Monday, 28 November 2016

Crochet Owls, Knitted piggies & Garlic Harvest

This time of year is always busy, the veg garden comes to life and the toys orders roll in for xmas. I need to grow an extra pair of arms just to get all the jobs done.

These are a few of the toys that have been made this last week. The owls are my favourite because they are fun to make and turn out really cute with their big eyes .
The Piggies are a bit more fiddly but do seem popular with most people.
I made a purple one last week as a special order for a lady and it turned out rather nice. It never occurred to me to make a purple one.
The big chicken below is my own crochet & knit creation. Its still in the development stage. The little chickens surrounding it are from an old pattern I found on Ebay many years ago.  


I've had a bit of a break from knitting & crocheting . The last couple of days I've spent outside which has been great. The veg garden is going crazy, the warm weather has caused the seedlings to take off , the peas are ready to pick and the garlic has been harvested. Below are a few photos of the veg garden and if you want to know more then this is the link to my GARDEN PAGE


 

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Beautiful Bella

I just have to share this. Its a photo send to me by Judy who purchased my dog coat pattern from Etsy and then knitted it up for her dog Bella.

This is a link  to Etsy DOG COAT KNITTING PATTERN if anyone is interested in making one for their dog.

I love the colours Judy used, I think its great and turned out really well. I like the 2 tone idea as well. And just look at that sweet little face awwwww so cute. What a gorgeous girl. I love you little Bella xxx

Dogs are great companions, they are loyal and seem to be always happy. No matter what happens they are always glad to see you when you come home. This photo of little Bella made me smile when I saw it and made me think about my own dog and all the funny things dogs do





This photo is my dog looking for lizards. She stood there like a statue for about 10 mins staring into the succulent garden waiting for them to run back out. The photos at the bottom of this post show just how hard life can be ... Laying on handmade blankets in the sun .. tough life but I guess someone has to live it. Spoilt rotton is all I can say about this situation!

Actually my little dogs life wasn't that good when she was young, she was on death row at the pound, unloved and unwanted, scared and frightened. She had been badly mistreated and suffered terrible beatings. As soon as I saw her I knew she was going to come home with me.

I brought her home and gave her all the love I could to try and make up for the horrible things she had endured ... She was terrified and would jump at the slightest sound, it took many many months to reassure her that everything was going to be ok.

Now 4 years later she basically runs the house. She is calm and relaxed. Her life is spent siting in the sun and living a nice doggy life helping me round up the chooks and checking out the veg garden plus going for long walks around the lake.

If you ever feel like giving a dog or any animal for that matter a second change at life go to RSPCA they do a great job at caring & finding homes for abandoned animals https://www.rspca.org.au/






Monday, 23 May 2016

Owls, Bunnies, Monkeys & Chickens


These are a few of the toys I've been making over the past couple of months.

My favorite has to be the owl. I think it turned out well and looks really cute.

The Owl is a new pattern that I got from a magazine called "Amigurumi". It has since gone out of print which is a real shame because it was quite a good publication. I managed to purchase the first 3 volumes but haven't seen it for sale since. I actually think it was one of the better publications compared to some of the others that are around at the moment.

I buy a lot of crochet and knitting magazines but what I am discovering is that a lot of them are owned by the same publisher and so they tend to print the same patterns across the different magazines which can be a bit annoying especially when you end up with the same pattern from 3 different magazines.

The bunnies and the chicken are patterns that I bought from Ebay years ago. At the time they were the original pages of the patterns but now it seems that everyone sells copies of these patterns which must be very frustrating for the original pattern writer.

One of my favourite things to make is the Pineapple teacosy.  I think it is the funnies thing I have ever seen ... I mean ... why would you want a teacosy shaped like a pineapple??? ... hahaha but people do, even I have kept one for myself, and I used it every time I make a cuppa. I love it. 







Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Vegetables, chooks & Knitted Stuff

Busy, Busy, Busy that's all I can say about the last couple of months, the garden has gone crazy with produce, the chooks have had baby chicks and the toy orders just keep rolling in *yay*

I'll give you the link to my garden page, its called . Grown Your Own Food . That way you can see more photos of the veg garden and what I've been harvesting. We've had a great start to the season, got some nice rain which filled our tanks. The veg garden is watered by tank water only as its waaay too expensive to pay for town water. I wouldn't be able to have such a large garden if I had to water it with town water, would be cheaper to just go to the shops instead . The main reason I grow some of my own food is because I prefer the taste of it when compared to commercial crops.

I've been working on making bunnies at the moment. I know its early for Easter but my toys are handmade and it takes me quite a lot of time to make a toy unlike the mass produced toys that are now available. I have to start my stockpile now so I have enough to sell at Easter, no point waiting until the last minute. This little bunnie is knitted and took about 2 days to make. Its a lot of work but I love knitting & crochet. I do it when I have a bit of spare time as I find it incredibly relaxing. During summer its a bit tricky because I'm mostly outside in the garden or chasing chooks but during winter, when the garden is empty, I like to sit on the couch and make stuff.

This next photo is of my 10 week old chicken babies. They are a selection of Rhode Island Reds, Australorps, and the white ones I purposely crossed to produce meat birds. They are Rhode Island Red x Light Sussex and they are roosters (its called sex-linking and this crossing produces white chicks which are male and brown chicks which are female so they can be "sexed" as they hatch)

The chicks will stay separate from the main flock of hens until they are about 20 weeks old. At the moment they are in a pen that opens out onto a grassed area. I grow lettuce for them as well which they seem to enjoy.

I learnt a very hard lesson with the last lot of chicks I hatched in 2014  ... I was told by a *cough* chicken expert that I should give them turkey starter ... well I did that (thinking the expert knew more than me) and I managed to successfully kill every single chick over an 18 week period  ... apparently Turkey starter has too much protein in it and destroys the chicks intestines. To say I was pissed off is an understatement. I was not impressed at all as I lost genetics I had been breeding for .... anyway I have learnt my lesson and this lot of chicks have stayed on chicken starter and I haven't lost any of them. I am really pleased with how they are growing and how healthy they are. So remember, if anyone tells you to use Turkey starter on your baby chicks, tell them to bugger off!

Monday, 5 October 2015

Fur Baby Blanket & Seed Planting

Done! whooohoo, looks pretty cute to me. This is just a proto type so only a small blanket but it would look great on a baby cot or even used for that special fur baby
Next one I make will be bigger and I'll use brighter colours. Lots of things could be made using this technique. The original pattern came from Patons and I've only just found a spare moment to give it a try. I've modified it slightly and changed the edging to one row instead of 6 rows. Also changed the colours and worked with 4 instead of 16. I made a small one this time just to see how it would look sew together. I like it. Will be making more of these and in all sorts of colours as well. This one will be going up for sale in the next couple of weeks once I get around to taking a better photo of it. ....

Also spent yesterday planting more seeds, this time all the frost tender ones. This is what my work space looks like. this is a link to my VEGETABLE GARDEN PAGE if you want more info about what I planted etc.

I start all my vegetables this way. I pot the seeds and then let them sit out on the veranda for a few weeks next to the windows until they germinate and then transplanted into the main garden.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Springtime - Carrots, Onions and Blanky Making

Finally managed to drag my sorry bones out of the house and into the back yard ... the carrots won't plant themselves so made another cuppa and thought about it for a while .... ahhh the serenity .. anyhoo first things first, I still had 3 containers of onions to finish planting and then next job start on the 4 packets of carrots. 

This first photo shows the remaining onion seedlings and the following photo shows the carrot bed planted out with carrot seeds. The carrots seeds are covered in a bit of potting mix to help germination.








The other thing that has been happening in the garden is the fruit trees. They are covered in blossoms ... this is a link to my GROW YOUR OWN FOOD garden page if you want to know a bit more about that .

I've also been spending a bit of time working on my blanket, its still in pieces and quite a bit of work to be done but I'm liking what I am seeing .. .sorry about the photo, it doesn't due justice to the blanket, looks heaps better in real life ..... this blanky is just a proto type to see how well it comes together so only small, will end up being 5 panels wide and 5 long , I'm thinking pet blanket at the moment but am seriously thinking of making a larger one. I love blankies


Sunday, 27 September 2015

Busy week coming up

Today is carrot planting day. I've put it off for long enough, should have had them planted last week but a cold front moved in and waaaay too cold for me. I spent yesterday planting the remaining onions seeds and you can find that info on my "GARDEN BLOG"
This week is about planting carrots, making more toys ie: chickens, writing out knitting patterns to sell and of course playing the drums .... huh? wot! ... yup you heard me ... I have been having drum lessons for the past 2 months and finally went down to Sydney and bought myself a set of drums .... fun fun fun .... did I mention how much fun they are? .. Love it although the dog not so much .. she gives me the old  "stink eye" when ever I start playing them.

I've got some photos for you of the garden, a photo of my crochet chook and some links to my knit /crochet sites as well ... there is my Craftsy site and my Etsy site .. you can also buy the finished items from me via ebay & madeit, just leave a comment below and I'll get back you.

AND here are some more photos of what's happening in my garden right now ... The Garlic has been growing for the past 6 months, the Strawberries are starting to flower, the peas have been planted behind the strawberrys and will eventually climb the wire netting. The onions have been planted out, all 5 packets of them and today the carrots will be planted ... well thats the plan once I pull my finger out and finish writing this blog post.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Chooks & Chickens

The last few months have been filled with creating chooks ... sooo what do you think? .
These are the chooks you can have when you don't have room for real ones.  Plus they don't eat much. They are still a work in progress, each time I make one I tweek the pattern a bit. Slight modifications every time so no two are ever the same.

They are currently for sale although only 3 left (top photo), all the others have been sold but I will be making more if anyone interested (send me a message or leave a comment below and I'll get back to you)




 

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

"Grow your own food" blog is moving again (sorry about that)

I've finally managed to get a "grow your own foods" blog spot *YAY* ... had to add an S to the end of food but at least now I can sort out my Woolly Blog (knitted toys etc) from my Garden Blog ... this is the new address for the garden blog growyourownfoods.blogspot.com.au/

I should have sorted it at the beginning but I didn't think there would be as much interest in my veg garden as there has been. I am currently in the process of moving the garden information from this blog (woolly blog address)  to the new garden blog (grow your own foods blog address). and then this woolly blog will be about craft, chooks and a bit of gardening whilst the other blog will be about gardening only (does any of that make sense???)

Confused? ... I know I am but in the coming months it will sort itself out. :)

Monday, 9 February 2015

Chicken Incubator & Brooder


This is the first chance I've had to talk about my latest chicken adventure, been a busy 2 months and not much time to blog about it.

I decided to purchase an incubator and brooder so I could begin hatching chickens when I wanted rather than waiting for the hens to decide. I've spent a lot of years thinking about this and many hours searching for just the right piece of equipment.
This is a link to the CHICKENS HATCHING on YouTube

I purchased a Maino incubator and separate brooder. These 2 pieces of equipment may seem expensive but in my opinion are well worth the money. Easy to use and easy to clean.

I can't speak highly enough about this equipment. The chicks hatched perfectly with no issues at all. I would recommend to anyone who is interested in hatching chickens. These are considered commercial and do take up a reasonable amount of space. The incubator is a sensitive piece of equipment and does need to be treated with respect. It operates best in a room that has a constant temp between 18 to 25 degrees Celsius. A room with people coming and going is not good so it needs to be away from general people traffic if possible.

I started with 16 eggs in the incubator and I had a hen sit at the same time so I gave her another 4 eggs to sit on. Of the 16 incubator eggs, 11 hatched and from the hen, 3 hatched.

The eggs where a combination of purebred (standard bred) Rhode Island Reds (Rare Heritage Breeds) and the rest of them where purposely crossed with a Rhode Island Red rooster and Light Sussex hens to produce sex-linked chickens.

The eggs that didn't hatch failed for a number of reasons, 2 where infertile and the remaining 4 showed the embryo growth stop at different stages from day 11 to day 19. Why the embryos died at these dates is anyone's guess but its not unusual for chicks to die before they hatch. How did I know they died at these dates? Easy, I broke the eggs opened and had a look, after I was sure that no more chicks would hatch. I have a chart which I downloaded from one of the chicken websites, can't remember which one, and it shows the different stages of growth so it makes it easy to identify the age of the embryo.

I did notice that the embryo that died at day 19 had inadvertently punctured the yolk sac with its foot so it had no chance of surviving. Apparently they are not called chicks until day 20 so that's why I am referring to them as embryos.

The babies are 5 weeks old now and are cute as. Sadly I did lose one of them to Marek's Disease (I think, not 100% sure). She began to hobble on her right leg and as the days progress she became unable to stand. Her little leg stuck out behind her and I knew that her chance of survival was limited. Thankfully none of the others have shown any signs of disease.

The chicks have been placed in the nursery part of the chicken coop and will remain in the nursery for another 7 weeks or until I can determine the sex of the purebreds. They will then be separated and the hens placed with the main flock.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Busiest time of the Year

This is a quick post until I can find a moment to write about all that's been happening over this last month. Have harvested onions, 1/2 of the carrots and have a heap of new baby chickens hatched from the incubator (and are now sitting in the brooder) this week plus lots of toy orders.

Got lots of photos to share and of course some more of my dodgy videos (which need editing) managed to get video of the baby chicks actually hatching from the eggs which is rather exciting.

The garden is well and truly producing, the corn is close to being picked as well. This time of year is always crazy and I struggle to keep up with everything that's going on hahahaha I need to grow an extra pair of arms.

Here are a few of photos of the garden & chickens. You can see the onion bed is now empty, harvested over 800 onions. 

The photo below is of the new babies that were hatched in the incubator on Tuesday & Wednesday and are now sitting in the Brooder. 


 

Friday, 19 December 2014

What does it really mean?

What can I say except that was a long 4 months. What am I talking about I hear you ask?  ... well I just won the "Yates" 2014 Garden Vegetable Growing Competition. That's right Whoohoo being a winner is much more fun than being a loser.

The competition began in September and consisted of starting all plants from seed and then blogging about the journey, the problems faced, the failures and success.  2272 garden competitors from around Australia joined in.

I am thankful that Yates allowed me to be part of their competition and it certainly was a lot of fun. Blogging each day about what was happening.

Seeing all the different gardens and the many ways people grow food was interesting. This is a link to the blogs I wrote on the Yates website

First prize was an assortment of products and vouchers, some of which I can use but sadly most I cannot. You see, my garden is organic. Everything that grows in my garden is balanced, from the native lizards to the beautiful burrowing banjo frog which frighten the crappola out of me every time I encountered one in the potato patch ... never knew a potato could wiggle ... never knew I could scream so loud either but that's a story for another time.




I'll keep the book, gloves, Chili pot, vouchers and seeds but all the rest I've given away. I don't use any of that stuff on my garden. I have no need for it. I don't mind if others want to use it. But for me I am not interested. I knew when I entered that the First Prize was a mixture of their products and money vouchers so I was not surprised when it arrived. ..... what did surprise me was my private thoughts as I looked at these objects ....  We live in a world were pouring synthetic fertilisers, fungicides, pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides is considered normal. That its not possible to grow a garden without this stuff. We are told that if the plant has aphids we must kill them immediately ... and yet aphids are food for lady beetles, they are food for many native birds, they are part of a food chain that is vital to the existence of all life on earth. We are connected and if we choose to ignore that fact then we do so at our own peril.

The soils in our garden have been carefully manage to produce a bounty of fresh vegetables. Each year the earth repay us for our care and consideration. I take none of it for granted. I know I am blessed to have the knowledge and the skills required to grow and harvest huge
amounts of produce and yet at the same time be able to protect and encourage the native flora and fauna that is major part of my vegetable garden.

To me all life is precious no matter what it is ... could be snail going about his business ...  could be a stick insect .. it  doesn't matter  .... all the critters have a place in my garden  ... even if they eat some of my vegetables  ... so what ... they will end up being food for something else any way ... the snail becomes the dinner for the lizard, the beetle becomes the dinner for the frog, the frog becomes dinner for the Hawk. Maybe I'm strange who knows ... but what I do know is this .... without nature we are nothing.

Monday, 1 December 2014

How to grow Beans, Beans the musical fruit ....

Hi ya! .... Been picking beans .. say THAT three times really fast *beenpickingbeans,beenpickingbeans,beanpickingbeans*
*that,that,that*

ok, enough silliness now for some serious info about all things bean ... We had a MASSIVE thunder storm last night  … EEEEKK!!! Scary!  and when I finally removed myself from inside the doona this morning and gingerly ventured outside to check the garden for damage I discovered, to my delight, that the beans plants had started producing  baby beans ... *yay* .... aawww …. so cute! … so green!!
The temptation to pick them now is almost impossible to resist but resist I must because they are not quite ready to be eaten …. A few more days and then into the steamer they will go to become a nice side dish for my tasty dinner. 
Beans are easy to grow and today I will share with you a few tips on how to grow them so YOU TOO can experience the fun of “growing your own food” and eating it (that’s the best part) . The secret to growing any food is to make sure that you get constant growth … too slow and the plants become hard and woody ….  too fast and the plants become sappy  and get attacked by sap suckers and nobody wants that do they!? …  no, no, no, sap suckers are not fun …  neither are unwanted house guests but that’s  a story for another time.
Beans, like all vegetables, need  well fertilised soil to grow in (mulch isn't a fertiliser). In our garden we use lots of animal manures such as cow / sheep or goat poo plus chicken manure from the hen house which we put on the beds during winter when the beds are empty.
If you don't have access to animal manure (use grass-fed if possible) then you can always use what's known as a "Complete Fertiliser" from the shops. There is a VERY IMPORTANT reason why I say "Complete Fertiliser" .... it gives the plants the nutrients they need without "locking up" the soil. "Nutrient Lock Up" is not good for plant or the soil. This is a link to some great info about soils etc if any of you want to know more .... Soil Quality Fact Sheet
The beans I've got growing at the moment are a variety of Dwarf Bean called "Tendergreen". I've not grown this variety before so will be interesting to see how they taste.
When to grow: Spring and Summer (Can be grown all year round in warmer climates)
Harvest: 8 to 10 weeks
Plant: after all chance of frost has passed. Water well during dry periods
Position: Full sun
Storage: Wash, drain and store in vented plastic bag in fridge. Use fresh soon after harvest or blanche & freeze if wanting to keep for longer periods of time.
Cook: Steam or boil. May be lightly tossed in butter to glaze. Do not over cook.
No support is necessary as they are a dwarf variety of bean and are able to stand up on their own unlike climbing beans which need a trellis or fence to grow upon.
Companion Planting: Beans Like Carrots, Cucumbers, Cabbages, Lettuce, Peas, Parsley, Cauliflower, and Spinach ... Beans Dislike: Onions, Garlic, and Fennel.
** Personally I don't do "Companion Planting" as I prefer each plant to have the necessary space to do its own thing .... One year I grew carrots, onions and lettuce all together in the same bed because I was told they were "good companions" .... it was nothing but a pain in the bum because when it came time to harvest the carrots I was inadvertently removing some onions at the same time which weren't ready and so I got the shites about it ..... I don't grow like that anymore .... it frustrated me so much that now I grow my onions in one bed and my carrots in another with out any problems  **
You can plant beans either directly into the beds or you can start them off in dunny rolls or small containers and wait for them to sprout and then transplant as seedlings into the garden. I always start my beans of in dunny rolls and then transplant later but that's because I live in a cold climate and so try to extend the growing season by starting the seed early and letting them sit out on the veranda in a warm spot for about a month.