Monday, December 17, 2012

Howdy, strangers?

Sorry that I have not posted here for a while - in fact 4 months too long!

There were lot of things happening around here so will try and explain away my excuses...


On the last week of September, I co-present the week-long workshop over an hour drive south - yep I had to travel everyday as no one were here during the week for the critters' sake. Anyway, it was that Thursday when I came home to find Tassie, 5 years old dog, dead on the grass. Poor Brumby was agitated and not sure what she needed to do. As it was nearly night, I had to put Tassie outside the backyard until the morning. I checked her all over and only could see blood around her muzzle and one of her eyes was shut. She was almost warm and I am suspecting a snake bite, but I cannot find any snake. After burying Tassie at the Banana Circle at 6am and went to work, leaving Brumby alone - I could not do anything about it but was hoping my kitties would keep her company through the day. It took Brumby over a week of howling at night and a tight shadow of mine before she was alright.

I happened on a dead snake on the patch between vegie beds and chook run a week or two later, so I am quite sure it's the snake bite as unfortunately Tassie will fight if she felt she has to... I am not sure what type of snake it was as it was badly decomposed, but looking like a red-bellied black snake. Ah well, we need to find a way to encourage diamond python to hang around here as they'd fend off the red-bellied black snakes happened on their territory.

So after kids and Brumby bemoaning about how strange it is to be/have the only dog around, we relented and went to get an adorable Border Collie pup named Bluey. I think we only got a couple of photos of him before we lost him to Paralysis tick a couple of weeks later! Bluey was only just 12 weeks old when he died. It hit us hard, losing two dogs within 2 months!

So at the moment, we only have Brumby around and she's doing well, especially when kitties pop over to annoy her.

We did take in a older dog of a Chihuahua cross for a week to mind and to try out, but eventually he was not suitable for us and for this property so we returned him and I think Brumby was actually relieved!


Both Rose (Rosella) and Leaf (Leaf tailed Gecko) are doing so well. We got a surprise a couple of weeks ago from Leaf when he left a dead rabbit! Yep a 6 months old kitty managed to kill a feral rabbit! Yah! So there are hopes that we may be rabbit-free in a few years time. We still have a couple of rabbits hopping around unfortunately so I have to find a way to encourage the kitties rabbits are on the list for them to prey on, apart from rodent population. Interestedly, they leave all the chooks alone when they stalk in the chook run which makes things easier for me to deal with! But I am not silly enough to think they'll be fine with chicks! So far they only caught a couple of birds (as far as I can see!)...

Rose prefers to do nothing but to cuddle up with Brumby, while Leaf likes to run off and 'play' elsewhere but would come straight away if he sees me or kids at home. For the sake of native wildlife, the kitties are desexed.


After a while, we only had 5 chooks, including a rooster with one of the chooks sitting on a nest of 13 eggs. However, the eggs went missing one by one until the 'broody' chook got up and walked away! Argh! There goes the egg eater?? Who knows, but it confirms that my Croad Langshan flock are duds! So off I go and find another breed group soon.

However as luck would have it, I came across some chicks for sale at someone's place while I was there for soap making session. I bought four Ancona chicks and now they're two cockerels and two hens (unfortunately they were not sexed so I bought them blind!). Then a week later I came across a pair of Pekin (rooster and hen) at a produce store, so they were introduced to Teralbah's run along with the rest of flock (9).

I am hoping to pick up 6 more chicks soon from a breeder who bred them to be a mix of egg and meat chooks and she will show or train me how to dispatch them for when we need meat. So that means once I know how to do it, I would be able to control the number of chooks, etc. So far I will need to dispatch 3 chooks out of 11!

We are aiming to divide the chook run into two and split up the whole flock into older one and younger one. Then when the older ones are no longer 'useful' they will be replaced, etc. And I hoped to breed more chicks over the year in 2013 and 2014 to be more in control of type of breeds I keep here.


Well, after a lacklustre winter crop, we topped up many beds with more soil as they were getting very low. I've harvested leeks, onions, garlic, broccoli, parsley, turnips, beetroots, swedes, kale, chards, lettuces, carrots, and other herbs. I discovered I was too late with the whole lot of leeks as I did not monitor them properly - I am supposed to cut them down one third after they've grown high enough and hill them up with either soil or mulch, so that by the time I harvest them they'll be fully ready. So at the moment, they've gone woody and seedy. Bummer! Over 30 leeks wasted - at least I know how to do it better next time.

For the summer crop, I've planted in over 50 corns, 60 beans, 3 zucchinis, 3 cucumbers, 15 tomatoes (of varieties), basil, eggplants, and strawberries. All are doing so well this time compared to the past 2 years! I am hoping to fill up the rest of the beds so can plant in more.


Quite a mixed results this year. The citrus are not doing so well - which is quite what I expected as the grasses and weeds took over! I hope to remedy all that asap so we'd have winter crop next year. As for the kiwi fruit - nada! sob sob. I may have pruned it wrong again! So I think this time I will not prune, except for where it needs to be and see what happens. It has never fruited as it did 4 years when we ended up with over 100 fruits off a plant.

The Fruit Grove - did the pruning this year and they're doing so well, but we've lost a number of trees too. We didn't get good crop off all the plums this year, compared to last year and I am pointing at birds for the damages. However both stone and pome are doing so well - apples, pears, peaches, nectarines and apricot (only one tree out of 3) are fruiting so well. Fingers crossed I will get some this time. We are looking at fencing the grove and making it more rabbit-proof, as well to stop sheep and horse from trampling through it. Time will tell when we do get around to it!

And the rest of Teralbah:

Nothing much, actually. The dam's getting very low after almost no rain since July. I've had to start watering all the plants that need it a few months ago and that took a while. The family are still busy with work, schooling and those extracurricular activities - however all are still well and having fun.

Photos and more news coming up in a few weeks time.

Till then, take care!


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Nearly end of Winter

And we've been hit with 1 degree C and frost this morning!

The Greenhouse project has started - I spent a lovely Sunday clearing out the area marked for the greenhouse, just behind the carport next to the big shed.

It will be wonderful once it's built as it would enable the planting program to run more smoothly (as much as I can anyway!).

Vegie Garden zone is doing well - harvesting lettuces, spinaches, broccoli, peas and herbs. I also harvested citrus fruits - mandarins, oranges and lemonades. Lemon Butter coming up! The mandarins are great this year.

The Fruit Grove had a haircut a few weeks ago and looks lot better now. We just need to fence it to deter rabbits and mulch it all over before Summer hits us.

The Banana Circle's getting very crowded and we will have lots of bunches to munch through very soon! Time to work on the circle before snakes come back.

We've got kittens, both gals - in training to be the 'barn cats' for our big shed to get the rodent problem fixed and scare off the pesky possums. At the moment the feline sisters are inside the house as they are only 12 weeks old. Kids just love them to pieces - the kittens are really great, quite laid back and affectionate!

Not much else has been happening as it's the maintenance period for this property. Hopefully within 2 weeks I'd have something interesting to report and share photos.

Cheers till later!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Great Grandma's recipes!

Today I was going through my great uncle and great grandma's collections of papers, notes, letters and such, and found two interesting recipes!

1. "Mock Chicken Spread" - very intriguing!


  • Half pound grated cheese
  • Half pound tomatoes, skinned & chopped finely
  • Three (3) large teaspoonfuls mixed herbs
  • A pinch of salt
  • One or two eggs (beaten)
  • One large grated onion
Mix ingredients together and simmer over a slow gas for 10 minutes. Serve as a spread on savoury biscuits or use as a savoury dip. Keep in a screw top jar in the refrigerator."

2. "Lemon Jam" - wonders if it's same as Lemon Butter?


Cut thinly 7 large or 11 small lemons. Cover with water and bring to boil, add 1/2 teaspoon of Carb soda and cook 15 minutes. Drain away liquid and allow lemons to cool. Then add 4 pints water and cook till rind is tender (about 30 minutes). Add 3 lbs sugar and cook a further 30 minutes add another 3 lbs sugar and cook till it jellies.
I add a desert [sic] spoon of gelatine mixed with cold water if syrup is too thin.

P.S. You can half the quantity if you wish."


I will try both one day and see what others think of those.

Cheers till later (probably not for a couple of weeks unfortunately as I've got lots to do before Winter ends!)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

April flooding in...

With all the heavy rains we got this morning, I noticed the trellis area going under water... and the path's covered with rushing water. Note aside, the flooded part of path is where I'd like to put in a pond one day with a bridge over it.

This is from laundry doorway. The water is at least 5cm deep here.

Then I checked from my bedroom window - uh oh, more water there!

This is from the bathroom, and the area's deep in water at about 10 cm or more! I could see many 'mini waterfalls' through those timber slats there! Sorry for a poor quality photo here, not easy to take from this angle.

I went to front door and found the area wet and an area next to the door's flooded... This was when the water just started to receding! (sorry about that black strap top corner - I didn't realised then the strap slipped down!)

As we needed to go shops to get food, I had a look at the creek and its bridges. We use one of the two bridges here and the other bridge had gone under water at a point today but now the water receded, however still really high!

The area down from our property was usually a small creek meandering through paddocks - but today it enjoyed being a proper river! This is the highest level I've ever seen it since we lived here. Possibly as high as it was in June '07. (Will have to ask neighbours about this.) All fences had a dunk or two today!

Since our property situated pretty high, I am not worried about it getting too flooded, but being cut off! We could invest a rowing boat however, heh!

The rains are now easing up but still coming down, and is forecast to do so for at least one more day! Ah well, more time to do things inside the house anyway. Just hope everyone comes out ok with those floods today...

More later!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Bean Time...

Looks so lovely, don't they?

I harvested and blanched 800g of green and yellow French beans from my vegie garden! Pretty proud of myself that I did something so 'practical'. They're in the freezer for now as I love to add them into my stews over winter. Yummy!

Managed to harvested about 400g of green tomatoes - all on window sill waiting to turn red.

Ate some homegrown bananas, they're nice but not so tasty like those Cavendish from shops. Can't complain when we can get 'free' bananas, eh? Used up some into mini muffins that I baked today. I liked it anyway.

The weather is now getting quite chilly lately, so AUTUMN is here! Yah! Actually she made her appearance a while ago, but this week I really noticed her!

Only main complaint I have here is the speed of reproduction of the mould everywhere around the house! I put up two 'damp absorbers' in my wardrobe a couple of weeks ago and today I checked. Full of water! Ack! So there is a very high level of moisture in here at the moment and I am not sure how to fix so that the growth of mould would decrease...

Any ideas?

Back soon with more details.

Cheers till later!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Camouflaging time!

For you...

Found it on one of my magnolia trees.


Sunday, February 5, 2012

We've got a chestnut growing!!

Yah! There's a cute and very spiky chestnut growing on one of the chestnut trees that survived the abuses from the mowing guys over the last 3 years!

So exciting for me.

And if you go back to the earlier post dated Monday, August 10, 2009 regarding the chilling hours required for fruit trees, you'll see few things there. Both Kiwi fruit and Chestnuts require 400+ chilling hours so it just shows how cold it can be out here, if they can grow fruit/nut, eh? Both Almond and Walnut trees are doing quite well so far. I do recall seeing some fruits on the almond trees but when I checked other week, there's nothing on them so someone knows about them growing there?

Today I was very busy making two batches of jams - Berries Jam and Plum & Port Jam. Both taste so yummy! I think Berries Jam will go very well on pancakes.

My first time with proper jam making and I am still not quite there with the processing, etc! I am still trying to find the misplaced 'Blue Ball' book so I am just winging it with various recipes on and off internet. Turned out just fine so far. I've made pineapple jam batches twice and both are so good. I will post the recipe in my cooking blog, anyway.

Am starting on planning and planting the early winter crop - gotta put on the mushroom compost first!

We are looking into investing a blueberry grove because the local blueberry farm has just been sold and the new owners only wanted to grow horses! bah!

No photos today, sorry.

Cheers till later!