The House of Rock

Out little blue chook house has finally opened for business. It has take us a little longer than anticipated to lodge the girls (and a couple of boys!) in the new structure. Constantly looking for improvements, Colin decided to put in a ramp to connect the old enclosure to the new blue house.

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Then there was the matter of enticing the chickens up the ramp! A little bit of hands on coaxing was needed. The Plymouth Rock youngsters were the first to find their way in and establish their places. The old Isa browns had to be helped up into the loft but once there were as happy as “chickens in a loft”.
On the other hand, the older Plymouth Rock girls are the most reticent and sceptical of the lot. Colin needed to show them where to perch after finding a nice two metre branch to wedge in place in the house. For the last three nights he had to bring them into the blue house and position them on the perch. On a positive note they are placid and do not peck the little chooks.

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Meanwhile, there was still the problem of how to protect the old wooden floor of the house. We eventually decided to lay a rubberised matting to offer some barrier between the wood and the inevitable droppings. Sarge, our old cat always needs to inspect for quality assurance!

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After some research, I decided to make my own special blend of litter. I mixed equal parts of straw, dried leaf litter and sterilised wood shavings and spread it evenly on the floor. The images speak for themselves.

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Now, after enclosing their run in heavy duty rabbit fencing – we have had a number of fox attacks recently – we can finally breath a sigh of relief that they are all safe, warm and happy. The little blue chicken house has been dubbed the House of Rock – Plymouth Rock, that is.

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Enjoy your chickens, they are wonderfully independent and entertaining pets.

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Australia Day

26th January commemorates the landing of the First Fleet in 1788 in Sydney Cove. Therefore, it is a public holiday for Aussie citizens. We also must take into account indigenous cultures who often do not see this as a day to celebrate,

As we are part of the Buick car club, we take part in the RACV display bringing our 1982 Riviera to the gardens. With milder weather setting in, there were countless classic cars to peruse. Some of my favourites were

20130126-130931.jpg 1929 Pierce Arrow which always reminds me of the Robert Lowell poem, Grandparents.

20130126-132031.jpg Our Buick

20130126-132113.jpg even teddy got a ride!

20130126-132210.jpg there were some quirky exhibits….

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No Australia Day is complete without the local wildlife: possums, dingoes and snakes

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20130126-132511.jpg Government House is open today for those who wish to view its splendour and for me that was the magnificent magnolia!

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No doubt we live in a vast land of many contrasts and today’s outing was no different. What did you do for Australia Day or how do you commemorate your national day?

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Liebster Award Nominations

Although I have only been blogging since September, I have found it one of the most rewarding outlets for my writing and thoughts on gardening, travel, pets and the every day happenings of life. So it was with much amazement that our blog has been nominated for the Liebster Award. As a newcomer, I have been buoyed by the feedback and kind words of my regular followers and visitors. My nominator was Nitty Gritty Dirt Man, whose blog I follow from the other side of the world, and one which never ceases to inspire with its heartfelt, entertaining and socially aware commentary – danke schoen to you Kevin!

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To The Lighthouse

Our little soirée on the border of Queensland and New South Wales has seen us celebrate our anniversary by walking to Fingal Point lighthouse. Colin’s dear friend, who passed away a couple of years ago, has a memorial at the site. It is breathtaking.

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Fingal Lighthouse is only a short walk from the road but the colour of the ocean and the coolness of the air are a welcome reprieve in this hot weather.

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The area is an aboriginal sacred ground as well as being home to many native plants and wildflowers.

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Pandanus palms line the foreground to the lighthouse and the boardwalk.

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I must admit that Colin and I both have a fascination for lighthouses. This particular one is a small example with its big brother Byron Bay Lighthouse a mere fifty kilometres away and designated as the most easterly lighthouse in Australia.

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Secluded beaches are a must see and a must swim in this part of the coastline. Though not part of what is known as The Gold Coast, Fingal is much more inviting and private and only a few kilometres from the township of Kingscliff. Be mindful of the rips though and check for a patrolled beach if you are unsure.

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In some ways we are thankful to be temporarily away from the heat wave and bush fires which are gripping many parts of the country. Our thoughts go out to those who are fighting bush fires all along the eastern seaboard and to those who have lost loved ones and properties in Tasmania.

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A Very Hot Day

The weather bureau has forecast a day of extreme fire danger today. The thermometer is due to rise to around 40 degrees C. Such are our summers on the mountain and indeed in the southern quarter of Australia. The risk of a bush fire is a real possibility in the months of January and February. We have been very fortunate the last few summers with lots of rain both prior and during the summer months. Not so this season. No rain has fallen for nearly four weeks and this is cause for concern. Having spent many days watering to give the garden a head start, the heat is now upon us.

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As we are due to go away for our anniversary all of next week and with more hot weather to come we have made a decision to transport the baby chickies and our adult girls to a safer location just in case, about thirty kilometres to caring relatives.

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This will have a twofold purpose. Firstly, it will allow the young Plymouth Rocks to assimilate with their older sisters. I actually saw them “kissing” through the wire cage the other day.Secondly, it will relieve my neighbours from their very generous offers to feed them each day in our absence. Given the extremes in weather at the moment, I will be comforted that at least I will not need to worry about the chickens while we are away.

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The sun room has now been dubbed the hot house inferno!

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Much to their disgust, the brown chooks now have to share their lodgings with Psycho, the rooster.

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Thankfully, we had this nifty chicken carrier to make the job easier. All we have to do now is pray for rain and relieve us of this scorching heat.

Our New Year Plymouth Rocks

We have been wanting to add to our Plymouth Rock chicken family and so a few days ago, just after the business of Christmas ended, Colin and I took off in the old ute to collect our four new additions. We had to travel two hours to Elmore and City Chicks who had just what we were looking for.

20130101-222059.jpg After taking a wrong turn we arrived at City Chicks.

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Gorgeous wide open space just out of Bendigo.
There were hundreds to lovey chicks to choose from including a platinum Sussex, very special. But we had our eyes in some dark or light barred Plymouth Rocks and Jane, who runs City Chicks was more than helpful in our endeavour.

20130101-222350.jpg I wanted one of each!

20130101-222447.jpg The platinum Sussex.

20130101-222530.jpg Our four new additions are twelve weeks old and still a little too young to join the big girls.

20130101-222652.jpg Very cute!

20130101-222754.jpg The new chicken house has been introduced to the old girls but this will have to wait for another post after we lay some new hay!

20130101-223119.jpg Meanwhile our little chickens (two boys and two girls) have been kept separate in their new hutch and little run. The weather has been superb, warm days and cool nights. They have been eating lots of kitchen scraps as well as their special gritty meal. We can see them growing right before our very eyes. Happy New Year everyone!

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Love / Hate Relationship

It’s been a gruelling few days. My arms ache, my legs ache and when I close my eyes I see WEEDS, WEEDS and more weeds. Our garden is quite large and the recent heavy rain and heat has encouraged everything to grow a trillion times over. But what has really made my job arduous is the ivy.
I HATE IVY. Now you will never, ever read that I hate anything – I am quite accepting, especially when it comes to nature. However, over the last ten days since I returned from the sub tropics I have given myself the task of working the garden for at least two hours a day. As I can never stop myself I often spend five or six hours out there with the cats and chickens and, yes of course, the ivy. Here is what I have to contend with…..

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A little climbing ivy!

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A variegated variety!

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Some pretty ivy…

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And then there’s the ground cover ivy….

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So, it’s this type of ground covering ivy that I am tackling – and really, to no avail. So, I have decided to not despise it but look at ways go admire and embrace its potential. Just like many things in life which are beyond our control, the ivy now for me represents steadfastness, determination and survival. It is more than just an out of control aspect of the garden. Delving into historical representations of ivy I found that it was a symbol of royalty, often woven as crowns for gods in Greek and Roman mythology. Bacchus wore a crown of ivy and of course Yuletide decorations included English Ivy in and around country households – fireplaces, candles, wreaths and, of course, to decorate the Yule log itself. In matters of love, ivy is symbolic of fidelity and constancy.

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I guess then I am looking at ivy for its potential – what it can give back to us. Yesterday, while we attended a Christmas function at the historic 1850’s homestead in Eynesbury, I couldn’t help but notice the controlled ivy feature…

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Yes, now I see its beauty and potential – sometimes we have to look at challenges in other ways. In the greater scheme of things, the ivy is part of the garden – tame it or tolerate it – but I now choose to turn it into an asset – with a little guiding hand, of course. Do I now love ivy? Let’s say, I have chosen to use it to my advantage. Have you ever had to look at challenges in creative ways? Enjoy the Yuletide preparations.

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Inside The New Chicken House

Today we are close to completing the interior of the little blue, chicken house. I can now stand inside and look out of the three little windows which are lined with fly screening. The chicken house is nestled under large trees and therefore is really cool inside given that today’s temperature has just reached 36 degrees! The little house is what I imagine a Virginian cabin in the woods would seem like – will have to revisit “The Waltons”!

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Colin decided to create multi storied levels for the girls including an attic. They really love to climb upwards. The orange chicken tubs are secured in place on a ledge. Houdini chicken has already tried them out – maybe she likes the colour! We still have a few more things to do like lay some rubberised matting on the wood floor and some straw for the nesting boxes and find a way for them to climb up to the attic – maybe a walkway to the roosting area. I welcome you thoughts and any ideas we might be able to incorporate. Let’s hope we can finish it for Christmas!

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