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Pumpkin pollinating (and few other things Ive learnt about pumpkin growing!)

We had a pumpkin plant of an indeterminable type pop up in the middle of a tomato hoop. Not realising what a monster we were unleashing, we let it grow. It was the biggest greenest thing in the garden and we were quite proud of it. One day we spotted a wee pumpkin growing from it and were SUPER excited. A few weeks later and we have a giant supermarket sized totally normal looking pumpkin growing in our garden! This was amazingly good fun.



When a second pumpkin started growing off the same vine we got a bit more serious about our illegitimate babies and decided to "grow pumpkins" (not they had needed our help up to this point!)

Here's what I did...

When we found rogue, self set pumpkin we let it grow but directed the main vine to areas of full sun but not in the vege patch. (ie, the place where normal people would have grass!) Pumpkins take up soooooo much room that we have started encouraging them out of the garden beds and then we guide them around the garden edging.…
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French Milled Soap - what you can do with all those waste soap bits and ends!

We managed to collect a whole bunch of those types of mini soaps that you get at hotel. You know the ones that are too small to do anything with but are too big to "throw out" and so they just get collected... I have done the wet 3 or 4 and press them together thing to make a bigger, more useful bar of soap but I figured there had to be a better way. I had heard of grating soap and melting it and remoulding it but I didn't realise it had the lovely name of French Milling!


Here's what I did...


First I made sure that all my wee soaps were dry - much easier to grate them dry than wet and sticky!


And then as I'm sure you have guessed - I grated them. The smaller the bits you make the easier the next step will be.


If you wanted it, you could sort your soaps into colours and make white and yellow French milled soap or you can go the rustic (who can be bothered separating the soaps) type look and just mix in all the bits of soap for a more random home made look!


Dry s…

Keeping Chinese Painted or King Quail - Our Experience!

I'm fond of eggs. I love the shape of them, the colours, the feel of a freshly laid egg and of course the birds that lay them! One day some one showed me a really cool egg that I hadn't seen before. It was tiny and speckled and so, so so cute! I thought it was laid by a wild bird but it turned out to be laid by a quail! Well - I just had to get me one of those birds! Or nine as it turned out!



Here's what happened...

Instead of doing the sensible thing and spending weeks researching quails and the many different types, I hit Gumtree and bought a trio for $15 - A bargain really! and so tiny. They are really just heart beats covered in feathers compared to the 3.5 kg chooks in the back yard!

I did organise a cage before getting the birds and I did spend a bit of time sorting that out but Quail Owning Tip #1 is to research the type of Quail you are getting and what their eggs look like before you purchase!!


I set up an old Guinea pig cage for my new babies. I put in a layer o…

How to make marmalade in the slow cooker!

A friend gave me a bunch (a bushel? a peck? a lot, anyway) of Pomellos that he had growing on his tree. Pomellos are a bit like a really big grapefruit. Its a citrus at any rate! Since I had a ton of lemons and a couple of oranges already, I decided to make a tri-citrus marmalade!

I wasn't in the mood to stand at the stove all day since it was so glorious outside, and when I was washing up the dishes (yes, from last night) I looked at the slow cooker and wondered... "can you make marmalade (or jam) in a slow cooker?"

It turns out the answer is yes!

Here's what I did...

Using leaves as deep litter in the chicken pen.

We get seasons up here in the Hinterland! This means that we get lots of leaves on  the ground as well. This is a resource I haven't had before as living in Brisbane, there are very few deciduous trees around to collect leaves from. It turns out that some people up here sweep the leaves into big piles and burn them or collect them up into bags and take them to the dump!?

I have a friend who has an avenue of deciduous trees and he wants all the leaves off the grass. He was keen to blower vac them into a gully, I was keen to collect them all in the trailer and bring them home. It took about ten trailer loads to get the bulk of them home (and he thinks I'm mad into the bargain) but how could I pass up all those lovely leaves?

Here's what I did with them...


The first few trailer loads went into the chook pen on the floor. I piled all the leaves onto a tarp and then dragged them into the pen and upended the tarp. It made a messy big pile that covered the stump and branches an…
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