Figured I should get around to this sooner rather than later as I'm fairly slack.
3.5 weeks ago we bought 6 baby Light Sussex chickens from the same breeder where Donna got hers from. They're all still alive, which seems to me like quite a miracle! One of the chickens has a large, distended bottom which doesn't seem to be getting worse, but looks a little frightening. I will try and post some photos tonight to show what I mean. We call that one J-Lo. Poor J-Lo.
We've been busy getting the chook pen up and running, as the chickens are getting a bit too big for the dog crate and when I came home on Monday they were all suffering quite a bit from the heat - open beaks, heavy breathing. I swung into action and turned a fan onto them and spritzed them with water. The lamp is now off permanently and they seem thrilled to bits. I feel quite sorry for the poor little buggers, being at the hands of this useless chook keeper! The pen is nearly finished and we hope to have them in by Tuesday, which will be 4 weeks since we got them, so they'll be around 4.5 – 5 weeks old by then. Should be plenty. I'm a little worried about one of them as it only has feathers on its wings and hasn't developed any more feathering since then. Will see how it goes though. If it's going to die, I really hope it's a rooster!
My sister and her family live on acreage about 45 mins from us, and we paid them a visit on the weekend. I love it out there, but the issue of schools for my little girl worries me, so acreage will have to remain a dream either for when kids are out of our hair, or if we win the lotto – the latter being the preferable scenario! Anyway, they scored new neighbours about 6 months ago and these people are my sort of people! I've noticed that they have chooks and fruit trees (all of which earn them brownie points with me!) but my sister was telling me that they have a huge veggie patch and grow everything organically. Truckloads of brownie points! So I left my sister's house feeling all inspired and went home to our little 607m² suburban block and got sowing on Sunday afternoon!
The veggie beds (there are 3 – one more coming in February) have all sat reasonably dormant since the pumpkins were harvested too early from bed #1. At least I got some corn out of that bed! Bed #2 has had beans in it for ages and they've gone quite crazy, but this is a good thing. There's also some tomatoes in there, but they're suffering shockingly. I think they're not getting enough water, or the soil I bought from a well renowned landscape centre ("organic vegetable mix" - haha!), which was full of onion weed, was no doubt also contaminated with verticillium wilt as well. I'm such a cynic. Anyway, bed #3 has had carrots in it for ages, but they had gone a bit woody, so I gave them to the dogs and worked the bed over with some compost and sowed some different lettuce, pak choi and then put a shade cloth over it (in the hope that this will help). Now, here's hoping it all goes gangbusters again!
Another thing about being at my sister's place – there's an awesome produce store just down the road! I had been paying $6 for 3kg bags of chick starter, but they had 20kg bags for $20! Naturally, I bought one. Let's see how quickly the little buggers can eat that (assuming they'll manage without any problems). The produce store also sold huge round bales of hay for $75! When our derelict old garage and driveway are demolished (we are putting a car port at the front and getting rid of the long, useless driveway), I plan to put a small shed or two in place of the current garage and carport – I need enough covered area for one of those bales too as I reckon it'll save a bucket of mullah having one of those handy for mulch, chook bedding etc. I never thought I could get so excited about a stupid bale of hay!
I bought a 'condo avocado' and 'condo mango' tree from Kendall Farms ( his daughter lives in Brisbane and keeps a small supply of plants, which she delivers for just $20!) a little while back, but they are still sitting in the pots because I need to get rid of my grafted pink eucalyptus (Summer Beauty) I think. My brother-in-law says he wants it, so I'll need to wait another week before we get it out there as they are away this weekend. I'll plant the Avocado tree in it's place. I'm not sure where I'll put the mango tree. They both should only get to 2.8 metres in height, but the only other spot suitable for the mango tree is right under the power lines and I reckon the local possums will soon start eating the fruit. At least if I put it somewhere else, the possums won't go there (or if they do, they'll likely meet our dogs, the poor buggers). So I'm tossing this one up a bit. Maybe I've just got too many fruit trees for our crappy little block!
I can't wait for Donna's garden visit on Sunday! Woohoo!