Monday, December 2, 2013

Letters to Santa...

"Happy Christmas Santa!  Please bring me one of your elves to clean my room because our room is really dirty.  I'd also like a unicorn to ride to school on so mum doesn't have to drive me every day.  A pink doll house would be nice too.  Thank you santa for giving me my presents.  Love Minty."

"Dear Santa, Merry Christmas!  Thank you for my presents last year.  This year I'd like a crane for the back garden (maybe 2!), a pet doggy, a squirty toy shark for the bath (one for Minty too).  Love from Turi."

Friday, November 1, 2013

Conversations with Minty and Turi...

Me: stop putting your hand in your mouth. It's filthy!
Turi [pointing to his stomach]: well its ok.  Now i can just have a muddy puddle in here.


Turi: I want an animal party where they bring around snakes and turtles and things and you get to hold them.
Me: oh a reptile party.  I don't really want to have to pay for a reptile party.  How about a bug party and we could have worms and a stick insect and other bugs you could touch?
Turi: no I HATE bugs.
Me: ok another type of party then.  What about a dinosaur party?
Turi [excitedly]: Yeah!!  They could bring a T-rex for me to touch!!
Me [suppressing laughter][: Darling there aren't any live dinosaurs anymore, they're extinct.
Turi [disappointed]: awwww!!

whilst collecting the eggs… 

Minty [excitedly holding an egg aloft]: one egg!!
Me: The shell is a bit wrinkly.  I think we need to give the chickens some more shell grit.
Minty [admonishing]: don't say shell grit!
Me [surprised]: why can't I say shell grit?
Minty [in an overly dramatised whisper while pointing to the egg]: because this is the shell grit

(Just a quick explanation for those of you for whom this conversation made no sense.  Chickens need to be given shell grit to help their egg shells develop properly.  This can be given in the form of crushed up egg shells but you have to be careful to make sure the pieces are very small so they don't start recognising their own eggs as food!)

A very happy Halloween!

I wasn't really planning on celebrating halloween this year, but yesterday morning I was feeling festive so I threw together some last minute costumes for the kids and decorated the house.  I asked Minty what she would like to dress up as and she told me she'd like to be a vampire.
"Do you even know what a vampire is?" I asked.
"Well… I think it's just like a killing machine in a cape." She replied.  Great.  I'm glad she learnt something at pre-prep, thanks to the endless monster high dolls paraded at show and tell!

Minty was very enamoured with the idea of trick-or-treating.  I wasn't entirely sure whether it would be well received by our neighbours since halloween isn't really a bit deal here in Australia.  I tried to explain to Minty that many of the houses might not have a treat to give her so she decided she could give out treats to our neighbours instead.  I thought this was a great idea and much more neighbourly, so we baked some halloween cupcakes to give out.  Minty piped the icing herself.  She's getting pretty handy with a piping bag for a five year old!

Minty emerged from the first house wide eyed and said, "Something strange happened,  It was almost like they knew we were trick-or-treaters and they gave us a treat straight away!"  Their haul included some biscuits in a paper patty case from a tinned assortment, a home brand muesli bar ("I think these might have come from a shop!" Minty told me in wonderment as she proudly showed me this treat) and a $5 note.  Not bad really.

At bedtime Minty whispered to me, "Thanks for letting me trick-or-treat.  Tonight was the best night of my life."

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Free Range...

OK I promise this will be my last post about chickens for a while and tomorrow I will return to posting other profound and amusing observations from my life, such as Turi choosing to wear all his pants backwards like the third member of Kriss Kross arrived several decades too late.

But for now I will abandon all restraint and reveal myself for the truly crazy chicken obsessed lady I have become.  I have to admit the whole chicken thing has been harder than I thought.  It turns out Betty is a bit of a mole and has spent the last few days mercilessly pecking Chocolate Brownie (I feel like this is begging for a lame joke about everyone wanting to peck at chocolate brownies but I digress).  There was even blood splattered, Quentin Tarantino style, about the coop.  After endless googling and boring all my friends trying to come up with ideas to solve the issue, I decided it couldn't hurt to try some of my hard learned parenting techniques on the poultry.  When Turi and Minty are fighting they usually just need some time running around in the fresh air to calm them down!

So I decided to let the chickens run freely around the garden for a couple of hours.  At the moment this is somewhat of a leap of faith.  We don't have complete perimeter fencing.  Our house backs onto a farm and it is possible for the chickens to range further than the eye can see before they reach any fencing!!  Not to mention my unfenced freshly planted veggie garden with new baby seedlings sprouting, situated within meters of their coop!  

Today their free range session was a raging success.  They discovered an unsightly dirt patch near the house and had a luxurious dust bath.  I've never seen birds look so blissed out!!  Then they pottered about the yard while I hung the washing out.  Minty patrolled the veg patch and Turi played frisbee.  Then when we needed to go back inside I just lured them back into their regular enclosure with some snacks.  Their favourite foods are live moths and goji berries!  After their time in the wild outdoors there was no more pecking issues and everyone played nicely together!  Fingers crossed the peace will last! 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

First egg...

We've had our first eggs!  The one Minty is holding has a slightly wrinkled shell like a well worn leather handbag but the other two eggs laid this morning were perfect.  Thankfully the chickens have also settled down.  I've introduced them to a bigger enclosure which seems to have reduced the pecking order issues significantly.  They even lay down on the grass this afternoon to sunbathe!  I'm not entirely sure whether to find this behaviour endearing or alarming.  Their ungainly postures make the yard look a bit like a chicken hospice!

I made carrot and herb rolls for lunch, using our freshly laid eggs, and served warm with a generous slathering of butter.  Minty adored these but kept referring to them as parsnip rolls despite their obviously orange hue!

The garden is coming along slowly.  I suspect I lack the patience needed for real success though watching seedlings sprout is endlessly rewarding!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

In which Betty makes a break for freedom and I make a pink dinosaur cake...

We have chickens!  Three Isa Browns.  I had my heart set on getting Araucanas and/or Marans so that I could have blue and chocolate brown eggs but in the end the price was prohibitive (Marans close to point of lay are about $100 each).  I decided that it was much more practical to start out with something cheap and productive while I learn the ropes!

So far I have to say that things haven't gone entirely smoothly!!  Within the first hour they had broken the ramp to the nesting box, tipped over their fancy new water dish three times and pulled out one of their perches.  Of course when I attempted to fix the ramp a chicken escaped.  I fairly promptly lured it back to the coop with pita bread and patted myself on the back for my superior chicken herding skills.  

However now this particular chicken, who for the purpose of this story we will call Betty, has had a taste of freedom she makes a dash for the door every time I open it.  By dusk the chickens had once again knocked over the ramp and were therefore unable to get into the roosting box for the night (although I must say I am a little suspicious that perhaps they merely knocked it over as part of an elaborate escape plan).  I opened the door to fix the ramp (again) and Betty got out and rushed across into the cow paddock.  This time she was nowhere near as easy to recapture.  In the end I put on my gardening gloves, picked up the other two ladies (Anastasia and Chocolate Brownie), shoved them in the roosting box and locked the door.  I then ineffectually chased Betty around for what seemed an eternity and eventually she went back to the coop of her own accord just to show me who was boss.  Clearly I am going to have to work on my chicken handling skills if this relationship is going to work!

In other non chicken related news, we celebrated my niece's third birthday today.  I made her a three layer chocolate cake with subtle pink ombre marshmallow icing and edible gold stars sprinkled on top.  She asked for a 'dinosaur cake' but since I'm not a huge fan of shape cakes I just put a little triceratops on the cake plate.  Minty even made it a tiny party hat so it would be more festive!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Today in photos...

01 Seeds sprouting
02 Nothing better than kids doing dishes!
03 Homemade honey almond granola with yoghurt and raspberries
04 / 05 Mint painting a starfish
06 Veggie box day
07 Never get tired of that view
08 Kale pizza for dinner amongst the random rubble on the dining table
09 / 10 Monkeying with lego and pizza!