Saturday, 14 September 2013

Train Egg Carton

We got an old egg carton and decided to make a train. FUN!!
This is a fun indoor activity for all ages. It's really good for their fine motor skills (threading). 

All you need is:

  • 1 x 6 pack egg carton
  • 2 x pipe cleaners
  • Scissor

Cut the the egg carton into sections as seen above,
With the scissors poke a hole on both sides of the "egg cup" 

Thread the pipe cleaner through as seen above
and repeat until they are all thread together as seen below.

Pull tight and waa-laaa you have a train or a caterpillar!

This Post Links to:
With A Blast
Recreate and Decorate
The Velvet Moon Baker

Tuesday, 10 September 2013


Pork Eisbein 
(Serves 4)

This is one of my favourite meals. It takes a while to cook but really easy to make and once all served up, looks and taste pretty impressive.

Eisbein is a Pork knuckle that's covered in a thick layer of fat, it's a very tender meat with a aromatic flavour. Originally a German dish served with sauerkraut. You can also serve it with beetroot and mash potatoe, or/and salad.


  • 4  cured and smoked shank
  • 2  onion, cut into quarters
  • 2  Carrot, chopped 
  • 1  Bay leaf
  • Water

1.  Add all the ingredients into a large saucepan and cover with water.
2.  Bring saucepan to the boil.
3.  Reduce heat, simmer for 1,5hours, or until meat is tender.
4.  Once dry remove shanks from saucepan and pat dry.

5.  Score the skin diagonally across and add salt.

6.  Put the shanks in a hot fire flame or under a hot grill to get a nice crisp crackling.

Plate up and enjoy!

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Look whose arrived!

Maggie had her piglets ~ Middle of August

What an amazing morning! We got up and started the feeding frenzy, which involves, feeding kids, dogs, chickens, pigs and horses, last but not least water and meander in veggie garden.
Every evening I've been checking Maggie (pig) for milk, every evening except last night, when we were a bit distracted with fishing at the dam! 

So I went down to the pigs with their delicious breakfast of pigs pellets and what ever yummy treat I find in the house. I always get such a welcoming response from the pigs when I come down they snort and grunt.
I put their food down and they both proceeded to gollop it down, I poked my head into their hut, as usual, and all snuggled up under some hay, were 4 tiny piglets! 4 adorable males. I quickly called my kids and hubby, who were just as eager to see them!

My kids were so excited and couldn't wait to come and touch them. I was very impressed at, how Maggie didn't mind us close by to her babies.
My Hubby gave Maggie a once over check and she seemed fine, she handled her first litter very well.

And then there-where-4-little-piglets. Well done Maggie!

Sleeping time. I mean come on, How cute is that? 

Concerned Maggie watching over her sleeping babies.

Four musketeers! 

Such a good mummy!

Wilbur has been keeping his distance! Sleeping outside the hut and not inside with Maggie, where he usually slept.
I've watched him go inside and give them a sniff around and then walk out, so I will watch him and see how he adapts, before just kicking him out! So far so good! ;) 

Friday, 6 September 2013

Chicken Feeding!

The Hen Feeding Frenzy!

Feeding Trough
We made this feeding trough, photo below, out of scraps around the farm, a gutter piece and some scrap wood, then glued and screwed it all together. Pretty simple really! The chickens love it, and so do the hundreds of weavers and sparrows we are now feeding.

We feed our chickens laying mash or pellets with a mixture of crushed corn. Yummy, I would one day like to try making my own chicken food.

Mad rush for the food!

My chicken run is about 10X15M with a coop on the one side. They have free access to there run and coop all day, just after 1pm I open the gate to let them out to the rest of the farm and garden to help me find all those juicy bugs. In Summer I open it up a little later as the sun is up for longer. 

In one corner of the run, we throw all our scrap vegetables and throw-outs from the vegetable garden, which they scratch and forage through and make lovely compost.

I have also made these grids, to stop the chickens from scratching up the grass roots, so that they will have nibbling green grass all year round, especially in winter, as you can see. These have been a great help. Absolutely love them, going to make lots more soon!

Behind the coop we throw some of the left over hay from the horses for the chickens to scratch in, to offer a wriggly worm or a hiding beetle some refuge, for the chickens to find. They love it, I often find them scratching in it, underneath all the hay that is breaking down nicely is the best compost, smells just like the best soil you can find. This is a great way for breaking down your compost and feeding you chickens at the same time.

I grow lentils and barley sprouts, which is such a yummy treat for the chickens and just so simple to make for them, they come flying over with such excitement when they see me coming down to them. Have a look at sprouts for more information.

Barley Fodder, ready for animals.

Chickens feeding frenzy!

I also have meal worms, which I breed for the chickens and fish, for a yummy treat! This is still a work in progress, so far so good! Will keep you updated on how they go.

The beetles' that lay the eggs, which turn into 1000s of meal worms, which then turn into larve, which then turn into beetles, and so the circle continues.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Blowing Bubbles!

Making Bubbles

My toddlers all-time favourites on hot days is a tub of cold water and bubbles, they are entertained for ages. I throw in some plastic bowls and plastic cups and away they go.

If you don't want them to get completely wet, another simple fun activity is to let them make bubbles.
All you need is

~ A straw (sipping drink straw)
~ A plastic bowl
~ Water
~ Bubble bath liquid of your choice
~ Optional food colour

Fill 3/4 of the plastic bowl with water then put a teaspoon or two of your bubble bath liquid and place at child height, with a straw. Let them blow away and make bubbles.

I showed my son how to blow through the straw not suck, which he did suck a good few times, but quickly learnt that wasn't the game.
Once he got the hang of blowing through the straw and saw the bubbles bubbling up, he was sold.  He had a ball of a time.

You can even add a food colouring to the mix, to spice things up. I added red, to give the bubbles a red colour.

He loved it. He kept showing me how big he was making a bubble. Such a big boy!! ;)

This post links to:
This Silly Girls Life

Monday, 2 September 2013

Vegetable garden ~ August 2013

My vegetable garden late winter to Spring Day!

My Swiss Chard is coming together very nicely, can't wait to harvest and make delicious creamy spinach, yum-yum.

My Barley is growing pretty quickly, it should take about 55 days to harvest. This little patch, was an experiment to see how Barley will grow where we are based. If I get a healthy crop I'm hoping on ploughing up another bigger patch for a big harvest.
With the Barley seeds I get, I put them in our home made, make shift, sprouter and grow them for fodder for the chickens, pigs and horses.

Yummy cabbage! Last year I made sauerkraut, and can you believe it, I got the recipe wrong, I mean how hard is it to get the recipe wrong for sauerkraut. If you have ever made sauerkraut it's pretty simple and only 2 ingredients, salt and cabbage and lots of time! Well I added too much salt. Anyway not to worry, I'm out on a mission to make the best sauerkraut around.  Sauerkraut and Pork Eisbein, it's delicious! Defiantly one of my favourites! Sauerkraut was introduced to me by my father-in-law who is a German descendant and is very fond of it. I can't wait to harvest this cabbage and start persevering. 

My Amadumbe (the large leaf plant on the left). The only way I can describe Amadumbe is, as a potato like plant which when boiled is absolutely delicious dipped in a touch of salt. When the leaves start to turn yellow I will harvest which is in about 8 to 10 months from planting. I'm looking forward to trying out some different ways of eating them. Grilling, baking, boiling and frying.

Tomatoes are coming along, most of my tomatoes are from my worm compost, for some reason the worms don't break down the tomatoe seeds, so wherever I throw the worm compost, up comes tomatoes. Im not complaining I love it. 

My nasturtium are growing all over, giving my veggie garden lovely spots of stunning colour and they lovely in a salad, both flowers and leaves.

Delicious Garlic chives, I pop these flowers in a salad, they give a lovely garlic flavour and chop the leaves up and add them in the kids food as well as ours. 

My compost heap is made up of 
Horse poo
Pig poo
Chicken poo
Garden refuge (like leaves and smallish branches)
Charcoal from our left over fires
Vegetables that our worms and pigs don't eat (garlic and onions etc)
Hay from the horses, pigs and chickens.

In Winter it's the best time for me to collect compost, as it's colder so we make more fires, I generally have a lot more hay, and the horse poo (which is my main ingredient) is available. In Summer we are in competition for the horse poo with the dung beetles, which are fascinating little creatures. It's a beetle that makes a ball out of dung (animal poo) and use it as food or for a brooding chamber. Some will make round balls and roll them away to bury them under the ground, or they will bury them right under the dung itself or they live and eat in the dung. So we don't really collect horse poo for compost in Summer, we let our fellow dung grabbers get there first!

I love the smell of ready to mix fresh compost, it sends pure joy through me, when you start digging and digging and you feel the heat in the compost and you start to smell the goodiness of ready for potting compost. Such a nice accomplishment and I know, I made it, from my throw-away refuge, and that its going to give my little herbs and veggies a super duper charge for life. 

This post links to

Our Delightful Home
Mamal Diane

Sunday, 1 September 2013

We getting close!

Nesting ~ End July

Maggie is getting soo big, she looks really uncomfortable, I'm sure those piglets are going to be out in no time.
Now I've never had pigs, never mind, a soon to be mom with piglets. So I've been doing loads of research and trying to find out what I need to do and how I should prepare, should I be getting my surgical gloves and a bowl of warm water with loads of towels on stand by ;) So after spending much time quizzing friends and hubby who have had pigs, the conclusion is, that they pretty much have everything under control, so I can take a bit of a back seat for this one, but me being me, I really can't, I have to fiddle!
So every evening when I'm giving them there brush or scratch I check Maggie for milk, as they say that when the sow is leaking milk, she will be in labour in the next 12 hours or so.
I've also installed a infra-red light in their pen, so they have a spunky red vibe going on in there little hut and every day they get a nice big armful of fluffy hay added to their bedding.
When I went into their hut today I noticed there where sticks and branches and I thought, "Yea! Maggie is nesting, she must be getting really close", I decided I would take a few branches out as there were quite a few, as I was pulling them out Wilbur (male) walked up, sniffed and started bringing them back in, I couldn't believe it, normally its the female who does the nesting, so it wasn't Maggie, it was Wilbur after all, such a good dad to be. I have read and heard that you must remove the male pig from the mother and her piglets as he can kill them etc. so I've fenced off another area for him, that in the future can always turn into a grazing paddock for them. I have also read that with Potbellied pigs the male and the female can raise the piglets together. So we will see how it goes.

For now it's just the waiting game! For Maggie and Wilbur, that is sleeping, wallowing in mud, eating, sleeping and etc etc.

Wilbur soaking up the afternoon sun, with Bicardi (horse) and Shadow (Weimaraner dog) in the background.

Maggie playing the waiting game, quite well, she has been sleeping a lot! I can feel her babies wriggling around, it's not long now!

Wilbur and his nesting.

Wilbur has also started acting up a bit, he's starting to threaten to nip, which is not a habit he will be able to keep. I have told the kids to not come in without Daddy or I, rather be safe than sorry! I think he's just getting a bit protective.