Silver perch…

Now the weather is warming up and the Silver Perch in the swimming pool are more actively eating (they slow down a fair bit over the colder months), they are easy to catch on a fishing line. They like prawns, but their favourite is worms! The tricky part is catching more than one- it seems that once the first good sized one is caught, the others know and avoid the bait. We have our great net system now though, which means we can hop in and catch a few-selecting the ones to harvest and releasing the others. These two beauties were caught for a lunch with guests- the biggest was 1.2kg!

Silver Perch

Silver Perch

Honey, honey, honey…….

Well, the hives are going well. We decided to re-queen both hives- we had read a lot of advice on re-queening annually, plus with the billabong hive still behaving aggressively we decided that replacing the queen was the only option. Never having done it before, we did some research and found it surprisingly easy. The hardest part was finding the old queens and removing them!

After re-queening, we left the hive for 10 days and then checked, and sure enough the billabong hive was calmer already, so we knew we had done the right thing. With the weather getting cooler, it was also time to reduce the number of supers again. We had already removed one super from each of the kitchen and billabong hives, and harvested heaps of honey, and we now reduced them further. For winter, each hive has the brood box and one super, which is more than half full of honey. We will keep an eye on them but hopefully this will keep them going over winter. Mind you, it has been amazingly mild so far and the bees are continuing to bring in pollen at a great rate!

Produce room full of honey

Produce room full of honey

Autumn and getting green once more!

Well, it certainly has been a hot Perth summer, but autumn has finally arrived and with the cooler weather the plants are recovering. We have loads of pears, guava, citrus and apples growing at the moment. This is the first year we have been able to pick guava, and they are delicious!

Strawberry guava- delicious!

Strawberry guava- delicious!

We also have had a huge amount of honey from our busy bees- the shelves were full of jars of honey and we did another harvest a couple of weeks ago. This is a 20 litre bucket!

20 litre bucket of honey- second harvest this year!

20 litre bucket of honey- second harvest this year!

Our olive trees have also fruited this year, much better than the dozen or so olives we harvested last year!! Enough to fill a couple of 2 litre jars. These are soaking in water, changed daily for 2 weeks. Next comes the brine solution which they will sit in for a year- such a long wait!

Olives in water

Olives in water

 

Welcome visitors….

We have had such an abundance of birds lately- particularly the Splendid wrens. They are so comfortable with us being quite close- the only trouble with photographing them is they flit so quickly!!

They have become very regular visitors to the vegetable garden and aquaponics garden, and are very welcome indeed as they are eating the caterpillars!

Checking out the caterpillars in the veggie garden!

Checking out the caterpillars in the veggie garden!

 

Turkey nesting time

Winter is the time when turkeys start to nest. This year our poor turkeys have been laying eggs, which have then been stolen by the crows. We have now had to lock them in a more secure enclosure, but made them a nice little nesting spot!

Turkey nest

Turkey nest

Turkeys like to nest in the scrub, so we brought the scrub to the turkeys! There are now 8 eggs covered up in the corner, so soon one of the turkey hens will sit on them, and we will be able to let the others out.

Like the rabbits, fish, ducks, sheep and poultry, we breed the turkeys for meat- just enough for us. They take longer to grow, 20 weeks or so, but are worthwhile for the amount of meat they produce.

Dressed turkey

Dressed turkey

 

Welcome rain…

We had great rain in May, though so far in June it has been warm and sunny…not really what is needed in winter!

The ‘complex’ complex has had a bit of a revamp which includes a fence around it. Traditionally what we have done is bury the left overs once we have prepared rabbits, chickens etc for the freezer, plus use animal manures freely. We haven’t been able to do this in this new raised bed garden as the dogs are big and agile enough to jump in and dig it all up again! The gardens were suffering from a lack of nutrients, so fencing was the easy answer. Once the fence was in, we were able to really nourish the soil in the raised beds and replant area, and it is really starting to take off now, especially with the rain we experienced in May.

Secure from the dogs!

Secure from the dogs!

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Rabbit liver pate….

We made a yummy rabbit liver on the weekend! We used the livers of four rabbits and followed a thermomix recipe for chicken liver pate and just substituted rabbit livers. It was very easy to make and really delicious!

Home made rabbit liver pate

Home made rabbit liver pate

It has been a busy few weeks, but we now have a full freezer…..of turkey, rabbit, lamb, and chicken as well as pate and various stocks on hand.

Using what we grow!

This past year we have been much more successful using and preserving what we grow, and we have learnt a lot about what works and what doesn’t!! There are some great websites with successful recipes that suit what we grow, our resources and our lifestyle, so we thought we would share some of our successes in a ‘recipe‘ page- beauty/health products such as lip balm, calendula salve, aloe vera gel, calendula oil; and our favourite recipes for home grown rabbit, duck, fish, veggies etc!

Today we made Aloe Vera Gel, which is good for sunburn and dermatitis. Because of the gelatinous nature of the aloe, we made the mix in the Thermomix. This helped to blend it well with the coconut oil and Vitamin E (which is added to help preserve it- though it still needs to go in the fridge).

Aloe vera gel making

Aloe vera gel making

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The finished product is certainly gel like, so we will see how it goes!! The recipe will be posted on the new ‘recipe‘ page once we know it is successful!

Growing season!

Apart from a few extra hot days here near Perth, the weather has been great for the garden and animals alike, and everything is in abundance!

We have had a great supply of nectarines and plums…

One day's harvest of nectarines!

One day’s harvest of nectarines!

We have had a successful hatching of ducklings by one of our Australorp hens….

Mother hen and her ducklings!

Mother hen and her ducklings!

We also had a successful hatching of duckings from a mother duck!

Cute!!

Cute!!

And finally…a check on hive number two showed all is well so far, with lots of beautiful coloured pollen and plenty of brood…

Lots of colourful pollen

Lots of colourful pollen

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