Something funny happened this morning. I was reading a new-to-me blog and consequently went down to let the chickens out a bit later than normal. I let myself into the run, flipped open the door to the coop and then walked to the front of the run where I dumped the kitchen scraps out on the ground in a long trail of bread, spaghetti bolognaise, cherry bun and various other things.
5 chickens were happily munching away in no time. No sign of Jane. (She’s the brown one in the above photo with Pudgy.)
After a minute or so, I heard some bumps and a cackle come from the coop, then Jane came skidding out around the corner, an anxious look on her face. She fell on the food as if she was starving.
I lifted the lid on the nesting box. Sure enough, there was an egg, so fresh it was practically steaming. I could just imagine what went on. She had settled herself to get the day’s egg laying over and done with. Just when she reached the point of no return, I deliver breakfast. Can you imagine how hard she strained to get rid of that egg before the other chooks ate all the delicacies?
Why is it that after having a glut of eggs all year when it was hard to find ways to use them all, it’s NOW when the hens are slowing down for the winter that the boys decide it’s a good idea to use eggs for snacks after school? They can go though 8 eggs at a time if they feel like it.
Lizzy. A reminder to us all that it’s sometimes the smallest girls who are the bossiest. She’s the reason I have to lay the kitchen scraps out in a long line. If I threw them down in a big heap, she’d make sure Pudgy and Hazel didn’t get so much as a mouthful. At least this way the younger ones have a chance to sneakily eat before she can race up to them and peck them away.
The fig tree is starting to drop its leaves and I’ve been picking them up by hand and using them as mulch for the right hand veggie bed. I’m hoping they smother any weeds. Devoutly hoping, in fact. The left hand veggie bed shows what can happen if you let things go.
This is the blueberry bed. (Blueberry bushes go red in autumn! Who knew?) As you can see, it’s also sporting a fine crop of weeds, which I’m hoping will be under a layer of newspapers, compost and mulch by the end of today. Maybe not though… I have the May meeting of the gardening club this afternoon, so it might have to wait till next weekend.
In the same bed on the other side: some self sown leeks. Free food!
The raspberries are still producing. I find them a bit tasteless to be honest, but David2 was desperate to grow them. The two brightest red ones are no more. I sampled them after feeding the chooks.
Remember the green tomato dilemma? I ended up dicing and freezing them. Last night I used a 500g bag of them. I feel like I cheated though, because I didn’t use them in a specific green tomato recipe. I was cooking up a large pot of bolognaise to use in last night’s dinner (normal bolognaise to feed Tom1 and his friend Gus before they went out to do another gig at the wine bar around the corner) and a lasagne for tonight. Tom1 hates lasagne so I try to make it when I know he won’t be home for dinner. I used 2/3 red tomatoes and 1/3 green tomatoes from the freezer. The sauce was a little less overtly tomatoey than usual but it was still fine. I also had grated zuchini and basil from the garden, so it was a good meal utilising my summer’s work. There’s that Caroline Ingalls feeling again!
The best thing about it is that after spending the afternoon with the gardening group, all I have to do is make a cheese sauce to top the lasagne. Awesome!
Each time they play they’re getting better and better.
The Great Carrot Drying experiment has finished:
Whoever said in the comments yesterday that drying veggies saves space is absolutely correct. I think I put them in just a little bit too long because the book said that carrots should be leathery and these are crispy. However, until I throw them in a casserole I won’t know if they’ll be ok. Still, I used the dried beans in the bolognaise last night and they were fine, so I’m guessing that it won’t make much difference. Once I empty out the apples from the dehydrator I’ll chop a bag of carrots and set them drying. Why not?
*Read ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’. At first I wasn’t sure, but after a hundred pages or so I was hooked. Hooked to the point that at one stage, when something grim was obviously going to happen to one of the characters, I put the book down and went and mucked out the chicken coop. I like these people and I didn’t want to know about anything bad happening to them. After a couple of hours of housework I went back and found out what happened. (I may care about them, but I’m still human!) I’ve already started book 2.
*Found out last night that Tony has made Tom1 sign a contract to work at the shop. He’s had the offer to work for the NAB in a call centre, which for someone doing Banking and Finance at Uni seems like a smart move, but Tom1 says that he can’t do it because he signed a contract with his dad . He earns about half as much an hour as he would at the call centre, plus his father keeps cutting down his hours, to the point where Tom1 is finding it hard to cover all his expenses. Call me crazy, but who ever heard of a contract being signed to work in an ordinary little fruit shop? Methinks that today I’ll be having a quiet word to Tom1 about learning to stand on his own two feet and doing what’s right for himself, not what’s advantageous to his father.
*Due to the changes in HECS in the latest federal budget, things have changed here financially between Tom1 and I. When we were getting a 15% reduction in his Uni fees when paid upfront, that’s what we were doing. I’ve been loaning Tom1 the money and he’s been paying me back, with interest on the amount. He ends up being financially better off at the end (providing he pays me back promptly of course!) and it’s been something I can do for him to help set him up by minimising his debt. Now the government has slashed the reduction by 50%, so we’ve agreed that it’s not worth it anymore.
This means that I have 2.5K put aside for next year’s semester fees that I can now do something else with. Hmmm….. mortgage…. water tanks…. garden beds……?