Routines & Birthday Wishes

I sit here thinking, I wonder what on earth they want to read.  I am so busy during the day that I rarely stop, and yet, I feel I have nothing to actually say here.  It is so odd.

So what’s my routine?  It depends largely on if it is a weekday or a weekend day.

I get up at 6am no matter what.  I have meds that need to be taken 3 times a day, equally spaced and they stop my right leg from spasming as badly.  Be late with a dose and the leg starts to spasm.  It’s from my back going and I presume permanent nerve damage because it has not changed since day 1 and yet I am told that all of the spaces in the back/hips/pelvis area are ‘what they should be’.  It doesn’t stop the pain or the spasms which the leg is notoriously good at.  Week days Stuart gets up at 6am anyhow so that’s not a problem but he lies in for an hour at the weekend.

Breakfast comes next if it is a weekday, and whilst we are eating breakfast, the chooks’ mash and whole oat grains are left to soak in hot water.

A breakfast treat. Homemade picklets or drop scones with fresh mango and coconut milk yoghurt.

And once that is done, Stuart has made his sandwiches for the day and left for work around 7:10am, I can get on with the rest of the food for the chooks.

Stuart counts this as busy in the rush hour. He actually had to stop for the traffic lights!

At the moment, the garden is so very dry that even the grass is not growing.  There hasn’t been a blade of green grass since before Christmas now and that means there is nothing for the chooks to eat in the way of greens.  So at the weekend when we do our shopping we ask for the waste greens (from Woolies – the do give it away if you ask) such as the stems and leaves off cauliflower which the chooks love).  Woolies also have a range called the ‘odd bunch’ which is misshapen veg basically and the chooks will get some carrots and whatever are the cheapest apples/pears.  This week we are back on Granny Smith’s at $1.99 per kilo, so they get 1 a day between them.  They also get a large carrot grated (or 2 small ones) which will take them most of the day to consume.  Half of the apple is pealed and skewered on a curtain hook and hung so that they only get one bite before it is swinging and they have to wait before they can try again, and the other half is cut into smaller pieces for the chicks to eat.  The cauliflower leaves are thrown down on the ground and left.  The next morning the stems are collected (after they have been stripped bare of leaf) and cut up into small pieces which the chooks then happily eat – they can be amazingly odd creatures really.

Usually the food is put out in a different place in the garden everyday – this stops the rosellas and crows/magpies from spotting any routine and eating it before the chooks do.  But at the moment the chooks are going through a ‘we don’t want to lay in the nesting boxes’ period, so they are left in the outer enclosure with their food, until we have about half a dozen eggs around midday.  Yep – yesterday it was 8.  That’s the most we have taken in any one day!  There is also food put out on the veranda in chook hanging feeders which the rosellas/cockatoos/magpies can’t see into because of how high we hang them.  It also stops the chooks from scratching at the food with their feet and sending it scattering.  There are 2 of each type hung up, 1 mixed grain (a carbohydrate/starch led feed) and 1 chick starter/cracked, roasted soya grit (a protein led feed) on the veranda and another mixed grain under the veranda (a cooler place during the heat of the day and somewhere where the shier of the flock will come to).  There is an additional shell/oyster grit pot that also gets put down which compliments the protein and the starches feeds.  This allows the flock to basically chose what they eat during the day because some of the flock have higher protein needs that others (the rescue ISA Browns and one of my Araucanas have much higher protein needs than some of the others).  The mash mixed with porridge oats and the soaked whole oats gets put under the house or up on the veranda depending on where it was last and if the magpies/crows found it.  Usually they don’t when it is under the house, but I like to change things around just to deter them and the rosellas/mice from eating it.

Next comes either the housework or the cooking depending on how hot the day is going to be and what needs to be done.  We cook on a several days at once approach, so one meal will cover us for 2 or 3 nights.  It made life easier for us when we were both working and it is something we have continued since.  After all, we don’t want to eat an entire quiche in one sitting, so why can’t something that serves 6 or even 8 cover 3 or 4 nights served with a different side dish?  And if I am cooking 1 quiche, then I will do 2 and the other will be cut up and frozen once it is cold.  That way I use up a few more eggs and also have a backup in the deep freeze which we purchased a few weeks ago.

Ordinarily, this and a break around 10:30am usually takes me through to around lunch…  And if I haven’t got cooking or housework to do, or it is going to be a cooler day (below 25°C is now classed as cooler!) then I’ll get on with some work on my cooking forum that I got given back at the end of last year.  It is a quiet forum and has one other moderator (excluding the last owner) so thankfully doesn’t often need much management doing.  But I do need to check on it everyday and also post new threads and keep the small number of members talking to each other and discussing current topics in a hope to attract new members.  It is a hard task and takes up a surprising amount of my time.

Usually by now the chooks have also been let out if they are on a ‘you are staying in the chook enclosure until you have lain in the nesting boxes’ day…. like today.  Mind you it is currently only 10am and both of the 13 week old chicks (yep they are now 13 weeks old!) have escaped from the enclosure and are currently jousting in my herb patch.  The ginger chick’s sex is still unknown, but I am being swayed towards the cockerel side of life currently.  But it could still go either way with it.  The other is most definitely a cockerel but as of yet isn’t an issue with our rooster, so we haven’t yet sold him.  I may have a home for him if he is a purebred Welsummer cockerel but we will have to wait to see his full feathering for that.  Either way though he is a splendid looking chick!  Ginger has currently found a broken bamboo (presumably broken by the possums last night) and is eating the remaining green leaves off it!  I have finally found a use for bamboo other than drying it and making canes from it!  Chook feed.

The afternoon’s work depends entirely on how hot the day is going to be.  There are endless little things to be done and usually because I don’t sleep particularly well, I am also exceptionally tired by now as well.  There is plenty to do in the veg plot, the garden, we now have more wood to split and stack, there is a certain blog to write, photos to edit and convert from raw format to jpeg (in other words, something you can’t see to something you can see), there is more housework to do if it is not too hot, there is usually washing to get back in by now (too much UV light damages the fabric, so its a bring it in once it is dry approach rather than leaving it until last light and swearing at it, then getting it in as you lock up the chooks for the night!), I usually need to get eggs pickled or frozen or decanted from the 2 egg containers into plastic storage bags, so that the 2 egg container can be reused for the next batch of lightly beaten eggs to be frozen.  What else, well I am also knitting another blanket so if I want a rest period, there is a feet up and knit option on the veranda.  I am making my own sari silk yarn now from old saris.  I had considered buying the yarn because it allows me to support the women who make it, but the colours were never what I needed for my blankets despite me being able to purchase old saris that were the right colours.  So I looked at the stuff mum had purchased and decided that it was easy to make my own and I purchased a sari back when we lived in the UK, I just never did anything with it…  And so I am now.  It is really easy to do, just a single line of stitching from the sewing machine down the center of the twisted torn sari and you are done.  It also allows me to make longer pieces of yarn because I can stitch them together at the same time, so I can make 30m or so at a time which is 2 rows of 200 stitches allowing me a complete contrasting row of sari silk in my blanket.  One sari makes about 4 or 5 of these 25-30m balls which is great because it only cost me £11.99 including postage to purchase it.

At the moment, I am tending to be asleep when Stuart gets home from work around 6pm.  This is the hottest part of the day.  It starts to drop off around 7pm luckily and if the skies are clear, the temperature drops rapidly after 7:30pm when the sun drops below the mountainside opposite us – its sounds far grander than it actually is, we are quite high up (750m) and the tops are only about 50m higher.  The creek which has been dry now for quite some time, is about 25m lower than us, if that.  Hills would be a better term, but they are mountains at this height, as I know them, so mountainside it is.

We are still able to eat our evening meal out at the moment just.  It is a close run thing, but to be honest, it is still so warm that we don’t mind eating this late (we prefer to sit down to eat for 6pm, but can’t because Stuart is not home, so it has slipped to 7pm now).  At the beginning of April when daylight saving ends, we should be able to continue eating our evening meal outside but breakfast will well and truly be back at the dining table inside!  This year, daylight saving ends on the 2nd April.  It is always the 1st Sunday of April in Australia.  So 2am becomes 3am and we lose an hours sleep, will definitely we getting up in the dark no matter what time we get up (6am or 7am) and should continue to be able to eat outside if it is warm enough in the evenings.  It gets more confusing when the UK changes and we haven’t…. The 11 hour time difference becomes 10 hrs for a week and then back to 9 hours for several months…  The UK changes to BST on the 26th March… so there is a single week of 10 hours!

After our evening meal, and the after the chooks have had their last meal of the night; they come through in a raiding party which is most funny to watch.  They will have been in the septic tank field which has longer grass and thistles in places, hunting for grasshoppers and crickets.

They then come in to see what ‘goodies’ have been put down for them – usually I only throw extra grain at them but what they seem to fail to notice is that this is the grain they haven’t eaten from the feeder on the veranda.  They pick out what they want to eat from the mixed grain feed taking only their favourites during the day.  I then scatter the rest in the evening, and they eat the remainder!  I know the rosellas and crows then eat the rest, after the chooks have been through, but it is probably better that they do, than mice and rats do.  The chooks then go to roost – this sounds easy.  It is not in practice.  We have a problem girl.  One of the rescues.  A lovely sweet little girl who has turned into a major headache at night.  She wants to roost alone.  And had taken to roosting up in the rafters which wasn’t a problem until we spotted that she has bumblefoot.  This is a staph infection in her pads on her feet.  It is often caused by hard landings after roosting too high up at night.  There are plenty of other causes, but we really suspect the 12 foot drop to the wooden floor each morning as being the main cause here, so blocked off access to the rafters.  And so the little quiet girl turns into a nightmare at night.  She wants the highest perch and no-one will challenge her over this because they have their old favourite roosting perches and the one she wants is a new one.  And so she clears 3 rails of perching and has it to herself, forcing the rest of the flock to roost 5 or 6 to a rail where only 3 ought to be.  And the smallest and most timid is ending up sleeping under the other chooks on the bedding material.  This is not good news.  She is very vulnerable there and if there is a pest problem (and we know we have mice in the chook house so have traps down where the chooks can’t get to) she is at risk of being hurt because chooks are very sound sleepers apparently and she will sleep through mice running over her and chewing at her feet and feathers!  Not to mention sleeping under roosting chooks means she will get their droppings over her as well because chooks poop whilst they sleep!  So each night, we are currently catching her and putting her in the ‘sin bin’… this is the pet carrier with the door shut.  Then we move our rooster and his 2 favourite girls (the ones either side of him) and put them on the highest roosting perches where the problem chook was.

Today we are ripping out all of the roosting perches and putting 3 long rails in.  New ones that none of them have ever used before.  It will cause chaos tonight, but hopefully over the course of the next week, things will settle down again and life return to ‘normal’.

Sometimes at the weekend (or a day’s annual leave) we got off and explore a touch, so here is a little of what we have been up to since the last update…

Julia’s 50th birthday party.

Fancy Dress… 1980’s style birthday party we went to. I went as… well most people worked it out instantly and were fascinated. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a best fancy dress award…

One of the roads we drove recently… OK some of them.  Stuart complained about them bitterly!  I gather they were too busy.  Some did remind us of the roads in Finland though, but without the 10m strip cut back for spotting reindeer wandering into the road.  Here the Aussie’s could really do with something similar for kangaroo’s but don’t,  It would make life a lot safer.  The SUV is booked in now to have full ‘roo bars, not nudge bars,  fitted along with 2 * 600W LED Spot Lights wired into main (full) beam, to help us see the <insert word heres> things!

Straight, tree lined and err, busy?
Something of interest – clouds in the sky
Now this is more like it – clouds and a corner to tend to!
Spot the opening… there could be a view or even something to see… there was and it looked distinctly like an ostrich!
A slow bit… some bends!
Straight again, but there is an opening and, sorry no clouds.

You get the idea…. so that is this update.  The battery has just informed me that if I don’t save this and shut down, it is going to do it for me.  So I had better say goodbye, save my work and get one with my jobs for today – Day 2 of Stuart’s annual leave.

And happy birthday to Duncan and Catherine.  Duncan I won’t say how old, Catherine congratulations of your 30th, it was great speaking with you last night, and Louis – congrats as well for today!  Hopefully we will get chance to speak to you but if we don’t Sheila & Dave, can you please pass on our best wishes to Louis.