Re-eggnition!

At last. After a wait of nearly 4 months another one of our hens has finally decided to start laying again. Of course for reasons known only in their chooky minds the girls decided to lay in the box they generally ignore, rather than the one with the nesting material.

Re-start of the egg laying! 16 July 2013
Re-start of the egg laying! 16 July 2013

I’m sure Dotty, our Australorpe, who is the only hen to have laid any eggs since the start of April, will be relieved to be getting some help at last.

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Letty scores a ton!

We continue to be mightily impressed by our chook Letty who has finally made it to the 100 gram mark with her latest egg (13 September). Here it is compared to two of the other eggs she’s laid.

Lettys_100

The one on the lower left is a regular 64 grams which she laid on the 12th and next to it is a 92 gram egg she laid on the 10th. The 100 gram egg is at the back of the picture.

Seems like our Leghorn is going to be a regular large egg layer as this is her 5th egg over 90 grams that she’s laid. Our other two chooks are laying consistently with our Australorp, Dot, being the producer of the greatest number of eggs to date.

It’s great having our own eggs now. Here’s a light lunch consisting entirely of home grown/raised eggs, lettuce and broccoli; and home-made products, beetroot dip, bread and prosciutto. Here’s to the backyard!

Homegrown_lunch

Signs of Spring? #2

Here’s confirmation that spring is definitely on the way ..YES … the magpie has started attacking the postman again. Poor man, you can here the bird coming as he rides down the street.

Spring

This fits right in with the description from the Jardwadjali and Djab Wurrung and aboriginal communities of south-western Victoria (Gariwerd-Grampians) that this season is larneuk – the season of nesting birds and changeable weather.

In terms of D’harawal seasons (Sydney area) July and August is the season of Golden wattle blooms and Lyrebirds building their dancing mounds, while the days become longer and the cool south westerly blows.

More information of indigenous weather knowledge can be found at the Bureau of Meteorology website.

 

Whodunnit 2?

If our first chook egg back in June was a welcome surprise to us this egg from the next chook to start laying was certainly a surprise (and probably was for the chook herself).

Eggsizes

It came in at a whopping 92 grams!

A ‘jumbo’ chicken egg weighs 70gms, so this egg is more like the size of a duck egg. For comparison Arte’s egg to the right of the photo weighed 56 gms. 

Just to keep us guessing it was laid while we were out so we have no clear idea whether it was laid by our Leghorn, which is our biggest chook, or our Australorp which are meant to lay brown eggs.

Anyone prepared to own up?

Chooksaug

The girls, Arte (speckled), Lettie (white) & Dottie (black) having a grass snack.

In the meantime …

Back home its time to start getting out into the garden and thinking about spring.

TB has been sprouting onion seeds in the polyhouse so they had to be planted out in their bed. It was cold and soggy work so I’m glad he was doing it! It was also extremly fiddly work getting all those small shoots separated. To stop the cat digging them all up again TB had to resort to major barrier construction.

Onion_bed

I’ve been tackling a job that I neglected last year – pruning the roses. Plenty of scratches and catches but at last they are back to a strong framework. Clearing around the base of the plants and seeing how large their bases are reminds me that these plants, with one exception are all well over 20 years old. What gives me greatest pleasure is that several of them were grown from cuttings from the Parliamentary rose gardens and no I didn’t nick them. I asked the gardeners for some pieces when they were pruning and then struck the cuttings myself. My Princess Elizabeth and pink Paris roses both resulted from this process.

The good thing about clearing up the rose bed is that I can throw all the grass to the chooks who have a lovely time eating it and also scratching through any attached dirt for insects.

Chooks

I was interested to see on the Taste Le Tour segment last month the discussion of how much grazing, 10 square metres of grazing, was allowed for each of the iconic Bresse chickens to ensure the quality required for sale.The only problem with this bucolic scene is that after a few weeks these Bresse chickens are switched to a corn and dairy diet and then stuck in a dark cage to finish them off before slaughter – not so good after all!

Speaking of the Tour recipes I made this one Cherry and Hazelnut Torte when I spotted some cherries of markdown at the supermarket (I’m assuming not Australian, but who can go past a large amount of very tasty cherries marked down for immediate sale at $2). Thankfully I can report that the hazelnuts come from a local farm and were purchased at the Environment fair held earlier this year at the Environment Centre, near the National Museum of Australia.

Cherrycake

Very moist and tasty.

Whodunnit?

We’ve been patiently waiting for our chickens to mature so that marvellous first egg will appear. And so it has!

Egg1

The question is whose egg is it? We have two candidates as both Leghorns and Anconas produced white eggs (our Australorp should produce brown eggs).

We are laying odds (sorry couldn’t resist that one), that the perpetrator is our Ancona chicken Artemisia. She definitely looks the most mature of the three birds, having a full comb and wattles already. although some of her other behaviour is rather odd. You see Arte likes to roost in unusual places. Our other two chooks are happy to put themselves to bed in the chook house, but not Arte. After a long search for our ‘missing’ chook last week we found her literally hanging out in the window of the chook house.

Arti1

Our friend who was minding our chooks while we were away overnight was somewhat startled to find that she’d given up on the window and was now roosting on the crossbeam of the chicken pen!

Arti2

Of well, if she continues to lay eggs we shall forgive her her foibles.

Egg2

Anyway, we did need to do something with this egg, small as it was (47gms, OK we are the proud chooky grandperents). TB decided on a souffle, just enough to share between two. We used our kale and Welsh bunching onions for the flavouring.

Isteggsouffle

Another small step along the road to home-based food production.