Monday, 27 May 2013

This pretty much sums up my day today...

(Thanks Steph)

Sunday, 26 May 2013

The week that was

Started a new contract this week with work so it took me a wee while to get into the swing of being in the city by 8.00am. Am going to have to change some feeding times to evening again instead of mornings.

Tuesday blessed those who were up early enough with the most amazing sunrise.

OS visitors arrived Thursday night (thank God for Jenny the house cleaner) and accommodating kids who had to share (I KNOW - teenagers sharing!).

Saturday I participated in a multi agency fire and rescue operation that I can't really tell you about. Great day and, as always, some good laughs.

Today was home day. Walked the boundary of the donkey electric fence to check it was OK. That takes about an hour because of how steep it is. Donkeys and dogues came too. I have to say though, it's not a comforting sound to hear two donkeys charging down a very steep hill behind you (trot/canter) when they have realised they can't stop and I'm on the path in front of them! Luckily we all made it to the bottom of the paddock without anyone falling or getting injured. Then it was the hike back up the other side, which is not as steep (but still lung gasping steep).

Roman was dog tired after that any managed to find himself a leather pooffee to rest his weary bones on. He is currently snoring at my feet.

The sky could have fallen and he wouldn't have woken up
The mountain is covered in a sticky tall grass called molasses grass. Great for donkeys to eat, bad for donkey to walk through and rub their faces in. It makes them  sticky and then every seed, bindi, bramble, vine, etc. sticks to them. I'm pretty sure it's uncomfortable because they'll just stand there for hours and let me pull them off their fur. But there comes a time when there is simply not enough hours in the day to pull this quantity of seeds off two donkeys. The solution: bath time.

The first time I bathed them last year, I am sure they were in pure shock. Did not move.

NOT impressed!

This year, shall we say, they were a little more savy about the hose and the shower gel. Guinness tried to crush me against the fence several times and Irwin just stuck his tongue out at me (he's such a sweetheart). Good news is a have had two clean donkeys, free of sticky seeds until they both had their own dirt baths. Luckily they are no longer sticky and covered in bindis and seeds.

I did manage a 'before' shot of Irwin. Note how matted his fur is with the sticky grass and the clumps of bindis on the poor boy's ears.

Maybe there's a business opportunity here with donkey hydrobaths...

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Ever seen a donkey smile?

My boys are finally home (and they literally ran up the driveway to get there). They have been agisting at our lovely neighbours place (thanks Heath and Jess) since the Australia Day weekend storms at the end of January. We had literally a hundred trees come down and many came down over the fences. No problem on a flat block but not being able to get 4WD access because it has been too wet meant we couldn't chop up the trees, spray the fenceline and cut back the growth to get it all back under control. We have more firewood than we could ever use and there's at least another 20 dead trees that I could cut down if we needed more.

I am now officially part mountain goat and the fence is up and running. Woot Woot!

Irwin was particularly happy to be home - I do believe he's smiling!

His winter coat is now in and he looks like a teddy bear.

Checking their paddock out
Guinness stuffing his face
The keets have had their day pen expanded. Alcatraz is double fenced, topped and has an external double line of hotwire tape surrounding them. They can now fly quite well and run towards me when I come near them, which is a little disconcerting.

And then, while I was making the chooker moles some new roosting perches, I looked over and saw Max and Guinness introducing themselves...

Seriously, that cat isn't afraid of anything!

MOTH also bottled his second batch of cider this weekend. Now we just have to wait six weeks to be able to drink it.

Banana tree started to fall over so had to harvest bananas. Here's hoping they ripen in the garage.

Speaking of harvesting, I had grand plans to make Rosella Jam this weekend. Only problem is you can't make much jam with only 12 pieces of fruit (I swear it looked like heaps more on the bush). So it looks like I might get a couple of cups of Rosella tea. There's always next year...

MOTH took the kids on sailing lessons today and J had a near death experience in the middle of the lake. Apparently falling out of the boat will do that to you... teenagers [sigh]

It's going to be cold tonight so will light the fire and rug the donkeys.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Raspberry and white chocolate

Woke up this morning to a beautiful day. Roman, however was not so keen to wake up.

BTW - he doesn't know his dog coat is pink...
He gave me the worst look when I insisted he get up.

Not happy

Anyway, yesterday MOTH made THE BEST MUFFINS IN THE WORLD and took them to work. I only got one :o(

So, I thought I'd sneak a photo and share the recipe with you all...

Let me know what you think - they are really good.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

A typical Clear Mountain weekend

Had grand plans for the weekend but am still suffering asthma-type symptoms from recent chest infection. So, take it easy my Mum said... don't do too much... don't burn the candle... (all good coming from someone who lives in New Zealand and is, shall we say, "pot to kettle - over". Anyway, I thought about her advice for, about three seconds... Having said that I didn't go to fire brigade training this morning, which involved one of those large multi storey ladders (wise move, MOTH said).

Anyway, lots has been happening here this week, especially given it's the start of winter and things should be slowing down.

I took a walk around the place this afternoon to see what was going on... Now remembering, it's autumn/fall, there is an unusual combination of fruit and vege developments going' on...

Our first bananas are only weeks away from being ready to harvest
I planted garlic last weekend and some of it is already raising it's arms to the sky
The paw paw tree is laiden with fruit. Note, it seems to drop it's leaves around the fruit to focus on giving everything to the fruit. You will notice I cut the centre stem out of the tree in it's first year (last year) and the result is much more, smaller fruit.
Mr Pineapple Head (thrown in the ground last year) is expected to bear fruit next year.
The chooker moles missed a pumpkin seed that seems to have escaped from under the back of their palace and has started to grow down the hill, complete with little pumpkins about the size of large grapefruit. I love pumpkin soup!
My first attempt at Rosella was stumped by bloody caterpillars but I think I might have enough fruit to harvest for one or two jars
Our tamarind plant flowered this week, beautiful
Meanwhile it rained on Saturday and so I just got to hunt and gather (like I do every Saturday) and then sharpen my chainsaw blades. Good news was I got to use them on Sunday morning. This is one of the many trees that came down during the Australia Day (end of January) storms over the electric fence, which is why the donkeys have been agisting at the neighbours place since.

The last of the trees over the fence from the January storms. Seriously, I have another 20 - 30 dead trees to cut down for firewood still.
MOTH and I trimmed the fenceline, weed sprayed the fenceline and then there was the chainsawing. Took nearly all day. Don't underestimate the slope in this picture, it's about 30 degrees (and the other side is way steeper, about 40 - 45).

I also have a cunning plan being developed to address what the chooker moles and one Max cat have done to my previously beautiful Sir Walter lawn around the clothes line.

Speaking of Max, this is what our now 6-7 month old baby has been up to...

Cuuute, snuggled up on the couch
Tired Max
... who apparently grows in his sleep!
Of course, I went and some donkey cuddle time this afternoon, as I do whenever I can. I am hoping to have them back on our property next weekend, fingers crossed it doesn't rain.

Gotta' go now. MOTH has made some amazing greek lamb dinner with roast lambm garlic mash, tzatziki, and home made hummus.

Hummus recipe (previously shared on this blog)

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

How to protect little keets in a day pen

I've put a bit of thought into this...

The keets are growing very quickly and yesterday one had flown out of their large plastic bin in the garage. Luckily I found him/her and put him/her back (actually must have been a male to have been that stupid).

So, as I mentioned the other day, I've made them a day pen. Today, I modified it to keep cats-with-bad-intentions away. Looks a little extreme but worked like a treat (just ask Max the Manx).

Yes, that is my solar powered electric fence unit, capable of keeping donkeys  in their paddock...
Works even better with the added level of security that Baillie provides...

Sunday, 5 May 2013

A new message for the chooker moles...

You don't want to lay any eggs huh... loving your new palace... lots of lovely laying mash and fresh food... free ranging every day... your own personal security cat (another story for another blog)... guard dogs  at night to keep you safe from foxes... WHAT ELSE CAN I DO TO MAKE YOU LAY A COUPLE OF FRIGGIN' EGGS?

So.... [calm now] I asked some friends and was given some sound advice (see picture below).

Wait until they wake up in the morning...

On another tangent, the keets had their first outside experience today (@ 2 weeks old).

This meant introducing them to some of the other members of the family. Roman immediately assumed they were a gift for him to look after.

Baillie initially wanted to chase them (she's on a diet and would chase an aeroplane through the sky at the moment) but then her massive motherly instincts kicked in and it was pure love... for ages she didn't even move.

Those funny wee birds have more than tripled in size in just two weeks. Pity they're possible the dumbest animal to walk this earth.

Max the Manx also came over for a visit but his intentions were not as pure.

On a highlight, we had a little party for my birthday last night. Thank goodness we live in the country. One word: ROWDY. I love my friends.