I feel an update is due. I just haven't been getting to the computer for the last couple of weeks. So this is some of what we have been doing.
My chooks have just spent two weeks working in the garden. We moved them out of the chook shed into a temporary pen around one of the veggie beds.
They do a better job than I do and they love doing it! Why waste precious energy carting manure and digging the bed over when the chooks can do it for you? They benefit from any old plants in the garden and provide me with eggs as well!
They have scratched and pooped nicely and now the bed is ready for planting in. This weekend we will put them back in their proper shed until we get a chance to move the temporary pen. The last veggie bed that we put the chooks on is the most fertile in the garden. It's hard to say whether this is entirely due to the chooks because there are so many variables in gardening. Maybe we planted at the perfect time of year, maybe the pests were sleeping, but I assume it is because the chooks worked it over for me.
In a bed measuring about one and a half by two metres we are growing cabbage, brussel sprouts, broad beans, spring onions and a couple of self sown leeks.There is also some sort of chard in there which will take off when I pull out the last couple of cabbages and a couple of seedlings of warragul greens.
We've been soaking beans for cooking. I'm trying to only use dried beans because of the BPA in tins and because they create less rubbish. The kids prefer cannelini beans to the borlotti when it comes to baked beans. They are softer when cooked. The borlotti still have quite a bit of firmness (which I enjoyed) but I want the kids to stay in love with our homemade baked beans. They are so nutritious!
And our dear little Spot (said with gritted teeth) has gone to visit the vet. He gets in the chook pen to eat their scraps. I put hay in there for them to scratch and turn into good garden compost. So, while stealing scraps, he eats a grass seed or two and this is the result.
His little face blows up and he heads off to the vet. This is the third visit in about two months and I don't know what the answer is. When the chooks are in their normal pen, we leave the door to their enclosure open during the day. Then they can wander out into the orchard and work on their other job - pest controllers. I could let them into the orchard and close the door to the enclosure so that Spot can't get in and eat their scraps but then they wouldn't be able to work on turning my hay into compost. We may need to make the orchard 'Spot proof' but this would involve A LOT of work and time. We'll keep mulling it over but something needs to be done, and soon!
I've also been doing some fun investigating of different recipes. We're attending a dinner soon and everyone has been asked to bring along a meal. This meal is to be made from as many local ingredients as possible. I love the idea of this challenge! Unfortunately the challenge has coincided with a week where Buddy Boy has had a session of therapy, a trip to the Children's Hospital to see the dentist and we've had two meetings relating to school. The end result being that I have only today left to source the ingredients that I need! I hope I haven't left it too late or I will be taking nothing more than a quiche. Mind you, I love a nice quiche but I would like to do something more substantial.
We have a huge weekend coming up. We seem to have more things organised than we can possibly fit into one weekend, but it should be fun!
Hopefully you have good things planned for your weekend too. And I would love to know - do you have local sources of food and how did you find them?