Monday, May 31, 2010

Annie's Laying!

I really was wondering if Annie would ever lay again, having stopped for her annual moult about six weeks ago. In her first season, she often laid soft-shelled eggs, indicating a problem with her ability to form them. (It is also a sign of calcium deficiency, but with scratch mix always available and Lizzie's eggs always fine, I knew this was not our problem.) Lizzie has been laying daily for the last two weeks; before that, every second day for about a fortnight. On Friday, however, we found this:

Annie lays long chalk-white eggs that are noticeably smaller than Lizzie's. She has laid two so far, with a rest-day in between. I'm hoping that another egg will appear tomorrow.

I bought organic eggs during the moult, but I have to tell you that they still aren't as nice as a fresh, home-grown egg, even though the yolk is a better colour than you get with battery eggs.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Dancing Leaf

A bright yellow mulberry leaf caught my eye as it danced in the air. But this one stayed in mid-air instead of spiralling to the ground. A mystery!

It was balanced on the point of a Wild Iris leaf and continued to flutter as I came closer.

It was only when I came up to it that I realised that the leaf had been speared through the heart. How often does this happen?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Winter Evening

It's still early winter here, and all the plants seem sleepy in the evening light.

This reddish tint is not the light: it is Red Pak Choy, just about ready for stir-fry.

Broad beans coming up with celery and parsley -- a typical scene in my deliberately disordered vegetable patch.

I am not sure what to do with my Brandywines -- they're still flowering, but I doubt even the big fruit will have a chance to ripen. Should I pull them, hang up the vines and wait? Or turn them into fried green tomatoes?

Lizzie and Annie have been escaping from their winter quarters, so I had to improve the security today. Turned out that Lizzie was squeezing through a gap in the netting -- that's where the board is.

My husband had to cut the wattle back (to the right you can see one of the Parramatta Wattles which grew bigger than expected) so that it wasn't blocking quite so much light to the solar hot water system.

Cutting back the wattle led to cutting back the mulberry tree. We are planning to make a teepee or something with the branches, once the leaves fall off.

Thyme and sage in the 1950s fake log trough (including frog) which I found in the garden when we moved here. So much of my life in the background: the washing, the chook dome...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Our Visit to Glen Innes

A while ago, we had a family trip to Glen Innes to visit an elderly relative -- isn't it amazing to think of my children having a great-great-uncle? My husband's family come from this area so we took a look at various places that his relatives had lived in (and hunted for graves in the cemetery) as well as doing touristy things like visiting the Standing Stones.

We stayed at a farm again, this time Sharron Park, a little south of Glen Innes.

The friendly Crosby family gave us rooms in the original part of their farmhouse. I liked their garden, which mixed various textures beautifully. I am not particularly fond of New Zealand Flax, but I loved this balanced arrangement. Below is the view from our window.

When I was exploring the garden the next morning (we arrived after dark), a friendly face greeted me. I think I was a disappointment -- no sugar!

I have to tell you about the silver service breakfast, presented on an array of antique and vintage crockery. Fresh fruit, fruit compote (I particularly liked the family recipe for Dutch Apple), yoghurt, cereals. Then in came the hot course: beef sausages from their own meat, scrambled eggs from their own chooks, and grilled tomato from the vegetable patch. After we had indulged ourselves, we went exploring. A little later in the morning, we went on a tour of the property.

Here are some of the stock: happy Herefords. I was impressed by how well-wooded New England still was; the Riverina has considerably less tree cover.

Our informative tour took us around the farm and included a hunt for a problem in the electric fencing (which fortunately turned out to be a loose wire rather than a break, probably knocked by a bounding kangaroo). At this time of year the cows were all in calf. We also went out into the old stock route which adjoins the property. These days, the stock routes can be leased for grazing. They are reverting to bush a bit now, and are a good place to find kangaroos. We spotted a couple. Here is one, see it?

No? But it's right in the middle!

Here is another relic of the droving days, part of a temporary yard used when two herds were close to each other.

I would love to show you more, but I've been wrestling with Blogger's picture uploader for over a fortnight with this post, and I've had enough. But if you have the chance to tour this beautiful part of NSW, take it.