[Hunter inside in the sun]

Hunter inside in the sun

[Hunter (right) is almost up to eating dinner with the other cats]

Hunter (right) is almost up to eating dinner with the other cats

[Delilah on top of an old water tank ]

Delilah on top of an old water tank

[Shizuka doing his

Shizuka doing his "Le Chat Noir' Impersonation

[Bunnings Carpark - can you believe it ? ]

Bunnings Carpark - can you believe it ?

[My handiwork - would much rather eat my own chook than something from a supermarket]

My handiwork - would much rather eat my own chook than something from a supermarket

[eggs ! ]

eggs !

[Ready for poaching, shop egg on the left, home egg on the right ]

Ready for poaching, shop egg on the left, home egg on the right

[Having a scratch and peck ]

Having a scratch and peck

[My Landscaping efforts, one thing Wild Rose Cottage is not short of is rocks. ]

My Landscaping efforts, one thing Wild Rose Cottage is not short of is rocks.

July 05, 2014

The cats are settling in well. Hunter has yet to be claimed, so it looks like he is here for good. He is slowly integrating in with the other cats. Initially he thought he was 'boss' cat, but suprisingly the other 4 cats stepped up to the mark, and after a small amount of fighting Hunter is well and truly at the bottom of the pecking order. The poor cat eats every meal like it is his last, and has packed on the weight. If he is not careful he will outweigh Delilah.

Delilah and I on the meantime have both lost weight, mainly due to the fact that we are outside climbing tress, running around like an idiot in the wind, chopping up firewood, and landscaping. I'll leave it up to you to guess which of us does what. We are both still way overweight but a bit of physical activity is doing us good. I can now walk up to the shed without getting winded. That may not sound like much, but the property is quite hilly. The property slopes down from East to West, and the front 2 acres has been made into a series of terraces where the original nursery greenhouses stood. The back 5 acres (where the ponies are) sloped from East down to west and also slopes North/South thanks to a steep gully/dry creek bed that crosses the property.

The bad news is that I have run out of money, and still don't have a job. The money I thought would last me three months has only lasted one, thanks to repeated trips to Bunnings Hardware. It's amazing how much buying things like wheelbarrows, axes, gardening tools, etc adds up. Every time I go to Bunnings - the carpark is empty ! It still comes as a shock. I'm used to the fact that the city of Armidale has only 2 sets of traffic lights, but I still can't get over ghost town Bunnings. All the Sydney Bunnings Stores were nightmares for parking.

I think this is the longest in about 20 years when I have not been going to work and NOT been in hospital. I've done a fair bit to the property but there is still so much to do. The big thing is next week the bathroom is being ripped out. The current bathroom is structurally very scary, every time I have a shower I'm worried about falling through the floor, but thanks to my parents who are lending me money, and my brother who will be doing the work, the bathroom will hopefully soon be replaced with something more structurally sound and less disgustingly gross.

For those of you who know mw reasonably well, you will know of my philosophy of 'everyone should know how meat is made'. I believe that should you choose to eat meat, you need to be aware of and take moral responsibiliy for the life that you are taking. I'm a huge fan of the 'River Cottage' TV franchise, and also loved a show that was on BBC called 'Kill It, Cook It, Eat It', where the audio audience watched the whole process from hoof to plate through a glass abattoir and were then asked to dine on the results. I was very lucky in that in my teens I want to a school that had Agriculture on the curriculum so had my love of farming and understanding of life and death.

So my little Poultry flock is divided into Layers, Ornamental Roosters and meals. My high school training of over 25 years ago has come back, it turns out that killing, plucking and dressing a chook is something you don't forget. I am rather proud of my efforts so far, and I have to say the meat is much more flavoursome. I plan to continue my 'Raise it, love it, then eat it' plan, although I don't think I'm ready for bigger animals yet (due to poor fences and small freezer).

I've also had my fist few eggs for the season, which were lovely.

When not laying or being worried for their lives, the chooks are out in the garden scratching about and having a great old time.

I have 2 garden beds ready, and will soon be planting broad beans and onions, as well as garlic and rhubarb. I have no idea what is in the orchard but as Mum pointed out with the seeds on the ground there is definitely some stone fruit.

So now I just need the creature comforts of a working ADSL line (I won't bore you with the problems there), a bathroom that won't kill me, and a job. Stay tuned !

Posted by Amanda on July 5, 2014 02:41 PM