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30 April 2017

April 2017

April has been a busy month for us here in Wellington, and tonight, the last night of the month, is super stormy. It started off surprisingly warm and sunny, perfect weather for gardening, and now it is dark, windy and rainy. With no curtains to close the view from our house on the hill is all the town lights, looking a little blurry from the water running down the windows. When you move your head it all warps and moves like some sort of optical illusion.

Now while I'm sure there is plenty to say about this month, what is at the top of my mind to begin with is the big story from this weekend. On Saturday morning we woke up to find two chickens out the front of our house, eating our freshly laid grass seed. They looked a little like my chickens, but not quite - and when I checked I found all four of my girls in their coop. So we had two stray chooks looking a bit worse for wear and obviously hungry. I didn't want them to eat all the grass seed so I let them in the gate and they spent the day with my four hens. These two stray hens are a bit smaller than mine and defintely not in such good condition - they are not so shiny and the look a bit bedraggled. They also aren't as tame, they followed me a bit so they are clearly used to being fed, but they won't let people very close to them, won't eat out of your hand or be touched, and don't seem to know how to hang out with a flock - they just kept wandering all over the section (leading one of my girls astray while they were at it). So, last night it rained and I assumed they had gone back where they came from, but it turned out they had roosted over night here. Only they didn't seek shelter, they just roosted on top of the retaining wall in the rain. This morning they were so wet! Today they wandered all around our section, down into the bushes and around the house, but they didn't leave at all and tonight they showed up above the retaining wall again. After it got dark this storm really started and I could see them out there just roosting in the rain, completely soaked again.


I felt bad for the poor stupid things, plus if they're going to hang out at my house they might as well be my chickens. So we went out in the rain in our gumboots, armed with a couple of towels, got up behind them, bundled them up, and stuffed them in the coop with our hens. Let's hope that when they all wake up in the morning they get along OK.

So what else has been going in in April? Well it was great having time off work for Easter and stuff. Could do with some more long weekends. I spent time in the garden - I have started clearing my vege garden area and the slope above it, and planting grass and daffodil bulbs. We've also been getting free loads of topsoil from the neighbour because they are doing lots of excavating - it's high in clay but not so much that we can't plant grass on it. So we have finished the front of house area and planted grass - making the most of this rain to get our future lawn growing. Filled in some space around the chicken coop too, and moved their fence around so that they would stop escaping and going on adventures (the weekend before this one, instead of gaining two chickens, I lost two chickens - they were visiting a lonely hen called Helga).

And of course, our new cat has been settling in - doesn't feel like only a month that we've had him. He's a very cool cat, fits in with us really well. He's cuddly and purry, and will let you hold him and pat him pretty much any way you want, so he's pretty much like a smaller, cuddlier version of the dog. He's pretty bold, he has stolen all the dog's beds, and has tried to stalk the chickens (they chase him off though). He get's into mischief a lot, that's probably how he lost his leg. When we'd only had him for about a week or so, he managed to get up on the bench and try to drink or eat from whatever was in amongst the dishes piled in the sink. He was perched precariously on the dishrack, and next thing I hear all this clattering - he and the dishrack have fallen into the sink of greasy dishes and water, and then they both fell down onto the kitchen floor. He scarpered, and when he finally came back out of hiding, he was the most bedraggled pathetic cat you've ever seen. I thought he was just wet, but when he was still looking awful the next day and starting to smell like chicken, I realised he'd fallen in a greasy roasting dish and the dirty side of his face was also his missing leg side, so he couldn't even wash himself. We had to give the poor thing a bath.


Not much more to say really. It's high time I got to bed. I'll be up at 6 as usual, and looking forward to it today because I have brand new running shoes to try out. In the evening I'm walking an extra dog - there's a lady in my neighbourhood that needed some help for a month and is paying me a pretty good rate to take her dog for a walk three times a week. He's half greyhound and has a huge amount of energy - it's fun and good for Cher to have company, and also we walk along the river and I get to spend time noticing what an awesome place I live in. Along the river you would never guess you are in town, there are places where it could be any rural spot. There's even some sheep and horses! Plus the extra walking is good right now because we are just about to start the 10,000 steps challenge at work. We got our pedometers last week and it's not really a challenge for me, I average between 10 and 20 thousand a day anyway. But I'm team captain so I have a group of people to encourage to walk more. and it's a competition so I will be walking more as well because it would be nice to win a prize. Though MPI is that big, that it's not very likely. And Cher is our mascot.




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01 April 2017

March 2017 - one quarter of the year is over already

Here in Wellington March has been a pretty busy month. The weather has switched between summer and winter on a regular basis, work has been flat out and we have been neglecting the interior of the house as we try to get outdoor stuff done before winter really sets in. So we have started to edge our gravel path and car-pad, and lay out soil for planting grass, I have been working on weeding and planting, and Nathan has started building a shed so we can finally get the tools and chicken food and everything else like that out of the house.




I also got the chickens a pedal feeder and taught them to use it, and made them nesting boxes - they better start laying when they are supposed to! We were letting them roam the property when we were home, but it turns out they were getting very bold and going much further than we thought. Not to mention making themselves at home under the couch. Now they are penned it with chicken wire to just a wee corner of the section.



And my peach tree finally produced fruit - I thought with the bad summer they might just stay small and hard, but then they grew and were ready all at once. Not that they really got that big or yellow or sweet, but they felt ripe and then they started falling off the tree in bucketloads. Most were too high to reach so I had to lay down a tarp to catch them, and just go pick them all up once a day (and brush the slaters off). The bad ones went in the compost or too the chickens. The good ones weren't really much good for eating. I tried to make a relish - I followed the directions but I'm not sure if it will be edible, it seemed very vinegary. Then I tried to make jam - I think I burnt it a bit (I'm calling it caramelised) and it didn't really set. I have enough for one more try at jam. I also had a go at blackberry jam - there are lots of bramble patches around the neighbourhood so I've been picking berries all month. That jam didn't really set properly either. But I got proper canning jars off of trademe so at least I know my runny jam is sealed properly and won't poison us.



And then I ended the month by getting a 3-legged kitten. We've had him for a week now and he's getting quite bold about exploring the house.