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Showing posts from September, 2012

Keeping a hay or straw bale dry in the great outdoors...

I have just noticed that the last few posts have been chicken related - I guess that's because with new baby chicks in the pen, I am spending a bit more time than usual with them.

Getting bigger! Man, they eat a lot!
I needed some more bedding straw - which I use in their nests only, its too expensive at $14 a bale for them to scratch around in - and although you can buy a plastic bagful, it works out to be much more expensive. So, I bought the bale and took it home.

I lugged it into the pen and broke off what I needed for the various nesting boxes and that left me with a, well, almost full bale of straw to store. If you have chooks, you are gonna have rats and/or mice. Its all part of the game. Our neighbours have chooks that back onto our chooks - so there is no way that we will be rat or mouse free (where are those carpet snakes when you need 'em??) So I'm not allowed to put the bale in the garage and move any potential rats/mice condominiums into the house.


If I leave …

Why we bought heritage chickens...

We have had a motley collection of chooks for years. Usually the cheap hybrid layers from the local produce place that lay well and provide all the fun of having chickens in the backyard for well under $20 each.


  "Cloud"                                  "Sunset"                      "Thunder"                         
I have always admired the wonderful array of chickens at the Ekka and secretly coveted them. But since my only source of chickens was the produce place down the road, I simply could never lay my hands on anything more exotic than a black, white or brown hybrid layer.
Then suddenly there was a couple of interesting chickens at the produce place. I enquired about them and was told that they were in quarantine and to come back later in the week, which I did - and predictably they were gone. I managed to get a gray (or is it blue) Leghorn from a lady at the markets who was a breeder but she disappeared after a few weeks. Which was a shame as &q…

Feeding egg shells to chickens...

At work today, we made a Salmon and Dill frittata - for 150 people! That used a heck of a lot of eggs and left a heck of an amount of eggs shells to go into the bin, too! I decided that I could do something with them and rescued them into a bucket and bought them home.

I normally crush up our egg shells and give 'em back to the chooks or they go in the compost, but this time I thought I'd have a proper look at whether it was a good idea to feed egg shells back to chooks or not. A quick google search later and it seems that it is and that we humans have been feeding shells back to chickens for thousands of years. (Phew - I'm in the majority)

Chooks need a lot of calcium to lay an egg each day and although commercial laying pellets, mash and grain have calcium and all these other vitamins and minerals, I occasionally put my finger through a shell still. So I'm thinking an extra bit of calcium probably wont go astray. I also think that they will ignore it if they don'…

Making your own chai flavored tea!

I'm a bit of a tea drinker. I've never liked coffee and over the last few years I have expanded my tea drinking repertoire to exdend well beyong an English breakfast and an Earl Grey. I love going into shops like T2 and the Tea Centre and trying all the different flavoured teas that they have. I'm a black tea drinker though... I don't mind green tea with sushi, but given the choice of a spicy chai, a creamy vanilla, a reliable french earl grey from my collection or a watery green tea - It just never gets drunk.

Even though I have found a few good sources of flavoured black tea's at the markets and a wee shop tucked away in an arcade in a distant suburb that I like to support over the big tea companies, I have been wrestling with making my own for a while. I mean how hard can it be?

Since I have woken up sooooo early this morning (4.45am - it figures, I'm going to be at work till 1am tonight) and the husband is very sensibly sleeping, I decided that I had time t…

Easy to make "rag" style quilt!

My Brother and his wife had their first baby a few weeks ago and I decided that I wanted to make a practical welcome to the world gift for him.

I'm not a crocheter or knitter but I can sew a semi straight line on the machine if its an easy enough project. So after flicking through a few library books I decided that I could make a basic quilt to put on his bed or even on the floor for when they do that naked kick around thing... (the baby, not the brother and his wife...)

I decided on a rag quilt as it allows the beginning or one off quilter a fair margin for mistakes!


It looked easy enough on the tutorial here and here and so I gave it a go.

Here's what I did...


I used matching cotton materials from a sheet set (that I started to rip up before I took the photo) First I cut a series of strips and then cut them into rectangles (squares might be slightly easier upon reflection)
And using the first rectangle as a template, I cut the sheet part into matching squares.
First strips…
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