Archive for the ‘Farmer K’ Category

How our cat deals with the those chooks!

Yes, one of our chooks laid this massive egg today.

No, it doesn’t fit in the normal egg box.

Yes, this is our cat and chooks stalking her in the background.

No, Panini is not enjoying their presence one little bit.

Yes, this is Panini inside a mini cardboard box.

No, she is not headless.

Things just seem better when she shuts those chooks out.

SUCCESS! Shutting Up Chooks.

After a few forced early morning starts something had to go down – big time!

Chicken drumsticks? Chicken soup? Chicken fillets?

To our horror, our lovely, quiet chooks all of a sudden decided that getting up at the crack of dawn and exploring the yard in a noisy fashion was cool. While exploring, they would spread out from one end of the garden to the other. One chook would be in the box laying her egg while the others busied themselves foraging for insects in the bushes. Then they would decide to check on one another to make sure everyone was accounted for (perhaps they heard me talking about chicken drumsticks, chicken soup and chicken fillets). The squarks and chatter would carry across our yard – back and forth, back and forth. My husband and I would jolt awake, jump out of bed and try to shoosh them – I am petrified of disturbing the neighbours!

So before we prepared to eat them, we decided to try a few things first ūüėČ

Our first plan of action – keep the chooks locked up in their pen until 7am. We closed up the little hole in the wire part of their cage which they could previously wander in and out of from their pen to the yard whenever they felt like it. This tactic didn’t work as the very next morning we experienced the earliest wake up call ever – 5am! It seems the chooks were up and bored from being all cooped up in the pen.

Our second and final plan of action – completely black out the pen. We figured the sun was responsible for letting them know when it was ‘appropriate’ to get moving, so we decided to control the light! Hubby spent most of Sunday making a door and covering the holes with boards. We put their seed and water in the pen so they had something to do in case they woke up early again and we went to sleep with joy in our hearts hoping that this was the solution we were craving. The result was perfection! 7am and no noise. We let them out just before we went to work and everyone went about their business refreshed and happy!

Here is a picture of the new and improved blackened out pen:

This was a dog kennel and hubby added in a laying box, door with latch and covered all the panels inside to stop the light.

The inside of the pen...all covered up and the ramp up to the laying box.

Happy chooks = happy people

So if you have a problem with vocal chooks, make their pen as black as possible!

Bursting at the Peas

We got back from two weeks of holiday time to find our Honeypod Peas were bursting at the seams with sweet goodness. I had never seen them so swollen before.

Harvesting some swollen Honeypod Peas from our veggie patch.

I was scared they were overdone so I harvested the big ones straight away and left some of the smaller ones (even though they are nice and round too) and ate these biggens for breakfast! ¬†They were so crisp, crunchy and sweet that I couldn’t leave them for lunch.

I still can’t believe how much better food tastes when it is grown by yourself, picked and eaten straight away. It really doesn’t get much better than this and there is no comparison in flavour to the shop variety.

The inside of these peas are awesome.

In other news, I think I need to pull out the entire broccoli plants. When we got home the broccoli heads had all flowered and spread out quite¬†straggly¬†so I had to chop them off completely and throw the top part away for the chooks to devour. Hopefully we don’t end up with broccoli flavoured eggs tomorrow morning – that would be gross. Maybe I will do a little experiment and leave the broccoli in just to see if they will grow some normal heads again…or is it too late?

Any ideas? Do you grow anything in your garden?

Tried & True Learnings From Herb-ing

So I have had my herb garden for a few months now and ready to reassess and replant a few bits and pieces in a couple of weeks. A lot of it will keep producing and will not be touched. I have learnt so much in a short space of time – from pretty much zilch to a few handy tips in owning a herb garden.

Trial and Error Tips –

Flatleaf Parsley – pick regularly otherwise it will grow too big and the leaves will thin out. Don’t be afraid to eliminate your parsley for cooking reasons (oops)….it will grow back, thank goodness.
Coriander – grew really fast for me. Use scissors to harvest and cut at the stems. It grows even quicker in part-shade and gets a nice dark green colour about it.

Rosemary – regularly has to have the chop otherwise it rebels and goes a little haywire. I think I need to get some cuttings to give away for friends who want to grow some. Any takers?

Spring Onion – if you throw leftover spring onion down the back at your fence as ‘compost’, it will grow and you will be sad that it is in the wrong place, but stoked that you have an awesome supply of spring onions for dips that you didn’t even have to plant or care for. I am careful where I throw my old tomatoes now….

YouTube – not a herb, but a very handy tool in working out when and how to harvest your herbs. I enjoy reading books, but I learn much better when it is visual so watching YouTube clips with people actually doing the pruning, planting, and picking really helped me learn.

Next Time –

First of all, I know what I use most and what I definitely need more of! Next round there will be no lettuce (it was a little fickle with where I have my herb garden planted…too much sunshine), but I will try again with the baby spinach (it went a little bitter…), more basil, more flat-leaf parsley for cooking (the curly parsley is great for salads so I have a mix of both), and more shallots (which I kept using before it got to its full potential).

Who knew there were so many types of rosemary? I have no idea which type I planted and they all have slightly differing flavours and growing habits, so next time I will take note of what I have. I also need a little planting calendar to make a mark of when and what I planted. I didn’t bother working out what seasons to plant what, I just did it cause that is the way I roll.

Next time, I will never ever leave my strawberries unattended when the chooks are on the prowl. I learnt this the hard way with my first harvest. Just a few survived to continue growing after the massacre.

Difference between the two

Can you tell? One of these eggs is from our smallest chook – organic & free range. The other eggs are from the shop.

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We had some eggs from the store in our fridge so I decided to get rid of them by cooking up my mother-in-laws famous Egg and Bacon pie. Our chooks egg is firmer and perkier. It is also a lot harder to puncture the yolk in comparison with the other flimsy version.

For dinner, I boiled some of our other homelaid eggs. Check out how yellow the yellows are!

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Oh, the pain!

Last weekend….

It was either Blacky McLaser Eyes or Sheryl or Beryl or Big Bertha who laid the first egg. We couldn’t tell because all four chooks had gathered in the nesting box vocalising their support as one of them squeezed out the very first egg. Hubby and I translated the “squark, crooak, roooak” sounds to “push, push, push!” Poor darling sounded like she was in shock…and pain. During her ordeal, all I cared about were the neighbours, who I quickly wrote a letterbox-note explaining that our chook was laying her first ever egg and we were sorry for the noise. It was 9am and the noise lasted for a good 30 seconds, but still. I have been told that as they lay a couple more, they become quieter. Can I hear anyone say STREEEEETCH? I think giving a couple of eggs to the neighbours down the track is not such a bad idea.

We were so excited when it went quiet and the four chooks sprinted out of the chook house and into the garden, none of them were waddling so we had no idea who had done the deed. We headed over to the laying area and opened up the lid to find our first golden egg (should I mention that before my hubby took a photo of this momentous moment in our backyard farming he actually thought about painting the egg gold!….I know.)

Just before we headed out for the day, we could hear one of our chooks in the nesting box fluffing about with the straw and making a nest. Sure enough, a couple of hours when we got home there lay another egg! This time it was definitely Sheryl. Good girl.

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Farmer K Update: growing our own food

My posts on here have been few and far between lately, so I thought I’d give you a quick update using photos of our vegie-growth in our backyard. Click here for the¬†previous¬†photos.

Garden Bed 1 - garlic, broccoli, honeysnap peas

Garden Bed 2 - carrots, celery and kale

Broccoli

It is all getting so big!

Our first tomato growing.

Our strawberries

First sign of a lemon on our lemon tree

Maximus trying to avoid the chooks as best he can.

Panini will have nothing to do with the chooks, but watches them carefully.

This Jasmine vine is growing on our water tank and smells incredible. When we leave the back door open the scent goes all through our house.