Friday, September 28, 2012

Around the garden.

In between working a six day week and playing with my new ducklings, I have not had much time to post. Be assured more ridiculously cute duckling photos will be up over the long weekend. They have been having a blast exploring the coop, and have even ventured out into the yard with Mum (supervised by us of course) and had a little swim in the paddling pool. 

Cutest. Thing. Ever.

Sam xox

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

And here they are.

 ~ Five hours old ~

After what felt like months of talking and guessing, I was beginning to think these little lovelies would never hatch. 

But they did today.

All 8 of them... and counting!

Little fluffy bundles of mottled gold. They have been hatching one after the other all day. Luckily Jamie decided to work from home today, so he was on hand to set up their duckling food and water straight away. As soon as I heard from Jamie that they were hatching, I arranged to leave work an hour early so I could be home during the last moments of daylight just to squeeze in a little cuddle time.

Cambridge is already a model mum. We have watched her help a few of them out of their eggs, and she puffs herself out to ensure they are all kept warm. She also doesn't seem particularly concerned by our little bit of handling. We returned that little one quickly to her after taking a couple of photos, and she hid him under her wing within seconds. Oxford, on the other hand, looks a little bit lost now that Cambridge is giving all her attention to the little ones. He has been consoling himself with a few laps in the pond.

My sister-in-law Ally had helped me build a wire enclosure for Cambridge and the babies weeks ago, so it was easy just to lock them up tonight. I hope it is enough to protect them from any potential harm... but we will have to let nature take its course.

I do hope nature will be kind to this brood.

Sam xox

Monday, September 24, 2012

Visit to Feltfne part 2: Oh the wool.

After our adventures with the Alpaca's, we were soon to discover an Aladdin's Cave of woolly treasures. Given a washing basket each to utilise for collecting our goodies, my partner in knitting crime and I were left to browse what the shed had to offer us. We spent a leisurely hour handling the softest of fleeces, digging through tubs of yarn, and diving into bags of the most beautifully dyed fibres...

~ Only the beginning ~

~ Kristin shows us her range of coloured felt batts ~

~ Alpaca yarn made from the fleece of Gary's own Alpaca's. Complete with the animals name! Now who wouldn't want to knit up some cozy winter socks from "Mr B"s fleece! ~

~ Sample bags ~

~ An entire wall of dyed Merino fleece ~

~ Do we really have to leave? ~

As we drove away with our bags for goodies, it was agreed that the pilgrimage to Feltfine was definitely worth it! If you aren't able to visit in person, I would seriously recommend checking them out online - they post worldwide! It feels so good to be supporting a local 'home grown' business.

Sam xox

I am not associated with Feltfine, nor have I received any benefit from mentioning them.  I paid for all the products myself. I just want to spread the word when we find great local businesses amongst like minded souls!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Visit to Feltfine part 1: Alpacas.

Over the past few months a friendship has been blossoming between the author of Little Green Village and I. We live in the same region and share very similar interests. I first mentioned my meeting with her back in July. Since then we have met for lunches, swapped our home grown produce, and shared our best gardening tips.

After discovering she was a keen knitter, I just knew the next time I was to visit Gary from Feltfine at his Alpaca farm, I had to invite her to come along!

~ We loved how this ones hair waved in the breeze ~ 


~ Alpaca fleece is incredibly soft and comes in so many natural colours and shades ~ 

 ~ Baby Alpacas ~

We had such a brilliant day!

Gary and Kristen were both incredibly welcoming, allowing us to rummage through their huge supplies shed for nearly two hours! More about that tomorrow...

Sam xox

P.S I checked those duck eggs and yes, there are still babies inside (I can see them wiggling), but they are still not hatching. Maybe it is just too comfortable in there?

I am not associated with Feltfine, nor have I received any benefit from mentioning them.  I paid for all the products myself. I just want to spread the word when we find great local businesses amongst like minded souls!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Arriving home tonight, I discovered that Coco had escaped the chicken coop and totally destroyed half of my new veggie patch. She dinned on parsley, coriander, nasturtiums, an abundance of lettuce, zucchini, and plenty of flowers. In short, she destroyed about $80 worth of plants, and almost two months of seed raising work!!! 

So upset :-(

I'm learning the hard way why farmers spend so much time on their fencing.

Sam xox

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Taking cuttings.

A couple of months ago, my father in law gifted me a couple of lavender plants he had grown from cuttings. Now that these plants are firmly established in my garden, I decided to take cuttings and give it a try myself. So this weekend past I tried my hand at propagation using the stem cutting method. I followed the advice I had read online here and here.

It was a very quick process and so far the cuttings appear to be surviving. They are safely put away in the greenhouse at the moment, as I understand the humidity does help them. I am hoping that if this does work, I might be able to grow some of my Christmas gifts this year... I mean, who wouldn't want a few beautiful pots of lavender?

Sam xox

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Spring is here.

You know life is good when you can pick an entire bouquet of flowers from your own front garden.

Welcome Spring!

Sam xox

Monday, September 10, 2012

Why I learnt to spin.

When I began knitting back in January I had unexpected success. I used YouTube to teach me certain stitches, and then persevered hard until I got the hang of it. I was motivated by the idea that I would soon be able to create my own knitted clothing by hand, and not have to rely on all store bought winter garments. The thought of becoming self sufficient in not only sewing my own clothes but also knitting my own clothes appealed to me greatly. The world of wool opened up to me and I was learning the difference between Merino and Shetland wool, and appreciating blends containing alpaca and mohair.

The thought occurred to me in February that I could take this new found skill one step further, and try making my own yarns by learning how to spin wool. I was aiming high. I knew no one who spun, and better still had never actually seen or touched a spinning wheel. "How hard could it be?" I told myself. I bought my spinning wheel off eBay for $90, and a 1kg bag of Merino wool for $30. I received both in the post on same day, and spent the evening assembling the wheel and appreciating Jamie's assistance in adjusting the tension.

It took me over three weeks to 'get' how to spin. I watched countless YouTube videos, studied the spinners hands, fingers, movements, peddling. Trying to absorb every aspect of their spinning methods. What I learnt quickly was that spinning is very much a physically involved activity. The wheel powered by the foot/feet, the wool guided by the hands and fingers, and the eyes keeping watch over the tension. At first it sort of feels like the time when you were a kid, and your Kindergarten teacher the class "pat your head and rub your tummy" at the same time. And do you remember how you felt really uncoordinated? That was how I felt for at least three weeks. Then it all clicked into place. I now call myself a "Spinner", and I am knitting a scarf from my own hand spun wool.

I am super in love with my spinning wheel, and feel I have made another step towards self sufficiency.

For anyone who is interested, my wheel is an Ashford Kit Kraft and from my research I estimate it was made in the 1970's. If you are thinking of buying a wheel for yourself second hand, I would recommend buying a maintenance kit from Ashford (these can be found on eBay for around AUD$25) and are worth it, because you can replace your leather piece, hooks, strings, and give the wheel a bit of oil. The Ashford website also has an online book Learn to Spin. I don't mean to sound like I am 'pushing' Ashford products. There are many different spinning wheel suppliers out there. It just happened that I bought an Ashford and so far have been really pleased with their products.

What self sufficiency goal are you working towards at the moment?

Sam xox

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Breakfast with friends.

Next time you have friends visiting, why not shake it up a little and have your formal meal in the morning? Set the table with your best vintage china and silverware, pour some bubbles and serve a beautiful meal.

Sam xox