Book covers

22 08 2013

More book covers – picked based on visual appeal, not content unless otherwise stated. Please don’t hold me responsible for a terrible reading experience 🙂

Book covers 13

* Octopus Alone by Divya Srinivasan

* Reclaiming Style by Maria Speake – Especially relevant in post-quake Christchurch.

* The Penguin Macquarie dictionary of Australian politics by Richard Tardif

* Urban Farms by Sarah Rich – Some great ideas for those aiming for self sufficiency in the city.

* The Palace of Curiosities by Rosie Garland

* The Time Team Dig Book by Tim Taylor – R.I.P Mick Aston, the world is a far less interesting place without you.

* Wolves in the Land of Salmon by David Moskowitz

* The Art of Epic by Tara Bennett

* Our Songbirds by Matt Sewell

* Flower by Andrew Zuckerman

* A perfectly kept house is the sign of a misspent life by Mary Randolph Carter – I like this book, it makes me feel better about the state of my house.

* Illustrated Country Year by Celia Lewis


Tidal wave of fluffies

14 12 2011

Our big boy, Mr Possum, has apparently been doing the rounds. Currently we are up to 19 rabbits on our property – 14 of which are less than 3 months old. So it was defiantly time for new escape-proof accommodations.

Take one box pallet, 3 rolls of chicken wire, various recycled materials, a 1 litre bottle of whiskey and a builder friend, and you get the Rabbit Duplex! It has 2 levels, a small outdoor run, side doors for access and deep eaves to provide shelter from sun and rain. Possum gets one side to himself, Lily & Sparkle share the other with alternating “free-range” days. I will be painting it soon to seal the plywood but that’s a minor detail.

Thanks Dean – you’re a star!

The new chicks

17 02 2011

How not to build a polictically correct chook house…

Here are the newest members of our fur family: Book & Peep. They are Barred Rocks, the black & white striped varity of Plymoth Rock chickens, good for both meat and egg production. These 2 will be egg producers, eventually, right now they are only around 3 months old so still have a bit of growning to do.

Our builder friend built a wonderful A-frame coop of them that has now been dubbed the Hen-oi Hilton to go with Bunny Auschwitz next door. There is also a new boy bunny coming soon so I will have to get sorted and reorganize the fences – I think the rabbit run will have to get split into 2 sections or us humans will have no lawn left!

Rabbit hutch follow up

24 01 2011

I thought I should do a follow up on my rabbit hutch, previously featured in the Politically Incorrect Rabbit Hutch post.

Miss Button went to visit a friends Flemish Giant, Mr Robbie. 28days later she was the proud mother of 6 little pink blobs. Now, 10 weeks on, they are ready to leave the nest and venture out to the wide world – or at least the gardens of their new owners. It’s been an interesting experience with highs & lows, like watching the first adventurer figure out how to get down the ramp from their nest (and then back up again when it all became too big & scary), through to discovering that my runner beans where shriveling up on the vine due to some ground level rabbit pruning. But overall it’s been good and I am thinking of breeding Button again – only this time I will put a smaller gauge of chicken wire on their enclosure! 🙂

2 weeks old:

8 weeks old:

How not to… build a politically correct rabbit hutch

17 10 2010

Not so much an instructional as a pictorial.

I had been complaining about Button, our flemmish giant rabbit, eating all my vegetable seedlings instead of weeds and kitchen scraps. Apparently Jai had been listening because I arrived home from work on Friday to find the scrubby un-mowable patch of our backyard fenced off with chicken wire and a happy bunny digging holes where no-one will mind. “Fantastic!” I cried, “But why is there a guard tower on the corner, complete with machine gun and a sign proclaiming it to br Bunny Auschwitz?” “It’s a conversation starter.” Hmm… ok, I give up.

No-Dig Gardening

27 09 2010

Here we have the first “How not to do it” post. I say that because I usually get enthusiastic about something then lose patience / energy / motivation about half way through. This is especially true when it comes to vacuuming or weeding. So, with that in mind, I went in search of a way to grow vegies with less weeding. What I found was the No-Dig garden, which sounds like just what I was looking for. Here’s how to make your own:

First step is to create a raised garden bed. You do not need to dig over your lawn (yay!) simply mark out the space with bricks, buy a kit-set garden, or do what I did – collect recycled weather boards, stakes and timber off-cuts from the villa renovation down the road, invite a friend with carpentry skills over, give friend a beer and point in the direction of collected materials then step out of the way.

On the left is his garden, on the right is mine – spot the difference…

So the left hand one is going to be my lettuce and salad bed. The right is going to be a “3 Sisters” garden and potato stacks. I will cover the 3 Sisters in a later blog but in the meantime you can find further reading here.

Now that you have your garden space sorted you can move onto the next bit – filling it up. You will need a few items first that you can buy from a garden shop or collect from friends. You will need:

* Newspaper

* Good compost

* Lucerne hay

* Pea Straw

* Fertilizer – commercial mix or manure

The basic idea is that you layer up these items in such a way as to discourage weeds while providing an optimum growing environment for your vegetables.

Step 1 – Newspaper. Spread out sheets of newspaper evenly over the dirt/lawn at the bottom of your garden space to a depth of approx 2 cm. If you are creating your garden directly onto your lawn it is a good idea to mow it quite short first. Water well to soften the paper.

Step 2 – Lucerne Hay. You can get lucerne hay at any horse feed store and most larger pet shops. It will be cheaper at the feed store. Shake out segments of hay and spread evenly over the newspaper to an approximate depth of 10cm.

Step 3 – Fertilizer. I used pony poo that had been well aged – at least 4 months. You can use sheep, cow or chicken poo or a commercial product. Just use less over the commercial type. Again, spread evenly to a depth of approx 15-20cm.

Step 4 – Straw. Pea straw is probably the easiest to come by, but I had lucerne straw so that’s what I used. Spread to a depth of 10cm approx.

Step 5 – Fertilizer. As for step 3. I also added a light sprinkling of soluble general purpose fertilizer on top.

Step 6 – Compost. I had left my compost for too long so it resembles topsoil more than mulch. Either way it doesn’t matter, just make sure it is free of weeds and other objects. I found a Mr PotatoHead in my compost. Haven’t decided if I will return it to the neighbor kids yet 🙂

Step 7 – Water. With your hose set to mist, water well to make sure all the layers are damp. It is a good idea to let your garden settle for at least a couple of days before planting your seedlings or the fertilizer may burn the roots. Don’t sow seeds straight into the garden as it is designed to prevent this therefore keeping down your weeds.