Monday, 23 September 2013

Maybe give it a rest for a while

I spent Sunday morning cleaning out the veggie patch.
These are the BEFORE pictures. There are no AFTER pictures yet. I didn't get it all finished.

Not the prettiest view of the garden you've ever seen, due to a combination of change of seasons, heat, no rain and lack of time to spend in the garden.
 In the picture above is a lovely selection of dead or dying Italian parsley, carrots and basil, broccholi and spring onions  - all were ripped out.

Here we have dead chilli plants, a few lonely beetroot the size of baseballs (and just as hard) eggplants and capsicum that are suffering from neglect. I left in the asparagus. It needs to be trimmed back and fed but will survive. I also left the sweet potato, but cut back a lot of excess vine. Apparently sweet potato thrives on neglect, so I've discovered. We are harvesting as we need them.

 The snow peas died off and collapsed as soon as the warm weather hit, so needed to be removed and the coriander bolted to seed. Even the tomato plants and quite a few of my herbs withered.

 There's some parsley and mint in this section struggling to hold on.

Generally by now I would have the Winter crops out and the Spring/Summer crops started but there hasn't been enough time lately. Other parts of the garden can get by without too much attention, but vegetables require regular care.

This year I've decided to take time out from the veggie patch and once everything is cleared, it will be covered in a thick layer of mulch and given a six month vacation. I love growing vegetables but unless I can give them the care they need there's no point planting more.

I've firmly decided - Better to have empty beds than dying plants.

Of course, as a woman, I reserve the right to change my mind.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Little Golden Wyandotte (and friends)

How old would you guess this young lady might be?
She's a golden lace Wyandotte.
Last November we bought three new chickens to add variety to our flock. - an araucana, a speckled hamburg and a golden wyandotte.  At that time they would have been between six and eight weeks old so they are almost a year old now. She doesn't look one year old.
The other two are almost the same size as the older ladies but this little girl is still small and hasn't developed her comb yet. She has recently started to lay. 
She lays most days and seems quite healthy. She is just so much smaller than our other hens. Because she's the smallest, she is definitely at the bottom of the pecking order but seems to get enough to eat. She's very good at darting in between the other hens to steal special treats.
I'm not worried - just puzzled. From what I've read Wyandottes are usually large chubby looking birds.  She is tall and thin.

Being checked out by the ladies back in November when they first arrived
We get a real variety of shapes, sizes and colours each day. We often get 7 eggs from 7 hens so they are all laying regularly.  Lots of omelettes and quiches for us.
Our Isa Browns lay the large brown eggs
 This lady (an Australorp, I think) lays the large white ones
The speckled Hamburg lays small white ones and the gold Wyandotte lays small pale brown eggs.
 The Araucana lays the bluish green eggs. We definitely know when she's laid.
It's hard to get a longer shot of them when I'm in their pen because they come up to me to see what I've got in my hand  - might be food. Most times when I go into their pen I have kitchen scraps or treats from the vegie garden so you can't blame them.
They are quite a mix. All quite happy and content. I am puzzled about our little girl though. Have other people had chickens that are slow to grow?
Also, we can't let her out of the pen because she can fly like a wild bird.
Speaking of wild birds - The bird feeder is just outside the pen so the ladies get to check out the visitors. This scrub turkey is a regular at the moment. I know I shouldn't speak too soon, but it's been well behaved so far and hasn't destroyed anything. They have a reputation for wrecking gardens.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

A cool dip

Not a bad way to spend a warm Sunday afternoon - having a drink with a friend and a dip in some cool water.

Not bad at all.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Spring, you are most welcome

Yesterday was the first day of Spring.
What a beautiful day it was - with the promise of many more beautiful days to follow.

The white wisteria knew Spring had arrived and burst into bloom to welcome this most wonderful of all seasons.

Last weekend there were only buds and a few tentative blooms. How did it know?

The pool looked inviting but it's much too cold for me to venture in just yet. I'm a Queenslander and the temperatures need to be up in the 30Cs before I'll be diving in for a swim.

For those of you who have snow covering your garden each Winter I must seem like a terrible weakling.  We had a couple of mornings this year where the temperatures dropped below zero but no frosts (thankfully). In the sub-tropics Winter is really a series of cold snaps and chilly mornings, but I'm glad it's over and the days are getting longer. Packing away the jumpers is a time for celebration.


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