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!


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