Sunday, 30 June 2013

The Garden Share Collective - July 2013

I'm so excited - my first group bloggy thing and it's about gardens!

Truth is, it's about motivating me to get off my butt and share a little love with my garden. I am totally guilty of neglect. Hopefully this group can get me focussed on my garden to get it through winter and prepared ready for spring.

I rushed around today (having only committed to participating to this morning) and took stock of my dire position...

I live on acreage just north of Brisbane with MOTH (man of the house) who is a wonderful cook, musical genius and always looks forward to the fruits of my labour to create culinary delights in the kitchen. We share our lives with two dogues, two cats (one Manx who thinks he is a dog), 11 chooker moles (not laying - let's just not talk about that right now), two donkeys and 5 keets (baby guinea fowl).

Let's start with the positives. Lemons, lemons, lemons - holy cow have we had a crop of lemons this year and still they come...

Our oranges are still to ripen, due to position and shade. Our neighbours fruits have long gone.

I went for a walk down the paddock to see what native delights I might find but kept getting that feeling that I was being followed...

At one stage Guinness (the little black Irish donkey) actually bumped into me when I stopped, he was so close. I got the fright of my life, had no idea he was there!

I need some ideas on what to do with our giant bamboo. We have two other bamboos but this one is 15m tall and those trunks (does bamboo have trunks?) are about 15cm in diameter.

Up in the main vege garden things are dire. The fence keeps the chooker moles out and the palms provide shade BUT their root systems also steel all of the goodness from the garden beds. The contents of these four garden beds never ceases to amaze me. I am successfully growing the following, sometimes conflicting, herbs and veges:

Bay tree
Lemon tree
Kaffir lime
Native Violets
Saw Coriander
Chillies (several varieties)
and several more types of plants I can't recall right now.

Ginger, turmeric and orchids in winter
My comfrey has been smashed by some nasty bugs
Rose garden was pruned last weekend, along with the surrounding rosemary hedge.

Star pickets stop cars hitting the hedge, chain wire keeps the chooker moles out
In other garden beds I am growing vanilla (trying), pineapples, bananas, paw paws, mint, galangal, pumpkin, garlic, avocado and olives.

My shamingly poor herbs in pots

The centre of my gardening success (I know, you can't see it at the moment) is my kitchen deck. MOTH made me a seedling table and the bird bath looking thing is where we through seeds and bits left over from cooking. Yes, that is a 5' tall avocardo tree in it (on my list to get transplanted before next months blog, along with the ginger and whatever else is in there). I need to plant up some more heirloom seedlings in the trays in coming weeks and prune that geranium!

Everything needs mulching and my soil needs some love - suggestions welcomed.

Looks like I have my work cut out for me before next months posting ;o)

Oh, and here's the dirty face of a happy gardner (even if I did spend the day in the rain).

Friday, 28 June 2013

Hi Ho Hi Ho... it's off to work I go...

As I got ready for work this morning, it all became clear... I need to go to work to make money to ensure my animals are all kept in the lifestyle that they have obviously become accustomed to!

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Those dumb birds

I've been thinking all week as to how I'm going to introduce the keets to the big wide world and how I might make their pen moveable like a chook tractor (thanks for the idea, Farmer Liz) so that they can eat more grass, etc. and maybe assimilate more with the chooker moles.

So, I had a flash of brilliance yesterday morning and decided to use one of the old unusable gabian baskets that had been knocked out of shape (the keets wouldn't notice) and turn it upside down to make a cage thingy. No sweat (she said to herself)... just take out the middle bit and add a wee door at one end. The wire was so strong that took nearly two hours! Anyway, job done and new house in position, it was time to transfer the keets.

The pigtails were to hold it down against the ground
Now there are no photos of this particular transfer because MOTH was laughing too hard at me on my hands and knees in their old, muddy home trying to convince them to go into the cat carrier. Eventually, I caught them all but not after one of them drawing blood on my hand with their surprising sharp claws (it's still hurting).

So into their new home they went. They were happy. The grass was long and there was heaps to eat.

I went out to check on them just before sunset and the cage was empty! They little f***ers had squeezed through the mesh. Oh well, I thought... that was just on eight weeks of nurturing and caring and feeding that I won't get back and I went inside and poured myself a nice red wine.

To my delight and surprise, they were here this morning, down by the donkey stall, cruising around as only Guinea Fowl to do make themselves look like one really big bird. All five present and accounted for. 

Next thing, they've broken back into their cage for something to eat - told you they were dumb birds! Eventually I just opened the door for them. They had an afternoon nap in the sun in their cage, hung out with the chooks, avoided the donkeys, helped me hang out the washing and seem to be very happy and have no intention of leaving. So, I've had my next dilemma answered for me - when to let them roam free and will they just take off... apparently not if you live here.

Keets at 8 weeks old
Meanwhile the donkeys chilled in the shade by the water tanks. They have toparised my lillypilly's that were planted to screen out the water tanks [sigh]. It was surprisingly warm today for winter, as long as you were out of the breeze.

There's an ass joke somewhere here...
I donned a spray pack and weed sprayed the fenceline of the donkey paddock. It's super steep and is bloody hard work but had to be done. We'd also had some big wind over the past few days and there is always a risk of a tree or branch coming down on the fence so someone's got to check it. The boys followed me to make sure I did a good job.

Miss Baillie has been resting from a knee injury. She's been to the doggie chiropractor, has had magnetic treatment, acupuncture, ultrasound work and is now on the mend thanks to a comfrey poultice I made up and was putting on her knee every night to reduce the swelling. Amazing results. It has been a very cost effective and less invasive course of treatment than surgery and she is well on the mend (still milking all of the attention she can get though).

Baillie pouting
Lots of other boring maintenance stuff like pruning roses. Seems to be the time of the year that everyone is clearing, tidying, cutting back, etc. It's been unseasonably wet so far this winter in and around Brisbane. I dread to think what that means for the upcoming bushfire season. Are you prepared? 

Monday, 10 June 2013


It's a long weekend here in Brisvegas to celebrate the Queens birthday. Long live the Queen but do you think it's not too much to ask to organise some good weather please?

There's rain in them there hills (if only you could see the hills for the rain)
Everything is wet... wet chooker moles

Wet keets...
6 weeks old now and stupider than ever
Wet donkeys...

And I even found a wet celestial chicken...

Camera did this all by itself
Cats and dogs had it worked out and are in front of the fire.

MOTH is cooking up a storm, red wine weather tonight for sure!

Thank goodness we have all those pumpkins to make soup with.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Fruits of my labour

One of the consequences of growing your own fruit and vegetables is it's sometimes all or nothing. This weekend it's bananas and pumpkin.

Jap pumpkins that self seeded from under the chook shed and mini bananas (hundreds of them)
And there's still heaps of pumpkins to be harvested. 

Looks like pumpkin soup for the next few weeks [sigh]

Anyone know a good recipe that involves pumpkins and bananas - collectively or separately?

The lemon and orange trees are also laden with bumper crops which will be ready in a couple of weeks. Looks like marmalade time again. My favourite is Margarita Marmalade - not for the kiddies...

Saturday, 1 June 2013


Today I'm full of questions so I thought I'd share a few...

1. Why is it that a little black donkey thinks every time he brays (which is very loud), someone (ie. me) is going to feed him?

2. Just where did the 8 pair of man child's undies come from in the last load of washing I just hung out (given he was only here 2 days last week)?

3. What makes cat poo from the litter tray appeal like an hors d'oeuvre to a Dogue?

4. Will your cat really eat you if you die and they have no food? (I was late feeding them this morning when I had thought about this one - yes, was my conclusion)

5. Why can't I sleep in on the only morning of the week I have to do so?

Please feel free to provide some insights. I'm off to grab a glass of wine!