Sunday, 7 December 2014

Aliens abduct donkey

Irwin is missing, vanished into thin air. There's no clues, nothing.

The local community has been awesome helping to find him with lots of Facebook postings, letterbox drops and signs going up but, no donkey.

Let me tell you a little about Irwin...
Irwin came to us about 5 years ago from a cattle farm near Boonah where he was one of 6 donkeys guarding a herd of cattle. He was too big for the ladies who had him to look after and so he was offered to me. When we went to pick him up I learnt 2 things about Irwin - he loves a good scratch and he does NOT like floats. Prior to living at Boonah for a few years he had been rescued from the doggers pens on the day Steve Irwin died with another donkey. Steve now lives near the Gold Coast and last heard was learning how to pull a cart.

Irwin came to me with a few trust issues. Whilst he's let me halter and rug him, pop a lead rope on and he'd freeze, with pure panic in his eyes. After about 3 and a half years we sorted that out and now he'll do anything for me (even if he is still working out how to deal with other people).

He is about 15 years old now, which isn't old for a donkey - they live to be about 50. We've fixed a few health issues along the way - bad feet and a bit of a weight problem - and I was only commenting to MOTH last Sunday morning what good condition they both were in while they played next to the house in their paddock. That was the last time we saw him.

He and Guinness get on a bit like two grumpy old men, they occasionally annoy each other, play, and sometimes Guinness (who is only 9) runs away leaving Irwin very upset. When this happens Irwin comes up to the house and brays a very forlorn tone. He's a bit of a scared cat and would never go near the electric fence - that's way too scary for a big grey donkey.

Being a TV star on Totally Wild (he wasn't as into it as Guinness)
Which brings me to the alien theory (which several people have now suggested)...

Initially we feared he'd been bitten by a snake, but after extensive searches of the property, no donkey. And Guinness doesn't know where he is. I've channelled Guinness' Lassie and Skippy but no result.

So, either wild dogs have pushed him through the fence and now he's list, injured or dead OR aliens took him. Here's hoping we find him soon... (Guinness won't shut up)

Sunday, 30 November 2014

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

The poinciana is in full bloom and it's magnificent. Our neighbours have some too and there are a few more on the way up the driveway. Apparently they only flower like this every 10 years - magnificent.

The chilli bushes have their baubles ready and hanging (there is literally hundreds of them)

And my poor poinsettia is even giving it a go. Poor thing was rudely transplanted 5 years ago and hasn't received a skerrick of attention since. I must aim to change this.

Even Russell Crowe (who is looking a little worse for wear) has his little red festive flowers all lined up in bloom.

Inside our home, my contribution continues to be minimal. Even though I had committed to putting up the tree, it's still in it's box somewhere (not quite sure but am sure I will find it when the time comes). I have, however, started on presents and being still November - that might be a record. I'm usually a last minute shopping kinda' girl.

As you may or may not have been aware, Brisbane had a massive hail storm on Thursday. Unfortunately for my new ute, we got stuck in the middle of it and, well, insurance claim for damage is pending. I have to say that the noise of bigger-than-golfball-hail hitting the roof of the car was a little intimidating (I did duck a few times - no idea why).

We are continued to be blessed with a large number of bees at the moment, many of whom visit the garden and stop off at the water fountain for a drink. Am not sure what kind they are - any suggestions?

Ooh, and last night I was once again lucky enough to rescue one of these. Max bought him in as a 'gift'. Its a baby sugar glider and it wasn't hurt from what I could see. I just scooped it up and took it outside. Cuuuute. They only grow a wee bit more when they're full grown and have flaps of skin from their front to rear legs on each side and fly/glide from tree to tree. Lord knows how Max caught one (he's no speedster). Google it - they're interesting little characters.

Luckily Max or Moet are not really hunters and this is probably the 3rd mammal or bird I've had to rescue in as many years. (Previous felines have been a little more active in this space.)

Anyway, happy start of December everyone. I'm off to put up the tree - or at least think about it...

Sunday, 23 November 2014

How to make weed juice and other stuff

I really do plan on writing a blog every week but there are always some shiny things that distract me along the way.

So, this time I thought I'd share something worthwhile with you all - how to make weed juice. Weeds, when broken down can make an excellent source of nitrogen and when mixed with other waste stuff like animal poo and other green waste then broken down, makes an excellent liquid fertiliser that I call Weed Juice.

So here's how it's made...
Step 1 - Get your hands on a large container like this one with a loose lid (so there's no gas build ups). I know that most produce stores sell them. Buy a tap, an O ring and a clamp (to put on the inside and hold the tap in place) then drill a suitably sized hole to match the tap. Add a little silicone or plumbers tape to ensure a seal and put it together. I bought this stand from Bunnings years ago but you can also use an old bucket.

Step 2 - Fill it with water. I'm using the (Council made me do it) water tank off the new shed and have placed the Weed Juicer next to it for ease of access to water.

Step 3 - You need weeds and poo. Guinness and Irwin gladly helped out here and I've put one and a half barrow loads of donkey poo into the container. I also added weeds from the garden.

The poo and weeds will float until they start to break down and then become Weed Juice.

Step 4 - Pop the lid back on and let it do it's thing. The heat from the sun, combined with the water will start breaking it all down and in a few weeks you'll be able to extract weed juice from the tap to fertilise your garden.

NOTE: Mix weed juice 1 - 10 parts with water cause it's concentrated. Then just water it on your garden.

Step 5 - Keep adding weeds, animal poo and any other green waste as you get it and top up the container with water. Horse poo works well and it won't seed if you use this technique.

Meanwhile, it's also been hotting up there in South East Queensland. Last weekend was record high temperatures for this time of year and outside my car got as hot as 46.5 at one stage - crazy! The weekend before I'd given the animals all a good haircut - bet they were thanking me for that (even if they didn't appreciate it at the time).

Baillie was particularly keen on keeping cool last weekend.

Meanwhile Guinness thought it would be fun to play in the cold ashes in the fire pit. He does this to keep the insects off (although no one else does it) and he seems to have an unnatural attraction to fire when we're burning...

Roman had a brain fart one day a few weeks ago and decided he needed to eat Max. A night at the vet and Max it was decreed that Max had used up a few of his nine lives, having only two bitemarks (it must have been bloody close - you could see where the other teeth didn't penetrate his skin). So, no more inside dogs. Roman seemed particularly put out about this when we were all inside last Sunday in the airconditioning during the heat wave and he was outside on the deck.

This morning Max seems to have totally forgotten about the incident and was playing and smooching with Roman like they used to. Don't think he's long for this world, that one.

This weekend it's been hot again (nothing like last weekend, thank goodness) so I've had a chance to get into the garden. The bees were keen to help out when I cleaned out the fountain. There were literally hundreds of them and it's good to know they have a water source on hot days. I've planted lots of bee and insect friendly plants so they can help me with pollination when I need it (win/win). Am keen to learn more about bees and maybe get a few hives.

The eggplants are going nuts!

 The waterlillies are starting to flower as well.

I've been splitting a few herbs as well and have a heap of lemongrass ready to share. (Happy for anyone to come pick one or two up). My comfrey just keeps on giving and its ready to be split again (I've done it 3 times in the past year).

My tomatoes have been a bit disappointing so far this year and I've had to resort to spraying them today for bugs that are eating all of the romas. Interestingly the other breeds aren't being eaten. Fussy bugs?

Lost a couple of chooker moles to a goanna (it wasn't pretty) a few weeks ago. I've had a good chat to Red Rooster about toughening up and he seems to be taking it on board so far.

It also looks like we're going to have bananas up the ying yang again in coming months. MOTH peels them and then freezes them on a metal tray and then pops them into a container. That way they stay separate and we can grab a couple for smoothies, etc. and they don't go brown.

Can't believe it's Christmas season again - where did the year go?

Sunday, 28 September 2014

A quiet weekend on the mountain

After a major shock to the system of having gone back to work after some months off for varying reasons, I made it through the working week to Friday afternoon.

My focus for the weekend was going to be my poor garden and animals, following several unwelcome visits from neighbours young dog who terrorises my chickens and cats and then proceeded to rip up my sprinkler systems and trash my vege garden, which was full of heritage seedlings that I had been lovingly nurturing into plants. All I will say here is Grrr! (but I've said quite a lot of other words - trust me.) So while my neighbour is on an international trip, I'm starting from scratch with a number of seedlings, hoping I'm not too late in the season to get them to grow. He, however will be paying for a man to come and fix the sprinkler system.


First things first, some fire brigade training on Saturday morning with a couple of neighbouring brigades. This was a great way to check out the setup of each others appliances, meet the crews and learn a few new things.

The donkeys had some special attention this weekend. Poor Guinness recently succumbed to an absess infection at the base of his ear from a tick. Then, when I fed them on Friday I noticed that Irwin had several ticks. So, drastic times call for drastic measures! I developed a 3 stage approach to trying to minimise my poor donkeys from these horrific little creatures (and the other animals by default). The boys walk through long grass and the bush every day, ticks latch on and then they come up to the house and I'm assuming that eventually ticks jump off, potentially into either the path of dogs and cats or... hungry chickens.

So, my cunning plan:
Step 1 - wash donkeys. (Note: Donkeys do not like cold water. This issue can be negated with pony pallets.)

Step 2 - Clip donkeys
Irwin started by just standing there shaking but, by the end, he wanted more and kept coming back while I was trying to clip Guinness. Guinness, however was ticklish around his flank and we had to have stern words about not kicking me. Lucky he's a quick learner.

His coat was nearly 2 inches long!
Step 3 - Tick collars for all

Handsome Irwin
Guinness didn't like it at all (and obviously camera shy).

Here's hoping this helps the poor guys out this summer.

Baillie helped me out today with my gardening chores. This is the only photo I had of her awake! Apparently, it's very hard work helping me in the garden...

I've been sowing heaps of heritage seedlings to try and replace those destroyed. Pumpkins of various sorts, gourd, artichoke, lettuce, bok choi, coriander and some more edible flowers to start.

I'd also planted a few things that, now that they're growing, I'm not sure what these are. Any suggestions on what this might be when it grows up? It's doubling in size every week and is now starting to grow flowers. [Note to self - label things.]

Some of my lavender is flowering - pretty - and I noticed that my wisteria has buds on it for the first time too. I have several colours of lavender but this one is stunning.

Last weekend I split my lemongrass and comfrey and have potted it out in the hope some/most of it will take.

MOTH has been playing super chef this weekend and treating me to all sorts of culinary delights. Last night it was home made ravioli that was obviously made in heaven and sent down especially. This evening it's homemade Arancini balls with a cold sauv blanc with the neighbours and then Pork Belly for dinner. Yum!

Back to to salt mines tomorrow...

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Our deck

We obviously spend a lot of time out here.
Roman is such a photo bomber
On a clear day (not today) you can see out past Redcliffe to Bribie and Moreton Islands

Upsidownanimal Farm

Seriously, what is it with my animals...

The chooker moles will be in on it next...

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Spring has sprung (and I nearly missed it)

Hi all y'all

Apologies and excuses once again for not having blogged for so long. But I was sick, then MOTH and I went to the UK and France for several weeks and we're back. Felt very missed by the animals and have little fury shadows still following me everywhere.

On a sad note, we lost Mia the Manx to a suspected snake bite while we were away.

With so much having happened since my last confession blog, I don't know what to include.

My garden has been going well, although most of the seedlings I planted before we went away didn't make it.

My artichokes were going gangbusters until disaster struck, well cockatoos actually. They completely destroyed the plants, not even eating any of them.

So, with a little thinking I went old school and decided to build a scarecrow with a little help from Lulebelle the chicken and Moet the cat.

So, please meet Russell (Crow).

So far, he's doing a great job.

I have been successful in growing something else a little different...

And Moet has also taken up crochet... she is such a princess.

Our local mummy wallaby seems to have another bun in the oven. This is her on the driveway, she is there most mornings near the dam.

And my ongoing problem with upside down animals is getting worse. I think we'll name the farm UpsideAnimal Farm. Guinness looks like he's taking a nap!

Take a look through some of my previous blogs to check out more upside down animals.

Well, that's a quick update. I'll look through my overseas photos and post a few in coming weeks.