Saturday, 10 December 2011
We have our first little dorper lamb to mummy Jean. She is so very cute and likely to be so very yummy.
Jean is being such a great mum, looking after her so well. Was rather difficult to get this photo.
Now dorpers are suppose to be all white or white body and black head. This poor little lamb is a bit back to front. There are high chances of her lambs also being the wrong colour, keeping her and selling off her lambs may be difficult as she is not a colour people want. Just selling her may work, someone may want a little cutie lawn mower. Otherwise she will create a yummy dinner. After all we did get the sheep to grow our own meat. Knowing what our meat has eaten, the life it has had and knowing it has not been to the abbatoir will make for a much more enjoyable meal.
Monday, 21 November 2011
On our diet we can only use natural coloured food dyes. Things rose oddly and so my frog bread was far from idea. Hmmm I would like to try it again one day though.
ETA: the recipe I used no longer exists on the web so the link has been removed and a picture added instead. It was just a regular bread dough recipe so whatever you normally use just add food dye.
Saturday, 12 November 2011
We have our first little baby chickens. Such a cute little things. We didn't have great success with our first attempts at an incubator. Only 6 chicks hatched a handful others were very close, I am sure I even heard some of them piping but the temperature changes were just too great for the poor little things. But we still have 6 little cuties to play with.
The breed is Plymouth rock. They are a large breed. Good layers and good for meat too.
Friday, 28 October 2011
We decided we would do a bit of an experiment with this broody duck. Since we have chooks who do not go broody and we have ducks who are broody all the time. We popped some chook eggs under the mummy duck then a couple of duck eggs later on. All went well till right at the when every baby chick died in shell. They were fully formed and grown but something went wrong. After a bit of research we think that since the mummy duck got wet then sat on the eggs a bacteria got in and eventually killed the little chicks.
We did though get two very cute ducklings from her. She was not a vey good mum though. Wouldn't call the babies in at night or get them out of the rain. Will try an avoid brooding with her again.
Saturday, 15 October 2011
Our journey to self sufficiency continues we have sheep. I am so crazy excited. This may sound cruel and heartless but I cannot wait to eat our first lamb. We have 4 ewes, 1 ram and 1 lamb.
We decided on getting dorpers so we will not have to shear them. Well that is the plan as two of the four ewes are only 1st cross and are likely to need some shearing. They are all pregnant which is very exciting. They run with the ram and come into heat regularly. It is anyones guess as to when we will get our first lamb.
They are already playing reasonably friendly and will come relatively close to us to get some special feed treats.
So far the names we have are Dee and Jean for the ewes, Becca lamb and Bone the ram.
Wednesday, 12 October 2011
Over winter we had around 200 fruit trees to try and prune. Needless to say we FAILED. We had 2 weeks over the winter school holidays to try and get it done. And it rained the first week. But we did succeed in getting the apples and pears completed. It was by far a huge learning curve. Neither of us have pruned fruit trees before so we were out there with the book trying to check we were cutting the right bits off.
After about 5 trees we just started hacking randomly. It was going to be far too much work being so precise. the picture above is just one row of our espaliered apples. Below is the end result of our work. I did most of this with Immali wrapped to me all snuggled and warm and sleeping. I so wish I had a photo pruning with her but I don't.
we left the other half till Spring holidays. But again it rained and we could not find the motivation to get it done.
Next year we need a new plan and a system to get the whole orchard pruned ready for fruiting.
Monday, 3 October 2011
Turns out my precious boys are allergic to face paint. Awesome :(.
They are sensitive to many/most/all artificial chemicals so I really should not be surprised. I really in hindsight should not have let them do it. But I thought the sensory experience would be wonderful for Igloo, and just plain all round fun for all of us. Facepainting is super fun right?
Well it is not for us. It turns them into feral little ferals. Unable to control their emotions, unable to control their fists. No they were not exposed to any other unsual food or chemicals. It was the facepaint. I gave them headaches, it messed with the connections in their brain causing malfunction. Like a computer with a virus nothing works right until the foreign being is gone.
I am feeling so incredibly upset for them. Just one more thing to the list of activities and foods they cannot participate in. I know they have a great life and there are alternatives for most things. A life without facepaint really is nothing massive in the scheme of life, but for now it feels massive and tragic.
Wednesday, 28 September 2011
The kids were bugging me while I was trying to prune the trees. Kept grabbing sticks and fighting and just plain being young boys. So to redirect that energy I lashed some of the pruned branches together, threw an old sheet around it and voila teepee fun and I could finish my pruning.
Tuesday, 30 August 2011
Just wanted to share my funky new creations. Igloo will be starting preschool and to save on wastage I have made him some awesome little snack wraps and pockets. One set of just cotton, one lined with PUL.
He is going to have the best dressed food at preschool.
Sunday, 28 August 2011
Sunday, 17 July 2011
But best of all we have duck meat. It has been a learning curve for us both. Damo has had the task of learning and to slaughter and pluck a duck. Sadly the plucking is just not working out for him so they were skinned. Hopefully we can find someone who is willing to teach us how to pluck the feathers off a duck.
For me I am needing to learn how to cook duck. My first attempt was very touch. My second was so very yuck, I tried cooking it in the slow cooker in some plum chutney. I just used far too much chutney. My third attempt was a roast and it wasn't too bad.
Friday, 10 June 2011
Two years ago today I was finally being relieved from the weeks and weeks of prelabour. I had lost focus of you and just wanted the pregnancy over.
On Wednesday 10 June 2009 I woke at around 2am thinking oh no I wet my pants, to then realise no hang on my waters may have broken. Went to the loo, and there seemed to be more than just wee, so put on a pad and when that got wet and I knew I wasn’t weeing I was sure my waters had broken, I figured somewhere up top since there was no big gush. Knowing I could be in for some wait I went back to bed to try and sleep, but was too excited about what was coming, little did I know what was coming.
At 3am contractions started slowly and nicely, by 4am they were no longer nice at all, very strong very regular, and I really had to stop and remember to breath. Knowing I still had some way to go I walked the house, sat on the gym ball in front of the fire, and just generally tried to keep moving. By 5am they were rather difficult to stand through. I knew though that each contraction was bringing me closer to meeting you, and really I was coping well, nothing was overly painful.
At about 7am things just felt different so I called Toni to let her know what was happening and then started trying to get hold of someone to mind Lachlan. After an hour of panicking thinking I would find no one and me thinking that I did not have much longer and desperately wanted to get to the birth centre I did get hold of someone. Dropped Lachlan off at 8:30am and then headed off to the birth centre in some decent Canberra traffic. I was sure things were really close and was not expecting to be at the Birth Centre long before it was all actually happening. I did not let Damien know my thoughts he seemed in enough of a rush and I did not want an accident, it was hard to be so excited but not tell him. We arrived at the birth centre eventually just after 9am I think it was a relief to see Toni and know that she was there when needed. Damien and I were left to do what I needed.
After a few hours and not having progressed as much as I thought I had I hopped in the bath for some relief. And well things almost stopped, but I did enjoy the rest and close to had a nap in the bath between the contractions that hurt a whole lot less in the bath. Think I was in there for about half hour, felt like longer, when I thought I should get out and try and get this actually happening, Toni may have suggested this but I don’t really remember. So got up and wondered around for awhile, knelt, leaned, crouched, sat things got very painful and very strong and I had more than had enough.
So at around 12:45 I re-enetered the bath and again contractions become less regular. I knew I needed to get back out, but I was starting to feel exhausted. I made several attempts, but the lack of the warm water kicked the contractions back in before I could even climb out. I did drag myself out after about 45mins.
At around 2pm I called Toni in for some help and Damien asked if I could use the gas. I was relieved that I was going to get some help with the pain. First though she ruptured my membranes which we had discussed earlier, and then set me up on the gas.
I spent some time on my hands and knees on the bed before my knees started to give way so flipped myself over onto my back and my goodness I HAD to push. Damien called Toni in and that was it, it was baby time. It was wonderful to have Toni there, someone I knew and could trust to get me through the last bit. I tried to move up into more of a sitting position, but I just couldn’t move I was stuck, and I just wasn’t able to ask for help. Every time I tried to speak I seemed to just cry and moan instead, I was so frustrated I could not get the words out that I needed to. So there I was stuck on my back trying to focus on getting bub out while knowing I was not in the greatest position. As Nanuq crowned he wiggled and squirmed his head it was a funny feeling. I wanted to push and get rid of the feeling but also wanted it to never stop, a sensation I will never forget. Toni asked several times if I wanted to touch the head, for some reason this is just not something I want or need to do. Eventually the head was out, then for the body. With Lachlan the body just followed, so I did a half arsed push to get the body out, nothing budged and I panicked. Was calmed down by Toni and asked to push again so I gave it all I had about 3 times I think who knows really could have been heaps more and out he came and onto my chest at 4:25pm, I almost pushed him away because I didn’t want the yuck on my shirt, LOL little did I know the bottom of my nightie was already soaked in yuck. Once he was there I didn’t care anymore and was just pleased to be holding my little boy. He just cried and cried and I couldn’t stop him, I felt terrible, but I still had work to do, had to get the stupid placenta out. My goodness getting that thing out hurt this time. Then it was all over, but the tear hurt like crap and I whinged like an idiot about it, wanted the gas but Toni took it off me (LOL Damien gave it back when she left the room). After a little bit I calmed down and didn’t need/want the gas anymore, so I popped Nanuq on the boob and he had a good feed. It was a relief to have it all over, and a joy to be holding my little baby boy. I may have ended up in the one and only position I didn’t want but it no longer mattered. I had my baby, and the birth was wonderful anyway, besides the pain and my moments of panic the birth was beautiful.
We decided to ice the tear until the OB could come and stitch me up, she turned up at about 7pm. The waiting was awful I just wanted it over, wanted a shower and just start settling with bub. He had a couple of feeds in the time we waited, Damien called my Mum and I messaged the whole 2 people I wanted to know. I was allowed the gas again as I was stitched up, I didn’t need it for the pain just to help me be a bit more out of it while someone had their face in my groin stitching up my second degree tear. Eventually got the shower after this and was finally allowed to eat. So at 8pm I ate my first meal of the day and boy did I eat, and ate all night. We stayed the night at the birth centre since we decided it was too cold to take bub home at night and Damien was way too tired to drive. We all got a little bit of sleep, all snuggled in the bed together since Nanuq did not want to be let go and after his day I do not blame him. Hearing test and baby checks the next day and we went home just after lunch. Igloo came into the birth centre to help bring his baby brother home and boy was he proud.
Toni came to check on us both at home on the Friday, it was after this visit that I fully realised how completely wonderful the whole pregnancy and birth was. To share the pregnancy and birth with the same midwife is great, but to also see them enjoy the bub they helped deliver is fantastic, it makes it all so much more special.
As I re-write your story you have officially been two for around half an hour, watching you read yourself a book, walking and talking and being a typical 2 year old. You are such a precious boy and I will love you forever, after the scare you gave us as a bub I know I am exceptionally blessed to still have you.
Sunday, 29 May 2011
Immali's birth is almost indescribable, there really are no words for how absolutely amazing it was. I can write about what happened, I can list the things in order but there really is no way to capture the awesomeness of her birth. I almost feel blessed to have been given the privelege of bringing her into this world. It was the most perfect birth and I find myself each day longing to go back to those moments to re-live them.
But to tell her story. It all began at around 11pm on Monday 16th May at 41 weeks pregnant. I was not utterly convinced that I was in labour for real this time and so tried to sleep, but much like the prelabour of the past 4 weeks I could not sleep through it particularly well. Close to midnight I thought I best call Lisa (my midwife) and let her know what is going on. The intention was to let her know to get some sleep, she decided for me that I was most definately in labour and she was on her way.
Since Lisa was on her way I thought I best get Damo out of bed and get him moving on the pool. Then tried to get hold of Danielle without a great deal of effort as I really was feeling no urgency. While Damoworked like a machine getting the pool ready I stayed online chatting to the beautiful Kizzah in between contractions. Funny to think I had told her I would not been online updating her when I was in labour, but there I was being wonderfully distracted in between each contraction while I sat on the gym ball. The hour flew by thanks to a wonderful friend staying up late with me.
At 1am I decided a shower might be nice, things were getting a touch more intense and thought the hot water on my back may ease the pain. It did help ease the pain but also massively intensified the contractions. I really started to struggle in the shower and was really wondering why I was coping so poorly (little did I know how close I was to birthing). I filled the base of the shower with water, the tiny tiny bath base and squished myself into the water to help ease the pain a little more. I started to completely lose track of time and everything else and went completely into myself. I'd had enough of being squished in the shower and tried for what felt like forever to climb out, eventually I managed to call out for Damo to help. Somehow I got dry and dressed and went and found the ball to lean on. Strangely I decided to kneel on the incredibly cold and painful uneven slate tiles. Oh my were my knees hurting but the pool took up the entire rug. A cushion would have worked but I was beyond that sort of thinking.
Danielle turned up at what I think was around 2am, may have been earlier may have been later I've really no idea. I remember smiling at her awkwardly after she entered slightly embarrased at how poorly I was handling things (I look back now and realise how well I was actually doing). At some point she came and rubbed and held my back which was almost bliss. I thought my back was going to split in half and the hand there reminded me it wouldn't. I will forever thankful for that hand.
Lisa turned up not long after and I think I gave her the same awkward smile then went back to trying to deal with the contractions. I heard talk of Lisa having a nap, and it was then I started thinking hmmmm I'm not sure if there is time for that but hey what do I know.
I think it was around 2:30am when I demanded the pool, thankfully due to Damo's massive effort it was ready. Oh my the water, the water was just wow, absolutely perfect bliss. Things were intense really intense then crap oh my there is a head wanting out. I freaked, I cried, I asked for help, I for a moment did not know what to do. When no one understood what my cries actually meant I pulled myself together and realised I could do it. It took a few incredibly painful contractions to pull myself together and realised I had to push, getting the head out was the only way the pain would stop. So out her head popped still in the caul. Panic two came then about what I should do, and took me a moment to gather myself in this time I remember feeling a little nose pointing up, didn't process what that meant at the time. Another contraction and push and out she came, the caul broke at I think roughly when her feet came out. It really was an incredible experience having that break in your hands. I lifted her up to meet a stunned room of onlookers very surprised at her sudden entrance at 3 o'clock in the morning.
I checked to make sure she could breathe, checked to make sure she was in fact girl, then realised she was the most chubby baby I have ever seen in my life. She was just perfect. Next thing I know her two brothers are there to meet her. Nanuq overly excited and Igloo refusing to wake up.
I wish the birth could end here, but the placenta must be birthed apparently. It was agony and felt like it took forever. The one thing I wish I had done differently is cut the cord a little sooner, it was much too short for me to do anything but sit and I really needed to move. But I did it to a degree. The membranes thought they may stay behind and so the placenta hung for a while until we cut the cord and I stood up. It then ripped away and I spent the next week passing the remnants of membrane.
It was done, I had birthed my gorgeous girl all by myself in the caul, posterior, and weighing a whopping 4.6kg (10lb3oz), 54cm long and 36cm head. It was the first time I had touched my own babies head before they were born, this was something I could not bring myself to do with the boys, it was amazing and terrifying at the same moment. Who would have thought I would catch my own bub, not me that is for sure. Maybe Damo can be 4th time lucky and finally get to be the catcher like he has wanted since Igloo. Thats if I let him :).
Welcome to the world my precious girl, thank you for letting me birth you. I cannot wait to birth your next little brother or sister.
Friday, 27 May 2011
Friday, 20 May 2011
I love breastfeeding. I think it is completely wonderful.
It hasn't come easy this time. Immali has a maxillary labial frenulum tie. This means her top lip is too well attached to her top gum. Her frenelum comes down and attached around at the back of her top gum. It makes create a proper attachement incredibly hard and feeding is often painful and time consuming. I have to attach and reattach her until we get it right.
She has enough movement to not need surgery and so until she grows we just need to perservere. She makes odd noises while she feeds and sucks in a little air creating terribly sore tummies and lots of burping. Middle of the night feeds are exhausting and take me several hours. But I know breastmilk is the best for her and so together we will persevere and learn how to do this right.
I know these hard times will pass, as they did with Nanuq who I discovered had this same problem. I didn't know he had it till now.
What I am loving though is how my boys view breastfeeding. I love them watching and learning me and knowing they will carry this knowledge into adulthood. I pray they will be wonderful support to their wives one day.
Monday, 4 April 2011
When we moved here I dug up the leeks and brought them with us. Normally they keep growing as usual but this summer they seemed to die down to bulbs which made moving easier. I planted them out in one of the vegetable gardens. The picture below shows some of the leeks I have planted.
|Perennial leeks - very hardy|
As all leeks apparently do, they grow rather slowly. But these ones multiply fast. I have let some plants flower but they have never produce viable seeds for me. By the time a large leek is ready to be dug up and eaten it will have numerous smaller leeks ready to take its place. If you divide the babies off they all grow large and start to multiply, if you do not divide them they keep growing but are much smaller.
The picture below shows a larger leek in the background, with many smaller leeks in the foreground waiting to be divided. As you can see the lack of viable seed is not a problem whatsoever.
Like all the vegetables that I have got online I had hoped that these would do well and would eventually pay for themselves in one way or another. Some things have paid for themselves by reducing the amount of groceries we have to buy, others such as yacon pay for themselves by being sold. The leeks certainly have been hardy and generous plants and have grown and multiplied well. After seeing the prices for leek in the supermarket I know that they have paid for themselves several times over just from what we have eaten.
Since writing this I have grown some regular leeks and have written a post comparing these with perennial leeks here
I do sell perennial leek plants as well as some other perennial vegetables, herbs and some vegetable seeds, please see my For Sale page for details.
Friday, 25 February 2011
Sunday, 20 February 2011
The variety you get with homegrown organic apples are amazing. Above is our biggest and littlest apple together. Then just the littlest one to give perspective of size.
It was the cutest littlest most sour apple ever.
We have unfortunately lost a lot of our apples to coddling moth and even fruit fly. It is completely heart breaking throwing out kg's of fruit every day.
We need to try and figure out how to manage these issue organically. Hopefully we can and fast. Once we have chooks and ducks free ranging the numbers of these pests should be significantly reduced.
Wednesday, 26 January 2011
Last night Damo and I decided we should sort out the second bucket of plums. The morning saw us fill the 5 tray dehydrator with plums, most of which are ready just the last few still in the machine. Then once it cooled down last night we tried to tackle the rest. With a pot big enough to only fit 5 jars we still had a good few dozen left (plus today's bucket worth). You will notice that there is only one pot on the stove, this is because there is only one working hotplate on the stove. Makes thing difficult and we could only cook one thing at a time and it all just took forever.
But last night we made Plum Chutney it was getting rather late so I did not reduce it enough creating more of a sauce, but it is still yummy and I think will work well in a chicken stir fry. Do wish we had some smaller jars for it though so I could have preserved in one meal quantities. Recipe below.
We also made some plum and apple sauce. Now this one tastes like store apple sauce but with a background flavour and tang of the plums. It is really super nice. Once again tiredness kicked in and we created a chunky sauce as neither of us could be bother to blend it or push through a sieve. We can always do that when we use it if we want. Recipe below. We ended up with about 550g apple and same of plum and used 800g sugar and about 350ml of water. I also threw in a 1/4 teaspoon of citric acid (I am just a little terrified of poisoning the family right now). I did cook for less time so it didn't reduce too much as I wanted more of a sauce than a jam, I had trouble finding a simple plum and apple sauce recipe.
900g / 2lb plums
1 large onion
200g / 7oz raisins or sultanas (optional)
450g / 1lb brown sugar
570ml / 1pint malt or cider vinegar
1 thumb / 3cm ginger
1 Tblsp cinnamon
1 Tsp nutmeg
2 tsp salt
Sterilize the jars and lids with hot water and a kitchen sanitizer spray
(Or the old school method is to wash the jars then heat to 100°C - 120°C for 10 minutes in the oven)
Cut the plums into quarters (or if very large into eighths)
Slice the onion
Weigh the sugar and measure the vinegar
Roughly chop the ginger, measure the remaining spices
Place all the ingredients into a saucepan
Rapidly boil until thick (about 30-45 minutes)
Stir from time to time to ensure that the chutney doesn't stick or start to burn.
To test if the chutney is thick enough rapidly draw a ladle across the bottom of the pan, if you can clearly (yet briefly) see the pan's base before the chutney flushes back into place the chutney is done.
If not continue to thicken the chutney by boiling.
Check the seasoning, remove and discard the cloves and sliced ginger.
Pour hot, but not boiling, water into the preserving jars (this is to heat the glass so that it doesn't crack when you add the hot chutney)
Remove the water then pour the plum chutney into jars.
Seal and label.
Its quite difficult to get a real taste of a chutney's flavours while it is still hot. Once the chutney has cooled the flavours will develop and the longer you age the chutney, again the greater the flavours will develop. However if a chutney tastes quite bland when hot, this is an indication that the final product will also be quite flavourless.
Too bland: Add more spices / or salt
Too thin: Continue to heat the chutney until it thickens
Too thick: Add a little water
If you don't have a funnel roll up a non-stick baking mat into a cone, then use this to easily pour the chutney from pot to preserving jar.
Homemade Plum and Apple Jam
3 1/2 cups (750 g) apples (peeled and cored)
450 ml water
1.5 kg sugar
2. Cook the fruit slowly until the skins of the plums are softened.
3. Add the sugar, stir over low heat until dissolved, bring to the boil and boil rapidly until setting point is reached.
4. Remove the stones as they rise to the surface (a stone basket clipped to the side of the pan is useful for holding the stones, and allows any liquid to drip back into the pan).
5. Alternatively, the plums may be stoned before cooking.
6. Remove from the heat, skim, pot, cover, and label.
Cooking time 45 minutes (approx)
Tuesday, 25 January 2011
We discovered a lovely surprise on arrival to Mudflower ..... there is no electricity or water pressure in the laundry.
At what point did I discover this you ask? Well it was AFTER the removalists had placed the machine in the laundry and I went to try and wash 4 days worth of nappies.
Could this pregnant belly and Damo's broken spine move the machine into the bathroom where there is pressure and electricty? Not likely.
So what did we do? We ran an extension cord into the house and bucketed the water into the machine. Not a great deal of fun and this is how we will have to continue with washing until we get things fixed up.
We have had an electrician out to have a look and he will get to it when he can. I think he may just be the farmer across the paddock who does work for those he knows, our other neighbour recommended him. So we will just sit tight on that one. As for the water, the laundry is gravity fed from a small water tank. We need to look into a water pump and possibly a larger tank to fix the water. Something for when we have some money.
If the river water ever comes back on we will be able to fill the machine up with a hose. Fingers crossed something fixes up soon.
But all I can say is, if I can keep using cloth in these conditions so can you. I will no longer accept the excuse that it is too much hard work.
Monday, 24 January 2011
Yesterday I collected a bucket full and turned them into some yummy jam and preserves.
Have collected another overflowing bucket full today that is now in the dehydrator and the rest will be turned into some plum sauce and plum chutney. Will share pictures of those results tomorrow.
The recipe I used was:
Recipe for Plum Jam in the Microwave 7/9/01. Bunty.
Grated rind and juice of 1 small orange
2 1/2 x 15 ml tbsp water
375 g (12 oz) granulated sugar
1. Halve and stone plums, place in a large dish with the water and microwave for 8 - 10 mins on High until tender.
2. Add sugar an stir.
3. Cook on High for 2 mins. Stir.
4. Cook on High for 8 - 10 mins Stirring several times until
setting point is reached.
5. Cool slightly and pot.
I have successfully been making my jam this way since 1982.