Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Real Eggs

Our hens are laying well at the moment - spring is definately in the air! We have been enjoying an abundance of fresh eggs, real eggs, laid by hens who actually spend their day roaming around our land, doing what they like (and laying eggs wherever they please too!).

Recently in America eggs have been recalled due to Salmonella contamination - likely due the crowded and unatural way most hens spend their short (18months) life to provide 'cheap' eggs to keep the consumer happy. I recently took notice of the price of cheap eggs at our local supermarket, and they were less than $2 per dozen. A shock to me, as when we have bought eggs in the past we have always bought from a farm we know is truly free range and have usually paid around $8 per dozen. What do these factory farmed hens get fed - to be able to make money off selling eggs so cheaply? I don't think my hens who are outside all day and get a hand full of grain each a day would produce eggs for us so cheaply!!!!! And I don't pay for farm hands, electricity, transport and sorting for our eggs..... I have always belived factory farmed eggs to be rubbish, and now its clear that the hens must be fed 'rubbish'!!!! Which reminds me of the old saying 'you are what you eat'....

Our eggs come in all shapes, colours and sizes. Its my 'thing' to try and breed a flock of hens that will lay eggs of all different colours, I particularly proud of one of my 'babies' who lays a very nice and shiny chocolate coloured egg. But all the eggs have one thing in common, the yolks are truly orange, a deep orange. The colour comes from the green feed in the diet - grass. True free range (its now getting the label 'pastured') egg yolks are nothing like some of the eggs sold as 'free range' in supermarkets, which is basically just hens in sheds but not in small cages. There is nothing 'free' about this. Its worth paying a little extra for the 'real deal' than to buy cheap eggs that encourage farmers to treat these lovely animals in such a disgraceful way.

I love my eggs!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Signs of spring

After some very cold and wintery weather over the last few weeks, spring seems to be upon us.

The wattles and daffodils are in bloom, the birds are active and starting to make nests, and we are getting lots of eggs.

The days are noticeably longer now, and we have been making more solar power again.

Its almost time to start propagating all the summer vegetables like tomatoes, and this week I should be finished digging a new bed to plant the 100 or so seed potatoes I bought.

These guys are growing too!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


We have 2 goats at present, both strong personalities, and equally strong willed. I have read much about goats over the years on goat keeping, but I don't think anything prepares you for how unique they are. Goats are the supreme optimist, they don't let anything defeat them (eg. fences) and never ever give up! Good qualities in a person, but maybe not so helpful in our livestock! None the less they have many good points.

Its hard to not love the happy go lucky attitude to life, even when they do get into the garden and eat your broccoli plants.... The also love blackberries. A useful thing around here, as there is no shortage of blackberries (oddly - and maybe a little scary- the blackberries have not lost their leaves this year...). They relish the leaves and small stalks, and devour loads of them. Unfortunately they also love loganberries, raspberries and pretty much any cane fruit....

Dorka enjoying her blackberries.

Goats also seem to love people. Well ours do. And since there is not keeping them in their own paddock, this is not an uncommon sight around here!

How much is that goat-ee at the window???

I think they are the sort of animal you either love or hate. We enjoy having them around for a few reasons;

1. they give us milk!
2. they don't eat much - and enjoy a variety of food including weeds. And their feed to milk conversion rate is much better than cows.
3. they are small enough that they are easy to handle - for doing things like hoof trimming.
4. moving paddocks is easy as they are always following us - keeping them in their new paddock is harder though!