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
This morning I have woken really early for me it is just 05:30. Having been woken by Miss Treacle who needed to go out at 04:00 I was not able to go back to sleep and left both dogs and came downstairs.
Dawn is breaking and it is a cool morning so I have opened doors and windows cooling the house down after a hot day, in preparation for a lovely day. The skies are clear with the exception of what is the mist/cloud/fog forming over the river. Street lights are still on across the river and the
Roopert is crowing, Micro bats are flying in the last moments before dawn breaks, catching insects. Swallows somersaulting, swooping swiftly soundlessly. The soloist begins in the dawn chorus Kookaburras laughing, joined by Roopert cock-a-doodle-doo, and chorus of many other birds, The mozzies have taken their last bites of me as this new day begins.
A slight pink tinge begins to appear in the sky. I can see the light indicating the sun is coming up the hills behind my home block sunrise for a while but
It is really interesting to see a river fog being created as the sun begins to rise. Almost more of a winter morning than a late summer one.
If I had not been up as early as I was I would not have seen this beauty. As the fog ended up thick enough that I could not see across the river. It rose again at about 8:30am. It may not have been the most amazing sunrise I have seen here. The morning was so unexpected and beautiful. Even when I am not feeling so great with my mental illness (CPTSD) I am learning to find so much pleasure and contentment in what I have about me. I do understand I am very fortunate with where I live. Yet whilst I was very unwell I was not always able to see all that I had and find contentment. I am a bit flat lately and this may be a perfectly normal part of my life, and that is how I am seeing it, rather than seeing it as a part of my CPTSD. Learning to understand normal reactions to those that are triggered reactions. It is all part of my management and living my life with CPTSD.
I am thankful that I was able to enjoy so much this morning that our world has to offer if we just take a moment when we can to do something a bit different. I am thankful for where I live, thankful for my chickens.
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.
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..
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.
It is the end of January and I have just looked at my out door thermometer which is on the eastern-south side of my home, under cover of my porch and has green deciduous plants covering it. The temperature was reading 38dC in the shade 100dF. It is 1.30pm eastern standard daylight saving time, for us it is horrendously hot here in Tasmania.
I watered my Rhubarb this morning and had removed big leaves and steams off three days ago, fingers crossed it picks up.
My frugal way to keep cool in my home with only a fan no air conditioning is to close all the windows, to draw all curtains before the sun hits any of them. Even though my curtains are cover my windows and are insulated rubber backed ones, the sunshine is still hot in my home.
So I was in my car one day and realised that the windscreen cover I put on my windscreen internally was excellent at reducing the heat inside my car.
I purchased a whole heap of windscreen foiled type sun shades. With some gaffa tape I stick the sunshades on my windows behind the curtains.
It works a treat for me and the dogs we are all cool. If the evening is cooler than the inside house temperature, which it usually is here I will open the house up once the sea breeze comes in and the temperature has become pleasant enough to open doors and windows to get the cooler air into the house.
One of my neighbours asked me if I was cooking up meth. I laughed and said no, it is my way to keep my home cool on hot days.
I bought the windscreen sun shades from BIG W three years ago, and they were only cheap about $5 each at the end or close to the end of summer. There were bigger ones and better quality but they were much more expensive, and these do the job I need well.
I am very very happy with this method of helping to keep my home cool.
When I worked nights and slept during the day. In summer I would freeze large plastic storage containers full of water with a lid so a two litre container. I would than get it as I went up to bed and set up my fan so that the breeze skimmed over the container. I got to sleep with a cool breeze, and if I woke up and was hot I would grab another one replace it and get more sleep.
I also will have a few freezer blocks and use them on my person as you would a heat block, but to cool down. I have also sat with my feet in water with a freezer block in the water. Sigh bliss.
Your wrists are one of your areas on your body that if you cool will help cool you down, I will have a ice pack and place it in a towel and put my wrists on it, and behind my neck.
keeping hydrated and reducing sugar intake is great sugar will make you hotter
If you do not have air conditioning it really does help. For hardly a lot of money and both of these frugal tips will last you for many years.
Nutritionist Kerry Torrens advises Ice-cold lollies, slushies and ice cream might seem like natural choices when you want to cool off, but they may actually do more harm than good. “Cold food and drinks might give you an initial cooling effect but it’s short-lived,” says Kerry. “That’s because consuming food leads to an increase in temperature as the process of digestion is heat-generating. This combined with the rapid cooling initiated by cold food and drinks means your body over-compensates by increasing your core temperature. So you may actually end up feeling hotter than you did to start with!” That sorbet doesn’t sound so appetising after all…
Drinking something hot on a sunny day might feel like the least appealing thing to do, but warm drinks can actually help regulate your body temperature. Kerry says: “Hot drinks make your core temperature rise and that makes your body want to cool down so you sweat more to lose heat through your skin.” ‘Thermogenic’ foods like spices and chilli also increase body temperature as they kick-start our metabolism. This promotes sweating, which has a cooling effect.
Makes sense when you think about India and the Carribean, Mexico, Chile and Thailand, Malyasia, other countries with hot temperatures and a diet with spicy and hot food.
I will have cold water in the fridge and flavoured cold teas, some I have made much better and cooling with no sugar added to keep you cool and hydrated.
I give my dogs a yogurt ice block I make for them just using greek yogurt no flavouring or sugar. I dont give them too them until they have begun to melt as it may be too cold for them straight from the freezer. They love these and my cool carrots, I place carrots in the fridge and they munch away on them they seem to really love carrots and chilled on a hot day, brilliant. I dont let them outside and we do our exercise in the cool if possible as I am aware of how hot the ground, tar and cement paths can be on their paws.
My thoughts for people I know (having lived in Canberra ACT (Australias National Capital), who live in the Southern and Eastern sides of Canberra. To fellow bloggers who live in the ACT, surrounding areas of Canberra and NSW who are impacted by the fires and all that happens as you wait anxiously I do understand exactly what you are going through. The Chief Minister of the ACT declared a State of Emergency a short time again. As weather today and over the weekend as hot weather and strong winds are fanning the flames and threatening Canberra and the surrounding areas. Several small communities are also under threat. It is a very concerning time as temperatures are high wind is picking up and the countryside is undefendable, except by air, until it hits land that is more likely to be settled. Saturday (eastern standard daylight saving time Australia) is meant to be worse than today and once the fires come over the mountains which is being set as a very high chance.
Tindbinbilla Nature Reserve has a research area that has been working on breeding these endangered Frogs, which after the fires in the Kosciuszko National Park.
The area where these frogs were being cared for in the Kosciusko National Park has been burnt in the recent bush fires the article at the following site gives you information about the Australian Armys work
These visuals may be confronting but are not intended to create fear or panic. Their purpose is to motivate our community to respond to warnings, alerts and calls to action.
The left image shows the potential spread of the Orroral Valley Fire from Friday 31 January – Sunday 2 February 2020 for the ACT only.
This image is based on worst-case predictions from multiple fire behaviour scenarios for the ACT and encompasses three days of worst-case modelled bush fire activity based on temperature range, wind variations, atmospheric pressure, relative humidity, terrain, and fuel availability.
The right image has been developed by the NSW Rural Fire Service (NSWRFS).
These images may appear to differ. The reason is: • the ACT model shows a larger potential burn area and locations at risk of ember attack if current areas of spotting are not contained. • the NSW image depicts a 24-hour model while the ACT image depicts a 72-hour model. • the ACT image also reflects the impact of more extreme localised weather conditions experienced across the Territory in recent weeks. • you will notice that the core burn area for both models is consistent.
These models are predictions only and are not a reflection of current fire activity. They are an indication of how the Orroral Valley fire may behave in the coming days.
Thank you Canberra. In closing, be alert not alarmed.
NOTE: Data shown are potential spread only. Actual fire behaviour may vary. Please monitor local emergency services for up to date fire information: www.esa.act.gov.au and www.rfs.nsw.gov.au
It is a very concerning time as temperatures are high wind is picking up and the countryside is undefendable, except by air, until it hits land that is more likely to be settled. Saturday (eastern standard daylight saving time Australia) is meant to be worse than today and once the fires come over the mountains which is being set as a very high chance.
The Huon Valley was in a situation similar Dec2018-May2019. My thoughts also with those in Tasmania Fingal area, where fires continue, along with fires in South Australia, Victoria NSW and Tasmania. With hot and windy weather forecast for the Eastern side of Australia this weekend many fires have the potential to flare up.
Queensland on the other hand seems to be finally having a wet season.