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Andrew Cumberland's Blog (46)

The ongoing Turkey saga: Turkey 3, Andy 0

I thought I'd best stop hijacking Mr Riley's blog with my Turkey saga.

You'll recall the story so far: 

Comment by Andrew Cumberland yesterday

Hey Dianne, I don't expect Bobbie to pick the difference between a turkey and chook.  But, he is actually quite suspicious of our new visitor.  I'm gonna…

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Added by Andrew Cumberland on May 12, 2015 at 23:40 — 36 Comments

Random update: stardate 3004.2015 or PH.

I finally discovered that my ph meter is kaput.  I'm hoping this will assist big time with a lot of "fail to produce" problems.  The other thing that this little adventure has taught me is that it's probably better to build a few small beds rather than one big one.  This allows you to adjust your soil in each bed individually.  If you want a long bed, just butt a few up against each other.  

Let me explain.  I work hard to pour organics into my beds. I think that means they are rich…

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Added by Andrew Cumberland on April 30, 2015 at 0:45 — 19 Comments

An update of an old blog... or random update: stardate 2*s042015

Wow - this is year three of April updates:  April 2015.

1. I've accepted the flow of the seasons much better now.  Kale went in today along with tropical garlic varieties and a heap of gooseberries that came up in the compost. Gooseberries are wonderful in winter.  Snow peas put in the little dogs' yard where there is more sun.  As expected, the Ceylon Spinach has started to boom (just in time for winter). 

2. Having some Tom troubles.  Probably have a virus in…

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Added by Andrew Cumberland on April 25, 2015 at 20:30 — 15 Comments

Garden update: Stardate 19122014

We have now hit summer, well and truly.  It’s hot and there is a real need to watch the vege carefully so as to water those that are wilting.  The vertical gardens are especially susceptible.

Greens:  The need for care is particularly true of lettuce, which have the added disadvantage of tending to bolt.  I’m moving from Cos to Mignonette because they seem to survive the heat better.  The sweet leaf has come back nicely now (note to self: prune it in in winter next year).…

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Added by Andrew Cumberland on December 20, 2014 at 0:15 — 6 Comments

A Dingo stole my Christmas Kitten!

Last year I bought My Rozie a pretend kitten for Valentine's Day.  I thought it was cute.  However, said gift crashed and burned, and I knew when it got assigned to the cupboard under the stairs that it was unlikely to ever be seen again.  *sighs*  

However!!! It comes out each year as a Christmas decoration and lives (admittedly, a bit hidden) under our tree.  While that doesn't elevate it to a success, it does mean that it wasn't a complete failure.  

Said kitten was placed…

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Added by Andrew Cumberland on November 30, 2014 at 23:16 — 2 Comments

Two quick tales from the Manor

The first tail belongs to a chicken.

Most days, around 4 pm, I give one of my girls a nurse and cuddle for a few minutes in the back yard.  I'm kicking back relaxing and find that petting a chook is quite good for the stress levels.  The girls seem to like it too.  

Today however, Coral was really agitated. I asked her, "What's up Coral?  Daddy always give you a cuddle, silly girl."  She just got more agitated which is really out of character for my…

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Added by Andrew Cumberland on November 2, 2014 at 22:02 — 5 Comments

Andy's Garden Update - Citrus - Stardate: 03092014

2015 Update:

The Lemon, Lemonade and Mandarin look like they wanna make lots of babies. I'm happy about that. It looks like this is the time of year for citrus, Lemonade particularly. 

So, the corn crop went in yesterday. All good.

Cherry tomatoes are finally starting to produce some fruit again.  Cabbage getting ready. Jeez, even a Cauliflower. Now that summer is here: I'm getting 4 eggs a day. The greens are starting to perform again. It's Quiche and…

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Added by Andrew Cumberland on September 3, 2014 at 16:30 — 12 Comments

Forced to do another random update Stardate: 26072014

This weekend, I:

  • Switched on the solar system that I made for the aquaponics.  It's been 48 hours and it's still running even with very little sun.  I took the heater off to save on power - tank is still at 18.5 degrees at 5.00 pm.  I think she is now off-grid.  Made a video on it and posted it around the place. 
  • Fixed the worm farm after the chooks destroyed the "worm wee" tray.  …
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Added by Andrew Cumberland on July 26, 2014 at 23:37 — 12 Comments

A quick note for myself about compost

The days of throwing everything organic in the compost are over, here at the Manor.  It's way too slow to work that way.  I seem to have evolved a system after spending a crazy amount of time reading up.

Kitchen scraps get blended up and go into the worm farm.  Junk mail and papers are wetted and placed on top of the worms to keep a moisture barrier (and the worms eat it as well). 

Worm castings will go straight onto the garden.  Worm juice goes into the compost…

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Added by Andrew Cumberland on July 24, 2014 at 23:30 — 10 Comments

Random update: stardate 20072014

Observation:  damn those chooks are destructive!  They ate my turnip/cauli patch.  I've now fenced it.  They ate both my Kratky hydroponic boxes.  Threw them out in disgust.  Tonight, I found they've eaten the bottom foam box on my worm farm!  Mind you, that's better than the top box which has the worms!  I'll have to fun another fence to keep them the heck out of that whole area.  On the bright side, they are at point of lay now. Should produce eggs in a month or…

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Added by Andrew Cumberland on July 20, 2014 at 21:06 — 7 Comments

How to make sausages... a post for Backyard Butchers

A little video on how to make sausages:   How to make Thai Chicken Snags

The second instructional video is: How to make Baeurwurst sausage

For those who are thinking about having a go at jerky or biltong:  How to make…

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Added by Andrew Cumberland on July 7, 2014 at 23:16 — 31 Comments

Quick June update

I was mucking around with my aquaponics today but ended up making a video update of the things that have changed in the garden during June.  I'm easily distracted....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFrEJagsqIw

Added by Andrew Cumberland on June 28, 2014 at 0:03 — 3 Comments

Today's Garden Visit - the report!

Hi, Andy here reporting on the latest garden visit for BLF.   For some reason, the visit was scheduled for afternoon, not morning.  So, at 3.30 pm we arrived at a place called McDowall Manor.  

I have to say, the visit started badly, when we couldn't find the host!  However, under instruction from the two Elaines, we decided just to help ourselves. …

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Added by Andrew Cumberland on May 31, 2014 at 20:54 — 14 Comments

Random update: stardate 06042014

I had a lovely day today, doing my best to inspire another BLFer into cheese making, booze making and the delights of home smoked foods.  It made me realise just how much I enjoy sharing the joy of the artisan lifestyle to which I aspire.  As a result, I thought I'd make a record of a few autumn projects here at the Manor:

I'm continuing to "pretty up" the front yard (building site) hugel-swales with some lovely flowering grasses. I added a few extra water holes to…

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Added by Andrew Cumberland on April 6, 2014 at 23:17 — 1 Comment

Chocolateer - plotting the journey.

In my views, artisan skills are exactly that - the combine an art form and a skill to create a wonderful product.  The skill without the art is necessary but not sufficient. 

Everyone knows that I do love my artisan skills, and do my best to practice quite a few.  However, I don't want people thinking that you can watch a few youtube clips and then produce better than shop bought quality. You need to acquire the skill and the art (which is what most shop bought produce…

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Added by Andrew Cumberland on March 23, 2014 at 21:31 — 3 Comments

REALLY QUICK random update: stardate 18032014

I am about to add a few new things to the range of activities here at McDowall Manor:

1. Chocolate making.  I don't actually eat a whole lot of chocolate, but this is another one of those skills that you can "grow into."  Desert seemed to be a logical progression from my home-made entrees and mains.  I reckon I'll have a fair crack at this one. 

2. Chooks.  I'm currently pricing up 3 girls (guaranteed) to be delivered.  Now, this is where I curse Farina.  Oh yeah, we all love…

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Added by Andrew Cumberland on March 18, 2014 at 23:00 — 7 Comments

Random Update Stardate: 05032014. Man, I feel like a farmer...

Some Random Observations:

Today, I realised I haven't bought any salad greens for 4 months.  

The other night, I made tomato soup that was completely home grown.  It was served with home made olive bread rolls and grated home made cheese.  Happy to report that is was really damn good, and I don't even like tomatoes. 

Tonight's Thai Beef salad was pretty much all our greens again.  A Thai Youtube friend taught me you can include radish leaves which I did.…

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Added by Andrew Cumberland on March 5, 2014 at 21:57 — 8 Comments

Summer Garden Walk Through

The garden at the Manor has really suffered over the last month particularly.  Up until then, things were producing quite well.  Then it got hot.... really hot... 

The silverbeet in the little dogs' yard suffered first.  They've been removed now.  The pumpkins and zuchinnis in the front garden are pretty much cactus. It's hot, dry and unprotected out there.  I lost a few things (eggplant and lettuce mostly) in the big girls' yard.  I'm having to shift to perpetual spinach until the…

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Added by Andrew Cumberland on February 16, 2014 at 0:00 — 6 Comments

A Tail of Sadness and Hope

To be honest, I've put off doing this blog.  I know people have noticed that I've gone a bit quiet of late.  So, I reckon it's finally time for this tragic tale to be told.  As much as it is full of sadness, it is also full of hope and promise.  Early in the new year is a good time for the post. 

The Sad Tail

I'm not used to little dogs.  For the last 25 years, I've only owned a German Shepherd and my two Husky dogs.  Of course, when My Rozie and I got…

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Added by Andrew Cumberland on January 5, 2014 at 0:22 — 6 Comments

Random Update Stardate: 13.10.2013: About That Pizza Oven.

So it came to pass.... after 5 long years, Andy decides to get that pizza oven running!  It took a fair bit of trial and error: three hours of far too little flame, lots of smoke, an hour of far too much flame, and finally some quite good pizza.  

You know it is too hot when:…

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Added by Andrew Cumberland on October 13, 2013 at 22:48 — 6 Comments

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