chickens (4)

TWO WEEKS IN DAYBORO

I am very fond of Dayboro, the folk are down to earth, the scenery gorgeous. It's still close to amenities but feels "country".  So the opportunity to spend, all up, 8 weeks here is most pleasureable. 

I am staying for two weeks at Lynn and Wayne's place first up - actually having my holiday to cover the period, looking after their four puddies, Jack the (adorable, smart Bull Arab) dog and getting out of looking after the chooks as neighbour Andrea has that job. I just get the free range eggs :)

We did a GV here in 2016  for further information.

The house is a beautiful old Queenslander with great airflow and polished wood floors. The garden a quarter acre of flowers, herbs, veg beds and fruit trees. Wonderful. Pretty much my idea of a dream home....apart from the nutgrass....there is a LOT of nutgrass. It's a real challenge for them.

This is the view I wake to in the morning - it's also a great verandah to sit on at night (no mossies) and sip some red while watching the galas fly over.

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Lynn's front yard has a large area dedicated to bee attracting flowering plants. There are lots of bees - mainly honey, SNB and Blue Banded. 

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Amongst them is this mystery plant which the bees just love! big time. The flowers don't open until it becomes sunny - pale yellow petals with a darker centre. Reminiscent of rosellas and hibiscus....if anyone can name it please.

NOTE: Christa managed to track down the name of this plant which was then confirmed by Jerry C-W. Thank you to both of you:
Yes, Turnera ulmifolia 'Elegans' it is (Turneraceae, Central America). Not very common. Definitely worth saving the seed. 🙂
Kind regards
Jerry

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Some of my charges. Despite being a big intelligent dog Jack is a wuss when it comes to the slightest hint of thunder and needs to be close to his humans.

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Sam, one of four cats and surely the most decorative - he has decided my crop basket is a good place to rest.

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The chickens are very pretty. I'm not up on chicken varieties but some of the prettiest here are Wyandotts which I thought up to this very moment were called Wine Dots! There are also two regular black laying chooks. One of which has a prolapse.

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But the chook with the most personality is fluffy little white Betty. I have no idea what type of chook Betty is (turns out she's a Frizzle) but she lays lovely little eggs and "talks" to me all the time. Vocally asking to be let out of her own little pen in the mornings and following me around when I'm in the backyard, yacking away. Her friend is another small breed I don't know the name of (now know she is a Sebright), very pretty but sturky of me.

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Lynn and Wayne have a big range of fruit trees growing on their block - 

Panama Berries - one of my favourite sweet snacks. This is about half of today's crop (rest eaten before I thought to take a pic).

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Lots of citrus including this Mandarin...

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There's lots of productive orange trees and I think these are perhaps Pummelos or Grapefruit....

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Plenty of ripening Dragonfruit.....

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Two large figs covered in fruit...

9779236086?profile=originalAn espaliered orchard with chook run down the middle (chooks are free range in the backyard and can come and go from this run), great idea....

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Pawpaw....

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Bananas.....

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Banks of Rosellas that they turn into jams and cordials.....

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Grow tunnel for greens.....

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Pumpkins galore.....

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And a very productive Coffee plant in the front yard that Wayne makes his own coffee out of.....

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Everywhere I go, Jack goes with me. He loves me but I think I must be boring company compared to Mum and Dad who never stop moving and doing stuff. He seems a bit puzzled why I'm out taking pictures when I could be playing catch with him.

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Growing among friends with guilds

I don't know about you but i just LOVE bookshops. We didn't seem to have bookshops growing up in the country as a kid. I did venture into the newsagents after school on many occasions though. They seemed to have most things you could ever want in there, including books. I also love the variety on Amazon. I've just had delivered Robert Kourik's wonderful reference book 'Designing and Maintaining your edible landscape naturally.' It was out of print for many years and is never available in the libraries. I think people nick them because it's so good. Anyway, now I have my own. Ah joy!

Anyway, when I was last in the West End bookstore, I ventured out of the plants and gardening section into ‘relationships’, just for a change of scene. I dallied around books in the humorous, fictional and factual areas, books advising on growing and keeping a circle of girl fiends, boyfriends, lovers or others.

I got to thinking about the circle of others who may send us to insanity or bring us back from the brink. Friends protect, strengthen and help to create resilience in us. And so it is with plants. Building biological and physical associations into our garden planting is known as a guild. Garden guilds create strong and resilient plants. A favourite guild of mine is the combination of snow peas and Pigeon peas with chooks nearby. The pigeon peas give snow peas nitrogen and a living stake. The chooks give extra fertilisers and stop the caterpillars. They also thrive on the pigeon pea sprouted seedlings that pop up everywhere. I used to grind or sprout the pigeon pea seeds for the chooks too. A great protein feed for good eggs and happy hens. What's your good guild idea? I'd love to hear from you. See below the pic of the Chia Guild too....Such a happy combination.

I'll be running a mini 1 1/2 hour workshop on successful guild design at my place in Wishart this Thursday 14 October if you'd like to come along. Just $49 for a good time, great learning opportunity and a catch up with like-minded folks. Call me if you're interested 3349 2962 or email linda@ecobotanica.com.au

Cheers, Linda

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Donna's Chickens - June 2010

Where do I start? Most of you might be aware that in December we bought three light sussex chickens. There was a saga with the ebay chicken house and one was killed by our dog, then the Infrastructure Manager (IM) was forced to build a better house and run. When we went to get a replacement chicken we came home with two which brought our brood to four - Betty, Flossie, Bubbles & Lavendar.

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We chose Sussex as a breed because they look like chickens, are supposed to be good with children, are purebred heritage, lay large quantities of normal size eggs over a long period of time - possibly as long as seven years, we'll have to wait and see. While I have no intention of ever breeding chickens for meat, they are what is considered 'dual purpose' and are good for both eggs and meat. They took a long time to start to lay, until we despaired of ever seeing an egg. I understand they were between 12 & 16 weeks old in January. Add on five months at four weeks a month that made them between 32 and 36 weeks at the start of June and still no eggs.

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We were going away for a five day weekend so we bought a large feeder that holds 5kg feed at a time and two automatic water cups so we didn't have to worry about them while we were gone. Murphy's Law came into play when the eldest, Betty, decided to start laying the week before we went away... Felt a bit silly asking the neighbour to check for one egg a day for three days but figure next time there will be more ;)

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At the last minute I decided to go to Tweed for one night with the boys and the IM let the chooks out for the entire day yesterday - there was a close call when he found them on the road once and had to herd them back into the yard (must fix the fence Ash) - and despite checking the nesting box twice (it is still a huge novelty and an awesome feeling to see that little egg there - usually we let David have the honours) there were no eggs in there for him to collect.

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This afternoon when we got home, David and I checked the eggs (he can't reach the nesting box - we need to rig up a step or something) and there were two! That means that Bubbles has started to lay as well, wonder if poor old Flossie is feeling a bit jealous:). My chickens have paired off as we had two then (Betty & Flossie - both white) got another two (Bubbles & Lavendar - champagne & lavendar), the first two were downright nasty for a few days and while they do play together sometimes when free ranging they often hang out with just their best special friend.

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Because we have been away I am not sure how many has been laid in a row yet. I started to write the date on them and we were up to five but iif we missed a day yesterday six. I think there might possibly two eggs missing somewhere in the yard from yesterday - will have a better hunt tomorrow and hopefully get in some gardening too.

The first egg weighed 48g and Betty's is now up to 60g today. Her first egg was a bit deformed and pointy at both ends while the one I found today from Bubbles was normal egg shaped but only 49g. Just been to check in the fridge and checked the weights of the eggs and they were all about 53g - the first ones were 48-49g so maybe each cycle that she laid the weight went up 49 - 53 - 60, I will check my theory with Bubbles in the upcoming weeks.

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Poor Lavendar the baby is David's favourite and cops a lot as he singles her out to pick her up for cuddles a lot more than the others. She runs but he still manages to corner her sometimes, I let him play in the chicken house with his cars sometimes while they are freeranging in the hope they will accept him a bit more and let him pick him up without running away as much in the long run.

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