Week 13 – The New Chickens
Yesterday we picked up our new chooks (excitement!), but I’ll get to that in a moment.
First, here is what I woke up to the other morning:
As promised I am updating what has been happening in the garden. As you may remember I lost a lot of my seedlings to the sun and heat. But some did survive and I have become a little smarter with my planting (although I still have a LOT to learn). We are now seeing some decent growth in some of the plantings.
These are two different varieties, one variety sprouted four plants, but we lost half so we tried another type and now they all seem to be growing well.
Would you believe we planted 24 corn seedlings and unknown numbers of seeds only to have this one survive. Surprising considering how healthy and vigorous this one looks right? Well, that’s only half the story. You see, for some unknown reason the corn is Quinn’s. He knows what corn looks like in seedling form and if any one dares try to plant it without him there is hell to pay. Its all very cute (and rather stereotypical red head fireyness) but the result has been one lone corn. Fortunately I have been sneaking corn seed in whenever he is busy elsewhere and we finally have some other seedlings poking their heads up.
After three successive plantings and the instigation of a shade we have finally had some healthy pea plants sprout and grow. One even had a flower this afternoon when I did my usual check of the garden.
Remember the gourds that are taking over the garden? This pic shows the bush they have overtaken behind the garden beds as well as the garden bed I had just brushcut, which was previously full of gourds and spiky-shit-plants (very technical name that one, but oh so fitting). The gourds were already here when we bought the house and I have let them grow to see what they are.
As you can see they need regular taming. Here they have overtaken my potato pen. However, I have been using the vine as shade and to create a microclimate for other plants. It seems to be working so far, as long as I make sure the tendrils aren’t choking said plants. They are sheltering the potato sprouts, celery, carrot and more peas at present, although I will have to trim them back soon as the potatoes need some more sun.
So far I haven’t been able to classify them exactly and I can’t find any use for them other than craft and storage.
So their time here may be limited (not really, I think there is plenty of room for them, just as long as they don’t smother my veg!).
Another vine which is growing well is the rockmelons.
Just this week I discovered this beauty hidden amongst the flowers.
There seems to be lots more on the way too, hopefully they set and ripen, because my kids eat melons of all types like they are going out of fashion.
Today the kids and I planted another round of seeds which will hopefully fill out the garden a little more, now that it is a little cooler.
We have also been busy working on the pathway gardens, which are now a lot more open and clear.
Unfortunately the ancient nasturtium plants had laid plenty seeds and everytime I walk past I pull out at least fifty small plants. I swear nasturtiums and aloe vera grow as weeds here and only belong in pots.
The other two projects we have undertaken this week have been removing the entry way boards which were a termite concern (as well as a snake concern!),
and retraining the grape vine on to the trellis so that we can actually walk under it without have leaves all over us.
I have plans for this area, but they can wait for another blog.
So, to the girls. On saturday the kids and I travelled to Brisbane to catch up with some friends and then pick up our chickens. After getting terribly lost (I blame it on my old map book and Brisbane City Council building railways and freeways) we found our way to Heritage Hatching and Hens to pick up our hens and rooster. We had decided on the Sussex Breed of chicken due to them being a gently bird and also being a dual purpose bird, in that they are good layers and also good to eat. Once we had the six new hens and our rooster bundled up and in the car we headed for home. As usual I was to busy doing to take pics. Once we got home we let them out into the pen, about an hour before roosting time so the could get acclimated without having too much time to start fighting.
So far there doesn’t seem to have been too much friction. Mother hen and crazy chicken have asserted their place in the pecking order and so far everyone is, mostly going along with that. The kids and I have been spending some time in the pen each day getting them used to us and being held (or in Quinn’s case chased with gleeful abandon). They will be free ranging as soon as I have erected a chicken proof fence around the veg garden, ’cause I really don’t need to introduce chickens in to that mix right now. I promise better pics of the chickens next post.
So that’s me just about done for this week. I leave you with some pictures from our walk on sunday afternoon along a newly cut path on the eastern side of the property. The path leads through forest down to the paddock which will hopefully, one day, house our cows, but I’ll leave that for another day.