rain and heavy wind gale force on several days.
The vegetable garden is so behind this year, My hope is that it will be better in February. My neighbour up the road has put in a huge green house but it is so hot that the tomatoes are cooking inside it almost.
Ahh the joy of gardening 41dsouth.
My first picking from the veggie garden this morning, the tomatoes are not really ripe, and they are tiny. Compared to the small hens egg. The zucchini/courgette is great. Already 100% improvement on my crop last year.
I am thankful for my eggs, for my hens, and rooster. I am thankful that my tanks are pretty full mid summertime very unusual.
It is a lovely summer day here in the Huon Valley Southern Tasmania. In the 20+ years I have lived in my home, I have only seen a snake 3 times in my surrounds. The first was a black snake, just slithering across the road as my dogs and I were going up the road for a walk. The second was last year I was watering the garden and one slithered rapidly away.
Today I went out onto my deck which is 1metre(3foot) off the ground. I was moving something, and out of the corner of my eye I saw movement, black and yellow stripes..slithering really fast, away it was not super close, about 1 meter from me it was a suprised by me, as I was by it.
It was a tiger snake. I had forgotten Tiger snakes can climb up human structures. There is so much bush around my home.
Tiger snakes in the wild have a broad diet that includes fish, frogs and tadpoles, lizards, birds and mammals, as well as carrion. As the size of the snake increases, so to does the average prey size, however this increase is achieved not by larger snakes giving up on small prey but by them taking more large prey. Tiger snakes are largely diurnal and hunt for prey during the daylight hours; however they will forage on warm evenings. They will readily search underwater and can stay under for at least 9 minutes. A bat was found in the stomach of one museum specimen, demonstrating the tiger snake’s ability to climb. Invertebrates have also been found in tiger snake stomachs however these could have been taken as part of carrion; other taxa such as grasshoppers and moths however may have been ingested as prey. Cannibalism amongst wild tiger snakes has also been reported. Prey items are grasped and subdued quickly by the powerful venom, with sometimes constriction being employed as well.
Available prey size is thought to play an important role in dictating the adult size of tiger snakes in some island populations. For example, on Chappell Island the snakes are typically very large and take advantage of the seasonal abundance of fat muttonbird chicks, whereas on Roxby Island where there are no nesting seabirds the dwarf population of snakes survive on mostly small skinks. https://australian.museum/learn/animals/reptiles/tiger-snake/
There are three snakes found in Tasmania and all are venomous. Though one the white lipped snake has never had any recorded deaths from its bite. Whilst my snake was easily to identify by its colours not all tiger snakes in Tasmania have such clear markings.
Fact, not fiction
The forked tongue is not venomous but is actually a chemical brush used to transfer molecules to the Jacobson’s organ in the roof of the mouth, where the snakes sense of taste and smell is located. A widely forked tongue increases the ability of a snake to track its prey.
Snakes do not have ears and cannot hear sound. Instead they detect sound by sensing vibrations passing through the ground.
Snakes’ skin is not slimy and normally it is dry.
Snakes are not attracted to milk beyond the fact that it is wet and easy to find by smell.
The venom toxicity of a juvenile snake is the same as that of an adult although they usually produce less venom.
Less than 10% of newborn snakes survive to adulthood. Most are eaten by predators, such as birds or feral cats, or are killed by humans.
In reality the danger presented by snakes is not nearly as great as perceived. Sporting accidents, dog attacks, lightning strikes and even peanuts cause more human deaths in Australia than snakebite.
In Tasmania the presence of the Blue-tongued skink (lizard) is no indication that snakes are absent.
Tasmanian snakes are unlikely to attack people unless they feel trapped or threatened. It is easy to mistake a snakes bluff or an attempt to reach shelter for an attack.
I realise that on my deck are little frogs. So it may also have been after those. I also realised I was up really late this morning and normally I fill the large plant pot saucer of water I leave out for the echidna, the blue tongues and snakes. So this lovely guy/gal may have been looking for water too. All available on my deck.
So many people are terrified of snakes. Yet hop into their car every day with out thinking. The last recorded death from snake bite in Tasmania up until January 2020 was in 1977. As sad and hard for the family of Mr Fish who died in 2020 Two deaths in 50 years makes snakes bite risk pretty good for humans.
Of course dogs and and other animals get bitten and some die. If your know your dog has been near a snake rather than wait to see if it has been bitten, take it to the vets. Waiting can cost the dog its life.
If your dog is barking at a snake get the hose, and direct it at the dog to force it away.. giving the snake time to flee.
As I live in a rural area I am fine having snakes about my home. They do not want to harm me as I do not want to harm them. During summer I usually do not let them out by themselves. But I do thump the ground when I walk and slam my front door. Since snakes react to vibration rather than noise.
My Grandfather my pop was a rabbiter , he raised his family in a tent in the Australian bush and he told me in regard to snakes that they do not want to use their venom on humans as it is how they kill their food. They are scared of humans so just walk away.
He also told us to respect them and look at their beauty. He also said not to remove one from our area if we have one as another will move in. The one you had knows your patterns and will try to stay out of your way. The new one wont.
I will be making more thumps when out on the deck and about the garden.
I do not fear snakes, I respect them keep my distance. I provide water for them so they do not have to come looking for it. I will not be leaving any of my doors open for the foreseeable future..
Uncertainty is not a great thing in my life, it does tend to impact my CPTSD. I have not been in my beloved garden a huge amount in the last few weeks, and even so what I had put into it in Springtime is bobbing along slowly this year yet productively without me quite well. So I feel happy about that.
My tomatoes are very late in developing,
Lots of flowers on the first plant. quite a few on the next with some tomatoes forming on both and one tomato and a few fruits on the third. In this bed I have two eggplant/aubergines I have one flower on one plant.
My peppers and capsicums are varied, the old pepper from last year is doing well, the capsicums are getting flowers and the peppers are I guess settling in.
I have more tomatoes vines in another bed, that does get 8 hours of sunshine but less than the first bed and these are really delayed. I thought they would be, and was just wanting to see if they would grow here.
Miss Treacle and Busby enjoy being outside too.
Now for some reason I have planted pumpkins and zucchinis, along with the possibility of a cucumber or two in two beds. I lost all bar one label, and I had labelled the seedlings. I only know one variety of pumpkin that is Peter Cundall’s . Peter was a long time presenter on the Australian Broadcasting (ABC TV) Gardening Australia a weekly. If you are interested in knowing more about Australian Gardens and all sorts of things to do with gardening and veggie growing well worth checking out show (which still is running Gardening Australia now hosted by Costa). https://www.abc.net.au/gardening/ Peter hosted the show from 1989-2008 and as a fellow Tasmanian is an incredible gardener, who even now at 82 is enjoying his gardening and good health. He only gave up his weekly radio show a few years ago. His pumpkin variety is great faviourite in the taste test so I am told. Fingers crossed these plants will be much better producers than last years. Oh the memories not a zucchini and one tiny butternut.
Asparagus spears still shoot every so often, and I enjoy picking them and eating them right away. My jostaberries and red currants did well. I harvested very few, between the birds, wallabies possums and my chooks it was their year this year. I was also not up to canning or freezing any of them and realised that I am not a huge fan of the jostaberries. They really are only good stewed, made into a crumble or perhaps a sponge pudding and of course jam.
My blueberries are also being grabbed by by all the critters and again I feel blase about it. I still have a fair few in the freezer. I always have such plans of all I will do with them. I usually harvest them and then often end up not eating them even when frozen. So instead of pushing myself when I have not been firing on all cylinders, I have just accepted for many years of my life I had never tasted a blue berry, a jostaberry or a red currant. If I am being really honest the only one I feel I would plant again are the blue berries.
My peach tree is amazing now that is something I have been enjoying the last couple of days.
As you can see they are a good size this year and once ripe juicy and even a bit green so sweet Love the feeling of the juice running down my chin. I did eat a few cherries off my trees. It has been a late beginning to the cherry season with the local orchards only opening full time this week.
My red crab apple does not have a lot of fruit on it sadly this year. I do recall there were not a lot of blossoms on it. Added to this the chooks had been dust bathing about its roots. (A job still in process excluding them from my doing this). I have managed to stop them from the espaliered apple by putting bike wheels about the root area.
The chooks had been laying really well and I was very happy to share with my neighbours. Sadly at the moment I am only averaging two eggs a day. I have not located a hidden nest anywhere as yet. I realised I may have been failing them in providing enough food for them. Though when I do provide seed they very rarely eat it all and usually pick the tastiest seeds out first. Grass is a bit in short supply so I have began to supplement their diet with pureed green vegies. They are on a free range 16%seed mix and have access to grubs and all sorts of things as they free range. I will be keeping an eye on them and fingers crossed the girls will be all laying again. Though the two -3 eggs I get are enough for just us. I did have hope to water glass enough for winter.
The Chook run has been slashed finally and the spiky native grass has been cut down. I am not sure the chooks appreciated that and so as their is not a lot of shade in their run at present they are free ranging and love hanging out under the jostaberries and my blackwoods. If they stayed there we would be living in harmony. I can only dream.
My thoughts are with those of you in areas where Covid continues to impact your lives, especially those of you overseas. I am so incredibly fortunate to have been born here in Australia and to live on the island state. where we have had no active cases of this illness for a few weeks now. My thoughts for those of you impacted by the bush fires in Western Australia.
I am thankful that I am coming out of a period of feeling out of control, I am thankful that I am again able to see the beauty of my home, and garden and how very fortunate I am. I am thankful for the clean water, clean air and abundance I have in my life. I am so very thankful for my dogs.
My lovely white hen who is blind in one eye, is fit and healthy and has begun to lay eggs. She is now back out with the rest of my flock. Her name was going to be ‘Turunga Leela’. Though I have reconsidered as she is sweet and comes running to me as she is now the lowest hen in the pecking order. She is gentle and isolates, anxiety is high, since her time in the house in isolation, I feed her extra treats and ensure she gets food as she is hunted away by Roopert (Rooster) and several of the other hens.
She is now called Marshmellow. I love marshmallows and I have fallen in love with her.
Actually I love all my poultry.
I forgive Roopert all his crowing in the wee small hours . Right now dawn breaks very early, yet my neighbours (who say they do not mind his crowing) say he usually goes off between 2-3am . I am so fortunate that they put up with his crowing, or sometimes I get that self talk of oh they are trying to tell me that they are annoyed by it, that it is not good. It is one of those things that is so hard to know unless people are truthful and tell you it is pissing them off. They are lovely neighbours and I am sure they would tell me, when I said I was fed up a few weeks ago they were horrified that I might get rid of him. They will be getting hens soon.
As we head to the Summer Solstice 21-22/12/2020 (depending on which local site I peruse), we will have over 16 hours of sunlight. As they say all it will pass, these really early crowings as the seasons change.. Though he is great when it is a new moon peace until 4:30am when dawn breaks and how lovely is all the birds song then and I mean that sincerely. The darkness is great for all. I guess we all need to catch up on sleep at some point.
He is a lovable rooster. Sitting here writing this today when the temperature is over 33 dC here which is really hot for Tasmania
I have given the chooks some watermelon which they are really enjoying. My dogs turned there noses up at it. So more for the chooks.
When it is a warmer night I leave the door open of there house home, so they can get more air circulation.
I love going in to see they are all settled and ensuring they have not knocked the water over. I see Roopert with his faviourite gals on the highest roost. The others all on the next one down. I know I would not be a happy hen living in that sort of hierarchy.
I am averaging 5 eggs a day now and occasionally six. I am inundated with eggs. Neither I or my dogs are complaining. I do share them with neighbours. Hmm the eggs count is fluctuating recently and I have a feeling that I will be discovering a nest of rotten eggs somewhere soon. Having so many eggs (which I do share with neighbours), I have decided to preserve some for winter. The dogs and I love them all year and well why not. I was thinking of water glassing though I believe there is a more modern alternative so will be You Tubing.
I have named all my hens now. Marshmellow because she is a mellow hen my one eyed girl she comes for a cuddle and is now sadly the lowest hen so I spoil her. She is the one I had to care for and we have a special bond.
The two brown gals who spend all their time together, and are Roopert’s gals now sharing the top roost position in the hen house. They have become Henny and Penny.
Then there are my two hens that are black with frizzle feathers on their heads and unusual combs. One is a big hen the other smaller. The big one is Frida, after the artist, and thus the little one is Kahlo. They are more timid.
My last hen is a gorgeous black green tinged feathered girl. She is Beauty.
I really enjoy going to the hen house in the evening to ensure they are all inside, and have not knocked over their water. They usually will tick me off for disturbing them and shuffle and fluff their feathers. I say thank you for the eggs ladies, and shut them in (tuck them in for the night). I love it as I walk away and here their little chatter , peeps and settling back on the roosts for sleep.
In the morning it is even more interesting if I am later than they would like to be let out, even though they have food and water, Roopert will tick me off. I open the door and he jumps out first, waits and then Henny and Penny are next, Marshmellow waits until they move away and races out, Frida will go join Rooopert. Kahol is waiting usually she is found in one of the nesting boxes. I have to toss her out before I leave to get her share of breakfast. Beauty is last and really she just regally hops out potters under the hen house then saunters over to the rest of the flock.
Of course there is the bickering and clucking of the girls when someone gets something one of the higher up the pecking order have not. Or when Roopert shows his Girls a special treat he has found for them. He also is a rooster and he does his roosterly duties, this will make a scene for the girls who do not want his advances. A run around the run occurs feathers and dust flowing.
Having chooks is not all happy life on the homestead, even when you only have hens fights occur.
I have been getting some double yolk eggs which takes me back to my childhood.
it is not hard caring for them, let them out in the morning feed them lovely food for great eggs, giving shell grit and ensuring they have little stones gravel for their gizzards. Keeping an eye on their feathers around their vents, and for any injuries or damage. Ensuring no mights. Fresh water and clean bedding regularly cool areas under trees. For such wonderful renumeration.
I have trimmed their wings to try and keep them in the run, but they still escape. It does look as if something untoward occurred there, and sounded like it as I left them in the hen house and grabbed each one to attend to their feathers. They still manage to get out. Sigh.
Free Range 100%. There is something so beautiful about having hens in my life again. I really enjoy their antics most of the time. Even the crowing in the wee small hours. Good quality ear plugs.
One of my neighbours found three chicks when he went out to his run this morning they are so cute. Another neighbour has bantams and has just got his gals a rooster.
Homesteading is all around me, summer is here and I am so thankful for my hens, my neighbours, eggs, and pretty full water tanks.
The end of a hot day and a warm night ahead, and all is settled, water bowls and bird baths all full for overnight visitors. A clear sky and stillness settling over my home.
I find that growing vegetables can be for me somewhat hit and miss. Last years crops well some were terrific, majority not so. I see it as always learning. Part of living I believe is to always learn new things.
The quality of my photos is not great so apologies.
The weather has been warm to hot here in Southern Tasmania. Not as hot as mainland Australia thankfully. Where many parts of the eastern seaboard had days over the weekend hitting 40dC /104dF. In my gorgeous valley we were fortunate hitting 30dC/86dF. Apparently the temperature average for November 2020, was higher than the average temperature for December 2019. No wonder everything is suddenly taking off.
I am not sure if it was a wallaby or a hen that flattened my garlic. The leaves as you will see are not great. I know there is garlic under there and at least one is a resonable size. I will have to buy garlic this year for the first time in almost 20 years. Very sad. At least I can get locally grown from organic garlic cloves. I will also have to buy enough to save cloves to plant in Autumn. My walking onions in the wheel barrow continue to grow with no real care apart from watering from me. Great greens and the tiny onions are lovely added to soups whole and stews. I even use them in toasted sandwiches. My Aspargus bed has given me enough nibbles over the last few months. I have left a lot just go to seed and to develop in the understanding the roots will grow and strengthen.
I planted out tomatoes, capsicums,eggplants/aubergines and chillis.
I purchased one Eggplant seedling which you can see in the photo on the bed. I had sown seeds for a long thin eggplant but no seed seemed to be germinating, when I purchased the large seedling. So I was pleasantly surprised that they have know germinated. They are tiny. There is room for them to grow. I put the eggplants in this bed protected. It is a corrugated bed quite deep. My only success with eggplants was growing them in the bed where my corriander is currently. It was stuck in the corner closest to where the sun hit the corrugated side for the highest number of hours. I have hopes for them this year.
I was amazed to have two chillis that survived hidden among the broad beans crop which I have harvested and obviously removed the stems. I have chopped and dropped them in the area and will add them to beds to compost down in place.
I was able to get some sweet potato slips from a nursery. I had no luck with growing my own off sweet potatoes purchased in the fruit and vegetable shop. I believe it is most likely they are treated by Tasmania’s Quarantine Services rendering them sterile. I love watching Youtube videos on growing sweet potatoes in a cooler climate. Of course I get sucked down into the wormhole of Youtube. Bringing myself back from the Youtube wormhole. I made sure my soil had what they like. The plot is in direct sunlight. I mounded them up and watered them in well. The slips had been growing well in their pots. They look good the next morning even though I had found one of my hens had got into the vegie garden. Fortunately doing no damage to any of my newly planted seedlings.
I am continuing to use my cheaper version of Ollas for helping to keep the soil moist. They worked well last year. They are really simple I was able to purchase terracotta pots and with no holes, the saucer is large enough to cover the top as the lid. See above photo . I have dug in one as the sweet potatoes 4 are on mounds I have to put the second one into the ground yet. I place them so the lip is just above the level the woodchips as a cover to help keep the moisture in the soil.
I had not been keeping an eye on the weather forecast. The last two days have been wild here with gale force wind, temps down to 10dC/50dF over night 16dC / and so far my seedlings including sweet potatoes are hanging in there literally! Unfortunately the cooler weather with rain is forecast for the next week or so. Of course it is. I am not complaining about the rain. My water tanks (of which I am totally reliant for all my water needs) have plenty of room for it. Who knows what the seedlings will do. This is the nature of vegetable growing outside in the roaring forties and living in the region of Australia I do. I am wondering how bad it may get around the Summer Solstice as normally the wind is worse either side of that. You have to just go with the flow as they say.
As you can see in the above photos fruit and nuts are doing well. In my chicken run I have had white centred cherries on my tree for the first time ever and it has been years. It only had about seven and I managed to beat the birds to three of them one left today bright red and sweet.
My mood has lifted and I have also been walking with my dog/s in the morning. My big dog Busby has been bitten on one of his front paws toe, by a Jack Jumper ant and is suffering in pain. As I tried to see what was causing his pain for the first time ever in 5 years he growled at me. That is how much pain he is in. Having been bitten myself I totally understand and the pain
I have a sweet cherry and a morello cherry (this one is in a pot on the deck), Several more apples and plums in the paddock, the fig is growing but has no fruit for summer. I feel it is not getting enough sun where it is now the peach is so big. Plans to move it in winter remove it from its wine barrel. I have two passionfruit seedlings to plant out yet. They are not keen on the wind so I am really happy I waited. There a couple of other fruit trees in the chook run that I had really thought had given up. I do not recall any of the fruit. None will bear this year. Even though I have had a huge area of black berries removed; they are considered a weed in Australia and grow wild. I have a heap that grow on the easement that the council own on my boundary. They gave me wonderful berries last year.
So much more still to put into the vegetable garden this summer.
I am so thankful for being so fortunate to have so much potential bounty. I am also thankful for living in an area that is full of wonderfully local fresh fruit berries, meat, fish in the river..I may buy a rod soon as I love flathead and it is in the river.
I am so thankful that I am moving forward again in my managing my CPTSD and overcoming the reactions to triggers. Thank you for all the kind words. They mean so much to me.
G’day life here on my little acre in the Huon Valley on the island state of Australia, Tasmania is a sanctuary for me.. I love that I have wild animals wallabies, potaroos, possums, ring tail possums, quolls, amazing birds, bees bumble bees, insects, blue tongue lizard/s. geckos, tasmanian devils pass through and of course my echidna/s. On the domestic side there are two dogs, six hens and a superb rooster (Roopert)
and yes the girls are getting names slowly as they become adults. Sadly at the moment one of my hens my Australorpe has injured eye. I have been treating her for five days now, and she has been on antibiotic drops for three days now. She is eating now, scratching and drinking on her own (I was feeding her to begin with). The eye and her comb are not super hot now, so the antibiotics are doing something. I am very doubtful that the eye will recover. She is preening herself and active. It is hard when you are attached to your lovely egg laying hens. I am sad about it as she was laying and because I have used antibiotics I will have to wait for two weeks when she does begin to lay again I will have to dispose of the eggs. Ahh small price to pay for her to have no infection. I did try natural things comfrey and and eyes bright.
Now for the new critters at Echidna Home, I am raising meal worms. Meal worms are a great protein source for my hens. They are also great for fishing. Hmm something I am thinking about buying a rod to fish since I live so close to a river..lol.
The first photograph below is of the package of meal worms when I opened it. Being a complete beginner, and not doing due diligence before I bought them I was very unhappy to learn that what I thought were beetles are actually dead meal worms. There were quite a lot. Which means I did not get 100gms of meal worms alive.
Such an easy critter to care for. They do not smell, they are not really worms they become a pupae then pupate into a black beetle who then lays eggs which become meal worms.
The chooks love them. The minute I show them to Roopert, he calls his girls and they each get a couple as my chooks free range and get great seed mix.
My poor white hen also has been getting spoilt with meal worms, and a tonic mix which has an easy home made electrolyte mix added, a little sugar and salt in yogurt with an egg yolk mixed really well. I was hand feeding her with a syringe at first she was so unwell.
I am so thankful that my hen whilst her eye is not doing so well her physical health is much better.
For those of you who follow me know I find managing my CPTSD involves keeping a very simple routine. I now have an added component in my daily routine. With the introduction of my lovely hens and Le Coq Arrogant, who are settled into their lovely house every night. In the morning I and the dogs, get up and we go and let the chooks out.
In itself is a good thing, we then walk about the vegetable garden and garden ensuring the bird baths, and critter water containers are full.
A lot of photographs to share. I sit with the fire going snow down to 600 metres in some areas of Tasmania tonight.
I have just let the chooks out to roam freely about the paddock and scratch making a mess in my bark areas. They love my gooseberry area. As long as they leave my vegetable garden lone this can be a daily experience.
I love my garden and my acre. For me such a good thing to help with my CPSTD.
The way I have created my new very high metre garden bed was utilising some Huegle Kulture https://richsoil.com/hugelkultur/ concepts. I had a lot of dried fine branches that I broke up, and similarly with the the larger ones, I then added some very old chook manure and straw from the hen house clean out prior to my hens moving in. some green waste, then aged horse manure and more straw, pea straw. When I plant the bed I will add some good soil and plant into that. So utilising the no dig garden bed by Esther Deans book.
I hand water only using a hose. I am on tank water only and this also means I am looking at every plant in my garden and on my deck that I gain a real knowledge of my plants and when is best to water them. In summer time here I usually water once the sun has moved off the plants.
I feel so earthed and connected to Mother Earth in my garden, and with all the wildlife, insects reptiles, and birds that live in and love my garden. I ensure that I have water for all and plants to eat, protection, nectar, and safety.