Friday, 17 August 2012

At Our Place

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?


Kim said...

Sounds like lots is happening at your place. We always find the chicken areas are amazingly fertile too- once I didn't even plant anything but all the seeds from the chook scraps came up instead!
Nice to catch up with your garden and see what's growing too.

purplepear said...

A lovely catch up with what you're up to. We have decided that the use of chooks as cultivators for vegie gardens is by far the best type of gardening we have done so far. And the bonus is eggs!.Poor Spot. I have a similar problem with one of our dogs in that she can get herself into any of the chook domes or yards when ever they are given scraps. Fortunately she doesn't react like Spot, but boy do I react..makes me so cross. Great idea about the dinner. Good luck with comming up with something, A difficult time of year really but makes the point . If you can feed yourself locally at this time of year then you can do it just about all the time. We source a lot of our food locally . Contact is by word of mouth really as part of various groups such as the biodynamic group.

Christine said...

Nice to catch up, Linda! Your chooks are doing a fine job for you and I would be willing to say that your abundant crops were because they had visited the bed.

The dinner sounds fantastic too..could you do a big hearty chicken/veg pie with ingredients from your garden?

Hoping a solution to the spot problem presents itself soon...we have a couple of goats that are really testing us at the moment in regards to their fence jumping abilities..ugh! Four legged creatures sometimes..!

Bridget Coyne said...

Oh Linda...your garden *sigh*. So, so pretty :) X

Linda said...

Hi Kim, I hope this garden bed produces as well as the last one. I love that you got a whole bed of volunteers! That's real fertility, isn't it?

Hi Kate, I laughed about the difficult time of year comment! Coz yes I managed it easily but if we had to do it for survival we would starve. I used the last of the carrots, scrounged new potatoes etc. Basically we would eat a couple of feasts in winter and go hungry for the rest of the year. I must plant more!

Hi Christine, I found a source of local beef and had a ball doing it! It is so much fun trying to source food...... an adventure. Good luck with your goats. Ours were given away before we even got to the milking stage. They were impossible!

Hi Bridget! I love my garden though I would describe it more as messy than pretty. You should see the raspberries that I haven't pruned in two years!!! Do you not have any form of garden?

Caro said...

Hi Linda,
Saturday night was great wasn't it? Your rhubarb meringue pie was a great hit with our kids who got to eat the leftovers- delicious was the comment from both girls. Which reminds me I have your pie plate...
I'm also trying to transition from tinned beans to using dried beans. Can you please post the baked bean recipe you mentioned?

Linda said...

Hi Caro, I'm sitting at the computer posting about the process of finding our ingredients. I'm glad your girls liked it but don't tell Belle! She was hoping I would have a cooking disaster so that we could keep the dessert at home. They know that's how it works with meals for others. "If Mum wrecks it, we get to eat it!"

I'll get that recipe to you soon.