Wednesday, December 23, 2009

First ever corn cob!

Far more exciting than those beans :)

Although the tomatoes are a little feeble.

We also had a second one that had a lot of red kernels rather than the blue above. Taste test: boiled them for 12ish minutes and they were rather chestnut textured. A little floury I guess? Tasted very corn like but not sure if they were boiled enough, too much, or that's the reason why other coloured corn isn't sold mainstream. Have to say it would be a lot more substantial than the usual corn but the texture was a bit strange at first.

Friday, December 04, 2009


First crop of the season! Yay!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Which one goes with which?

So of the two of these chickens (ignore the non-laying one at the back):

One big chicken, one giant chicken. Both on the lay. Two eggs.

Can you guess which chicken laid which of the eggs? What I want to know now is how big an egg the smallest of our chickens is going to lay!

And for those of you wondering how our vegie patch now looks:

The tomatoes are starting to flower, but are still quite small compared to everything else. The exiting thing is the real cobs of corn! Curious to see how they turn out!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Random stuff around the house

So here's a delightful chap we found in the back yard. Apparently the chickens didn't think this was food, which is a little surprising. Been ages since I've seen a c.cada!

Next photo is in our courtyard where I planted some succulents provided by our neighbours. The flowers have grown to be even more plentiful now.
And here's a bunch of kangaroo paws from my folks. Yay!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Our courtyard has a water feature

Now that most of the foliage has been disposed of, and the water has been appropriately and mostly channeled out of the garage and down the pipe that doesn't quite go anywhere useful, this is the result during a downpour:

Gardening news with pictures!

Okay so what does our back yard view look like now without palms? Rather colourful! Yes there is still most of the debris there, but at least the flowers are nice:

And the "we're not quite sure of the name of it but apparently it's from New Zealand" tree attracts a lot of these noisy chaps which is rather nice:

And as for the vegie patch, looks like the pumpkins may yet take over the world. It hasn't been that long since they were seeds. All of these seeds were planted at the same time.

I hope the pumpkins are tasty, and I hope the chickens like the taste of the plant to keep it a bit under control!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

More chicken news!

So now we've tried integrating the chickens. Yesterday we clipped the wings on the youngsters and chucked them in with Godzilla. Much squabbling. Much fighting. Decided to let them all roam around the yard and it worked a little better although they still were being menaced.

By late at night it seemed slightly better. Godzilla went to bed earlier and the other two looked forlornly at the site of their temporary house. We locked them all up overnight and it seemed not too bad. This morning there is still squabbling but they are hanging out near each other. Slowly but surely it seems to be getting better.

Chickenflash! Monday night:
So tonight, it looks like the younger pullets went to "roost" with Godzilla! They might be squabbling during the day but it looks like they are getting clever enough to sleep in the right place. Yay! (Last night Nessy did but we had to round up the last one....) The younguns are even allowed to eat food once Godzilla has finished :-) Only when she's finished....

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Chicken update and general farming

Just a few words on what's happening down at the farm....

So we're still keeping Godzilla separate from the pullets. Point of lay is in fact 18 weeks, and they are now 15 weeks old so 3 more weeks at the most before we shut them in the coup together to see what happens. The different food and living space is a bit of a hassle, but there's still a little too much menacing. From 18 weeks they certainly won't grow anymore, but until then we'll still need to keep up the pullet food. Fingers crossed we can cohabit them at 16 weeks and do the wing clipping.

So another weird thing... a few days ago someone stole our tulip bulbs from the front yard. Bizarre.

And our vegie patch is getting there. Beans, tomatoes, corn and pumpkins looking good. Lettuces doing mildly okay. No sign of any carrots, strawberries or the new lot of chillies.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Notes on mixing hens and pullets

So far not so good.... Godzilla ended up with both black and white feathers flying and can terrorize the new pullets easily. Pecking order is to be established, and it isn't a fair fight.

We've separated them in to a new protected temporary cage, but they are still stalked by Godzilla. Not idea, but we'll see how they go. In 4 weeks time they should be equal size but hopefully we don't need to wait quite that long.

Edit: So it looks like Godzilla spends much of the day menacing the other two despite the cage separating them. They also know their place and hide despite the protection.

Chickenflash: 1st October - Godzilla still menacing them through the cage although they are getting a little more brave and exploring sooner.

Chickenflash: 12 October - Gradual improvements in braveness from the pullets but looks like another fortnight before we'll mix them again. They are around 14 weeks old now.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

I feel sorry for the neighbours....

So last weekend while we were down in Ballarat for a lovely wedding, we asked our goodly neighbours to look after our pets. No worries we thought. Easy. Free eggs as payment.

When we came back, we discovered that we were down to one chicken. There was a Godzilla but no Elvis. What had happened? The neighbour returned our keys the next morning and explained everything. Apparently on the first day they were looking after the chickens, there was already one less. Elvis was just lying there... so the nice easy job with eggs as payment didn't work out so well.

This weekend we drove down to Tahmoor to get some friends for Godzilla (and more eggs for us). We got a white one (Leghorn x New Hampshire) and a black one (Australorp x New Hampshire). They are 12 week old pullets and we've now just introduced them to each other and Godzilla. There's a bit of squabbling with sorting out the pecking order so it'll be interesting to see how well this goes......

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Gardening update!

So now that the weather is getting better (a little too good today - what's with cracking 30 degrees already??) it's getting time to be a little more inspired to do the gardening. The tree fern has moved:

There's a clear view of how much work needs to be done to the retaining wall:

For that, I'm thinking the wall needs to go and so do the palms causing it to collapse. Then they can be replaced with something more sensible and hedge shaped.

We also have a little white tulip saying hello:

And a pink tulip up and coming:

Today there was also the creation of a chicken-free zone. This is the last time the chickens will be allowed to scratch up this patch of dirt.
Last but certainly not least, my parents gave us some orchids from the garden. They are still going strong 2 weeks later!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Daffodil time!

Okay... maybe too many exclamation marks in these last two posts, but it's been a while. Anyway, this is our first daffodil of the new house :-) Some fundraising bulbs were purchased. I don't have any faith in the tulips happening, but the fresias are showing promise.

I had a birthday!

So my lovely wife took me out to celebrate in style!

Champagne High Tea!
Followed by the Tea part of the High Tea!

Yay for High Tea in the QVB!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

More NZ stuff... food this time!

Ok so I still want to blog some stuff that happened in NZ before I forget too much of it. I'm sure there's a few more posts to go....

So this one is about some of the food we had. Below is what we had for the main course at the Shearer's Inn. Lamb and venison... two of the great products of having lush grazing on the west coast. The venison had a blueberry sauce I believe. It was delicious! And the accompanying Speight's wasn't too bad either.

In Able Tasman we had two lunches... this was lunch, part 2 at "The Anchorage". The delicious feast was purchased from a supermarket in Nelson, including Verker's salami, locally made cider and a cheesy bread roll with spectacular scenery while we waited for that ferry to turn up... it was a little late if I remember rightly.

Back at Kaiteri, we had dinner at what I think was called the blue whale. Or something. I'll correct that if I remember the name. Anyway, we were as close to be beach as we could be, and the food wasn't half bad despite the fact that we were almost the only people there (the locals apparently don't go out late at night on a Saturday before Anzac day). Despite all that, it was really quite good! They still cared. This is what my dessert looked like:

Lunch in Wanaka was a bit more disturbing. Wanaka is the slightly less touristy area where apparently you can do all the extreme sports but with less tourists. Still did seem very touristy. The road on the way after Haast gave us enough extreme driving, so it was time to eat some extreme food. Below is what was their pancake. We went to the pub as there seemed to be not much open, and what was open generally looked a bit wrong. We were also a little late. Anyway, after some trepidation I ordered the pancake. The bacon and banana pancake. I won't be doing that again. This is just proof that it was purchased. I did in fact eat it so I could say that yes I have done that once and won't be doing that again. I do not understand maple syrup on bacon and banana pancakes. I do not understand bacon in a sweet pancake.

Finally, some food that was art. In Christchurch, in a restaurant whose name escapes me entirely at the moment, we over indulged completely. This was one of the desserts.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Thank you everyone!

Dear everyone,

Thank you all for the lovely presents you gave us above and beyond your presence at our wedding. We had a had a lovely dinner this weekend where we got to use some of those delightful gifts! The following two books were instrumental:

The entree section looked a bit like this:
And the dinner itself looked like this:

Sadly, we aren't as good at this as we should be because we forgot to use the splayds. There were heaps of other gifts, all very much appreciated. This is just what I managed to photograph this time around. I'm still happy that so many of you made the time to come celebrate with us!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Cities around NZ

The larger cities we went to in New Zealand were Wellington, Nelson and Christchurch. Wellington was rather unique with a thriving sense of creativity. Nelson was also artistic but a bit different, and Christchurch looked like a little slice of Europe.

These first few photos are from Wellington:

This one is a view of Wellington from on top of Te Papa museum:

And this one is a panorama of Wellington from on top of Mount Victoria. We were very lucky with the weather on this one.

This is the main strip of Nelson:

This is Christchurch square from our Hotel room:
And a cute water wheel along the Avon River, which was apparently part of the early industry in Christchurch:

And here is part of the Arts Centre, near the Botanic gardens in Christchurch.
So... Christchurch is full of cute little parks and beautiful buildings, Nelson has a Cathedral (which gave it status as a City despite the lack of population) although the world of wearable art was also very cool, and Wellington is rather arty, vibrant and modern, with everything close by. I'd visit them all again.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

In and around Twizel

So this was the corridor in the original workers accommodation in Twizel. Does look rather homely, doesn't it?

After staying in Twizel, we went for a drive around the hydro electric lakes. I really should look up the names of them to remember while I can, but whatever it was called, this one is full:

So here is where two of the lakes meet. One is river water, the other is glacial meltwater. They don't really like mixing straight away, and you can see the difference in colour.

Finally, here is some of the view on the way to lake Tekapo. We could finally see the snow capped mountains! Yay!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Abel Tasman national park

So, going backwards in the trip, here's some views in and around Abel Tasman national park.

Here's a view of Split Apple rock, just off the coast from Towers Bay in between Kaiteriteri and Marahau.

We were dropped off at Te Pukatea beach where we had a nice spot of lunch (part one), before taking a walk up to Pitt head. On the way up, you could get a full view of Te Pukatea:
After Pitt head, we made our way to "The Anchorage". This is the kind of view on the way.

Finally, after we were collected from the Anchorage after consuming Lunch (part two), we went for a drive back through Motueka and up Takaka Hill. This is the view from Takaka Hill back towards Motueka, with quite some zoom.
After this was back down the hill again and back to Kaiteri Lodge for the evening, including an attempt to wash clothes that ended up in quite a bit of damp clothing that became increasingly unpleasant through the rain we were going to face.

Some photos down the west coast

So what did we get to see despite the weather down the west coast? Here is a shot of Pancake Rocks in Punikiki. You can see the weird layering although I have a lot more photos of this area as well that show it a bit better.

Here is the main drag of Hokitika the next day before we went to check out the glaciers (and the vast amounts of rain!)

Somewhere in this photo is the terminal face of Franz Josef glacier. The big rock is Sentinel Rock.
Fox glacier, despite the main access road being closed due to the rain, was a little more visible.
That night we sought refuge in the "Hard Antler". We had some generous pub food and tasty beer, and were intrigued by the decor.

On the next day though, we decided to have breaky on the beach. This is Haast beach as we got to see it. A little colder, rainier and greyer than it could have been, but certianly an experience to enjoy.