Meet my menagerie. :)

My new girls are finally laying YAH!! 🙂  it is freezing here at present and I thought they were going to wait until spring but no they have decided this is as good a time as any. I got my three new girls from a friend of mine in about December last year, they are a rare bread here in Tasmania they are called Weaten Marans there are a few different types of Marans as in color range the Weaten’s are the lightest of all the colors, but I think they are the only one we have here in Tasmania and not very many, they lay an amazingly dark brown egg it is said the darkest egg of all the chicken breeds.

In this basket are my Muscovy duck eggs and my first Weaten Maran eggs just Gorgeous!

They are not what I would call a big chicken which suites me just fine when I first started thinking about having chickens I really wanted to have at least one rare breed, I was looking at Lavender Aracanas and the Marans but I couldn’t get either for ages, at the time my friend was one of the only people with the Weaten Marans in the state but I had to wait for her to breed them up a bit.

My young Weaten Marans

All three girls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I ended up getting some fertile Lavender Aracana eggs eleven because the guy smashed one in transport, two of my older mixed breed girl were clucky so I halved the batch so both of them could become mums the problem was once one of the eggs hatched in each nest they left the nest so I ended up with only two chicks and I thought to myself I bet they are both boys! and they were, beautiful roasters but they ended up in the pot they were good too I cant have noisy roasters here.

My adult girls now laying eggs

                             

Didn’t they change as they got older they look like different chickens altogether.

As much as I love chickens I love my Muscovy ducks more, they are way less precious and fussy they practically look after themselves, they are quiet and good natured and I can let them graze in my fenced off garden area because they don’t jump up on the raised beds which I’m trying to keep quarantined from the surrounding ground because I have a bad Oxalis problem, the ducks don’t dig like the chickens so they don’t toss infected dirt everywhere they just go around the raised beds and search out all the pest and mow the bits of grass and cloves around the garden beds they are fantastic. And I love duck eggs so after the chickens I have now die I will just keep duck in the future I think.

Second batch of ducklings

My first adult ducks

One of my first girls Sheila with her first lot of duckling

Second batch of duckling all of the girls are laying now

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anyway I hope you like the picture of my little menagerie 🙂

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Winter

So not much happening in the wild food department, it is actually feeling like Winter here now, very cold mornings and nights snow on the mountains and frosts in the mornings. I have been getting a basket full of Sow thistles (Sonchus sp.) and Nettles (Urtica dioica) here and there, I have had a few feeds of Chick weed (Stellaria media) as pesto, I also tried fermenting some of this pesto and it was great I just put it in a crock and let it sit on my bench for four or five days stirring a coupler times a day until it taste nice and zesty then I put into a jar and used as I liked it was really nice with my eggs and fermented flat breads in the mornings.
I have picked the last of this seasons Hawthorns (Crataegus sp.) and dried them I will leave the rest for the silver eyes to enjoy, it is very important to remember that other life depends on the food you are foraging for and they also spread the seeds for a new generations of free food plants so leave some for them.

Mustard greens (Brassica sp.) are abundant and I’m sure it is only because of the fire that it have come up like it has. I have dried another big bunch of these.

Mustard greens (Brassica sp.)

 

The hairy bitter cress (Cardamine hirsuta) is starting to take off and I will start to use this soon, oh and the varigated thistles (Silybum maranarum) are starting to shoot again, I harvested my first batch for the season and I dried the de-prickled leaves for the first time they turned out just fine, I think drying is now my favorite way to keep and store my foraged greens they are so easy to use in this form you just chuck a teaspoon in to whatever you are cooking and or use them in teas also my new favorite food preparation at the moment, I do classify my herbal teas as food.

I did find a tinny bit of salad burnet (Sanguisorba minor) but not enoungh to do anything with just a taste and OMG it does taste like cucmber! In Spring I’m hoping to get more of this and I will do a whole blog on it for everyone.
I’ve made a few new things this week, I had some old black currants and Elderberries in the freezer that I needed to use so I made a strong herbal Black currant & Elderberry herbal syrup the recipe is below.

Black Currant & Elderberry Herbal Syrup

  • Black currants 5 kg
  • Elderberries 1 kg
  • Dried herbs
  • Rosemary 4 cups
  • Lemon balm 4 cups
  • Pine needled (Pinus radiata) 2 cups
  • Spruce sp. needles 1 cup
  • Mullein leaf 3 cups
  • Mullein flowers spike 1 cup
  • Chilly flakes ½ cup
  • Grated ginger 1 cup
  • Cloves 8
  • Cardomon pods 6
  • Star anise ½ a star
  • Vinegar 4 cups
  • Molasses 1 tablespoon
  • Raw sugar 4 cups
  • Hops dried 1 cup
  • Lemon juice 1 cup
  • Water 3 liters

Add all ingredients except the vinegar and sugar to a large pot simmer this for about 2 hours strain and put back into pot bring to the boil and add the sugar and vinegar hard boil for 20 minutes and bottle.

You can mix this with kombucha and/or ginger bug in a second ferment to get a fizzy soda type drink or you can dilute it in hot or cold water.

Another batch of kombucha was ready so I put it in with the mixture of grated ginger I refreshed the pine needles (Pinus radiata) and this time I added chilly flakes it’s great I just love hot foods and it warms up your belly on those cold winter mornings.

And last but not least I made a fettucicine pasta with wholemeal and Acorn (Quercus sp.) flour it is the first time I’ve made this and I love it, it’s a gorgeous brown color the picture doesn’t do it justice some things you just cant make look good but it doesn’t mean they don’t taste good, once eldenta I tossed through my weed & roast garlic pesto yum yum………. The second batch I cooked I added my fermented sow thistle (Shoncus sp.) flower buds and seaweed that worked really well.

Well until next time Cheers 🙂