"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Saturday 27 June 2015

Ducked out

Last year we purchased what we were told were two female ducklings - to keep the two male ducks that had adopted us company.

It turned out the females were males...

Four male ducks is not a good combination.

Those little ducklings took some punishment from the old males - the back of their necks being the main site.  No bad punishment, but enough to make me feel guilty.

I just didn't know what to do with them.  The lady who sold them to us, had given us the last two of three ducklings - and the remaining one was also a male.

So - I vacillated.  For too long.

The two ducklings gobbled up their feed, spent their days trying to evade the older two, and when they were good and strong, they, obviously after some discussion, and weeks of discontent, took flight and departed for calmer waters.  Overnight.

Which left the two original males.  One of them developed a limp - we renamed him Hopalong - and although we gave him a good going over, we could find nothing wrong.

One night he, too, disappeared.  I reckon it was either the rooikat, or an otter.  But nary a trace did we find - no loose feathers, no scene of protesting capture.  Nada.

That left just the one.

He was a bit grumbly when he discovered he was all alone, but we made sure to spend time with him everyday - having a quacking good conversation together.  His appetite improved and all appeared good.

I have had adverts up on Gumtree - had written to duck owners in our area - all to no avail.  He remained our solitary duck.

And what pleasure he gave us with his antics.

After the recent good rains, our dam filled up overnight.  Finally, a duck discovered the pleasure of frolicking about in the dam water - spending each and every day - all day - paddling, ducking, digging for insects at the now soft soil at the waterline.

These are some pics I took of him in the early hours of the morning earlier last week...

Good boy - he's cleaning behind his ears... :)
At the end of every day I called him "Quaaaack.  Quaaaaaack" and he'd get out of the water, give himself a shake, take a few steps and then launch into flight.  After gracefully landing in the alpaca paddock - taking three running steps to come to a standstill - he'd duck under the gap at the bottom of the fence, and waddle to where I was standing with the bowl of duck food in my hand.
Heading towards the food bowl...
It's not easy to take a pic of a duck in flight

Unfortunately, his newly acquired skill in flying obviously spurred him on, and two days ago he, too, disappeared - flying off to greener pastures.  The last time I saw him was when I fed him, and he waddled to his water bowl to take a drink.  Maybe he found a wild duck he fancied...?

Sad - he brought us joy - and smiles.

Wednesday 24 June 2015

Frugal food 2

When you buy a chicken, do you buy one "just big enough" for that meal?

I don't.  I always look for the biggest one I can find - round about 1.8 - 2 kgs in size.

No, RMan and I aren't greedy.  I try and save on cooking by doing this.


Well, first I cook a roast chicken - naturally :)  We scoff 1/3 - 1/2 right there and then together with creamed spinach and roast potatoes.
Roast chicken - straight out of the Rosie
Then, as RMan "doesn't" eat leftovers, and I'm certainly not wasting food, I disguise the leftovers.

Firstly, using home grown veggies, there is the proverbial chicken soup - removing all the flesh from the bones, the carcass and some of the left over flesh gets added to the soup pot with the prepared veggies and any left over gravy / potatoes.  This then simmers away until the veggies are soft.  Removing the largest most obvious bones, the soup pot is plonked on the table with some freshly baked homemade bread.  
Homemade chicken soup with homegrown veggies
Let the slurping begin... :)

Next in line is chicken à la king.  The left over chicken soup gets blitzed and thickened for the sauce.  I didn't take a pic of that because - well, it's a bland looking meal.

Finally, the last of the flesh gets added to the top of a pasta base, together with homemade tomato puree...

Chicken filled pizza -
RMan's half is the bigger one in front :)
... and bacon, avo, chicken and cheese for RMan's half (I make big pizza's) and left over creamed spinach, grated carrot, chicken and cheese go on my half.

I have also used left over roast chicken for chicken pies, chicken salads (in summer), toasted chicken sarnies, chicken pasta...

But, if I can make one (large) chicken stretch to 4 meals...

I'm happy with that :)

Saturday 20 June 2015

Friday 19 June 2015


I was bemoaning the lack of rain.

This month so far we have had 148 mm fall from the heavens, with another 10 - 15 mm predicted for next week.  That will result in the highest ever rainfall for one month since we moved here at the end of June 2012.

One of the things I love about winter, and the cloudy skies, are the stunning sunrises...
 ... and sunsets.  When we lived in town we had a mountain between us and the sunrise, and another mountain between us and the sunset.  I was starved for both.

I just sit back and enjoy...

... and try and capture as many as I can on my camera.

It's not the same as seeing them "live" but, it is better than none - and they help me get through summer when they are in short supply :)

How blessed are we to be able to enjoy such incredible beauty!

Monday 15 June 2015

Extend the life

... of  peeled avocado's.

I cannot for the life of me remember where I read this tip, but, by gum, it works!!

We all know how irritating it is to use half an avo and place the balance in the fridge to use at another time.  Invariably the left over half goes brown... :(
Monday, 8th June 2015
 When we had finished with the guacamole for
that meal I slipped a small piece of onion in the
 bowl with the left overs
Or when you make guacamole.  Looking at a bowl of brown-ish gunk in the fridge a day or so later does not inspire one to use it.

Well - here is a solution :) 
Saturday, 13th June 2015
 5 days later - the guacamole still looks
 good enough to eat :)  And tasted delicious
 for breakfast with a fresh slice of homemade
Placing a small piece of onion in with the left overs delays it from going brown.

I kid you not.

The first pic was taken on the 8th June, and the lower pic was taken on the 13th - 5 whole days later.  Yeah, your avo will have a slight onion flavour, but what the heck.  If it prevents you from tossing out an unappealing bowl of brown guacamole, or half an (expensive) avo, then in my book it's worth it.

"Waste not, want not" is the way I was brought up :)  With starvation levels increasing world-wide, there is no reason why we should contribute to the statistics - in any small way at all.

Btw, I mashed the avocado with lemon juice, a slight sprinkling of sugar and salt and pepper as I always do.

Thank you all for leaving such lovely comments on my "Now you see me" post.  It has been wonderful to "meet" all those bloggers out there who took up the challenge :)  And, there are a couple out there who still haven't... ;)

Saturday 13 June 2015


How stunning is this...

Source: cnn.com

When destructive man is no more,  Mother Earth will revert...

Tuesday 9 June 2015

Finding the right spot...

... to house a tractor takes time.
Big, leaking oil, and taking up too much space -
we had to find a new home for the tractor...
A couple of years ago RMan bought a skedonk 2nd hand tractor, and, as the gearbox isn't sealed against the elements, it has to be kept undercover when not in use.  He had built a carport next to the garage - which was meant to be for my car - but, with the acquisition of said farm implement, it instantly became the tractor shed.

But - that is also where we store the alpaca feed.

Which was attracting field mice - not only for the pellets / oat seed which invariably gets accidentally dropped on the floor, but they were also burrowing into the bales of lucerne - nest making.

And chewing the tractor wiring.

Not good.

Also, due to space constraints the genny, which is also kept there, was positioned with it's exhaust aimed directly at the lucerne bales.

Not good again.

The tractor took up too much room, so we had to find another spot for it - well, I say we, but I mean me lol
I was only using a 1/3 of the second
shadecloth structure to propagate cuttings /
grow my seedlings.
We had erected a second shadecloth structure where I was propagating cuttings / starting seedlings, but that certainly didn't take up all the space available.  I suggested to RMan that he covered two thirds of the roof area with IBR sheeting and relocate his tractor there.  Thankfully RMan agreed with me.
It's a slightly tight fit, but it works :)
The tractor is now happily ensconced in it's new home...
The genny was located to the left of the feed
buckets with it's exhaust pointing towards the
lucerne.  Now, in it's new position, it's

(newly extended) exhaust expels it's fumes out of
the enclosed carport.  The sandbags surrounding it
 are there to try and help mute the noise of the 
 genny on those rare occasions when it is in use.
... and the genny has it's newly extended exhaust pointing outside of the enclosed carport area.
The white 1000lt container in the foreground
was sacrificed - by removing it from the support
frame, cutting it in half - and has become a
brilliant mouse-free lucerne bale storage unit 
(because they can't climb the slippery sides, 
and they can't jump that high)

The big bale of lucerne - well, we took one of our 1 000lt water containers, removed it from its aluminium frame, cut the water storage section in half, and we're storing the lucerne in that - the sides of the container are too slippery for a mouse to climb, and too steep to jump into :)  I was OK with sacrificing the water storage container because trying to find fittings in order to use the container for it's intended purpose was impossible - there is nothing that will fit the outlet tap section of these units available in this country.

And my car now has protection from the weather once again :)

Any idea's as to how I can re-purpose/ recycle the frame from the 1 000lt water container...?

Saturday 6 June 2015

Prayers answered

Our prayers were answered in these last few days.

I have been reading everywhere that there is supposed to be in an El Niňo in 2015 - that means that we would experience lower than normal rainfall this winter.  Bearing in mind that last year we had very low rain, I was most concerned at the prospect of futher reduced precipitation.  Not for the veggies - those are more than adequately watered through our porous pipe.  But, our alapcas - well, that is another thing altogether...

Giving them water to drink is also sorted - they consume about 5 - 8 ltrs each / day.  So, 32 ltrs / day is do-able lol

But, without rain their grazing won't grow - not only in their paddock, but also the oats that RMan planted.  The oats this year are looking "O.K.-ish" not wonderful, but at least we'll be able to harvest some.  Which is better than nothing - which is what we harvested from last year's disasterous crop.

My weather site in Norway has been predicting some rain this week for the preceeding 5 - 7 days.  Our local TV channel (ENCA) weather broadcast wasn't confirming that - until last Saturday.

Sunday - the first snow fell on the higher mountains, whilst here where we are...

... well, judge for yourself...

Bearing in mind that we live in a winter rainfall area,
you can see how last winter's rain was below average.
We have had almost as much rain 

 (125+mm / almost 5 inches) 
in the past 5 days as we had for the entire winter
  season last year.
Maybe a graph isn't as clear as these pictures :

The dam level last week
(26 May 2015)
Almost at rock bottom - well,
betonite covered bottom

Then - over the past 5 days -
the cemented inflow gully is holding up well -
 the collapsing right hand side is due to saturation
of the soil, not due to the water flow.

The dam level on Monday 
(1 June 2015)
The water level is almost up
to the white line

The dam level Thursday morning
(4 June 2015)
The jetty is lost to view, and
the inflow gully is also under

And this is the view from our front patio on
Thursday morning 4 June 2015 -

the dam is officially overflowing...
Now that is a fair amount of rain which fell in only 5 days.  The alpaca's - well, they're soaked naturally.  But, nothing that a bit of sun and wind won't dry out fairly quickly.

Our rain water storage tanks are overflowing.

And, the ground is well soaked - deeply.

Thank the Lord.

Tuesday 2 June 2015

Oh, I could have some fun...

... with this.

Can you imagine what you could do with this?
+/- 160 kms from New York City - as the crow flies
A sanctuary for animals, a productive retirement place for homeless people / ex-servicemen who have fallen on hard times, a centre teaching (potentially soon to be) long lost arts / crafts, or a communal weekend farming centre for schoolchildren / town dwellers, even a place of agrarian learning (with actual food production) for (electronically tagged) people who have committed non-violent misdemeanours / fraud / theft, instead of plonking them unproductively in jail...

My imagination is flying lol

If only I had $800 000.00 (and I lived in America)

That's one of the things I love about 1st World countries - the history of places, and the infinite possibilities with undiscovered (and still 100% recyclable / re-purpose-able) items from days of yore...