Well it seems that our broody hen actually did know what she was doing and we are very pleased to announce the birth of two new chicks somewhere between yesterday evening and this morning. Yay! We know nothing about raising baby chicks and had no idea we would actually get any this year so we’ve been a little taken by surprise. We’ve arranged to pick up a rabbit hutch from a friend which we will have to convert tomorrow to accommodate our new mummy and her babies (and the eggs she is still sitting on). We’ve got a little information on what to feed the babies (basically ground of feed). They will be on grass and we hope that mum will teach them to free range properly. We really need to start thinking a little about forage plants for the chooks. Tree Lucern (tagasaste) is the most highly recommended. I also want to look into a few more water food plants for the pond (for the ducks and geese).
This are so exciting in the garden at the moment. We just enjoyed a yummy lunch including our own fresh peas, beans and lettuces. Have you ever picked a pea pod off the vine, snapped it open and tasted those little green peas? Well I hadn’t until this morning and they tasted like sweet little lollies.
We also have some broccoli starting to head:
More of the fruit trees are in the process of feeding us too. Here is a persimmon.
The olives I mentioned last time:
Our single blue berry bush
Look at the itty bitty kiwi fruits, they are born hairy!
(oh and the photo from my other post that I said I wasn’t sure what those little pods where are actually more kiwi fruit, that’s the stage just before they become flowers).
I mentioned that we discovered our goose and duck nests a little while ago and thought I should upload a few photos.
This little girl is very broody and hasn’t left the nest in a week. I feel so sorry for her that there will be no little babies but we do have plans of getting a gander as soon as we can find one.
Fortunately this stroppy little girl leaves her eggs and feeding time so we can take the new ones. But you should here the ruckus she makes when the theft is discovered.
The ducks found a wonderful hiding place on the other side of the paddock to the geese.
We’ve found some great recipes for the eggs, our main concern is that we don’t know when most of them were laid, or how long they last so we are being very tentative about cracking them open into separate bowls and ensuring that they are cooked properly.
From left to right, little chicken egg (either from what I think is a bantam or from the young shaver (dotty the demented chicken, poor girl is a little deformed and we are not sure if it’s a birth defect or if the horse kicked/stepped on her as she does like to peck around under him while he’s eating), next we have a normal chicken egg, a duck egg and a goose egg.
Eggs have porous shells, so you can’t wash them or you just let the bacteria into the egg, the goose seem to build individual little nests around each individual egg, Buffie thinks it’s the sweetest thing and now that they are laying I think they have redeemed themselves in her eyes. For a while there she decided they were annoying, noisy, food gussling birds that sometimes ate some grass.
I finally got some better photos of our lovely animals.
And yesterday Buffie discovered where the geese are laying their eggs and we took about 8 eggs from one of the two nests. It made a lovely japanese style omelette to go with our dinner last night. The eggs are HUGE by the way, about the size of 3 or 4 large chicken eggs at least. They don’t seem to have the greasy feel of duck eggs which I’m very glad about. We still aren’t sure exactly what breed of geese they are so if anyone has some idea please let me know.
We are now thinking of getting in a drake and a gander so that we can start breeding up the birds for dinner.
We are also still working on what breed of chickens, roosters and ducks we have. We think the ducks might be pekin ducks. What ever they are I think they are lovely. I’m pretty certain that at least 3 of our chickens are brown shavers. I want to get some dog houses for the ducks and geese to lay their eggs in so that it’s easier for us to find them and hopefully when we get in the boys it will be nice and cozy for the babies we hope to get.
I’ve finished clearing out another of the overgrown raised beds and planted it with potatoes, Craig has made a start on another one and Buffie has been collecting load after load of horse poo and piling it nicely around the fruit trees as well as clearing back kaikua that has started to straggle a lot of the trees.
The greenhouse is certainly working out wonderfully (and was the only warm and dry place out in the gardens for most of the day yesterday). I’ve gotten in a few bags of compost, garden mix and sand to mix up my own seed raising mix. I’ve followed Kay Baxter’s advice and I’ve combined equal parts of dirt, compost and sand (one day I dream of the dirt and compost coming from our own gardens, but right now we have mud and a stunning looking compost pile that is at least 6 months away from cooked). This combo is in one container and into another I’ve started to sieve the mix. It’s a long process, especially because the bags of soil and compost were a little damp, but the end result is a lovely fine mix that I’m really happy with. So far I have the following seeds/seedlings growing:
- Cannelloni beans (now seedlings just about ready to plant)
- Borlotti beans (just sewn)
- Slenderette beans (just sewn)
- Chinese cabbage (seedlings that I’ve now thinned out into containers for friends, they are all ready to be planted now I think)
- Rocket (yummy and ready to be planted out into the garden, I’ve also thinned them for friends)
- Another lettuce (Silvia or Silvide?)
- Mixed Basil (thai, cinnamon, lemon and purple)
- Broccoli (just sewn)
I’m thinking I’ll sew the carrot seeds into the bed Craig is preparing and see how they go. We’ve decided to plant out a lot of these things into the “perennials” bed this season, the land is just so wet and the rain isn’t looking like easing any time soon so we just can’t do anything towards the main plots for at least a few more months. It is nice to see a little progress happening, even if it is slowly.