Monthly Archives: August 2014

HOME (and other adventures part 2)

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sooooo this greeted me yesterday morning as I attempted to drive to work.

river

Yes, that’s a raging torrent of a river. And that’s my only way to the other side of the river…. so literally couldn’t come to work. Lemme just grab a tissue for my tears haha. It rained like crazy all weekend and Monday and I’d noticed on Tuesday that the river was up a metre and a half. When I came home on Tuesday night half of the crossing was flooded so it was a bit hair raising to drive through but I think I made it just in time. I did spend the day productively working outside and planning the garden and orchard and just generally soaking up the sunshine. It was lower this morning and only half the crossing was flooded so dammit I had to go back to work.

Now where was I in my tale of epicness? hmmm yes, unplanned water features…. that was fun. One thing I forgot to mention at the start was that the contracts were exchanged on Monday afternoon (the lawyer actually remembered to tell me this time) and the keys were couriered to me late Monday night so I headed out to the property on Tuesday to feed the chickens and the ducks and do a bit of cleaning. I got there a bit before lunch and didn’t have to do much cleaning as it was pretty spotless so that was great. The 4 ducks were there but no chickens….. I should actually say that the 3 ducks were out and about but the drake was still in the coop which puzzled me too. I walked all around the immediate vicinity of the property and looked under the house which is apparently where both the ducks and chickens like to hang out but nothing there but a bunch of feathers (which are also scattered about the property btw, they moult a lot apparently. Could always collect them to make a doona I spose haha). I asked the ducks where the chickens were but no response ;} The old owners didn’t really leave me much in the way of instructions apart from their forwarding address for mail but there was a big bin with about 8 loaves of white bread in it in the workshop shed (which is what the coop is attached to). I sincerely hope that that is not all they were fed but don’t really know. First thing I did on my way back to Mum’s was to stop in at the feed store to get some duck grain mix.

I hung around for a coupla hours and explored the property a little bit but no chickens came home to roost. I lured the ducks back to the coop with some bread and lettuce which I’d brought with me for them and locked them up for the night. The next day was moving in day and still no chickens. And again the girls were out and the drake was locked up so I was wondering if the chickens had been chicken-napped or if someone was looking after them. I rang the agent… and you know the drill, no answer so texted him to ask about the chickens (and more keys) and got no response. I’ll pause while you pick yourself up from the shock, I KNOW. Anyway a couple of days later and a couple more unanswered phone calls and texts later dumdum texts me back to say that there were actually only 2 chickens left and that they had been taken by a fox a week or so ago. So I just have the 4 ducks. I will get some chickens eventually but I’d like to get the fenced out orchard set up first to prevent more losses due to foxes.

ducks

And they are SO fkn awesome 🙂 They follow me around whenever I’m outside doing stuff and they get so happy to see me in the morning when it’s breakie time. They don’t really quack but make really odd trilling noises and the drake kind of huffs and wags his tail. They’re really fascinating to watch. No idea what their original names were (if they had any) but I’ve named the drake Count Duckula von Gutso cuz he’s a greedy pig (and I love Count Duckula!). I think the white one is the mum of the other two but she’s certainly the boss of the ladies so she’s The Snow Queen. The one with the full black cap is Maisie… no idea why it just popped in my head, and she’s my fave as she seemed to be the underdog but I’ve since revised my opinion on that. The last one was just “the other one” as no name popped in my head for her but since Maisie is an old fashioned name, the name Joan popped into my head the other day as I was watching them eat dins, so she’s Joan.

They’re fascinating to watch at dinner as they get really grouchy and exert the pecking order. I’ve been putting the feed in piles or lines on the ground (I’ll come back to that in a sec) and they’ll move from pile to pile and hassle peck whoever is there. The Count gobbles everything in sight and will hassle Joan or Maisie if they come near him but doesn’t bug The Snow Queen. Maisie will bug Joan but Joan kinda just does her own thing and goes from pile to pile. I’ve been giving them kitchen veggie scraps and apparently peas and corn are like crack. Celery, apples and lettuce are runners up… mushrooms are bleh.

They’re really sweet at dinner time too. At about 4pm they flock back to the coop and spend time foraging for bits they missed or pecking at the grass near the coop but when they hear me coming they start running towards me all excited. Silly ducks because I only feed them in their coop so I dunno what they think they’re gonna get. They run after me, sometimes flying to beat me back to the coop to try and gobble up the goodies before the Count gets stuck in.

I discovered that there’s a family of these weird blackbirds that have discovered the grains that the ducks don’t eat in the morning. They’re not crows or currawongs or anything like that but weird looking things, big body and little head with a white spot underwing that you can only see when they fly. I don’t particularly want to feed the local wildlife as well so I decided to make the ducks feeders from an idea I’d googled.

They didn’t get it. They don’t use them and its not like they’re too high or anything so it’s back to ground feeding. I’m going to try something else this weekend. Again thank you google. Hopefully this will work out better so we’ll see. If not I’ll keep the feeders for when I get chickens. I tried to make the new feeders yesterday but discovered that I’ve got the wrong gauge Y pipe dammit. So I’ve gotta go to Bunnings on the weekend and see if I can get some different ones or buy some pipe. Probably a detailed post about it in the future.

So tune in next time for Part 3 of awesome epicness when we talk about grass fires, woodsheds and water pumps. Thrills n spills I tells ya!!

HOME (and other adventures… part 1)

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I’ve got SOOO much to catch you up on it’s just overwhelming!

For starters I’ve moved in. The move went really well with the removalists on time and to schedule as always. These guys have moved me a coupla times and have always been really great. AND they made it up the hill that I’ve been having nightmares about for weeks so I was SO relieved about that! They managed to get everything unloaded by 12 noon so I decided to go back to town to get another load of stuff from my Mum’s place. When I got back to the house… no power… I went up to the power box to find a lil note from the electricity company saying that they had done a final reading and disconnected the power because the place was vacant!! AND not only that but they put a time down for their visit and it was about 15-20 mins after the removalists and I arrived so I had JUST missed them!! Probably even drove right past them grrrrr

I had actually applied for a connection on the Monday when it was settled but got an email on Tuesday saying they were having trouble finding my meter number and could I confirm…. and of course got that email about an hour AFTER I’d left the property and was back at Mums…. ANYWAY…I rang the power company to see if I could get reconnected only to be told it takes 2 days!!! This was at about 4pm (and it gets dark here around 5:30. So I raced outside to haul in wood to make a fire, raced around the house to find my solar lights and torches, unpacked a couch, made my bed and made a fire just in time for the dark to settle in. So I watched fire telly (and learned how to use a combustion heater properly) for the next two nights 🙂

firetelly

Really thankful that I had enough stored food and about 30 litres of water in storage so I was fine! All the comforts. It was actually kind of a good experience to work out what I need out there in case of an emergency (or power blackout).

So I spent some time unpacking n blah de blah and Sunday afternoon I was down by the wood shed about to cart in more wood for the week when I heard this water trickling noise coming from the workshop shed near the chicken/duck coop. Raced down there to see this flood of water coming from underneath the workshop door running down the hill – the pipe to the workshop sink had burst!!! Allow me to add that I’m on tank water only! I scrambled back up to the house to the house water tanks and turned them off then back down to the shed…. water still gushing… FUCK! I put my finger over the pipe to stop the flow, feeling like the kid with his thumb in the dyke, and stood there for a second thinking “well now what???” Raced back up to the house to grab my phone to contact the dumdum agent and grabbed some pliers and every empty bucket and tub container I could find then back down to the pipe to see if I could at least save some water. Rang the agent, of course, no answer… so texted him a HALP EMERGENCY message to find out where the damn stopcock was cuz I couldn’t find it anywhere. “I have forwarded your message and will let you know ASAP” was the response… wtfuckery?! think the guy must be allergic to ringing people. So while the tubs were collecting water, with super human dumdum-rage induced strength I clamped and bent the copper pipe which slowed the flow a bit but my tubs were still filling up. Standing there watching and waiting, I was having visions of having to get 40,000 litres of water trucked into my place…

About 10 mins later the worst agent in the world texted me back to say that it was all gravity fed from the shearing shed tank, not the house tank (THANK YOU ALL THINGS HOLY!!) so I actually JOGGED up the hill to the shearing shed tank to switch it off. Almost needed to sit down from the shock that I jogged for the first time in forever but headed back to my new swimming pools instead. Meanwhile the ducks were loving their new river-like water feature, happily splashing around and digging around in the muck. That was the only plus 🙂

So anyway got back to the tubs and the trickle was drastically slowed and I ended up with 3 full tubs and a half one that I’d bent the pipe into so I left it that way over night for the rest of the gravity feed to empty. I’m slowly emptying those tubs in the duck’s water buckets so at least it’s not wasted water. So that was a little adventure! I think the pipe burst because, of course, we had the worst cold snap in 40 years and had almost two weeks of -6 nights (not to mention gale force winds) so that’s been fun too. But again, I’m kinda thankful for the trial by fire to help work out what I need to get on the property to stay comfortable and fully functional.

I think I’m going to have to break up my catch-up into a few parts because I’ve got stacks more to tell you and it’s going to turn into War and Peace if I don’t. I’m probably going to give you eyestrain dear reader and I can’t have that now can I? More tomorrow!

Tune in next time when we talk ducks n chickens, blackbirds, water pumps freezing, grassfires and more shenanigans 🙂