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Showing posts from December, 2012

A tour of my back yard!

As I'm wandering around in Blogland I see glimpses of peoples backyard and wonder what other fascinating things they have or do. Some of you are on suburban blocks and grow the most amazing quantities of food, others are on rural properties living in sheds, some in big houses, some in small - I'm curious to see what others have crammed into their yards, what projects are on the go, what green and frugal things happen on your back door step. So I thought I'd take you on a tour of my back yard and talk you through our hopes, dreams, failures and success and invite you to create a post of your back yard and pop a link in the comments so we can all come and have a look around.

And so, please, follow me as we step out the back door (watch out for chook poo) and come wander with me!

Bit of a mud map to guide you - bigger one at the end of the post!

First stop is the top chook pen with all the new chooks in it. The husband has built the U-Beaut Chook house (thats Australian for v…

Which came first? The chicken or the egg?!

Just before Christmas I got a call saying my wee Barnevelder chick was ready to pick up and so we made the hours drove out to the breeder and picked up wee Autumn. Once I got her home I realised just how big her sister was compared to her. In fact we were still calling Dusk "bubbychook" when it turns out she is the second biggest chook in the pen!

Dusk at about 5 months is going to be a beautiful large soft feather chookie.
Not the best comparisum - but she is bigger than the bantam and the arucana as well.
And this is her wee sister, Autumn! Recently arrived and ensconced in the isolation pen close enough to see the big chooks but not close enough to share any illnesses!
And then on the Friday after Christmas when I was at work - the teenager called to say that there was something wrong with one of the chooks and I had to come home and see if it needed to go to the vet.

When I got home (I was more or less on my way anyway) He presented me with this!

No cause for alarm - Jus…

Helping hanging pots retain water in hot weather...

I love my hanging baskets. In the Brisbane winters (which are beautiful by the way - best time to visit) My baskets bask in the warm sunny weather and produce lots of wonderful flowers.

In the summer they curl up their toes and simply die. I put some water crystal things into the soil and had a reasonable rate of success with them but the Queensland Summer sun is simply too much most of the time for the plant and its game over too quickly.

I'm still game for one more round with Mother Nature this summer - Here's what I did...

 I pulled all the baskets down and pulled out any dead or almost dead plants.

Then I put them up on the edge of the veranda on top of some empty pots to stablise them- dug out the plants and soil...

And lined all the baskets with all those pesky plastic bags you get from the shops at this time of the year.

Then I put the soil back in with a dollop of compost and some worm wee - gave 'em a decent water...

And hung them back up.

It's not the most at…

Merry Christmas!

Quick Christmas Eve post to wish you all a wonderful Christmas!
We went to look at Christmas lights last night with three students from Belguim, Switzerland and Spain - It was definitely an experiance for them! No Snow, no carol singers and sooooo many colours!!!

Enjoy the Festive season! - be well, be happy and stay safe! - Kara xxx

Splitting our native bee hive - for the first time!

One year for my birthday I received a hive of Trigona Carbonari - Australian native bee's! They are so much fun to watch zooming in and out, arriving in with their bags of pollen and leaving to find more. It can be quite meditative and calming to sit and watch them with a cup of tea.

Australia has about 1500 species of native bee's. Of them, only two types swarm and live in a colony. The rest appear to be solitary and only hang out with each other to mate. They lay their eggs in a hole, river bank, under a leaf, and then they buzz of their mortal coil and die. Many native bee's only live for a year or so. There are some really cool native Australian bees - the teddy bear  bee, the blue banded bee, carpenter bee's and many more. Have a look at the Aussie bee website for lots of pictures and videos.

Our first hive died. We have no idea why. When we opened it up it was like the Mary Celeste. Brood, honey and fortifications but no bee's. The supplier replaced them and …

Making my Christmas cards go further!

One of my frugal habits is to wait until January to grab my Christmas cards! Cards that were $5 for 5 will be 50c and so on and so forth. I simply pop them in with the Christmas decoration when I'm putting them away and then when Christmas rolls around - there they are waiting for me at an inth of the price and none of the hassle!

This time I thought I was being clever and used some of the envelopes in the new packs to return last years card in (see my post on adding depth to Christmas card giving!) and then of course I ran out of last years cards and needed to use the new ones - but I had run out of envelopes that fitted them... What to do? Run to the shops? More cards? More envelopes? More money?

Then I had a better idea - why didn't I just cut the card to fit the envelope I had?

Here's what I did...

Cleared some space on my Christmas card writing space!!!

Extracted the new cards from their packs on a cleared space
Found enough envelopes to do the last 6 cards - even th…

Shading seedlings from the hot summer sun!

I'm fairly new to the vege gardening thing - actually I'm fairly new to the almost successful vege gardening thing!

Back in NZ (as Ive said before) it was a darn sight easier to grow things. Here is Queensland, most seedlings have turned to dust by lunchtime. I grow wilted spinach - I don't have to wilt in in a pan in the kitchen. It arrives in the kitchen pre-wilted so to speak!

During spring, I had moderate success with lettuces, spring onions and parsley. There are some capsicums and aubergines that might just make it to maturity (fingers crossed, knock on wood) but as Summer is starting up with a fairly impressive 35 degrees over the weekend and we are all melting or are responsible for global warming by running 4 air conditioners, a fan or three and sitting in the fridge with the door open!

My baby lettuces and other bits and pieces just turned up their toes over the weekend and even the rhubarb and asparagus (that are both big plants but yet to produce something I ca…
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