Sunday, May 22, 2011

New native garden for the duck pen

We have been passing a beautiful chook enclosure for the last couple of years on our afternoon walks. It's in north katoomba and is made up almost entirely of native plants. It's looks great and is perfect of poultry because they don't really bother with natives. So we have been planning our own version - and then we saw how wonderfully the indigenous "bush tucker" garden has taken off at the local community gardens that we decided this weekend to just 'bite the bullet' and do it in our duck enclosure. Luckily we had two truck loads of chip left over from our neighbours demolishing of a pine tree and used that to make paths. We then popped over to Weber Nursery at Mount Boyce near Blackheath and bought about 20 tube stock of natives. About 15 minutes after we finished planting it started to rain! - Perfect start to their new life. Here's a pic...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Catalan Easter Cake

Rainy day sunday in the Blue Mountains and I decided to do some baking. Lots of easter recipes are starting to appear and so I chose a lovely decadent looking cake - a Catalan Easter Cake from this months Masterchef magazine. According to the magazine "in Spain this cake is given to godchildren and decorated with eggs to indicate their age" . With I thought was a smashingly lovely idea. A special ingredient used in the cake icing is orange-blossom water - a scented water made in the middle east made purely from Orange blossoms infused in water. I found a beautiful one at our local deli from Iran - brand Pariya (www.pariya.com).

Here's mine...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Raspberries are here!

After several months of working on the raspberry garden that actually started about a year ago (see this post) we now have a full crop of Raspberries flowing. The sucklings from the community gardens have taken off and are fruiting like mad! Also the bed preparation - 3 months of growing buckwheat as a green manure to prepare the bed before planting must be paying off. I am very happy as this is my long term goal to have a full raspberry crop every year. I have been saving Raspberry recipes for a few years...so smiles all around.

And on another note - who knew Ducks loved succulents. I now have banned our ducks from coming anywhere near the succulent garden.




Sunday, February 6, 2011

Progress

With the very wet summer, followed by incredible heat my garden hasn't been as inspiring as it was last year. The tomatoes have only just started to ripen - the cucumbers are struggling (this time last year we had a huge crop). The corn and beans are doing well... The berrys (raspberries mainly) started fruiting this year..so hopefully next year it will be bumper.




Thursday, December 16, 2010

Garden and Ducks

The garden is finally getting some sun after what feels like weeks of cloudy wet weather. The bean arch has almost connected in the middle! Here are a few shots of my vege patch. Followed by a photo from today of our remaining duckling of the two that have been born so far to the ducks. (versus the ducklings born to the chooks! - read back on entries!)
And the duckling (around 4 days old). The 2nd died yesterday.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

New ducklings

Very exciting news. Our new ducklings have been hatching over the past 24 hours. The first one was discovered when I picked up our black chook off the nest just to get new chook eggs that have been laid (the chooks have been laying on top of her - quite undignified and we need to collect them each day) , quite expecting to see our duck eggs still under her (our fertile duck eggs that were placed under her when she went broody a few weeks back). And instead a small tiny black duckling was sitting there staring at me! Looking under the other chook soon revealed a couple of others including a cute little yellow one. The remaining two were hatched over night, and now we have 3 very clucky chooks, with 5 baby ducklings between them. We have had to put one of the more nasty bully mum chooks in a 'cage' for a couple of days - as she kept kicking one of the other 'mums' off her ducklings. She was even spied pecking at the yellow one. So she's been banished. We now just have quiet little Plum (our Araucana) and Blackie (an Australorp), looking after the brood. Plum has done the full hard yards, being broody for 28 days. Blackie has been broody for about 20 days, and Pearl - the one who has been banished, has only been broody for about 10. So in fact she's still broody and probably it's why she's getting nasty. (although A believe's she's just a plain nasty chook, born like that, will die like that!) We read that putting them in a cage for a couple of days can stop the broodiness. We'll see.

In the meantime, the actual two ducks - who have been broody for about 3 weeks are happily guarding another set of eggs, with Charlie their drake always near by. Those girls are quite happy sharing the one beautiful nest. And with all this rain, it's slowly getting flooded!

The ducklings...


The Ducks....

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Bushwalking

Bushwalking in Spring in the Blue Mountains keeps providing us with little suprises. Last week we spotted an awesome stick insect on a branch, and today we stepped over a Blotched Blue Tongue Lizard, and soon after spied a hoof print - either a wild pig, or wild deer. Neither of which I knew hung out in our local bush. :)