September 27, 2011

Morning Walk (Part 2)

I've realised that I didn't continue the post about my Morning Walk - here is Part 1.

The first part of the walk takes in the 'rural' aspect.   I enjoy walking past our neighbouring acreages, most of them being between 5 and 10 acres in size.  Not a lot has changed in this part recently.  The ones who live on these blocks are seemingly like us - enjoying the natural surrounds.
Continuing this walk to the end of the street I can access the park.  It has a concreted track which is open at two street frontages, and it also loops around through the park.   It is (I'm guessing) about 10 acres.

This particular park however,  is a little different from most. 
This is what makes it different.  An innovated person in local Council some years back decided to do things a little differently.

Half the park is mown, with large groupings of native plants, heavily mulched and thriving.
Effectively in the middle, there are the usual park settings of swings and BBQ seating.
However, on the opposite side, land has been left to re-vegetate.  Of course, this area would have already been cleared of a lot of heavy timber many years ago.

The most exciting part for me is to see, over the years - how the natural area of the park has evolved. More and more birdlife is becoming apparent, along with other native wildlife.

I'm no expert, but it seems to me that there are very few areas for little birds to hide when all the undergrowth is cleared from properties.  The little finches are just amazing, but of course I wasn't able to take photos - they are way too fast for me!

A few people I have spoken to on my walks have mentioned 'the lack of mowing' in this section of the park.  What about the snakes?  What about fires?  To my uneducated eye though, it appears that this section of the park is just how things should be in the natural balance of things.  

There is a low lying swampy area. 
Swaying grasses for the seed eating birds like eastern rosellas and others to feed on.
 a nicely undulating hill with scrubby trees like Black Wattle
Plus ones that have been planted to show what used to grow in the area before clearing, like this Blue Gum.

I guess we are pretty fortunate to live where I can enjoy this walk daily.  All in all it is a nice morning walk - a bit rural and a bit civilised.  Dexter likes it too.
I would encourage you to photograph your daily walk.... I know that not everyone has rural surrounds, but it is amazing how different things look when you take photos of the everyday.  I know that just by taking these photos, my eyes have been opened a little more.

Take some photos of your everyday walk and feel free to link back to here!

Cheers for now - Wendy

saving for travel - I'd be happy to send the snake skin onto you SFT - if you can clear it with Customs first!
**Anne** - chickens are always so cute aren't they - just have to keep them apart from the snakes.  I think we have the pens snake proof (I hope!) now
Fi - I agree with the snake sentiment - &  I can understand why NZ is nice on so many levels!
Shaheen - thanks for the push about my other blog which I haven't started yet!  I will get onto it soon I promise.
Kim - I'm surprised your bantams aren't clucky Kim.  Surely it will happen soon?  when the weather warms up more maybe.
Gooseberry Jam  - yes, she's a very clucky hen and a very good mother too.  Sounds like someone I know!
muppy - yes - absolutely to both!

September 22, 2011

Spring here means ......

these things - in no particular order -

Lovely wisteria in flower

Spring Chickens

I treated Little Banty with some more little chickens to take under her wing (literally!).   They are buff Pekin and they should end up very much like her.   You may remember from this post that my favourite little bantam is a great surrogate mother.

I happened upon an advert recently for these little guys. They were a little old (2 weeks) to put under her, but I was reasonably confident that she would take them. .... and of course she did!

However, snakes have woken up after winter and are on the move again.  As evidenced by this snake skin that has been shed on our back verandah!

This looks really big, but I'm pretty sure that it was the skin of a green tree snake I spotted lurking a few days back.  Have to make sure those chicks are locked up tight at night.
Another wisteria vine, but this is the native wisteria it has more of a rambling growth pattern, and the flower spikes are upwards.  I'm sure there are much better images than this to be found - just Google it.  Very pretty flower and the bees (and birds) love it!
Lastly, thanks for all the kind comments about Dexter.  He is, of course, just fine and back to his feisty self.  Just thought I'd include a close up of his bite mark, which I have highlighted in green (you may have to double click on it).  Can you see the canine mouth imprint!?  Lucky there were only 2 puncture wounds.  Could certainly have been a lot worse.
Cheers for now - Wendy 

Waving hello to my newest follower Julia - welcome!

My replies to comments on previous post:
Kim - small dogs are just different somehow aren't they?  Not just size, but attitude!
librarygirl - ouch indeed, and for a few days after too.
Judith- thanks, yes a bit of a shock to both of us!
veggiegobbler - it was so quick, I don't even think he had time to yelp
Lyndel - hugs appreciated by both Dex and the footy boys, thanks Lyndel!
Fi - those cones are just wicked I think... they do the trick (usually) though.  EasyYo- I've found that the greek yoghurt works best for us too. Thanks for the water tip, have tried that and it works a treat Fi.
Shaheen - thanks a lot, that's sweet of you.  He is fine now.
saving for travel - thanks SFT, he is well and truly up and running around now

September 12, 2011

When Terrier Meets German Shepherd

Not a good end result!  Luckily he is fine, or will be fine very soon anyway.
It could have been a lot worse.  This was actually the result of just one bite - just that the other dog's jaw span goes from the top of Dexter's spine to mid-abdomen!

Fortunately, when it happened (I was walking Dexter on lead) there were several people around who came to assist.  The Shepherd actually ran out of the (open) gate and just latched onto him.  It all came as a bit of a shock to Dexter - who really fancies himself as a mini-Rottweiller!  There was a bit of a skirmish before the other dog was chased inside.

Fortunately (again) the owners, when approached, agreed to pay the $400 (!) vet bill.  Poor Dex had to had surgery and a mini-drain put in to run the yukky fluid out which would have otherwise accumulated.  That will be taken out tomorrow and the stitches out a week later I think.

He is fine - only indignant that he has been confined to the laundry for the time being (and has to wear a bucket on his head)!

Football news - great game, but unfortunately the boys' team weren't the winners.  They lost 32/34 - but it was such an exciting game!  It could have gone either way.  Lots of sad faces on the night, but they brightened after the team BBQ on the weekend.  They played a good fair game and that's the main thing.  It has been a wonderful season for them all.

Strange weather over the weekend here - very windy on Saturday.  How was your weekend?  I made my first batch of Esiyo overnight and it's now setting in the fridge.  Those of you who make it - do you mainly make the natural Greek one?  or what is your favourite?  Do you find that it works out a lot cheaper?

Cheers for now - Wendy

Comments from my previous post

S - how did you go?  did you try the recipe?
Fiona from Arbordale Farm - thanks for the link, another interesting blog to follow!  We didn't make it over your way after all.  Hope you had a great time.
Kim - thanks for your hints.  I will definitely be trying a few different ways to make the yoghurt once I get used to it.  Good advice re the cupboard too - luckily I have a spot already set aside.
**Anne** - glad to hear of another Esiyo fan!  Give the slice a try and see what you think.... I've now restocked my supply of ground ginger and ready for some more ....... that could be dangerous!
Fi - I knew that it was a popular Kiwi recipe.... I know that I'll be tempted to make it again.  Glad you're a EsiYo fan also.
Shaheen - I've always thought the Esiyo was a bit gimmicky, but glad that I've got one now. I know that yoghurt can be made with a  thermos - let us know how you go!

September 9, 2011

Just one more - please?

This is a wonderful recipe for Ginger Crunch  I found here.

However, it should come with a warning.  These are terrible!   Terrible as in - it's very difficult to just eat one.  They are so yummy, but should be avoided if you are counting calories, sugar levels or cholesterol I think!  They are very sweet and more-ish.
The caramellised icing is just lovely, and I think I might even try it on plain biscuits.  I added extra ginger in just about all of this, my ground ginger was almost out of date, so I doubled it.  Plus I had some fresh ginger in the fridge, so I grated some into the base.  Obviously we like ginger here.

I have cut and sliced and put in the freeze in some hope of portion control!  ... and yes, I am the main offender.
New purchase of this Esi-Yo gadget.  Yes, another case of re-cluttering for sure.  However, I have thought about buying one for some time.  I found this in an op shop for bargain price - have not seen a thrifted one before.

If it can save some money on store-bought yoghurt then it will be a great investment.  I noticed that Tania has just bought one too!  Maybe we can compare results!
I'd just love some advice / tips if anyone has used one recently.  Any special recipes or methods that work would be much appreciated.  I'll try it over the weekend and see how it performs.
Sports news - on the football front, big excitement tonight.  I know that there will be a lot of major games played elsewhere this weekend.  However, this is Friday night football in a far away suburb (oh joy).  Our son's team plays the district junior rugby league U'16s Grand Final.   It would be wonderful if they could win the title 2 years in a row!  They have had a really exciting year this year.  This will be his last year playing - he has decided that Year 12 will be busy enough.  Wish us luck - it will be a l o n g drive home otherwise!!

Cheers for now  - Wendy

Waving Hi to new followers Tania & S too!

My reply to comments on Is Your Tea Cosy?

Suzanne - thanks for hosting!  Great idea and lots of lovely cosies. 
Tania @ Out Back - yes, I think you're right Tania.  See how bad I am, can't even tell the different between knit and crochet!  That is probably why I can't crochet.
Kate - I'll let you in on a not-so-secret fact about the red tea pot.  It's a Maxwell Williams and easily sourced from most kitchen shops.  ...... not so sure about Broome though!
Judith - I like your blue one too!  So many variations on a theme aren't there?
Ali - show us your chicken Ali!  How about hosting a tea cosy swap!?
saving for travel - well have a cuppa SFT - I've now prompted you with tea and coffee.

September 7, 2011

Is Your Tea Cosy?

I was having my morning cuppa and having a quick look at some blogs when I happened upon Suzanne's Enchanted Moments.  Her lovely post this morning invited us to show off our tea cosies.  So I decided to play along - why don't you?

This is my one and only cosy, which I picked up at a garage sale for 20c!  It's lovely and looks nice and cosy on my red teapot.  
I have always planned on knitting a tea cosy, but until then, this one certainly does the job nicely.  I'm not so sure that I could do such a nice job!

Seems like a good time too to say Thanks for all your great comments on the  coffee post!

Phoebe  - yes they are pretty, and even prettier in flower.  Note to self must look for an old photo of them in flower.
**Anne**  - I just like them for the look of them I think Anne.  I think it would take a mountain of work to produce enough beans to grind.  Then again, I think I'm just lazy!
Liz - yes the red beans are ripe (I think).  Starts off green and goes into red then brown.
thenewgoodlife- I'm learning as I go too.  - The education would have been even more informative if I knew a bit more lol!
Rose - I think I should too.  At least then I would really know where my coffee came from!
saving for travel - happy to encourage you to take a break SFT!
Ali - They are reasonably big Ali.  These are under some gums too.... can you move your tree if it's in the wrong place?
Andrea -  Good comment about the birds - I think it is mainly when they are in flower that the lorikeets like them.  Guess they go for the nectar over the coffee taste!
muppy - I just like the look of them too.  The foliage is so lush and the beans a lovely contrast.
Fiona from Arbordale Farm - thanks again Fiona, much appreciated.
Judith - You're right - very handy as a screen tree and a nice shade tree too.
Kim -.I think they'd be a nice addition to most gardens because of the shade factor too.
Bayside Rose - Happy to help. Thanks for your comment, just wish I could be a bit more informative!

and while I'm at it - thanks for the comments on the Old Chook and an Award.  Just wish that someone had another old chook photo!

Phoebe  - nice colour and such a stately old thing too.  I'd like to get some pb Australorps just for that reason.  Maybe next time.  Don't know how many for RIR's but this old girl certainly shut up shop some time ago!
muppy - you're more than welcome Muppy! 
Lyndel - you're welcome too Lyndel.  Just a bit of fun - now get back to the washing ... lol.
**Anne** - you are welcome Anne!  Your chooks may be old one day too.  The award is just a bit of fun, don't feel that you have to follow through!
Gooseberry Jam - yes we are all getting a bit grey here!  Hopefully one day you will have old chooks too.  No she stopped laying ages ago, pensioned off.
Rose - you have a great blog - keep up the great work on the Project.

Cheers for now - Wendy 

September 5, 2011

A Poultry Challenge ..... and an Award

We have a quite a few different hens - about  a dozen or so at the moment.  The majority of these are crossbred and now a few additional bantams as well.  Over the years these have been mainly red/brown, some Rhode Island Red background, and also Isa Brown.  I know that it would be wonderful to have only Pure Bred ones, but these suit our purpose of supplying eggs.
Every  couple of years, we will buy about 5 of 6 at Point of Lay stage (around 18 weeks of age). By this time, the older hens would have slowed down in the egg production and we have often lost a couple through natural causes (this includes old age, snakes - or often just found toes up for no known reason).

We have one very old hen.  Usually referred to as the old chook.  Not as a name, but more of a description.  On the weekend I had a good look at the old chook.   I had noticed lately that her new feathers had been taking a while to come through following a recent moult. 

However, when I had a really good look, I went back for the camera.
They are not new feathers coming through as I thought.  They are grey feathers!  The old chook has grey feathers!   (cue sounds of mirth, clutching at sides laughing). 

We all tried to think back how old this particular hen would actually be.  I googled the life span of domestic poultry.  Most sources named 6 years as being a good age.  Burkes Backyard  cites 2-10 years for cross-bred hens.  I am thinking that this particular hen would be somewhere in the 6-10 year mark. 
My challenge to fellow poultry enthusiasts is this - do you have, or know of an old chook.  If you do,  please write a post on your blog, perhaps with a photo, and link it back to this post.  I'd love to see some photos of other old hens who are living a life of grey plumed retirement.
Now - about the Award!  

I'd love to thank the wonderful Fiona from Life at Arbordale Farm for generously passing this award over my way - and also to fellow recipients -  Little Piece of GreenHazel; Veggiegobbler and Just Like My Nan Made - so I was in great company.  I was thrilled to be included. I've not been blogging very long and have been astounded by the many levels that I enjoy it.  First and foremost of course would have to be the friends in the blogging community.

It is wonderful to read so many blogs and to get involved in them just by commenting and joining in on some many different perspectives. 

The Liebster Blog award is given to bloggers with under 200 followers. Here are the rules:

1. Thank the giver and link back to them.  Yes, ticked this one... thanks again Fiona.

2. Reveal your 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.

Rose from Greening the Rose.  I am particularly enjoying The Rose Marshall ProjectRose does the hard work on food investigation that every Australian consumer should read.

Muppy  amazes me with each post.  What she can do in the kitchen is nothing short of inspirational.  Her family certainly dines in style.

Anne at Ungardened Moments.  Her blog is full of colour and inspiration.  I always feel calm and peaceful after reading one of Anne's posts. 

KiwiFruit - What is not to love here.  The beautiful photography, Flopsy, Roller Derby Queen and the stunning scenery.  Love it all!

Lyndel of Vintage Retro & Simply Cute Shopping has such wonderful vintage style and so many varied collections.  A superb eye for op shop treasures.  I'm jealous!

It was definitely difficult to pick just five!  This is certainly a condensed list of many of my faviourites and five which seem to cover all the genres that interest me.  Oops - I seem to have forgotten all about decluttering!

So there you go.  Hope I've done everything correctly.  Not stepped on any toes or linked anyone who didn't want to be linked!
Cheers for now - Wendy 
Don't forget about the Poulty Challenge!


With many apologies - I haven't responded to all the lovely comments on the previous post.  This has been such a long post and I'm going cross eyed from all the links.  Will respond next time re the Coffee post.