Thursday, May 22, 2008

Further new arrivals...1 day old chicks...cute

Wow! the lovely Joyce, from down the road at Whiorau Farm where many birds of all kinds are producing eggs and living the good life, called this morning with the news that I was again a proud MUM!

Only this time I am Mum to 9 baby chicks who'd hatched out variously yesterday May 21 2008.

So we have 9 gorgeous black/grey babies all furry and soft with down and smudgey patches of baby yellow on a few crowns, bibs, wings, tummies and bottoms...wondering what breeds or cross-breeds we small, so sweet.

Phoebe, of course, is intimately acquainted already and I feel today like the Godzilla of Mother Hens, doing my ultimate best to protect these tiny (probably not fragile!) new lives and guide/educate our wonderfully inquisitive 4 year old human child and her furiously curious fingers!!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Our Little Gardener

This is a very precious corner of the guessed it - it's Phoebe's Patch.

So far she has re-potted her cactus, which she was given as a Christmas present by Uncle Ray and Auntie Raema,
transplanted a couple of sad-looking swan plants - which are now thriving - and potted up several small succulents - all by herself.

...apparently it is quite warm in the greenhouse - so one must dress accordingly...

...and one must also have the correct tools.....

It's a tough life being Luke...

Now - just in case anyone has been missing Luke, our beautiful bundle of raw energy in the form of an Australian Kelpie dog, and perhaps wondering whether he's okay here at Possum Bend, you know - will he be happy? will he settle in okay?

Well - here he is at about 8am today, completely ignoring my instructions for him to look up as I pointed the camera at him..."sorry, Mum - bit busy right now".... Happy Boy!

(We know - everyone LOVES Luke.)

Look what Gladys DID!!!!

Now, as you probably know, if you've been following along, that we actually have a flock of 13 - Roger, our very special guy and his posse of very well-behaved girls...only, so far, they haven't produced a single egg...that is until this morning!

So exciting.

I probably embarrassed Phoebe quite well with my whoops of jubilation and jigs around the crunchy lawn - well, probably not - she joined in, too.

So, here it is - carefully cradled in those toasty little rainbow mittens - a small (remember - size isn't everything!) and yet perfectly-formed pullet egg.

We've tried to work out who to congratulate - there was the scrap of evidence attached in the form of a wisp of nether-fluff - black with a tinge of ginger - maybe Gladys, we thought...or maybe Goldie...possibly Digger, with her cute "feather hat"... now we can't wait for tomorrow morning...will it all be repeated again tomorrow?


May have to invest in an electric blanket...

Well, after a very shivery night (and, yes - it's only May 19!), we awoke to the crunchy white blanket of our first frost of the ?Winter? lying sneakily over our riverside paddocks and just out there - yes, that's right - just in front of the main lawn, by the chookies!!

This is the view from our kitchen window... and right where the frost has settled is right where we were imagining our Permaculture Chook Dome Mandala gardens would go... Hmmm...back to the drawing board?

Friday, May 02, 2008

People at Possum Bend in the Autumn Sunshine

Aaron (AKA Farmer Brown), looking quite comfortable in his DRIZABONE oilskin hat and wellies...strange though, since I haven't seen him standing this still the entire time we've been here at Possum Bend...

This cuddly duo are, of course, yours truly and Miss Phoebe. Here we are on the slopes of the paddock above Tunanui Stream (means 'Big Eel')...


This fine gentleman is Peter, our neighbour along Possum Bend. He has the most beautiful, charming garden, bursting with all manner of colourful goodies - fruit, flowers and glossy foliage in abundance - and just when I thought I'd seen everything I stumbled across a Bali-inspired sleeping platform, painted brightly (yeah - so how did I miss it???!!!), yet secluded within the lush planting...

Ivan, who is clearly NOT listening to a single word Peter is uttering, is a puzzling 'Chinese Crested' with the hilarious habit of leaving the tip of his tongue dangling out the right side of his mouth....

And this young man is Kade, Phoebe's newest friend, who lives in the house over the road. They get on extremely well and have many adventures.

Meet our newest additions...

Phoebe is showing you the "Permaculture Chook Dome", proudly made by Aaron, which now houses one very happy rooster - Roger - and his harem of 12 girls!

The theory is that every 2 weeks they will have cleared, scratched over and fertilised a circular vegetable garden bed for us as well as given us some lovely organic eggs!

They sleep up in a timber lattice roost, suspended from the ceiling of the dome and will lay their precious eggs in a recycled lawn mower grass-catcher.
This photo shows our guy, Roger, strutting his stuff and the lovely ladies in black... they are mostly Orpington crosses, which makes them nicely docile.

Roger is quite distinguished having a Barnevelder for a father - he definitely stands tall.

Yesterday we became the owners of 3 lovely young female goats, caught by a local farmer from up in the hills...he gets $3 a kg for them at market, so we felt quite happy that these ones will get to see a bit more of life at Possum Bend in their sunny paddock, overlooking the river...

In her shelter you see Greta resting...

...peeping around the corner from her shelter is Gloria...

...and "you can't really see me in this long grass" is Ginger - the smallest of our three lawn-mowers.