It’s all go on Serendipity Farm

Hi All

Today I let out the broodies and their chicks. I got very sick of watching the bossy Wyandotte attack all of the other hens and the last straw was seeing one of the broodies perched up as high as she could go inside the coop with her remaining baby on her back whilst the Wyandotte patrolled the outside area. I opened up the door and ushered her out with her babies. I then looked at the other mothers looking out of the compound and figured “one out…all out!”

This was the very first chook that went broody (one might say the cause of it all!) with her 4 chicks. She has the prettiest chicks but not the biggest. She is also the scapegoat of anything that the wyandotte sees as a problem and should she decide to take umbridge at anything this is the chook that she is going to take it out on. She is the best mother when it comes to sheltering chicks that aren’t hers. As you can see, she is having a lovely time showing her babies how to dig up some garlic

Here is the wyandotte with her chicks. She ended up with 4 chicks like the last chook but her babies are considerably larger than all of the other chicks because she is such a bully and insists on her babies getting the best of everything. She is a very protective mother which is a good thing, but next time she gets clucky she is going to be separated off from any other broodies as she is nasty!

Here are some of the chicks on their own. They are surprisingly independent and only occasionally need to make sure where their mothers are. Its lovely to see the mothers doing what nature intended them to do which is teach their chicks how to forage. Most of the area has been overturned by overzealous mums and little chicks rootling for slaters. Between the chickens and the ducks, good luck to any pests remotely intent on inhabiting this area

The mums and chicks have been having a ball outside scratching every inch of ground around the coop. One of the hens (the aforementioned broody with 1 chick left) has just lost her baby because she totally abandoned it and ran off to join the non-broodies and hasn’t been back at ALL to see if the poor little thing is alright. It’s now been put with Pingu…escaped the compound…and is being put back again! Yin is over the moon as he now has 4 more hens to propagate with and his chest puffed out with pride when he saw all of his offspring…(he isn’t a very bright rooster…) and so far, the ferals have remained at bay. We are keeping an eye on them all and Steve is outside working at repotting all of the little veggie seedlings that we grew from seed and various other plants that really need repotting. He just came in and mentioned that the mycorrhizae (symbiotic fungus that most plants need on their roots to allow them to grow and survive) around the roots of one of our pines that he was repotting, had filled the pot. You have to make sure to transfer this mycorrhizae into the new pot with the root system as otherwise you will most probably lose your plant. This beneficial relationship is somewhat like humans and our beneficial gut bacteria. Without them, we fail to thrive.  There are even businesses that sell mycorrhizae…

We are keeping the mass of spent potting mix to toss into the bottom of our raised garden beds. My knee is getting better and soon we will be out in the veggie garden removing agapanthus and making garden beds.

We are baking today. It’s not hard to do, it takes very little time and we get a whole lot of lovely fresh bread to put into the freezer that tastes 100 times better than anything that we can buy from the shop. The best part about it is that you can get it going and just leave it to do its thing while you are outside doing other things. We are going to make 3 batches of bread today. That’s 12 large loaves of bread in total. It will get made slowly throughout the day and as it’s just started raining and its set in now, we will probably stay in the house around the fire thinking how lucky we are to have a roof over our head and the brains to buy that wood stove.  Pingu just got brought back inside but her sibling has been trying to escape Pingu’s outside enclosure and we ended up letting it go and hopefully its old enough now to be alright on its own because its mother has abandoned it completely now. Steve is going to use 1 entire batch of our bread (that’s 4 large loaves worth of dough) to experiment with and make all sorts of rolls. It’s fun to mess about with and each time that you experiment, you run the equal risk of making something delicious or something that shall never be spoken of again. It’s hard to pick the weather at this time of year. A week ago it was too warm to even contemplate lighting the fire for more than the absolute minimum time to let it heat up the hot water. Today, it’s going to be left on for most of the day as its quite cold, there is snow predicted on the higher mountain peaks up North and we simply don’t want to be cold. It may as well stay on all day and we can take advantage of it being on to bake biscuits, cook a few meals that we can portion up and freeze for use later on in the week and we can put a big pot of soup on to bubble all day. I am going to have to get a bit more organised in the future as I have been buying dried beans. As a vegetarian, beans are a good source of protein and I used to buy canned beans, but it’s even more economical to cook the dried beans from scratch, plus you know what is going into them and they taste a whole lot better when you cook them yourself. I just need to remember to soak them overnight as now that we have the stove, we can leave them to cook for 3 hours if we like because it’s not a massive waste of electricity or gas. I have black beans, pinto beans and chick peas to get sorted and then I can batch them up and freeze them for future use.

Here’s a picture of Steve’s leftover chicken curry made into little pies. Who says leftovers are boring and tasteless? These certainly didn’t last long!

Do you like the new cooling rack that Steve made the other day? He is a clever little lad isn’t he?

I am going to start eating lots of hummus for my lunch with raw veggies. Not so much for losing weight, but for injecting some much needed vitamin and mineral content into my diet. I know that you predominately meat eaters out there will be snickering at me and my beans, but if you cook them right, you can make some amazing meals. I am not one for eating food for health’s sake. If it tastes less than great, it’s not going to get eaten. Steve spent about 8 months living as a vegetarian (his choice) and we learned a lot of very tasty ways to make veggies and beans taste great. One thing that I can’t stand is green lentils. They are pretty disgusting unless they are softened down to a paste and masked with a whole lot of other flavours. There is something about them that makes them akin to pond water flavoured to me. I tried Puy lentils…same deal people just smaller! Don’t let anyone fool you about lentils…the only good ones are the red ones. I like split peas, I like most other beans except for red kidney beans that are nasty, and am generally a very non-fussy person but lentils are not real food. Because I have been a vegetarian and then vegan (and back again) for almost the last 23 years I have amassed a huge collection of recipes for vegetarian food. I kind of think that lacto-ovo vegetarians are cheating a bit. Who couldn’t like something dripping with cheese, layered with cream and coated in egg and breadcrumbs? Too easy you guys. Being a vegan is a bit harder but then they pulled the stops out and introduced the raw food diet. What is it with these people who constantly need to torture themselves a bit more so that the know that they are alive? There are good and bad points about most of these diets. I think it’s up to us to take the good and toss out the bad. Eat more raw salads, have them with olive oil and lemon juice, and have a bit of seasonal fruit every now and then. Eat less meat and if you do eat meat, make sure its good quality. Have some fish if you feel like it, eat a bit of butter and have some good quality bread. Don’t deprive yourselves of good food because it’s probably the most universally easy way to enjoy your life. Throw in a few glasses of red and the odd cup of tea or coffee. DON’T EAT PROCESSED CRAP. Try to buy food from Australia whenever you can and just lighten up and don’t think that you are anything special because you don’t eat something. For every wanky person who has self-prescribed ‘allergies’ (mostly by parents usually bordering on Munchhausen’s syndrome with their poor kids to try to make them something ‘special’) there is some poor genuine allergy sufferer who would give their back teeth to be able to sink their teeth into some cheese, a peanut butter sandwich or a nice fresh loaf of bread. As a race, we humans are amazingly adaptable. If our bodies were not able to adapt to what we put them through on a daily basis, we would all have died out and the insects would be ruling the earth. I guess the more ‘civilised’ we become, the more precious we also become about ourselves. I would just like to tell all of you parents who won’t let your children play in the dirt…eat snails…kiss the dog…pat the cat… eat anything with sugar in it…eat their own ear wax (yeh…ok..that’s gross!) But you get my gist… if you don’t let your children deal with the real world and get a bit ill initially when their immune systems are working overtime processing what is good and what is bad…then you run the risk of helping humans go backwards down the genetic highway into oblivion. Stop cossetting your kids. They need to develop healthy immune and digestive systems and to do that they need to eat the odd slug, shrub, touch noses with the dog and lick windows. It’s how they learn and it’s what gives their internal flora and fauna the ability to strengthen and grow as well. Just like protecting our kids from their own actions allows them to be spoiled externally…not allowing them to take the consequences for their internal actions will do the same thing inevitably. Plus if you tell your kids that they can’t have something, and you stop them from doing it, as soon as they get old enough they will race out and do it just to spite you. A 2 year old snogging the dog is cute…a 15 year old doing the same thing borders on weird and perhaps even illegal…

I am going to post this blog post tonight (Sunday) because I won’t be able to post it tomorrow. We will have our power cut off from 8am till 3pm thanks to new power poles going in on the road that we live on. We are fine with that, but think of all of the people that have electric stoves…kettles etc. who won’t even get a cup of tea till after 3pm…I know that you simply wouldn’t want to be around me unless I got my initial cuppa, so I do truly feel for those people who will be suffering in silence (no radio or TV) for most of tomorrow. We have so much to do that it doesn’t matter if the power goes off for a few days. Pingu’s little brother/sister is now living inside with Pingu. Steve found him/her sitting on their own with no mum in the rain and so they now live inside. They are most definitely NOT used to being inside and despite the nice warm heat lamp he/she is decorating Steve’s music room with excrement and yelling at the top of their lungs. Sorry little guy, your mum has abandoned you and it’s our rules now! Pingu is none too happy to be sharing her house and her mum with someone so uncouth, but she is being graceful in her acceptance and allowed the newcomer to share in the warmth of the infra-red lamp. I must say, the newcomer is not being very gracious in return and is making more noise than the weep-weep bird on steroids. Hopefully it will settle down soon and just accept its new housing arrangements. It is calling for its mum but she has long ago given up on it. Steve forgot to cover Effel Doocark last night (so much to do it was inevitable) and she was fine. She has fits of getting off her eggs, running like crazy over to the food and water and then back to her eggs. Hopefully most of the 7 eggs that we put under her were fertile and will hatch out for her as she deserves at least a chance to have some babies because she has been so very loyal to her post. It’s just about time to put our first loaves of bread into the oven. Then the conveyer belt starts and the second batch get put into their tins to prove up while we get the third batch into their bowls and the fourth and last batch measured out. We are polishing off our home made peach wine. Its ‘interesting’ and after a glass it’s bearable and after 2 glasses it’s acceptable and any glasses from that point on its lovely stuff :o)

As you can see…I didn’t post this blog post last night. I forgot and it was just on 12am when we went to bed so you get it fresh off the press. Pingu’s new roommate who shall from now on be known as ‘Gremlin’ due to a lighter stripe on what is otherwise an entired black chick,  has no social graces. Steve’s music room is covered in little deposits, he/she sits on everything that they can reach including when I went in to check on them last night before I went to bed, the microphone stand that the infra-red light is attached to. It’s going to be a bit harder for this one to accept being inside because it’s been outside for its whole life. It is ok with us and will sit on our hand and is quite tame, but Pingu sometimes looks at it as if it is insane and Pingu is the one that gets to sit on her stuffed toy mother NOT the newcomer. I must admit that Pingu went through a phase a week or so ago when she was pulling the stuffing out of her ‘mother’. I would imagine that was the equivalent of a human 2 year old learning to say “NO”. They will both soon be outside in their enclosure. It’s just lucky that we removed the carpet from Steve’s room the other day so that the ‘deposits’ won’t be so hard to remove. It’s been a hard lesson to learn living out in the country. I have a natural level of clutter and chaos that I can tolerate and after that it starts to make me twitch. The 2 dogs alone can get me to this point within 10 minutes of dismantling a shoe, tearing up a stuffed toy or romping around in the rain and coming inside. When you add that we are in the country to that equation with free ranging chooks, ducks, all sorts of wildlife that likes to visit at night time and leave their own deposits all over the place and we have the 2 waif chickens inside it starts to add up and I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time shifting dirt and debris from one room to another and don’t even get me STARTED on dust in the country. I have had to learn to close my eyes and learn to live with a bit of country dirt because otherwise I would most probably develop a permanent twitch.

I have to get this post done and dusted now because we are going to lose our electricity for most of today thanks to some shoddy previous power work that resulted in power poles leaning on somewhat alarming angles. We will hopefully get our power back by about 3pm and Steve is off to drop the car in to have the water pump sorted out today. Thank goodness for our somewhat anonymous friend who is going to drop him back home. Earl crawled under the bed some time yesterday and ate our clock radio so Steve can attempt to fix that today and other than that, we have an enormous list of things to attempt to accomplish in the next 12 or so weeks so we won’t be short of things to do. It’s just getting motivated to do them :o) see you all hopefully tomorrow.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mum
    Nov 21, 2011 @ 09:00:37

    I love that cake rack Steve. Many a time over the years of cooking I’d have loved several of them! I am still waiting to se the proving rack Pen! It makes a hel;l of a difference, when you have the proper things to use eh? Your two orphans will soon be okay to put out with the other hens too, they’ll all snuggle up together at night. That wyandotte sounds a right little witch! Looking at the chicks, I’d say the long legged ones will be roosters! If it was me, when they were big enought, off with their heads & into the freezer with them! Nothing better tasting than your own produce. Maybe he who won’t be named would do the dirty deed Pen, but like when I had the geese, I had to do it myself, first putting a tissue over the eyes of said goose before deacapitating! A chicken is a doddle to do after them ! You will do anything to feed the kids etc.I hope the power isn’t off for too long love. Meanwhile, enjoy the stove. I can smell that bread from here !


  2. Pinky
    Nov 21, 2011 @ 11:08:51

    Have you learnt the genteel art of looking up their cloacaes ( or “clacker”) to sex those chickens yet? I’d like to see a photo of that Fronkii! Hahahahahahaha.
    I have heard that little “weep, weep” bird before Fran but I cant remember where, maybe Tassie when i’ve visited in the past but it sounds very familiar to me. I just googled “night time birds of northern tasmania” and got some Very interesting pictures i can tell you!!!!!! They include a group of old ladies and tassie devils and a couple in a cave! Hm,mmmmmmm.


  3. Kym
    Nov 21, 2011 @ 12:11:34

    Hi there Fran,
    Knowing how efficient Tassie is (gleened from yourself) you won’t be reading this until Wednesday! LOL. In the weekend paper we had a story about parents going to parks near hospitals to feed their children peanut paste, so that, should they go into analphalactic shock, they will be near an emergency department. How about that eh. The paper explained that allergies are on the rise, but the waiting list for allergy testing is also on the rise, some people are waiting over a year to have it done. Hence they are going to the park to do it themselves. Strange world eh,… My youngest son use to love eating dirt. He has sampled dirt from Perth to Coral Bay and I think he prefered the deep red stuff at Morowa as he consumed it the most! I have friends who clean everything before their kids could even touch it, and they won’t let them go to the local toilet for fear of germs!! Their kids are always coming down with something. So as you say a little bit of germ sampling is better than none. Just on the subject of snails, did you see the news coverage of the baby who died from eating one? They eat rats poo, never knew that one, and then if you eat them you get very sick. If you are very young it can kill you. So I think I will not let the grandies, when and if they arrive, eat snails or slugs. You made me very hungry with all your bread talk. I bet the house smelt devine…. sorry had to wipe the drool from my lips before it hit the keyboard. I’m glad to hear the knee is getting better. I was thinking our blokes should start a blog for themselves, they could have a lovely time exchanging ideas, complaining about our lists, I know mine is huge, etc. Oh well it’s a thought. Anyway I had better get back to the business of working so take care. I hope you do get the electricity back on by 3pm xx


  4. athursdayschild has a long way to go and much to be thankful for.
    Apr 19, 2013 @ 06:06:32

    The cooling rack is beautiful. Glad your knee is better. I also love split peas, particularly split pea soup. This coming weekend would be perfect for it, since our temperatures are supposed to drop again.


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