Mid-autumn is a good time for chickens because they’ve regrown their feathers after the summer moult just in time for the weather to turn cooler when they’ll really be requiring all of those feathers to keep warm. It is sort of like being able to grow your own woolly jumper just as the weather turns cold. It’s a neat trick for a chicken. Chickens however, have a great deal of difficulty producing eggs and growing feathers at the same time so egg production has seriously declined (but never ceased) over the past month or two, and this week egg production has picked up again! Eggsellent work ladies.
Just to show you how cold the nights are getting here, you can see in the photo below that all of the cold air from the farm has settled in the valley below.
|Frost and fog settling in the valley below the farm|
Speaking of rare events, a few days ago there was a blood moon. A blood moon is where the shadow of the earth completely covers the moon and as a really weird side effect, the moon turns red. I took the photo below at around 11pm that night and together the moon and earth put on a good show:
|Blood moon over the farm|
With egg production slowly increasing (maybe it was the blood moon?) I thought that it might be interesting to show all of the different sizes and colours of eggs that get produced here. I keep a lot of different chicken varieties and they all lay very different coloured and sized eggs. Different varieties of chickens also produce eggs at different times of the year, so it is good to keep a diversity of chickens because that will ensure that you have fresh eggs every day of the year. A good example is the Silky variety of chicken which if I was being entirely honest, don’t produce many eggs per year and are also very prone to indulging their more maternal side (i.e. going broody). However, the Silky has an advantage as she will produce eggs during the late summer to early autumn months when all of the other chickens have stopped producing eggs. This is because the Silky chicken does not moult as heavily as other chicken breeds.
|The various eggs produced by the chickens at this time of year|
|Chicken secrets are revealed as the eggs are associated to the various chicken varieties here|
|Sir Scruffy ambles away from the excavation site for the new wood shed|
|Zucchini fruits were harvested this week|
|Tomato fruit set aside for the seeds to be saved|
|Blackwood (Acacia Melanoxylon) seeds are placed into the raised garden bed|
|New and interesting flowering plants waiting to be planted|
|Olive trees planted in a hedge – note that the trees are in metal cages to protect them from wallabies|
Over many years, I have brought up to the farm a truly massive quantity of mulch and compost. I thought that it might be worth showing how a cubic metre (1.3 cubic yards) of mushroom compost can be quickly removed from the trailer and transported to anywhere on the farm.
The technique used to remove mulches and composts from the trailer is simply to use a rake to scrape them off the back of the trailer into 3 crates. The farm has an area set aside for unloading these materials and it is a very quick process.
|Using a rake to scrape mulches and composts off the back of the trailer into 3 crates|
|Scritchy the boss dog looks on with approval at the efficiency of the unloading process for materials|
Generally there are 30 crates to a cubic metre (1.3 cubic yards) and that means only 10 wheelbarrow loads. The mulches and composts never go as far as you’d think and you can always use more!
How did the house get here?
Over the following month (March 2010) the frame of the house was almost complete. Very observant readers will note that in the photo below the veranda posts which are the only exposed bits of the house frame were all required to be galvanised steel – due to the bushfire risk.
|The house frame is mostly complete as of March 2010|
Once the house frame was completed, I could then commence cladding the exterior walls. It was always my intention to make the house super insulated (which Down Under meant double thickness walls at 200mm or 7.87 inches of timber). As I began cladding I realised that some sections of the wall had plywood backing which performed a bracing function for the house and needed to be insulated prior to installing the external cladding. On those sections I added the insulation prior to covering the external frame with commercial grade 16mm (0.64 inch) fire retardant and wet resistant plaster.
|Very thick insulation is installed into the timber wall frames prior to cladding with fire rated plaster|
|Leaning against the very strange fire rated commercial plasterboard and admiring my handy work|
To be continued…
The temperature outside here at about 8.30pm is 8.6 degrees Celsius (47.5’F) and a storm is threatening to arrive in the next few hours. So far this year there has been 163.4mm (6.5 inches) of rainfall which is up from last week's total of 162.6mm (6.4 inches).