Thursday, November 10, 2011

Meanwhile, back on the farm...

The Felting Pot will be at the Mount Tamborine Country Markets this Sunday 8-2, at the Tamborine Showgrounds.

This is a good old fashioned market ripe with native flora (fauna to pet and ride!), bottles and bottles of homemade time tested chutneys and cordials, hand poured candles and beautiful soaps and beauty products made from fresh goats milk, the green shed produce barn, honeys, baked goods, candies, and of course a plethora of immensely talented crafters and artists showing their wares.

Bounce houses, mini go karts, pony rides, petting zoo, food carts galore! See you there!!

Our opening weekend went swimmingly by the way, thanks for the support!

Closer to the home-front,  things are so lively around here these days!

Along one side and throughout the back yard of our house is a thriving nature corridor. I sat my phone in the window sill the other morning at about 530am to record the movements and mutterings of many a little songbird. This part of the world is famous for its bird life.

We have King Parrots, Lorikeets, Crimson and Pale Headed Rosella's, Sulfur Crested and the elusive Glossy Black Cockatoos. Minors, Bower Birds, Butcher Birds, Magpies, Kookaburra's, Whip-birds, Tawny Frogmouths, Pheasants, shall I continue?

Lots of birds. All wild, but most of them quite tame, or at least inquisitive and friendly enough to know we have food that they like. Primarily raw meat, and bits of bread leftover in the children's lunchboxes.
So most days a few different varieties visit, and get a nice feed.

We're about to bring another bird breed to the property. This being the faithful domestic chook. We have wanted chickens for a very long time. Forever, even. When we moved in here, we were sweetly surprised to see a relatively strong, secure chicken shed set up at the end of the yard.
We got to work using found materials and erected a second enclosure, a moveable pen the layin' ladies can really get their chicken-ness going, under the sun, out of the shed/run area.

We also fashioned a brooder box for them to live in while they're still very young. Right now they're 2 weeks old.
They'll live in the brooder in the laundry under light another few weeks, then move to a not yet built chicken tractor on the deck.
We will pick them up next week, from down the road where they were laid, hatched, cared for until 3 weeks when their gender will be mostly obvious and we'll know what we're getting. It was all a bit of luck in finding them. We get our eggs currently from the same  retired wife and husband team who run a tight homestead.
They raise a few breeds of duck, and mostly Favorelle chickens, with a few bantams on the side. We buy a couple dozen duck eggs a week, and usually a dozen hen eggs.

I called her up to peck her brain about raising chickens, and she told me about a secret clutch of found fertile eggs she was incubating on the sly in the laundry. Supposed to be downsizing, you see, but fertile eggs in spring are a difficult thing to pass up. She wasn't planning on keeping the chicks once they were hatched but hadn't advertised their availability yet, so how many do we want?!
There were 13 eggs, 10 that hatched, 1 that didn't and 2 that died shortly after hatching. So far, it is thought that 8 of them are female, and that's how many we said we would bring home.
The boys in this breed from a very tender age show a black spot around their wing area, Mother Hen has come to learn through years of raising this old world French breed of chicken.

I'm excited about chickens in general, but extra excited that we happened upon the right phone call, at the right time, and have snagged some really gorgeous Heirloom chicks from a wonderful family farm. The chicks were ready to hatch a mere 5 days later, and it's now about the same before we bring them home.

Here's a pic we took of them on Monday:

Picked up their shell grit, food and bedding today. All we need now is 8 suitable monikers!

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