Frida Kahol chicks

Well hello so much has been happening down here on my little acre in the Huon Valley of Tasmania. Finally more sunshine, and heat. So my tomatoes are ripening and developing Yeah. Pumpkins and zucchinis are doing well for me. However the most exciting news is Frida Kahol’s chicks have arrived!

I just happened to hear Frida making the sweetest noises as I was walking to release the other hens. So I went in to see her and found the first chick. It was so wonderful. One other egg was pippin.

So next morning there were 5 chicks! Yeah. 3 yellow chicks and two darkish.

The weather forecast was for high temperatures the following day. 36dC/96.8dF. I went out in the morning and it was so hot. I checked the chicks and Frida Kahol. The chicks were standing outside and Frida Kahol was panting. I made the decision to move them all inside. As it was only 9am and it was already 26dC/79dF. The following three days were to be hotter. It ended up at 38dC/100dF and did not drop down below 23dC/73dF overnight which is very rare here.

So nine chicks. Bringing my flock numbers up to 15.. argh. I wait to discover the genders of them. I imagine if I have quiet a few females I will potentially sell them when they are point of lay which will cover the cost of raising them. My hope is there are very few roosters. Only time will tell. I am so glad that I did cull them as she would have hatched 18 chicks out of 20 eggs.

Above the chicks and Frida have been in side for four days now. I have to admit that I have to still fix the small coop for them all. I only need some nails. As I also need to fix the run as one of my neighbours said she almost ran over one of them. Not that it was an issue for them to have them over there. I just personally would prefer to have them confined a bit more and only let out for shorter periods during the cooler months. They are so delightful to listen to. I love listening to Frida just talking to them gently and teaching them.
In the last photo above note where the food container is. Inside the nesting box. I set it outside in away from the entrance into the nesting box. Why would Frida be moving it into the nesting box.

Busby was so unsettled mid morning he kept heading up to the front door and back to me. I opened the door so he could go out, but he did not. I returned to the seat where I was working and he again came pacing back and forwards. I became annoyed as I was trying to concentrate and he was just distracting me The door was open and he could go out.
A bit later I went to the loo, and as I approached (Busby was right by me) the door to the bathroom I heard distressed chirps and calls coming from inside. On opening the door I noticed one of the chicks had got through the pen rails so Frida was distressed the chick was distressed. I popped the chick back in and all was quiet. When I came out and sat down. Busby laid down and settled. Turns out he was trying to get me to go and see what was happening.

I took three of the chicks to visit a couple of my neighbours with young girls. The girls loved cuddling the chicks. The chicks were so sweet and settled with them. Frida is an amazing Mamma. She understandably does not want her babies taken or her removed from them. I decided before returning the chicks to Mamma I would introduce them to Busby. Miss Treacle was not interested.

Busby was so incredible in trying to get my attention earlier, I decided that he should meet the chicks. He did push his nose in a bit hard at first, so I gently lifted each chick up to his nose so he could sniff their bottoms. This worked well and he was so very gentle with them. The chicks did not seem perturbed by his big nose sniffing them. He is so good around the babies. He is improving around the big hens and Roopert too.

So life here at Echidna Home is full.

blessing to You, Tazzie.

I have very low expectations:

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.

Blessings to You. Tazzie

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

Spring flowers in my garden.

All photos below have been taken by me and are the property of Echidna Home.

Rocket Flowers are so beautiful, and the bee pollinating it wonderful

Apple flower this is a crab apple. The apples have red flesh.

Comfrey

I think these are Spanish bluebells not the English ones

Daisy bush in flower

Lilac

Iris.

Grevillia

Bumble bees are huge this year.

dark purple iris

sweet pea

native climber

Pineapple Slavia

my faviourite flower white daisy with yellow centre.

blessings to You, Tazzie

Managing my little acre.

Sometimes in my garden things just grow. I have an area of land that is a small paddock and when my wattle trees (acacias) flower they drop their seeds and a sapling will grow. I had one come up last year and I left it as it blocks wind on two plum trees without shading them.

This year another sapling grew. I watched it and realised that it would end up shading my vegetable garden and hazelnuts bushes. I had also noted that in my native area, where many acacias had self seeded some were very scrawny and others had become too big shading some of the other natives and bird attracting flowering shrubs I had planted.

I made the really hard decision to take several trees out. There was no point in just pruning them as wattles grow rapidly and tall. I made sure that no birds had began nesting in any of the sapplings (they were not big trees) as I could not have removed them if they had. Then with my hand pruning saw I removed them.

As hard as it was I know it was the best thing for the plants that are already in the garden. That they will have their needs met. With more space I can put in some smaller shrubs that will feed the native birds, bees, animals and bugs.

I want my garden to be a place where every creature can live in harmony and have access to water and food.
I made errors where I put fruit trees years ago, and now the two blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon) have grown huge, even though my partner pruned the tops off them years ago. I love them as do the birds. The bees when these two are in blossom (and they have been lately) have been loving them too. This growth has also added to altering where the sun falls on areas of my garden. I have had no hakea flowers this year and my hakea is a pin cushion one which I love. I realise now that it has probably been planted in the incorrect position all those years ago. It is to large to move now and I will hope that it will have its amazing flowers next year.

I guess no matter how well you plan your garden, and how tall or wide the label or nursery person says the small tree /shrub you are buying will be. It will all depend on the situation you put it and what you plant near it or where you plant it near. How young other areas of your garden are, and like me the seeds that germinate and you let grow. That will make you face the choice of removing it.

I have some more pruning of some trees to undertake. With the forecast for the next five days to be back to winter temperatures and snow to 800m it may be the perfect time to undertake this. There are several trees growing on the old dam wall Chrysanthemoides monilifera ssp. monilifera

a very pretty looking shrub/tree when it is in flower. As it is now. I
https://dpipwe.tas.gov.au/invasive-species/weeds/weeds-index/declared-weeds-index/boneseed

have noticed it has spread up our little road and around a dam further up. They are small and I will attempt to get them tomorrow. My own and I think there are two. I would like to remove them before they set seed.
As a land holder it is my responsibility to remove those on my land. The spread of these shrubs trees is really noticeable this year, along the river. This means that next year if they are allowed to seed it will be worse. They impact our native forests under story destroying the natural diversity. They also can become a huge fire hazard.
I can not pull the trees out I have to prune them, bag them and then treat the stump with a herbicide. As pulling a mature tree/shrub out will disturb the seeds and create more. Thought the seedlings pull out really easily.

I do believe many people who buy many acres of land with bush to homestead on may be unaware that they have responsibility for weed management, and land care. On top of attending fencing, stock, vegetables, fruit trees, gardens, normal family life, and work, this will add substantial time to being on your homestead and caring for it. Something to think about.

If like me you are on a small income, and have a little patch of paradise. Or you dream of it, begin where you are. Grow things in pots, if you rent. If you are buying a flat or unit and it has a balcony grow a garden out on it. You will learn so much.

If you have a garden no matter how small get out there and begin. As if you expect to move to land, you need to know some things, and just reading and watching Youtubers is not enough.

I look at a neighbour down the road, two properties away. He has an amazing garden, he is 91 he walks every day, he grows his own vegetables and fruit. He created his own amazing water collecting set up. Yet his garden has very different microclimates to mine. Next door has too.

I have found over time that I have to look at my own place, how the sun moves, and how the garden changes year to year. How when I first moved here the garden was fine in the front area, but now it would get too much heat and wind if it were still in that location. I moved it when I had to have my French Drain replaced.

I am waiting for some people to come and remove some of the blackberries of my land and then I will remove some more very sad and sick wattles. My neighbour and I are thinking of potential a lovely native bird and butterfly area on the bit in between our two properties.

The garden is never the same year to year. Some years the rain is perfect and the tomatoes are fantastic, others are a bad year. Similar for the fruit trees. You do the preparation and you tend as best you can.

I love it, it is addictive this growing your own food. I try not to eat (fresh) tomatoes form now until my own are ripe..I am laughing at this as the seeds are not even up yet. It makes my mouth water at the thought of that first red tomato (or green or black depending on the variety) that I pick smelling of sunshine warm to the touch and cut or bit into it, juices running down my fingers and that flavour. HMMmm.

I have picked stunning sweet juicy broadbeans the last two days. The pods were straining with the swollen seeds. I just ate them raw. Delicious!
Similarly I was eating rocket and coriander leaves as I was walking about the veggie garden and one asparagus spear. The joy of my garden. Rocket is flowering, as is the coriander and my sprouting broccoli. All I will let produce seeds. I aim to harvest the majority of them as I am not sure I want them all just popping up everywhere as I have so much to plant out soon. Fingers crossed

Where ever you are, I do hope you are able to grow some herbs or greens, at least have access to fresh local vegetables at a reasonable price. I know how much better I feel when I eat lots of fresh veggies and fruit.

I am so thankful for all I have and for you.

blessings to You, Tazzie




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