Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Duck tales

Below: Ducklings at two weeks of age.

Well I have been put to the test and unfortunately I can't go thru with it. I origionally said that when we are out here in the country that whatever is excess, animal wise, I would kill it and have it for dinner.
We had ducklings born to us for the first time here about four months ago and we ended up with two drakes. They are now constantly fighting over their own sisters as well as rather cruel fighting with their dad. So I thought I could kill them and have them as a meal. Not so...
So I am off to the Pig and Calf in Warwick tomorrow to sell them instead. They are my youngest son's animals and I will keep some of the proceeds for feed that they have consumed during their short lives with us but other than that the rest of the money will go to Joshua.
I must say that they boys and I are rather happy about the end choice that I made. I don't think they could have eaten their dinner... Me I have to get up the hmmmm stomach to do the deed yet. Chooks for dinner, no problem. Done them and am not attached to them. But duckies are soooo cute when they are little. I know this sort of self talk doesn't help me at all but there I am. Maybe next time??? We will see I guess.
Cheers Damaris

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Trying to get self reliant

Below is Sausage, just born, trying to feed off mum, Lorray.

When I grew up as a little girl in a small village outside of Linz, Upper Austria, I loved going to the farmer and waiting for him to finish milking. That way I could take home milk straight away and it was still warm. We also got our farm eggs from him as well. My mum used to tend to the vegetable garden and we also grew our own apples and pears. My mum also made all her own cordial, sausages and cooked everything from scratch. Oh life was bliss.

That is what I wanted my boys to experience. When we moved to our little 1/4 acre in Brisbane, we had our chooks and grew vegies but after some five years wanted and needed more. My boys were going to a school with 2100 kids and spread over 1 kilometre. That I didn't want for them. So after my eldest finished his two year stint with Autism Queensland (specialised school for autistic kids) we made the move to a much better lifestyle.

We have been here now 1.5 years and have not looked back. Boys are at a school with 27 kids in total. They have their own chooks, ducks, geese, even one of the Dexter heifers has had her first calf last December. They are now both pregnant and we will have another round of births in September and October this year.

With our bull calf now being a steer we named him aptly Sausage as in July 2010 that is what he will end up as, in part anyway.

With our vegie gardens, we are getting there. Location is a problem as we have 8 acres of nothing. No trees for shade and no bushes for windbreaks. We are on a hill and the wind can get pretty hairy here. The soil is also not very good. Dark black soil that really needs to be remineralised. This process I am undertaking at the moment. This week I am going to get an apple corer and getting a soil sample off to the lab. Then a copy of the results will be sent to the organic rejuvenation expert, Pat Coleby. I love her books and she writes so simply. She then tells you exactly what you need to do to get your soil back into great health. That is what I am after. I hate to use chemicals and can't wait to get her advice.

We have planted some trees in our orchard but that also will take time to grow. Russell and I have given ourselves around five years to get as self reliant as possible.

I already water bath whatever I possibly can, make our own bread, make our own yoghurt, milk Lorray, which Russell sometimes turns into our own cheese. (I loved the lot he made and made cheesecake with it. It was sooooo beautiful)

Alot of times I lay awake at night wishing that I had more done and growing already but know that it all takes time, and money off course, to see these things come to fruition.

At least Russell and I know that we are getting there. My youngest won't eat the potatoes and carrots from the shops anymore or the farm down the road for that matter. He says he only wants ours forever. Must be doing something right hey?

Cheers Damaris

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Our Electricity Usage

One thing that I have become more and more aware of over the years is our usage of electricity.

I found that my two boys who are 12 and 9 loved their DVD's, computer games, DS, Internet usage and portable DVD player. I wanted to make them more aware of what it meant to go without. Plenty of people do.

So when we moved out here Russell and I decided that we were not going to get free TV installed. A man from Warwick wanted to charge $200 just for him to come out and test if we could get it... We are in a 'black spot' for reception so decided that the ABC Kids TV shows the boys were used to watching, they could well do without.

We do order 10 DVD's through BigPond for $20 per month and that is all we have.

I went another step further a couple of weeks ago. On a Wednesday, we now have 'Low Electricity Wednesday'. This means that other than the Fridge, deep freezer and phone we switch everything else off. The first time we did also have night lights on as this is a feeling of safety for the boys that they could not do without. I take a meter reading the day before, on the day and then the day after and see what we saved and used.

The first Wednesday we used 5kWh, the second was 3.3kWh. We are getting better. On the day I have a 20l container with a tap at the sink in the kitchen. We do no dishes that day and eat cold food out of the fridge. We have candles at night and play games outside or inside while they are not at school.

I must say that they are doing really well with all of this. I don't have my hubby home during the week so it is alot easier than if he were home. He is in IT at work and loves to do his thing in the shed. He makes his own boomerangs and turns his own pens. He is rather clever but chews through the electricity therefore.

From this week we also now have no DVD's, Computer, DS etc on a Monday as well. This is helping with them connecting with each other as well as getting them interested in the outdoors alot more.

They are telling me what I am trying to teach them. They are less stressed without the electrical stuff and learning slowly to get along better. My eldest has Asperger's Syndrome so for him it is even more of a challenge to let go of what he considers 'his time' to relax with the computer but he is getting there. I am very proud of both of them and in the process saving some money too. Can't complain about that. :)

Cheers Damaris

Update: We used 4.6kWh yesterday. This was up from last week as Russell came home in the evening... Also we have three chicks under the light at the moment. The boys also had their night light on again last night. Am looking into solar and will write about that when more concrete information is on hand.

Cheers Damaris

Monday, March 9, 2009

Hello and Welcome

I must admit I am very apprehensive about blogging myself. There are so many wonderful blogs out there and I am just another drop in the internet ocean. I believe though that I have things to offer and therefore have decided to take the step into the unknown.

I hope you will join me on my journey of discovery and change that is happening in our home.

Regards Damaris