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I’m going to be come a *gulp* GRANDMA!!

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Yes yes you heard that right, despite not having any human offspring of my own yet it looks like I’m going to be a grandma to my featherbabies whether I like it or not. And not to the usual broody biatch who has now gone broody 4 times and I’ve managed to break it every time thank Darth Vader. No, no it’s the white duck this time and as she’s the smartest one of the bunch she’s nesting under the house in a part that is too small to crawl under and is juuuuuust out of reach of my rake. She is coming out for food occasionally but is mainly hanging out under there on the eggs so looks like in a month or so I might have some ducklings.

Completely NOT what I wanted thankyouverymuch young lady. Sure they’ll be cute and all that but I’m not going to be able to care for them properly as I’m not at home all day and the ducks roam wherever they want on my property. Their coop is too small to keep them locked up in all day and even if I tried they’d just fly out (which is usually what the white duck does anyway). So I’m sure some will get picked off by the resident kookaburras, snakes and hawks. Bit sad but I’m not sure what else I could do for them because I don’t want to take them away from their momma as she can probably do the daily care better than me. Will just have to see how it all turns out.

And for some good news! My Dad is going to build (and pay for!) a screened verandah enclosure for me! I have verandahs running full length on both sides of the house and one end is going to boxed in with flyscreen and a door so I can sit out there on nice summer nights and not be dessicated by mozzies. He’s coming over this weekend (with a trailer of mulch yay!) to measure it all up and will come and stay with me in Jan to build it. Can’t wait!! Guess birthdays are good for something after all hahah.

I got flooded in again this week as it was just bucketing down all weekend. Apparently Cooma got a record 66mm of rain so I’m not surprised there’s so much water coming down. I’m building up a nice collection of flooded river crossing photos haha.Β  The good thing is that I got to meet one of my closest neighbour who seems really nice. He even offered to help me chop down the big tree that is dying and in the way of my proposed orchard area so that was really great. I was working from home… and by working I mean pulling up weeds and trying to stop the bloody rabbits from digging up my flower beds. I’m going to have to look into some sort of control mechanism for them as they’re starting to be a nuisance….

flooded(click to enlarge)

Hope your week isn’t as soggy as mine! Happy 70th post πŸ™‚

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Scaryass wildlife banned from the “Spot the Wildlife” list…

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Sooo this was not an addition to the “Spot the Wildlife” list that I particularly wanted to make so soon. A Red Bellied Black snake.

redbelly

In the grand scheme of potential venomous snakes that will be around my property this guy isn’t so bad compared to the Brown snake and Tiger snake. I’d just come home and was about to walk indoors when I spied him out of the corner of my eye. Freaked me the hell out of course! And then it started slithering towards me!!! And… actually went under the house so you can imagine how cautious I was all weekend. I’ve been reading up on the effectiveness of those vibrating snake repellers and it seems to be 50/50 in opinion. Considering I’m pretty skint at the moment I think I’ll just invest in some wellies and gaiters. At least they say that if you have blacks then there’s less likelihood of having browns as they fight each other so that’s a bonus. And blacks are more prone to dry biting or injecting very little venom if they do bite. So I’ll be happy with my lil blackie I think!

Another thing to chalk up to the “weird things found on my property” list… an antler.

angler

Just the one, no bones, no fur or nothin. Just an antler in a bunch of bushes in the house yard. Had a funny image of a deer wandering around with just one antler atop his head. It’s actually got dirt wedged in the top part as if someone has used it for digging. Weird. The other thing I found which I have no pic of is a lavender bush in the middle of nowhere… Not so weird but just random. No idea how it got there or if someone planted it or it sprouted on it’s own. Either way I’m going to dig it up and put it in my flower bed hehe. Free plants hells yes! And it’s gotta be hardy to be surviving with no care so that’s a bonus. Might have to propagate it and see how it goes.

I’m getting really frustrated not being able to do anything because of stoopid money. I’m waiting on the sprayer guy to come out and give me a quote so that I can start to make plans from there. And scouring the freebies for things that I need but it just sucks. I need to get someone out to mow all the green areas too so I’m gonna have to bite the bullet and spend money on that otherwise the snake risk increases. *sigh*

Other than that, not too much going on apart from the weather heating up. Borrrriiiiing! πŸ™‚

Like sands through the hourglass…

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So this post is a bit of a duck ramble so you may wanna miss it if ducks bore the stuffing outta you. If not, read on!

So an interesting thing is going on in my newly minted duck ownership… I’ve got a broody duck. I really don’t want ducklings so I’ve been doing a lot of reading on the interwebs on how to break the broody and apparently Muscovies are really broody ducks (dammit). The general suggestion was to break up the nest and routinely take any eggs laid. Well the taking of the eggs which I have been doing daily since they started laying has led to a different problem with the Snow Queen but I’ll get to that in a sec.

Maisie has been sitting on her nest for the past week and on Saturday afternoon I noticed that during the nightly feed and lockup that the broody biatch was attacking the Snow Queen for food which she has never done up until now. She only generally picks on Joan so I’m assuming it’s the broodiness and probably the fact that she’s starvacious as she hasn’t been getting off the nest all day and only comes out for food during the night feed (and then helping herself at the feeders). So I was thinking that I could break up the next when she came out for food I couldn’t get her off the nest so… I kinda removed the nest from under her including two eggs. Desperate times call for desperate measures. She wasn’t very happy about it, I used a rake as she is an attack duck when on the nest. Quite rightly too. I feel really bad about it but it just has to be done a) for the no ducklings thing and 2) so that she starts foraging and eating with the others again. Monday morning when I went to let them out in the morning she came out happily enough and I actually locked the coop so she couldn’t get back in there and she moped a bit but then went foraging with the others.

Cue me breathing a sigh of relief too early…. Yesterday morning she didn’t come out and was sitting just inside the coop door on eggs. 😦 I tried to shoo her out of the door but she wasn’t having a bar of it. I had to get the rake again. I’m hoping she associates the rake with all the bad stuff and not the person on the end of the rake. Anyway after a bit of a scuffle I managed to get the two eggs and get her out the door so that I could lock the coop up again. She hadn’t built a nest yet but I did rake out the straw just in case. I feel really rotten for her.Β  But she just can’t be broody, I know it’s natural and all that but I’m not having it. I’d really welcome any other suggestions on how to stop this behaviour or whether I’m doing the right thing. From everything I’ve read I’m doing the right thing but it just feels bad yknow. Hopefully I’m not traumatising her too much. Last night when I locked them all up and opened up the coop she made a beeline for it and went straight inside, my heart dropped. But this morning she came out and was acting kind of normal. No eggs anywhere in the coop though so she’s probably going to do as the others and hide them.

The Snow Queen was laying them in the box but I think she took offense to me removing the eggs every day. She started flying out of the coop early in the morning and was laying them in a box under the house where they like to hide during the day. I accidentally discovered her climbing out of the box one morning and when I crawled under to look in the box I found 6 eggs in there. Since she was busted she hasn’t laid any eggs in there and I have noooo idea where she’s laying them. I’ve tried waking up early to spy on her but no luck yet. She’s taken to flying on top of the coop in the mornings and I assume that she flies out afterwards.

This morning I got them out early (even earlier than their normal time as it’s daylight savings since Sunday) and I sprung Joan trying to fly out of the coop. The Snow Queen was already on the roof poking around up there. AND the best part… Maisie was out and about and one of the first to walk out of the coop so I hope that I’ve broken the broody. I locked up the coop anyway just in case and I’ll probably keep doing that for a week just to be sure but I’m really hoping that it stops.

Oh and I forgot to add in the last post that when the bestie and the monsters were here we also found a turtle. So that’s another one for the Spot the Wildlife list πŸ™‚

turtle

Life, weeds and chemicals

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So much to report! I swear I’ve gotta book in some time every week with you so that I stop writing these epic catch up posts. Hope you sit through it without numbing your bum πŸ™‚

I’ve been sick with a lung infection (just typed lunch unfection hahaha) so that’s been a barrel of laughs. I wasn’t able to do half the things I wanted to do with the time off because I’d just get so puffed and end up in a coughing fit and couldn’t do anything apart from ending up irritated beyond belief because of it. I’m not a very good couch potato, can ya tell??

Last week my bestie and her tribe of monsters came to stay with me which was pretty bloody awesome. I thought the kids (aged 7, 9, 14 and 16) would be bored out of their brains but they absolutely loved it. They came on exploring expeditions with me and their Mum, went hiking and spent a lot of time bashing weeds and plants with sticks, hunting for pretty pink quartz (which is all over my property) and toppling dead trees. They didn’t want to leave (and I didn’t want them to go either) and the house was really quiet after they left. It was really nice to have a house full of life and noise.

I had last week off work and had planned to get a whole bunch of things done around the place but I was hit with a $460 electricity for 2 months (!!) which I’m going to ring them up about because I didn’t even pay that in town, an $866 septic pump out bill and I had the council weed inspector come around and apparently my place is infested with serrated tussock and St Johns wort. So I’ve gotta get a contractor in to spray 100m from my neighbours borders and 50m from the access road that runs through my property… no idea how much that’s gonna cost but a couple of thousand I imagine. All money I don’t fkn have!! I did want to spend my money on a mower and a whipper snipper and a mulcher and to buy supplies for making wicking beds for my veggies but nuuuuuuuuuu gotta spend it on useless crap 😦 Not happy about all that if you can tell. I had a day or two of being mopey and mad but I’m over that now and am going to move on with a positive attitude and just be more resourceful. I’ve got some things I can use as wicking bed containers and I’m still going to buy the supplies but because the containers are smaller than I had originally planned (and only 2 instead of 4/6) it won’t cost as much and I’m just going to keep my eye on the Gumtree Freebies section of other things I need. The mower, whipper snipper and mulcher I’m just going to have to delay although I’m going see if I can stretch for a mulcher as that would be really useful for compost and ground cover and all that. And I really do need either a mower or whipper snipper to keep the weeds/grass down at this time of year aka snake season. *sigh* need to magic up some money….

The thing that annoys me most about this situation is all the chemicals that will be sprayed on my land. And the fact that I don’t really have a choice in the matter. I have until December to do this or I get fined. The area that I’d wanted to plant my olives is one of the more denser patches of weeds that will have to be boom sprayed. They say that the residue fades but really, how quickly? And I’m going to have to do this all again in a years time for maintenance and maybe the year after that too. That aspect breaks my heart because I really don’t want to have all these chemicals in my soil. At least the area that I want to put my orchard is relatively weed free and the ones that are there I’m going to dig out so I don’t have to spray. I’ve been trying to find a more enviro friendly yet effective serrated tussock and St Johns Wort killer but haven’t found anything yet. There’s also the blackberry but apparently there’s another division at the council that deals with that and they will actually come out to remove it. It’s mostly by the waterway so I’m curious to know how they’ll tackle it without polluting the water as I have platypus living in there. And I worry about the duckies as they free range, luckily not much in the area that’s due to be sprayed but it just can’t be good for them either.

I can now add a fox (almost ran it over this morning haha), black cockatoos and kookaburras to the Spot the Wildlife list πŸ™‚

Think I’m going to break this post into two as the next bit is all ramblings about the ducks… which if you’re not into The Days of our Lives – Duck Edition you can skip πŸ™‚

 

 

EGGS!!!!!!!!!!

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Guess who found 3 eggs while cleaning the coop this weekend…. and another one in the nesting box for the last two mornings!

eggs

I cooked two for breakfast yesterday but they were a bit weird, I scrambled them and the texture was almost dry when they were cooked. Tasted OK but didn’t sit very well in my belly so I think I’ll just stick to using them in cakes n stuff. Could just be a mental thing for me I dunno. The yolks were bloody HUGE! Giant yolks with a little white. I am going to make a chocolate cake tonight to celebrate πŸ™‚ SO excited that one of them is finally laying. The ducks aren’t broody about the eggs so I won’t have ducklings just yet. Not sure if I want them to be quite honest. They’d be cute and all but once I get the orchard fenced I’m going to get some chickens so I’ll have enough on my plate with them all. We’ll see.

And I figured that since I talk about them so much that they’ll get their own category. (as will the chickens when I get them heehee). Hope you’re having a good one!!

HOME (and other adventures part 3)

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Ugh who has been speeding up time huh? Fess up!! Who did it?? Things have been nuts recently. I’ve hardly had time to scratch my butt lately (and there’s always time for that!). Lemme just get you up to speed on the past then we can talk about the future!

Had a really neat afternoon 2 days ago. the duckies showed me that they’re not dumdums afterall and that they’ve learned how to use the feeders I made! I do however need to make more because it caused a massive fight between Joan and Maisie. The blackbirds seem to have gone but they’ve now been replace by two pairs of galahs. And I think they frighten the ducks! The night before the feeder night I was watching them eat dinner when a galah flew up into the big tree near their pen and squawked and all 4 ducks froze, got their hackles up and stopped eating. Their morning behaviour has also changed in that they don’t want to eat and just want to get the hell out of their pen so I’ve stopped ground feeding them the grain mix (only veg) and just topping up the feeders. Hopefully that will encourage the galahs to bugger off as they’re too short to reach the feeders (haha!)

This is what the feeders look like:

duck feeders duck feeders1

It’s adapted from an idea someone online had for a water feeder that wouldn’t get mucky and just allows the duck to put their head in to drink (cuz the ducks are mucky drinkers). I haven’t had a chance to get to bunnings to make the Y pipe food feeders but that’s on my to do list for the weekend. I love watching them eat and drink, interesting to see the power plays. The Count picks on Maisie and Joan but not The Snow Queen. Maisie picks on Joan but avoids The Snow Queen and the Count. The Snow Queen does whatever she wants but doesn’t pick on anyone. And they all make the cutest trilling and chuffing noises when they see me coming to feed them. Warms the cockles of my heart it does. Not sure if I can upload video to WordPress but I also caught them having a Sunday bath and took some video of it. If I can work it out I’ll share it with you.

So I’ve had the greatest cold snap in 40 years with temps down to -8, had rainmageddon and been flooded in so what else next… why fires of course! My next door neighbour had a grassfire the other weekend. The sun was going down and I could see an orange glow coming from their property so I raced out to my hill that overlooks theirs and I could see the fireline creeping towards my place. And no one around! The fire wasn’t raging or anything just slowly creeping towards my place and my mind was racing on what the hell to do or who to call. Just as I was about to go and call the local SES someone drove up to the fireline so I breathed a sigh of relief at that one. Not sure if it was a back burn or just a grassfire but will find out soon.

I’ve been having weekend expeditions around my place and they’ve turned into scavenger hunts. I’ve found a massive roll of chicken wire, a smaller roll of grid wire, fencing wire and barbed wire. All sorts of construction materials including clean lengths of wood, some corrugated iron sheets and 2 weeks ago I found some explosives! Yep in the middle of one of the pine forests there were 3 coils of detonating cord sitting in a crater. I’m assuming they were blowing up a treestump for some reason that is beyond me considering it’s in the middle of a pine plantation (and the tree looks like it was a gum of some sort).

On my expeditions I’ve also been playing a mental game of Spot the Wildlife. My very first expedition to the river I ticked off a platypus! So nice to know that they’re in my river and even more amazing to see one in the wild instead of the zoo. On the explosives expedition I saw an echidna rooting around in the undergrowth. I stood very quietly so as not to frighten it into a ball and it just happily went about it’s business for a minute or two before wandering off. I see kangaroos and wallabies every day so they don’t count. Have only seen dead wombats by the side of the road so will add it to the check list when I see a wild one.

Had a bit of a lazy weekend last weekend and couch potatoed Saturday away and Sunday was out mulching the front garden beds and met one of the people down the road who was travelling to the weekenders to help out with some concreting. He stopped in to introduce himself which was really nice. Slowly getting to meet my neighbours. It seems like a great little community.

So that’s you mostly up to date on stuff n things. Next up I’ll start laying out my plans for the place. Of which I have so many my head is practically bursting! Every time I walk around the property I get more and more ideas.

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 πŸ™‚ 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!!