Monday, 27 August 2012

Strays and seed trays

Weeks blend into one another sometimes.  Not this one!  This week started with an interesting find in the garden!  The cutest little fluff-ball stray kitten!  After putting up a fierce struggle, my daughter managed to capture her.  After the initial cuddle, she realized that she was in safe hands and started up a roaring purr to compete with any Harley Davidson at full throttle!
A quick inquiry to the only possible owners and we knew that the kitt was not someone's dearly beloved pet, so after a warning that she could not stay longer than one night, she was taken up to our daughter's bedroom and given 5 Star Luxury treatment!  We discovered that she had been burnt on her tail, and that she obviously had cat flu - she was sneezing and had gummy eyes which we washed frequently with salt water (saline).  

Skyla was taken to Waihi SPCA the next afternoon and we bade her a teary farewell.  They were surprised to find a kitten at this time of the year.  My daughter had lost her heart and I felt terrible not offering to keep her (one crazy cat is enough!).  Good old Facebook!  No sooner home when my daughter posted pics of the kitten and immediately someone offered to adopt her from the SPCA as soon as she has a clean bill of health!  One happy ending to this little scrap of Purr.
Skyla, the Stray Pussycat
On Saturday, I decided that we need to prepare our beds for Spring planting, so as Mike was away in Wellington, I managed to devote myself entirely to All Things Garden.  Bed number 4's carrots were plucked unceremoniously out of the ground to prepare for the arrival of the Chook Tractor.  Our carrots were very successful this winter, and they are so crunchy and sweet, unlike the bitter carrots available from the supermarket.


After carrots were removed.
My daughter and I heaved the chook tractor onto the newly harvested bed, but not before we had caught them and put them in individual chicken wire cages in the garden.  I left some brassica seedlings and sugar beets in the ground for them to eat.

Chook Tractor in place, with new bedding in the sleeping quarters

Bed 7, which the chooks have been living on for 2 weeks.

I raked up the remnants of feeding sprees to put in the  compost bin. Then I added some coffee grounds, rock dust, wood ash and topped it with a layer of new compost.  I laid some old windbreak netting over it to stop the birds from having a scratch around.  It will be ready as soon as my little Spring seedlings grow up.

Spence foraging in her little movable chicken wire cage.

Mid morning snack - newly harvested carrot!
A neighbour complained that our chooks were attracting pesky sparrows which were feeding on the chook food, and that we should put poisoned food out for them as they were a nuisance pooping on his porch!  Mike came up with a suggestion that I create a skirt around the chook tractor, using inner tyre tubes.  As we already had a pair on hand, I set about cutting diagonal strips and then stapling them onto the bottom of the chook cage.  What we now have is a sparrow-proof chook house!  The sparrows are getting rather frustrated as they cannot get in to steal the food and fly around in a frenzy! Foiled!  Hoodwinked!  At no cost!  And it should hopefully keep the neighbour happy.

The new "skirt" on the chook cage
Liz and Spence, our chooks, will be on their new bed for 2 weeks before moving to the next bed, in preparation for all the lovely spring plantings!  By the way, the real Liz and Spence, after whom our chooks were named,  got married in July and are on their honeymoon somewhere in Thailand!!

Working with the Lunar Calendar, it was time to plant, so I couldn't wait for the day to warm up a little (the shed is quite cold) so I could set about doing my sowing of seeds.  Such excitement - Spring is in the air and the weather on Saturday was like a lucky charm!  A taste of things to come perhaps!!  I marched off to the shed, armed with seed packets, wooden ice-cream sticks for labels, pencil, flask of chai tea and I was set for a mammoth seed planting mission.  With my solar-powered radio to remind me of the music that has filled my life and created memories in the grooves of my mind, I passed the rest of the morning happily seeding and labeling trays of seeds.  The sight of them holds the hopes and expectations of many a fine summer meal!

Tools of the Trade

Getting started......

All my seed trays in a large recycled grape box makes for easy carrying
My seed trays are all sitting on my lounge floor in the sun.  I can't take the risk of them being in the hothouse (which is unheated) and subjected to possible unexpected Spring frosts!   

Now, I just sit and watch and wait.............  

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