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Springing into the Summer Garden;

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.

Chilli and Capsicum/Pepper bed, with the
Sea Holly (flowering )plant, a perennial (foreground).

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.

Sweet Potatoes

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.

blessing to You. Tazzie

Oh my No we have worms!

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)

Roopert the Rooster

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

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.

Blessings to You, Tazzie

Morning on my little acre.

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 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.

Booktopia - Esther Deans No-Dig Gardening & Leaves of Life ...

and lasagna

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.

blessings to You. Tazzie


‘There you are! Its about time. We are star…ving…STARVING!! Hope you have some food for us.”
“What are you all doing out of your run? ” I say to them and chuckle to myself at their chatter.
“You left us all day. We have only had lovely green grass, bugs, and insects to eat. We have been looking for you for hours. We were abandoned, and starved!
“But girls you are meant to be in your run not out here. I am coming to feed you.”
A Loud SQUAWK “Girls? Girls? I suddenly have a hen attacking my toes and ankles..take that we are not all GIRLS”

OUCH that hurts stop nipping me? Oh heck your a rooster!
“You noticed…at give me that food for my harem!”.
Le Coq Arrogant is jumping up attempting to get at the grain container. “My harem must eat, we are neglected and Starving” he is demanding as he strikes me it hurts a little he really means business.

How anyone could mistake ME for a hen! I rule the roost and Echidna HOME! Le Coq Arrogant is almost crowing.

I am the boss of you all! YOU Rooster, and six hens are my flock and if you keep jumping at me and pecking me, I will not feed YOU and YOU will become soup!

I will not be intimated or bullied by any cockeral I say to him. I push him away and tell him You will be eating out of my hand or not at all!

I will not eat out of Your hand, what will my harem think of not make me do this. I will not succomb..I have to be the …oh sunflower seeds….yum yum

“Girls look yummy seeds, we are loved and being fed sunflower seeds wheat and all sorts of deliciousness. Just bow down and eat, from our leaders hand. I assure you its safe, you are not at risk.”
“Oooh Le Coq Arrogant thank you for ensuring we are safe. So so hungry.. yumm yum”

Le Coq Arrogant you have done well to accept my leadership I will ensure food water a lovely home to live in. Look how happy and content your harem is with full crops.
Le Coq Arrogant ‘they do indeed but I must be off, things to do’

I have had them for about two months now and I grow to love them more and more every day.

I have a lovely hen house, and they have a huge run. The little black hen has finally decided being in the the hen house with the others is far better then in the tree in gale force winds and icy cold rain.

Le Coq Arrogant has been learning to crow. At five months approx it is about the normal time. I heard a strange noise in the night a bit like a pup crying.
A few nights louder it sounded more like someone with a cough was in my garden.
He has it almost down pat now and is doing a good job. Rather too good las night. I had not closed the hen house door. I think he was disturbed by nocturnal noises and crowed numerous times in the dark.

So tonight they are all in their house on their roosts and one up in the eves in an old birds nest. Full crops and tummys. Fresh water. Tired out from sunning themselves in the 21dC/69.8dF sunny day here. I hope my sleep is not disturbed in the very wee small hours of the night.

My Rooster Le CoqArrogant, is getting his mature feathers, and if you look at the activity happening in one of the above photo back ground, you will see he is doing his job as a rooster. He is also becoming a very attentive observer overseeing his girls. He keeps attention on any potential aerial attacks from Sea Eagle, Wedge Tail Eagles, Goshawks other hawks or falcons. He is no longer pecking at me, or kicking his feet and spur area at me. I love that he trusts me enough to eat out of my hand and he is encouraging the girls too.

Not all of the girls are delighted with Le Coq s attention. One of my brown girls seems to want to sit on all the eggs.

The little black hen who slept in the tree is very nervous, and she is on the bottom of the pecking order. I ensure she receives the same choice in her seed feed as I do for everyone. She is growing and looks beautiful. I have a feeling she is the layer of the smallest eggs I get.

Some of the hens are not laying as yet but should begin in the next few weeks. I love that I have my own eggs, and my dogs love eating them. Very good for their coats.

I had my first day with four eggs today, the photo was taken two days ago. The large plastic egg was stolen bye some critter who believed it was a real egg which is why it has marks all over it. It is about the size of a normal egg so you can see my girls that are laying are small hens. Or maybe some of them will lay larger eggs later on.

I love watching the chooks antics and listening to their chatter. When someone finds a tasty morsel and is squawking as they are being chased by someone else. How they love digging holes and dust bathing. Laying in the warm sunshine spread out almost flat.

Enchanting members of Echidna Home (stead).
Contentment fills my heart having seen the seven birds settling into their roosts making their quite noises as they do so.

blessings to You, Tazzie

Is it a farm, a homestead a patch of heaven?

I ponder often what labels people use to identify their home/lifestyle. My little patch is just under an acre/ 0.404686hectare. I have fruit and hazel nut trees, I grow vegetables.

I might even fit what some would call a green lifestyle. As I harvest all my water from my roof in rainfall. I have a septic toilet system.

Wood for heating. My power bills are tiny and I use little about 3 x45kg/99lbs gas bottles for cooking and instant hot water. I have like all Australians a two button toilet but go one further. If it is yellow let it mellow, brown flush it down. Which uses even less water.

My home is built out of locally grown sustainable plantation timber. I use only fans for cooling. I use fresh air via windows and the sun for drying my clothes. In winter the clothes hang over my stair rails. Dry in next too know time.

I am in the incredible position of being so very fortunate that I own my little patch outright. Makes me feel incredibly rich. Incredibly lucky especially in these current times and knowing the future for so many across the world is incredibly hard.

So my life is very simple and with my two dogs we are pretty content.

Yet I had been pinning for something. I really missed my chooks. A dear friend gifted me 7 varying ages and varying breed mixed. How incredibly lucky and blessed was I !..

As I was moving them into their new home and one of the black gals escaped.. I had to close up the hen house after feeding them and ensuring there was enough water. So she escaped.

Unable to find her I had to leave her outside overnight. Worried but knowing the chances were high she would be fine. I heard her cackling and calling out to her siblings I felt a pull at my heart.
When I did release the others (having left them in the hen house for over 24 hours to acclimatise to their new home). I heard cackling up high and found the missing hen up in the tree.

Yet even though I am set up for hens I am looking at these chooks and realising that they may discover my veggie garden. So I have been looking at how to increase the height of the fence around their run. Which is part orchard.
This will be my task next week, and my hope is that they do not discover the veggie bed over the weekned, (I can only get the posts I need delivered on Tuesday). I have had extra mesh wire for ages on the deck. Fingers crossed it is enough for my needs.

I was thrilled when she headed to the fence line. Funny she got up in a tree but did not seem to be able to get over a short fence! I corralled her and she took off in fear over the fence Phew! I was hoping that she had somehow not found my veggie garden. I can only hope.

So off to her sister and last seen eating and checking out her new home.

Imagine my delight to find this when I let the girls out! A small but perfectly formed egg.

So do I live on a homestead? A farm? Or as I feel am I extremely fortunate, rich (not as most understand this term) and growing more and more content.

I am living in my home. My safe place, sanctuary. I have no desire to go anywhere else these days. It has been a lovely Winter, and as I write there is snow on the mountains about and more predicted to fall tonight.

blessings to You, Tazzie.

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