On Wednesday, I cleaned out the chook house. Not a very exciting thing to do, but necessary for the health of my feathered girls. All was going well until I tried to lift the roof back onto their roosting/nesting box, and I over exerted myself and set my recovery back a week. Both Friday and Saturday have been quite painful starts to the day, but after moving around a bit, the pain settles down with the help of some mild pain relief. I need to learn quickly to accept the offer of help when given, and be mindful that Rome was not built in a day! I learnt yesterday morning that I cannot lift 20kg bags of chicken feed yet, so I enlisted the help of my good friend and neighbour Rick who accompanied me to the stock feed store. Thanks mate.
Yesterday afternoon, I hosted a cheese making demonstration for the Melton Sustainable Living group. I love presenting, and showed 5 people how to make two cheeses, 30 minute Mozzarella and Ricotta. I managed to make the Mozzarella in 45 minutes which was an improvement on Friday’s effort of an hour, and Ricotta in 15 minutes. I gave away samples of both to each participant, and used the remaining Mozzarella on our home made pizza last night. Delicious, and it melts so well.
After saving up my pennies, I finally purchased a second rainwater tank, which arrived on Friday. It is a slimline 2100 litre tank that will be fitted in the carport area. My friend and neighbour Rick, will be helping me attach some guttering to the carport over the next few weekends, and I will plumb up the tank and connect some irrigation work to it. Nothing like water security to put a smile on your face, but why it is wrapped in a mountain of plastic is any ones guess. What a waste!
Also, even though we have had a cold few weeks, which as been kind of nice during my recovery time, we have still had some tomato bushes on the go that were gifts from nature. We harvested quite a haul of yellow currant broad ripple and Tommy toe cherry tomatoes. We used some on home made pizza last night, and I will be adding the rest of them to a lasagna that I am making tomorrow. Fresh tomatoes in late Autumn? Nice!
The chickens are still not on the lay yet. Only one of the new ISA Browns and both Pekin bantams are laying (occasionally), which leaves 6-7 other hens not producing at all. The cold snap has confused the heck out of them. All their feathers have grown back from the moult, so I have increased their protein intake by supplementing half of their normal grain diet with some layer pellets. Hopefully that will kick start them, as we are totally over the zero, one or two egg a day allowance they have been giving us. I miss fresh pasta which requires 4-5 eggs to make. We are surviving on stockpiled pasta from the start of the year so that we can keep to one of our goals. Hopefully we will be flush with eggs in the next few weeks as they pick up their game. Note that the laying chooks have a bright red comb and the non-laying chooks have a dull pink comb. This should change when they recover from the moult.
I planted some broad beans and three varieties of peas on the 5th of May with a lot of help from Kim, but because of the cold temperatures, they have taken ages to sprout. The some peas have poked their heads out of the ground overnight, but the broad beans are still to come. I planted Purple podded, Sugar snap and Snow peas with lots of trellis for them to climb. I love fresh peas.
One final thing. I found out yesterday that an article that I sent off to Grass Roots magazine way back in January has been published and appears in the next issue which is available in newsagents tomorrow! I am already receiving emails from subscribers of the magazine as they must already have received their copy. Looking forward to having a look at the final edit when I get my own copy tomorrow, just in time for my birthday! I am very proud to have my first paid writing gig in Australia’s longest running sustainable living publication and it has given me a great boost of self-esteem. Just what I need right now!