Sunday 26 October 2014

New chooks settling in

We are very pleased that the new pullets I bought at the poultry auction have settled in so well.  They're only 4 months old so are considerably smaller than Wilbur and his two girls.  They aren't pecking about together yet but the youngsters are going out into the yard in a group.  My friend Erin asked for some photos of them so here they are Erin!  Plus a couple of the veggie patch and Klara.


Tuesday 21 October 2014

Poultry auction

It's been lovely to hear from boaters, or read on their blogs, that they've seen nb Parisien Star in the last week.  Tore and Kirsten had a week aboard.  We had a wave of missing PS terribly today and to make matters worse we spent some time watching a slide show of our photos.  By then we were definitely hankering for our old floating life.  We wanted nothing more than to go and buy another boat!  But, we are forging ahead with life back home so it's not an option to try and wind back time.  We have Klara and the chooks to think of now.

Speaking of the chooks.... we lost one a week or so ago so decided we should look out for a couple more to bump up the numbers.  We have been making enquiries to see if anyone has some Barnevelder pullets for sale.  We did find a couple of places selling the same colour as those we already have but we had hoped to find a different colour.  Looking in a regional newspaper at work the other day I saw there was a poultry auction in Kyneton on Sunday.   Tracey, our neighbour, said she would like to come along so she and I had a great day out.

The auction was a silent one where bids are written on a list attached to each cage of birds.  In the last five minutes there are a flurry of bidders trying to get in a last minute win.  We went in at the beginning of the 90 minute bidding period and I wrote a bid for the reserve price on four pens of young "blue" Barnevelders.  I hoped I would get one or two of them as they each had two hens.  We went to browse some of the lovely shops in Piper St and returned for the last 20 minutes or so.  To my dismay nobody had bid above me on any of them.  I didn't want that many!  The last five minutes brought salvation and I ended up with four pullets about 4 months old.  Three of them are blue and the fourth is double laced black/gold like those we already have.  They're settling in well.

With the weather so mild and the sun out all the time, the veggies are growing at an amazing rate.  We have lettuce, rocket and radish ready to go so last night's dinner had a home grown salad.  I was given a couple of mature kale plants that were going begging and plonked them in an empty pot of soil that was down the side of the house.  They looked pretty sad the first day but by morning had perked up.  Enough, obviously, to attract Klara's attention as we glanced out to find her cuddled up to her kale plants chomping away at them.  There was soil all over the ground in a trail from the empty pot to her mat where she lay with the ragged plants.  We have potted them up again but they look rather sad now.

Sunday 12 October 2014

Herbs and puppies

I'm thrilled to have a herb garden planted up.   On Monday I had a visit to Bunnings (Aussie version of B&Q) with my friend Tammy.  We bought so many plants between us that we couldn't fit another thing in the car to come home.  What a fun morning that was.  In the afternoon I got out in the garden and planted everything.  Klara went absolutely nuts while I was planting the herbs.  She dashed up and down outside the little fence and barked furiously.  She didn't at all like being left out of this gardening session.  There is a couple more things I'd like to plant but it's looking great already.

I ended up digging out the herbs that have been in the tub by the back door since we got home.  It was one of the first things I did when we moved into this house.  Unfortunately Klara discovered it the other day and made great sport from a game that involved leaping into the tub and landing on her stomach among the parsley and chives!  I've put a mint plant in that tub now and will get another couple of mint varieties too.  They're hopefully tough enough to withstand a puppy assault.

The trees and shrubs in our garden are filling with green leaves.  The one that we look at from our back door is particularly lovely.  It will give us good shade from the hot afternoon sun.  Our veggies are growing well too.  It's just a shame we get such a short period of this mild weather before the heat sets in.  Tracey and I did a little project the week before and cut out a rooster from a leftover sheet of board.  We've painted them with blackboard paint and ours is a message board at the back door.

On Wednesday evening Klara and I had our first dog club obedience meeting.  It was only her second time in the car in the crate and it was only the second time she'd be meeting a strange dog.  She did well in the car but I stopped half way to let her out for a run as it's a 40 minute drive.  She was beside herself with excitement at seeing other pups.  Interestingly, the first dozen or so that she met she sniffed at them and then rolled onto her back in submission.  I think this came about from being told off by Zac, Anthony and Leanne's dog, when the came to visit the weekend before.  The next puppy she met was very timid and she didn't do the laying on her back thing.  It seemed to give her more confidence and from then on she met them a bit more enthusiastically.

It was a very long session of excitement for a little girl.  We had to sit at a table and fill in paperwork, stand in a queue to pay our membership, wait about in a meeting room while everyone else sorted out their paperwork and payments, and then a talk of about 15 minutes about the club rules etc.  Klara was one of the youngest pups and she was certainly among the most excitable.  She strained on her lead while the lady was speaking and barked back and forth with the dog next to us.  The poor lady had to raise her voice to be heard.  I was certainly glad when it was over and we all went outside for our first little training session.

We both did well and had fun.  We feed Klara a raw diet and when the trainer offered her a piece of cooked sausage when he asked her to do something she couldn't get her backside on the ground quick enough.  She "sat" and "dropped" and "sat" up again in record time!!

Saturday I returned to Bunnings, this time with Tracey, as they had new plant stock in.  I bought a few more to finish the herb garden.  I even found the lovely herb markers we bought on a day out with Andy and Jean from nb Josephine last year.  It was a warm, sunny day and half of Bendigo must have been in Bunnings!

Mick was home on his own the other day and heard a huge fuss from the chooks.  We lost one a couple of days earlier, she just upped and died.  He rushed out to see what the problem was and Klara had managed to get into the chooks corner of the yard.  She is always very interested in them through the fence and they weren't at all happy about having her in their territory.  There's a new gate at the back of the carport now... replacing the section of temporary fencing!

Now it's Sunday and it's been very warm.  In fact it's the first time I've felt hot since we got home.  It reached 30 degrees!  Klara has been feeling the heat today too.  She came down to Tracey's with us and had fun exploring the garden.  We gave her an ice cream container with water in it for a drink and she played with it instead.  When we got home I found a larger plastic tub and put water in that.  What a hit!  She splashed and played happily.  I think we will have to take her to the creek for a paddle.

Saturday 11 October 2014

One year, two years 10/11 October

We had a conversation that we haven't thought of for a while...... what were we doing a year ago?  Well, a year ago we had a visit from my brother, Anthony and his wife, Leanne.  How lovely it was to see people from home and to show them our beloved nb Parisien Star.  We so much enjoyed our time moored in Birmingham and it was a great place to meet up with Anthony and Leanne as they came in by train.

And two years ago?  Well, two years ago we were unpacking 10 boxes of belongings!  Wow, what a day that was.  We were having a tough time of the preparations to leave the marina but very excited about the beginning of our big adventure.

I suspect the "what were we doing" discussion will come up often in years to come. 

Sunday 5 October 2014

Finally, a herb garden on the way

One of the things I missed most from our old house was the herb garden.  Tracey kindly lets me raid it any time I like but it's not the same as having your own.  Mick went and collected a trailer load of stable manure from a friend and the herb garden is ready to plant out.  Klara enjoyed the gardening, going absolutely wild with excitement in the loose dirt.  Tomorrow I'll go and buy plants for it.

Monday I took Klara to the vet for her immunization.  My brother and sister in law brought us a pet transport crate which I used in the back of the car for Klara to travel in.  She's such a bitey puppy that there was no way I could let her loose in my new car without someone to hold onto her.  She didn't much like being in the crate but we're keeping it in living room now and encouraging her to play in it.  It will be her regular transport when we take her in the car for a while.  She was good as gold at the vet.  The vet took her to show the other staff in the clinic.  Most people love a labrador puppy.  So now after a week she's ready to go out in the world.  We're booked into puppy classes starting Wednesday evening so that will be interesting.  Evenings are her crazy time so I don't know how she'll go concentrating.

I noticed today that Klara's looking much thinner and certainly much longer than she was a week ago.  She's had a bit of growth spurt so we'll up her feed a bit to compensate.  She happily eats whatever we put in front of her, including kale that Tracey has grown in the veggie garden but doesn't much like.  I've got a little pull cord food chopper that pulverizes veggies and it doesn't much matter what's in there. 

The weather has become very mild now and we hardly need long sleeves any more.  Our electricity bill has dropped dramatically with the heating not being used much.  It will jump up again before too long as we'll be needing the air-conditioning on.  The grass at the front of the house is drying out fast and before we know it everything will be "Aussie brown".  There's that aroma in the air of dried gum leaves underfoot.  The pair of baby magpies in the nest near out back door have "flown the nest" this weekend.  Suddenly yesterday I realized I hadn't heard their noise for most of the day.

During the week I've been getting up early, courtesy of Klara, and going for a walk.  One morning there were half a dozen kangaroos on the roadside.  They all stood up alert as they heard me coming.  I slowed down a bit but continued walking along the road.  They almost let me reach them before turning and bouncing away.  One had a young joey peering out from a pouch.  Shame I didn't have my camera.... or even my phone!