Saturday, January 18, 2014

Hugelkultur 2 and Chooks

Today I went and got four new pullets to add to my flock. Last year I tried raising chicks from eggs, but it proved to be an expensive and heartbreaking business, so this year I went back to letting someone else do the hard stuff.

When we got home with them, I let the old ladies out of their run, which I've been doing a bit lately, and shut the four new chooks in the run to get to know their new home unmolested. It must have worked because two of them promptly laid eggs!
 The old ladies suddenly realised that their gate was shut, and that there were strangers in their run and kicked up quite a fuss. For the first time they were keen to get back into the run where they proceeded to argue among themselves for sometime, but nothing as vicious as past introductions, so I'm thinking that having the old hens return to the run after the new ones had made themselves at home may have made the difference.
Meanwhile, Mac got to play with the tractor and dug out a bit of a trench for the hugelkultur bed. We also found some suitable rotting logs to put into the bottom of the trench next. But mostly, Mac had fun.

Thursday, January 16, 2014


After we accumulated a pile of tree prunings from around our place, and from a section clean-out that Mac helped his brother with, we thought about having a bonfire but really, these days there's no family around most of the time, and anyway, there's a total fire ban on at the moment.

So what to do? I mentioned an idea I had gathered a while back from an issue of  Permaculture Magazine and to my surprise Mac grabbed the idea and ran with it. Of course - ever since we got the new old tractor, he's been looking for an excuse to use the digger bucket.

We are going to build a hugelkultur raised bed. Hugelkultur means hill culture or hill mound. It is built up from a base of rotting wood placed in a trench, followed by branches and twigs. The logs and branches are then covered with the dug out turf and earth, and then - whatever!  Grass clippings, seaweed, compost, aged manure, straw, green leaves, mulch, etc... There's more about it here.

So today we went for a wander to chose a spot for our first hugelkultur bed. I got a little distracted admiring and picking some agapanthus.

 Then I admired the elders and looked forward to making some elderflower cordial next year.

With our spot chosen, we dumped the piles of branches.

The next job will be for Mac to play with his tractor to dig the trench. I'm looking forward to seeing how well this system works.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

At The Beach

  Lily Allen sang:
 "Sun is in the sky oh why oh why ?
Would I wanna be anywhere else?"

But I reckon I have it better, Lily. A swim at Ngarunui Beach beats a bike ride through London any time!

I love this song by Linn Lorkin about being At The Beach in New Zealand.