A journal of my favourite pastimes gardening, farming and sewing.

Wednesday, 31 July 2013


At 8.55am yesterday we welcomed "Charlie" into our flock.  I was sitting at the computer, on the phone to a neighbour, and could see Queenie (mum) lying on her side moving in an unusual way.  I went down to where she was and I could see her waters had broken so I knew she had started lambing.

Because I had to go to Brisbane for a funeral later in the morning I thought I would call Peter to let him know so he would check on her when he came home for lunch about 1pm.  By the time I had walked back to the house, got the phone, walked back down to the sheep yard talking to him, she was very uncomfortable, standing up, sitting down, thrashing around at bit.  Then just after I hung up the phone, plop, out came lambsie.  Mum had her cleaned up in about 20mins and by that time, she had her head up, looking around.  I think she was a bit overcooked because she looked a few days old straight up.

Sadly, things went the other way for one of our other ewes this afternoon.  Just after lunch the sheep were a bit stirred up and I thought something was up.  L1 (she was born before we started the foolish practice of naming our sheep) was calling out constantly, so I suspected she had lambed and had a still birth.  Sure enough, I hunted around in the yard and found him laying amount the nettles. He was perfectly formed, just not big enough.  So I have him wrapped up in a little sheet ready to bury when Peter comes home.

I felt quite sad for L1 as this was her 2nd attempt at lambing, and both had been stillborn.  So I doubt we'll join her again next year.  It is odd, she's only 3 years old so should be fine but clearly there's something wrong.  Her mum Esme on the other hand would have to be 6 or 7 and she always has at least twins.  Perhaps L1 and Esme can keep each other company in the non-maternity yard when the time comes next year.

Anyway, there we are.  One good, one not so good; that's life isn't it?


Silly as it may sound, I love a windy day. I especially like it when I'm at home and can churn out some high level washing to dry really fast.  So today's blowy conditions are very welcome in my house.  If it continues tomorrow I'll be visiting the laundromat in town and hanging out our double sided bed under-blanket (way too heavy for our washing machine).

Love the Hill Hoist

The last week or so has been very all over the place; with health appointments in Brisbane and a family funeral, so a day at home today is just the tonic.  Yesterday we had the birth of the first of our new season's lambs.  I haven't gone close enough to get a good photo, but will when I get the opportunity and will share.

The weekend consisted of restructuring the old chook house/run that came with the place when we moved in.  For the 7 egg chooks we've gone from this:

To this, which is smaller but better we think:

The outside with laying boxes protruding for easy egg collection

The inside with laying boxes 

We also built an duck-house (?) with a couple of nesting boxes for the pair we are about to receive.  Lastly for the meat chooks we have the old chook house (above) which will be refurbished a little to make it more manageable.  Being the handy (not) assistant, I have learned two new skills -using a bench drop-saw and a nail gun.  This is good because I have a few little projects that I would like to tackle myself in the future.

Saturday, 20 July 2013


This time last year we planted two stone fruit trees.  We bought them at the 2012 Farm Fest from The Fruit Salad Tree Company where they graft up to 6 different fruits (from the same 'family') on the one tree.

Because I love peaches and nectarines, we got a white peach/nectarine combination and for Peter who likes plums we got a two plum variety as well.

The peach/nectarine tree is flowering it's head off and when I was inspecting it I could see plenty of bees at work, so I'm hopeful for some fruit this summer.

And just for fun, hello from a fellow resident of Barpet's Patch.


We have nine sheep in all, mainly as grass mowers (can't say its lawn).  This afternoon we were talking with one of our neighbours about buying a breeding pair of ducks from them.  I love hearing ducks 'chatting' and every now and then one lets out great belly laugh like sound - as though they're sitting round the kitchen table telling jokes.  

Before the new recruits can move in though, we have to renovate our chook house/run.  We are also getting some meat chickens from another neighbour who is hatching them at present.  That requires a section each for the egg chooks, meat chooks, and ducks.  Hammers are being polished up as we speak.

Friday, 19 July 2013


For a long while I have been coveting a glass butter dish.  I like making my own butter, however storage and presentation can be a bit of a dilemma.  Rather than putting your lovely fresh butter in a plastic container, why not keep it in a more attractive (and greener) holder, right?

I had been watching various items on Ebay and ducking into second-hand shops wherever I went, but was drawing a blank on finding the one I wanted at a price I could live with.

So, when we visited the Penguin Markets last weekend, you could possibly imagine how excited I was to see this:

Depression Glass
Apparently these mass produced, mould glass products available in US 'dime stores' from the late 20's through the 40's.  Although the quality was usually poor, often with bubbles and flaws throughout, the colours of production gave it wide appeal.  The green, cobalt blue and pink colours are now most popular with collectors.

But then there was also this:

The provenance of this dish is probably also quite undistinguished but I just liked the relief work on the lid showing a cow complete with bell standing in a field of grass.

Anyway, I got both of these for less than I could have bought just the green one on Ebay or similar and no postage.  So I was a happy shopper. 

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Back Home Again

We arrived home yesterday; and while it is always great to go away, it is even better to get back home!

It seems we have lucked it with our timing weatherwise - just before we arrived in Tasmania it was very windy and cold; and now they are due to receive another chilly blast, all while we bask in relatively balmy temps. 

We were talking to friends we visited in Melbourne on our way south, and as we were speaking they could see people swimming on the rooftop of the next highrise.  The weather really is mixed up.

Anyway, despite the inevitable mountain of travel clothes washing, its great to be home.  Really missed these guys...

Friday, 12 July 2013

Tasmania Day 4

So, today we drove around the central northern coastal and inland parts of the State.  Of most interest to me was Railton, which I had seen on a gardening program recently featuring fabulous topiary.

Here are some snaps:

Self Explanatory


RSL Memorial Protectors

Baby Elephant & Mum

Imagine having these in your front garden.  A warm day today - 15 degrees!  We also visited Devonport and Port Sorell.  And of course one must visit Anvers Chocolate factory.  Next time, Ashgrove Cheese.

Bye for now.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Tasmania Days 1 & 2

Our first couple of days in Tassie have been, let me say,  quite cool & frosty in the night, but gloriously (relatively) warm in the day. Not sure that the sunny days are going to continue but we are enjoying them while we can.  We're staying in Ulverstone on the coast which is very nice.  Just hearing on the news that some parts of central highland Tasmania had -12 degrees (aak!).  

We have been looking at properties up here in the Central Coast area - for running sheep and/or cattle and continuing our food growing.  The places we've seen vary in size from 30 acres up to 100+ acres.  Most of it quite up hill and down dale but some spots have been beautiful.

Wouldn't you like to have this view from your kitchen window?
The main reason we came at this time of the year (a bit of raised eyebrows among family and friends) was to see if we could cope with the winters down here.  So far so good...

Here are a couple of pics of the snowcaps we have seen (Black Buff we've been told) and can I just say, the air coming off those peaks is very chilly.  

Mount Roland, south of Sheffield.  

The soil around here is very fertile, we've seen carrots, brussel sprouts, leeks, and cabbages growing.  I know I've bought carrots at home that were grown at Forth, just south of us here in Ulverstone.  So, that augurs well for the food growing part of things.  Fortunately there are online seed companies here, because many of the mainland companies cannot send to Tasmania due to quarantine restrictions I believe.  We've seen plenty of sheep which we are quite familiar with, and also cattle, which we'd like to concentrate on smaller breeds such as Square Meaters, or Dexters perhaps.  

Anyway, that's the rural round up for today.  Back soon....

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Up Up and Away....

So, tomorrow we are heading south to Melbourne and then Tasmania.  Technology permitting, photos may be appearing over the next 10 days.  Bye for now...