February 29, 2012

Goodbye Summer and thanks.

Hi everyone,

Well it looks like summer is going, but not without gracing us with a beautiful February. We are so thankful that we took the time off to establish our new home.
I believe that glorious weather was our reward for our hard work.
Looking back just over 4 weeks ago it's hard to imagine we would achieve all that we have: painting every room in the house, pulling fences down, putting fences up, building veg gardens, setting compost in, planting veges , setting up chicken house , brought down again, moved, new chicks arrive, egg supply stops and starts... dogs settled, visiting local area, meeting neighbours..and somewhere in all of this we found time to enjoy visits from good friends.

February 24, 2012

Feb 24 - 25. Extending the family

When 2 become 5

Well, we did it... we went out for a look at some Sussex chooks and came back with 3 of them.
Please meet Jenny (front left), Ivy (front right) and Lucy at the back...they are adorable and very confident..they have broken out of area 3 times which resulted in a mad dash to Mitre 10 for some escape proof mesh.. Frannie and Annie were not please one iota when these 3 arrived, boy were they chooked off. They clucked and clucked and I swear they grew about 10 inches, it was really interesting watching the dynamics... we initially put the 'new' girls in a mesh run within the enclosure to give all 5 sight of each other from a safe distance, just on dusk when Frannie and Annie went to bed, we put the girls inside with them...because we hadn't clipped their wings yet, they made many attempts to fly to the highest points in the chook hoose before finally settling mid perch. Around 8pm..all was quiet. Today ( Saturday) they seem to have settled and are currently minding their own business, however we have observed F & A getting closer throughout the day... and! Annie laid 2 eggs today..is that normal?

 Natures nice eh? - Our sunflowers hadn't opened since we arrived, and today they did...what a beautiful sight...it was like a new shop opening it's doors for the first time..almost immediately a bee came in and made a purchase, he said he was on a mission for mother nature...

Who's the Man? Kodak is a poser and a half, he is deaf now but boy does he understand everything around him.. he can read the clock because he always knows when it's breakfast and dinner time, he somehow hears car keys being picked up when the others don't and..when the camera is in front of him and you ask him to wait..he will but only until he decides he's had enough, then he's off...

I think black and white somehow tells the story far better than any colour picture.. this may look so relaxed, but it took 10 minutes and heaps of takes to get the 3 of them to stay still. Murphy was so over it.


Thought for the day: Before you go ahead, go within...

February 23, 2012

Dogs just wanna have fun....

Hi there,
I wanted to add these 2 pics just for the sake of it really. Finn and Murphy are the best of friends, Finn is constantly egging Murphy on for a chase... she usually gets one.

Murphy is so sweet, she ran all the way from the house right to Brooke who had the camera and captured this just before she was bowled over...

February 22, 2012

12 - 22 Feb. Big leaps forward

Kia Ora and welcome to the week that was. We have made some really great progress since my last entry.
Our friend Mark works for Steel Fort http://www.steelforte/ and we took possession of our new ride on mower recently. Highly recommend one if you want a great job on your lawns. We also started and finished planning, plotting and putting together our 4 veg gardens, we recycled everything. We got our compost mix from our neighbours who run a Peking duck farm..http://www.mahurangiduck.co.nz/. It is the absolute best and it's local. We also moved our old chicken coop to a new spot so that Frannie and Annie would be comfortable in their new location, we are adding 3 or 4 new chooks to our brood in the next few days, yay!!!.
Last but not least, we finished painting the inside of the house....
Here are some pics for the week that was...spot ya later..

Brooke taking the mower for a burn on the paddock...

A well earned cuppa before the hard work begins

Ralph trimming trees back and me at the controls

 I think he's in there?

 Paragliding over hills

The Woolly Gate..one of my favourite pics of the journey...we will recycle all our gates..this one is special because it's quirky and patchy and definitely got a history to it...I wonder how many people have passed through her?

Misty morning. Taken around 8.00am, this shot captures how the mist rolls in and out then leaves a day of beautiful sunshine..

We commenced the veg garden lay out, size and depth. We decided to have 4 gardens, 2 x 3 x 300 deep. we recycled the posts and side beams from the old fences. We used the chicken coop as our line.

phase 1.   Planning Veg gardens -  

 Phase 2.
2 down, 2 to go?
hey who's that in there? ..it's Murphy Brown.

Phase 3.
4 veg gardens with soil, ready for veg selection...

THEN....... after we completed the veg gardens... 
we decided to move the chicken coop duhhh.... and what an absolute mission. Ralph couldn't get a good angle to lift the shed, so after 2 hours of trying..

And trying......

We got there, we ended up taking a leaf out of the Egyptians book and rolling the shed on the round fence posts.. it worked a treat, no photos, sorry..too busy rolling the posts...hard hard work...but happy with result.

February 11, 2012

Milestones from 9 - 12 Feb, 2012

Top of the morning to ya,

A few milestones have been achieved since my last post.

One of our hens (Frannie) became egg bound with a suspected broken egg inside her.  She is not the best layer with one egg every other day or so.
Not a happy chicken, fluffing up, dirty bum, protruding vent and very sorry for herself.   So, after much searching on the web we diagnosed her as egg bound/internal broken egg.  This can happen occasionally with older hens or stressed hens.  This is the first week in their new house....
Treatment = bathing her butt in a tub of warm water for 10 - 15 minutes and then rubbing area with olive oil and massaging the stomach area. 
This morning she laid an egg (which we threw out just in case) and was back to her happy clucky self - she also passed what looked like an unformed shell (really weird to see as it brings to reality, what came first, the chicken or the egg?
here's a great site to help you through early chickenhood and beyond 
Mulching the land: Ralph, our fencer extrordinair, brought his mulcher on site and went about flattening out any lumps and bumps over the entire area.
After 2 hours an uneven landscape became a beautiful blank canvas... we can now see what and where we can do stuff.. but what to do? ideas welcome :-).

                                              The begining?                                             

 The end!

Back to the job at hand - Painting!

We have now managed to complete 4 rooms since our last post: master bedroom, hallway, red room and living room...phew!!!

I've decided Brooke is a machine, literary as I write this blog, she has begun painting the kitchen.. between you and me, I'm a litle bit over painting today and I'm trying to hide, but she keeps finding me... here are some pics of our painting process.

Brooke tackling living room
Finished job.

Welcome to the Red Room...

  Red room no more.... 

The Sky

I do love the sky, It's so unpredictable and because we are in the country it just seems so much more vast. Brooke captured some amazing images just as the sun was setting.

Red sky at night

Just like a painting.

Here's one throughout the day..
aren't clouds awesome?

I forgot to tell you that our property runs alongside the northern train line, thats why our cottage is right here, it was the stationmasters home. The trains honk their horns as they pass in the day time and the drivers wave... 
Then.... around midnight, here's what can happen if you're quick enough......

Midnight Express

This is so cool, check out the sky

Then, if that isn't exciting enough, we go and get 2 unexpected visitors.

I dunno, some kind of parrot I think?


I was speaking with my Mum this morning and she tells me Glasgow is sitting on 6 degrees, I felt bad telling her we have been in the 20's most days. England was on -16, thats the coldest ever. Aren'rt we blessed and priveladges being able to live in Gods own back yard.

Whats on tomorrow? - Well,we will be establishing our vege gardens...that's what! were moving our washing line too. We may go for  a drive to see the country. On Saturday, we managed to go all the way to the village without the dogs. Our containment fence and gates are complete. We came back (a little anxious if I'm honest) to be met with yawning, stretching content doggies... yay, we're happy that they're happy.

One more piccy to leave you with..

Murphy Brown,
relaxing with one eye still on the job.

February 07, 2012

Free from front fence 6-7 Feb

Hello again,

A few things have occurred since my last entry. Cathy the landscape gardener came out for a visit and recommended some really cool things for us to consider. We are keen to plant fruit trees and get our 4 vege garden plots established.

The fence that surrounds the house has gone, we now have a clearer perspective of our area and can now start the serious task of where are what to plant. Our fencer chap is going make the corners of the plots by bashing 16 of the posts we took out from the fence to act as corners.

Starting to remove the fence posts,
all 28 of them

Tossing the caber 'Kiwi style'

 look, no fence..yay!!

We also began the 'inside jobs', first task - PAINTING the entire house.
So....we picked 2 colours only:Resene white pointer for bedrooms, kitchen and main lounge and 1/4 white pointer for the hallway. See easy. We achieved 2 coats in bedroom 1 and one coat in the hallway.

Next tasks?
Our fencer is a bit of a handy man, he will be back on friday to bash the posts for the vege gardens, reset and existing fence and strike a gate, he will also mulch the whole area to bring the levels even. For us, we will get stuck into painting the rest of the house.

Message of the day

Every day has the same hours as the day before and the days to come....what did you do with your precious time today?

February 04, 2012

Feb 3 - 4 . Fences and gutters

Well, I can honestly say that nothing beats a solid 2 days physical work to make a Sunday a well earned day of rest.. we have been taking down the old fences, de nailing posts, removing them and wrapping the wire, we then had to fill the holes the removed posts left.

 De nailing the posts.                                Then bashin down the dross beams

Look..no more wire or cross beams. Yay!!

Next Job: Gutters
Brooke very bravely scaled the ladders onto the roof to tackle the gutters, and what a great job she did (no more waterfalls from blocked gutters).

Meanwhile..... Murphy and Finn played chases and stopped momentarily for poses...


Whats coming on Monday?

We are meeting with a landscape gardener thats what.. our good friend Paula is bring her along to share some ideas with us.We're having a wee lunch and then hopefully a solid strategy session. Brooke found an awesome website to help us plan our vege gardens http://www.growveg.com/.

To come:
The next week will see the foundation for the future established.
We have both really enjoyed the physical challenges that have accompanied the endless work involved in preparinfg our land for it's sustainable adventure. Our fence should be complete by tuesday, our 'new' front gate should be hung, which means we can now go off without taking the dogs everywhere, but even better... our land is ready to start creating...

February 02, 2012

First Week

We'll it's official, we celebrated 1 week at our new place with a fabby annabel langbein meal of roasted beet and rocket salad then beef steak and double mishroom http://www.annabel-langbein.com/tv-series/ .

Our family:

Our constant companions:

left to right - Kodak, Murphy, Lucy and Finn

Meet the K9 team, I'll introduce you as we go travel on, but for now, imagine what you think their personalities might be. Darling Lucy is no longer with us, but I wanted you to meet my golden girl anyway.

The New additions

I'de like to introduce you to Frannie and Annie, we inherited the girls from the previous owners, so far we've had 6 eggs and boy have they been awesome. We are reading as much as we can on chicken husbandry...what to give them to eat, drink and what enrichment to provide.. we have ordered a 'new house' for the girsl which should arrive today... then we plan to get more chooks.. 

   Meet Frannie and Annie

                 First Egg