Monday, November 23, 2009

Our Latest addition...

what a tense 24 hours we've was hatching day yesterday...and my hopes were for 6 lovely little Cayuga Ducklings to emerge and then 6 Silver Seabright Bantams. We have plans to have a flock of ducks for our developing Permaculture Food Forest (currently = small orchard) and I was hoping to surprise our wonderful neighbour, Pete, (who won't read this!) with some of the special bantams he loves for a Christmas present - he sort of knows I'm looking for fertile eggs, etc Given that ducklings need a longer incubation period, I had timed the placement of the bantams a week later, to coincide at hatching.
The result, I believe of our Cayuga hatch is just this one, very much loved little hatchling - named 'Asha' by Phoebe - because it's black. Rather disappointing as at the very end of sitting for a whole 4 weeks, our broody hen, Perky, decided to ditch the eggs - and I only just rescued this one in time - pipping and broken through it's egg a 3cm hole, but cold and very weak - so gambled and broke the egg for it and freed it - Perky pecked at it straight away - she didn't want to have anything to do with it or the other duck eggs, 3 of which have an embryo in them.
So, a sad learning experience here - and that is life, is it not? - sometimes it doesn't all go to plan - and really we are so grateful for all the beautiful creatures we are blessed with already.
My fingers are still crossed for Pete's bantams - Perky went back on and I managed to get a hot water bottle under/to the side of them - and she has stayed there all day today...we shall see...

Misty day in Morere

I will own this - I would have loved it if
Phoebe was as bewitched by these incredible drops and droplets hanging on everything we looked at as if all the fairies had left their jewels out all over the place in some grand fairy jewellry display - but it was just me!

She was much more excited to get on
and feed the neighbour's pigs and cats for him!

Mavis, Hope and Kevin...

dinner bounty in a basket!

really a 'just because' kind of photo and a little bit because I'm in a green and red vibe...and that's not just because we are choosing exterior house colours at the moment in green and red or because Phoebe (and our neighbour, Pete) is already into the Christmas music...I just have a strong affinity with these two contrasting colours in any way they present. And it is just so luscious being able to pluck one's own organic strawberries fresh from their plot - although Phoebe is a little apprehensive now that her Father has just fertilised them with a highly potent, flowformed cow poo tea! (full of potassium for voluptous fruiting! mmmm!)

Rainbow washing and the everyday art of happiness...

...well, my version of it! To some, this may seem like an inane waste of time or a "who would even think of doing such a thing?" type of idea, let alone being considered at all to be written about on a blog!
Well!, - I like to think of this colour-grading of my washing items as a little bit of everyday happiness - it just happens and it's only when I'm about a third of the way along I realise I'm doing it and then, of course, I BEAM, because - why shouldn't the washing on the line be pretty? Huh?! Don't go into the matching pegs, though - that's just between Pam and myself!

...and the answer is...


We were certain after all our talking about acidity and it's effects that it would either be the Coca-cola (which, by the way, was purchased specifically for the purpose of this Scientific Experiment!!) or the Baking Soda/Vinegar mix.

And the second most effective was...milk! Go figure!

We learned was it was fun to devise a way to find out the answer to a puzzling question right here in the house and to lead ourselves in the direction of the resources we'd need to find out.
We also learned some more about waiting and being patient for the reaction to occur (on it's own!).

Poppy and Pansy Duck!

Our two, sweet, soft yellow bundles of joy, our Pekin x Aylesbury pair are progressing very well - they grow surprisingly faster than chicks!
the photo on the left is of Pansy at under a week, resting happily on my cousin, Anna's hand...with the ever-attendant "nana" Luke.
And on the right, Miss Phoebe is carefully perched up the ladder to her Apple tree, holding Miss(?!) Poppy (at about 3 weeks of age - much larger) 'just so' - we have been having lots of learning about how to handle these precious small creatures - for their own safety and their general wellbeing - ie a sense of security in how they are held, too! There are challenges every day...

Phoebe's Patch

Phoebe's interest in the garden is growing quickly...she is now as interested in growing vegetables as she is in her beloved pansies and poppies (incidentally, the names the new ducks have been given!). So now, as well as her pocket-handkerchief flower garden, she has Phoebe's Patch! This is one of the eleven circular beds in our Permaculture Mandala Garden, which will be visited by our chooks in their dome at the end of December, to do their 6-monthly weeding and fertilising stint. Right now we all decided it needed an end of Spring Spring Clean and spent several hours weeding and mulching - it was surprising how much was growing there. Phoebe is now rescuing anything and everything and fully experimenting with her own vegetable growing!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

November Crafts

Here are a couple of products of Phoebe's craft times lately...whilst needle felting a blanket for one of her little 'guys', she found a method that begged repetition, so she made four small, brightly coloured blankets, extremely quickly! After the initial 'buzz' wore off, she noticed they were a bit loose - so with a little tutoring in how to tighten them up, she made them stronger. The next leap was even more interesting to me as she was next to a gloriously-coloured peggy-square knitted blanket, like the ones my Nana Joy makes for charity. Phoebe then joined all four blankets together into one beautiful, larger one. It led to a discussion about what Nana Joy does, what other people in the world have or don't have...interesting!
And, some modelling with a polymer modelling clay called DUKIT - she only has primary red, yellow and blue plus white and is having a lot of very creative time mixing different amounts of colours together to create the ones she wants - and gets some lovely surprises, too! These are mostly for her very small gnomes and fairies in her play area inside...

How do we clean these old moneys, Mum?

A few weeks ago, our wonderful neighbour, Pete, gave Phoebe a collection of his old coins from various travels...interesting...And then on Sunday Phoebe bagan examining them, sorting them, spreading them out, looking at the pretty designs, only they were all covered with...verdis gris and general 'gunk'. So, what to do? Mummy, how do we clean these "moneys"? has now led to our first Science Experiment...Cleaning Coins.We decided on a mixture of Baking Soda and White Vinegar, which we know is good at cleaning all sorts of dirt off all sorts of surfaces. Then, we had a visit from Uncle Ray - he's a geologist and knows plenty about Science! He and Aunty Raema suggested coca-cola and orange juice. And then we considered milk as an alkali liquid to see what might happen with that and then as with all science experiments, you really need to have that thing called a control - so we chose water.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Beach Rambling

I just came across this photo which seems to capture a certain rugged feeling I enjoy about our region - or is that raw? Luke and Aaron are on one of our 'scavenger hunts', which we relish - not quite as often as perhaps we could, though... it usually involves getting out to one of our local beaches - and driftwood, pumice, shells, smooth, flat, rounded pebbles... then creating with these gifts of nature. Many of the beaches have this dark gritty sand on the upper part of the Hawke Bay, then closer into Mahia, there is lovely softer, paler sand.

"Violet Ducklings"

On 20th October, we had two lovely, soft fuzzy bundles of yellow duckling arrive overnight, much to our delight. They had been hatched by a very generous broody hen, named Violet. Until we had a home to place them into, Phoebe and Kade thought it best they get as many human cuddles as possible...A few days later and they were suddenly much bigger and more active...cuddles are still the number one activity here...and still small enough that Phoebe was able to have double cuddles...just!
Big enough to step out for a the pond in our Mandala Gardens...with 'Nana' in tow (Luke!)Like...'ducks to water', they took to the pond... and still 'Nana' must make sure his(?!) babies are fine :)