Friday, 9 March 2018
Thursday, 1 March 2018
Thursday, 22 February 2018
Hawley House provides plenty of wetlands for birds and whilst they are pretty relaxed about most things, well behaved dogs are expected. We sat outside on the verandah for breakfast (where this photo was taken) and enjoyed this gorgeous morning. Whilst the toast was cooking in the dining room I sat in the sun with Bennie when a young girl came up to him and gave him a pat. Always the opportunist, Bennie licked the child, wagged his tail and took off towards the dining room with me thinking he was secured to the leg of the table. In amongst the dining guests, Bennie races up to the toaster, on back legs puts his paws on the plate where the toast is and wags his tail. Oops. Not meant to be in there. A few looks of disgust from fellow guests as I race in and drag him out by the lead to wait for his toast there. So much for best in class.
Friday, 9 February 2018
Guinea Fowl are strange looking creatures. We have four of them. Two in this lighter grey colour and two that are a more deep bluey grey (very on trend you know!!). Their heads look like they've been dipped in a bucket of white paint and they have bright pink wobbly attachments underneath. We don't know if they are male or female as they all look identical so we don't ask any question as they go about their daily business. We expected that the four fowls would stick together and form a posse of snake protection around our property. They're amazing to watch as they walk around the perimeters, heads downward, forensically examining every blade of grass and patch of dirt. If they find something of interest then all hell breaks out and the screaming goes on and on. It's the sound of someone jumping up and down on a rusty trampoline, great!! The excitement is usually not much more than a garden hose or something that's been relocated or anything new. One of the four has decided she's a hen and hangs with the main chook crowd all lead by our main rooster Lewis (formerly known as Lulu until he started to crow). The other chooks don't seem to mind and are now at the point of accepting anyone a bit odd looking into the fold. We've got a few of those. Our neighbours Isa Brown chooks, being the standard, fast laying (short living) battery hen of choice chicken have all but been bred out by our wandering Bantam, Wyandotte, Polish breeds and misfits. Now I see their coup filled with bright colours and feathered legs. I'm just wondering if it's only a matter of time until we see some white painted heads over the fence as well.
Friday, 2 February 2018
Not a good start to the day. Two huntsman spiders in the bedroom. Count them. TWO. I detest these things at the best of times but to sneak in the open window during the night through the tiny space between the fly screen and the window, well that's just un-Australian. Particularly when you've paid a small fortune for fumigation. Max (pictured) is no deterrent for these unruly stick invaders. The best he can do is remove one of their legs and wonder why they don't want to play any more. Max's hunting skills are somewhat lacking. He loses interest in most crawling things pretty quick and prefers to spend his time embedded in a Laura Ashley blanket. The chooks are the masters when it comes to tracking down insects. They can spot a creepy crawly from a great distance. Could have done with them in the room last night but the crowing thing at the end of the bed would be a problem. Animals never fail to entertain around here. Every morning a well loved Ute drives past with two kelpie dogs tied up in the back. Every morning they both bark and bark with tails wagging as they go past. And then in the evening I hear them on return still barking, tails still wagging. I always imagine they are saying "We're off now, we're off to work..." and then "We're back now, we're back..". Hilarious. I don't suppose they are calling out to Max. He's busy anyhow.
Thursday, 25 January 2018
We're in need of some family planning on our farm. We don't cull anybody and we don't eat anybody either so if all is left to one's own natural instincts, we get more chickens than we can handle. The cacophony at the moment around 5am is concerning. Every rooster trying to out crow the other leaves us wide awake wondering why the most popular spot appears to be under our bedroom window. I've been attempting to cease the broody hen situation by turfing Patsy out of the nesting box on a daily basis. Apart from the fact it must be at least 45 degrees in there (it's tin and only insulated with spider webs), every afternoon I pick her up and toss her into the chook yard to eat and drink. Which she does and then returns the next day. And more often than not there is not a single egg under her. I'm at a loss as to why she'd persist with this. Hens being on some occasions more smarter than we think, then hide a pile of eggs under a tree or shrub somewhere only to emerge about 4 weeks later with a fluffy dozen like the ones in this picture. And as cute as they are, when they start to crow, not so cute. The learning to crow stage is pretty funny though. Some will get up to pitch but fail to hold key. We've got one out there at the moment that sounds like someone has pulled the plug on him half way. A bit like the sound of a record player being turned off at the power mid way through the tune (if you recall such a thing). So the next person that talks about the peaceful life of country living, I will understand - has never actually lived there.
Thursday, 18 January 2018
It's a wonderful time of year for fruit. We've got bowls of what was termed 'last of the apricots' in two large bowls on the kitchen bench ready for preserving. I'm not sure that he meant for ever and eternity but we've probably got enough anyhow. I've been enjoying working my way through the excess that is Christmas food supply shopping in that we have enough food should the Tour De France happen to swing by for a quick bite, but mostly it's just us. We ended up having two giant hams (one won in a raffle, the other given in a hamper) so I'm happily doing ham many ways. Ham surprise, ham and everything etc. Last night was cooked up ham pieces in a basil pesto made with more than a few missing ingredients. I savaged our little basil pot that had been doing remarkably well out in the courtyard until the first signs of seeds and flowers...and off with their heads I go. One bowl of pesto and now a pot of severed sticks. I didn't have pine nuts as the usual guest at a pesto whizz up but used some local walnuts instead. I didn't even have any Parmesan (is that the sound of Italy sinking I can hear?) so substituted vintage cheddar. And when I say vintage, it gained an additional vintage bit from being in my fridge. I suspect it saw the New Year in. Anyway. Some tomatoes were wrestled off the bushes that included Roma, Heirloom and Beefsteak varieties that were roasted in the oven until I remembered them. All got bung in with some imported artisan Penne pasta (sound of Italy rising again). A joy of ingredients, a simple dish and other than the pasta, most came from very close by. We're still enjoying the loads of berries still for sale and am stocking up the freezer fast. Once I've eaten everything else that I've got stashed in there.