Sunday, 29 March 2015

New residents in Chicken Palace

We have been ready for our chickens for ages, but had to have the accommodation and water set up  for them first.
Hubby and our wonderful friend from the coast had built Chicken Palace late last year and then about a month ago Hubby added the extra roof over the coop as  more  protection from the heat and  weather both for the chooks and the coop itself.
Hubby  also added one of those 1000 litre  water cubes and  added a gutter to the roof of the  cover to harvest any rainwater that we may eventually be lucky enough to  have.
We also ordered online  a handy little set of drinkers for the chooks inside the coop and   we recycled an old pig trough to add  another water source outside the coop but still within the  fenced larger 17 mtr x 12 mtr yard.
We started looking for our chooks, but as hubby had his heart set on the  light Sussex breed, we just couldn't find any for a while, but we then stumbled across an add on Gumtree and we traveled to Tamworth to a lovely couple   called Wendy and Brian who sold us 6 nice young hens and a young rooster.
They are beautiful  chooks and they settled into Chicken Palace very quickly.
We kept them in the larger yard for a few days before opening the gate to let them free range, they  now run all over the place, one day when I left my back screen door open I even found four of them comfortably sitting on the floor  in my  preserving pantry.
We are so in love with our chooks,  so we decided we needed  turkeys as well, hubby's family had raised turkeys as he was growing up but I had never had them before.
We went to a poultry  auction at Balimore about an hour or so from our place, and were lucky enough to purchase 8 turkeys ,1  young gobbler, two  young hens, and then 5 smaller hens.
We kept them all in for a day or so and then let them all run free, just locking them up at night.
We were then  unfortunately, invaded by a plague of grasshoppers, they came through like a moving carpet of grass munches, leaving  total lawn and paddock destruction in their wake. Our car  was constantly covered in grasshopper guts....we never seemed  to stop scrubbing it off the front for a few weeks .

The turkeys  thought all their  christmas's had come at once ...... Thank goodness the grasshoppers have now finally moved on.
Even the Old Blue Girl thinks they are really special, she wanders around behind them  and they don't seem to worry each other at all.
Every morning we let them all out early and they walk the perimeter of our house yard  searching out anything that moves,   I  reckon that no  creepy crawly will be safe  anywhere near our place anymore' which suits me just fine !!!
We have been really badly in need of rain, and the other day the clouds built up  with the promise of a storm and shortly afterwards down it came. We had 8.5 mm, not much but welcome all the same.

The turkeys were down near the shed  and got caught in the storm, I thought they were so funny when I looked out and saw them standing  as tall as they could, all of them up against the  walls trying to keep dry.

Hubby has been trying hard to keep  the sprinkler moving around the lawn, trying to revive  some grass  where the grasshoppers  ate everything, and every time the turkeys see it   they rush in to play in the water.
we are so happy with our chicken and turkey flocks, they seem to interact really well and hopefully down the track they will provide us with many, eggs and  meals of chicken and turkey.
We do love them dearly, but we are realists, they are here for a purpose but we will endeavour to give them the best life they can  possibly have , both for their health and ours.
Take care until we meet again,
all the best,

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Sunshine,Solar pumps and Water- a fantastic partnership

Our water supply up at the farm comes from two sources, the first is rainwater harvest off the roof of the house and various sheds,which is collected in tanks then pumped up to a larger holding tank high up behind our house and gravity fed back to the house for our personal household use.
The second source is that it is pumped up from 300 ft underground using a big Grundfos submersible  electric pump operated by a big diesel generator.It also is  pumped up to another storage tank up the back and gravity fed to the garden and our laundry.
The pumping from the bore involved hubby trudging back and forward up to the generator about every hour as we have a low output bore and it was pumping dry in about 10 minutes.
We made the decision way back to replace the  grundfos pump with a Lorenze solar pump as soon as we could afford to do so( Hubby's brother next door had successfully installed one) and  we had been saving for ages, but hubby retiring  recently gave us a little extra  financial boost to complete  a few projects including the solar pump on the bore.
The first step was to lift the old pump up and out of the bore and hubby's brother next door came over with his tractor that has a bucket which makes the task a little easier.
The men had to pull out  a huge amount of  poly  piping, electric cable and safety cable, and then finally the pump itself.
They then installed the new post that the solar array  will be positioned on.
The  young assistant to the installer got busy building the frame.
They connected the new smaller,lighter solar pump up to the poly pipe( we were able to use the existing pipe and cable.)
Because  the new pump was much lighter, they didn't need to lower it with the tractor, the men were able to "walk" it down  to the  bore.
The  connections were all made, the pressure gauge was installed on top of the bore and  the electrical  control box installed.
The panels ( three  x 250 watt ) were  installed and the orientation  set correctly.
The  installer then did a test run to check the  amount of water that the bore  was producing.
It now flows at 8 litres per minute( just under 2 gallons), this is a very  slow bore, but  taking into account that this pumps while ever the sun shines, it  producers quite a bit of water   over the period of a  day , certainly more than we were getting before.
With the old pump  ,if we were away for a few days, we got no water pumped at all, now the pump keeps pumping away, controlled by a float up on the tank and the garden can continue to be watered  on timers.
 Hopefully we will now finally start to see a big difference in  how the gardens and the lawns   appear and what we can produce.
On my next posting I hope that I can show  a few pictures of the difference it will make.
So until we meet again, we will be keeping busy  moving sprinklers, and setting up spray systems all  around the yard,
Take care everyone,
Keep your fingers crossed for rain for us, it's all very dry out there,
catch you later,