It’s late afternoon, warm and humid; it’s already that season when storm clouds gather and sit there, grey skies but it’s probably not going to rain. Not today, anyway. If we’re lucky we will get some summer rain this weekend or early next week, but the weather bureau predicts humidity and overcast without actual rain.
I should be working on my NaNoWriMo piece, on which I am woefully behind at the moment. I will. This is something in the order of a warm-up.
Also, a catch-up.
We’re moved, we’re in the house, and loving it. The tiles are cool and calming, and I have spent some time today with the cats lying on the floor soaking up some of that stored cool from the thermal mass. The ceiling fans are on, delivering a very pleasant light breeze, and life is pretty good.
That said, the last two weeks have been quite stressful. George, our cinnamon-coloured tomcat, has been very ill – which is why I haven’t written this sooner, and also why I’m so behind on my NaNoWriMo project. We’ve had emergency vet visits, phone calls at odd hours, including one at 4am to tell us our cat was in need of urgent massive surgery or euthanasia. It’s been a rough week, although George is now home (sans major surgery!) and looking happy and healthy.
He’s still on some medication, but he’s recovering well and very happy to be home. He has, however, picked up a case of separation anxiety and now mews piteously when he can’t see us, in case we’re gone and he’s alone.
We also have chicken problems. The chickens have adapted well to their new home, and so far no sign of foxes, but we aren’t getting any eggs. We have seen a couple’ve blue-tongue lizards in the chicken run, but I’m pretty sure they can’t get into the chicken coop to eat the eggs. I wasn’t certain if something was eating the eggs at all or if the girls were just off lay because of the move, but today I saw the five of them chasing each other around for a morsel of eggshell. The flock has discovered that eggs are edible, and has taken to eating their own eggs.
It’s not uncommon, and it’s probably a sign that they’re low on calcium. We ran out of shell grit, and with the stress around George’s health we hadn’t gotten around to replacing it. That should be sorted out by tomorrow, because we got more shell grit today, so hopefully we’ll be able to collect some eggs again next week. I got used to having eggs available all the time, and I quite liked it.
[EDIT: We’re back to 3 – 4 eggs a day, no more egg eating. That was quick!]
The various pot plants have survived the move well. We’ve only had one casualty so far (one of the persimmon seedlings), and we’ve already put some plants into the ground. Geraniums, herbs, and frangipanis mostly. I’m putting in a little mediterranean / arid garden in front of the house, with roses and succulents and (eventually) every edible herb which will grow in this climate. I love herbs and I love cooking, and there are few things better than stepping out your front or back door and picking some fresh herbs to cook with. I might even put an apricot tree in, since it’s very appropriate for that mediterranean / arid landscape, and apricots are zone one trees for me because they have so many problems with fruit fly if they’re not managed closely. Needless to say I’m not keen to spray poison on my plants to handle fruit fly problems.
The newest additions to the menagerie are five baby guinea fowl keets. My plan is to have about a dozen guinea fowl all up, hopefully even a breeding flock (or at least a fertile, laying flock from which I can collect and incubate the eggs), which will resolve the tick and locust populations around here. The keets are a week old now, and at least two of them are getting reasonably tame. In that they don’t shriek their heads off in panic when we pick them up, and one of them is willing to just sit on my hand indefinitely.
We’ve also been talking more seriously about goats. Specifically, about the preparations we’ll need to get sorted before we buy a goat, and what sort of goat to buy. I’d really love to get a Nigerian Dwarf, but at the moment there’s one flock in Australia, and the total number of does can be counted on one hand without running out of fingers, so I think I might have to wait a while. Second choice is an Anglo-Nubian, mainly because my research indicates that the milk will probably taste better. I don’t actually care for the tangy, musky, “goaty” flavour that some goats milk has, either in the milk or in the cheese. Ango-Nubians also have a higher butterfat percentage in their milk, so they’re better for cheese-making.
Other than that – unpacking (we still have boxes, mostly of books and filing, but also some craft and art supplies still to unpack), chilling, just being here in our space. The last few evenings we’ve sat on our living room floor and watched anime with the cats. It’s pretty nice.