What's happening at the Hetzel House

14 March 2018
While I've been writing The Simple Home series, you've probably noticed I'm not writing much about what is happening here on a day-to-day basis. Well, my friends, we're still pottering around doing what we do. Currently we're moving from a fairly slow time, when the weather restricted what we could do outside, to our busy season.  March is when we plant our garden every year.  The garden beds are still full of weeds with only one 90 percent ready, the rest are waiting their turn. We hope to visit the market next Sunday and buy a range of seedings. These will be planted along with seedlings we have growing in the bush house, Glen Large garlic from Green Harvest, ginger plants and Welsh onions in poly boxes and a stand of potatoes in a cage. We're keeping it small, having reduced the size of the garden last year, but we should have a good range of what we eat and that will help cut back our grocery bill while giving us the freshest food possible. It will be good to get out to the garden once again.

Above are the new chickens and below are some of the new and old chickens together.
Below are two of our Barnevelders - a silver lace and a blue lace.

This year we have the added wonder of six new chooks. I'm naming them after women we know.  They are Barnevelders - Jean and Tricia, Plymouth Rocks - Sunny and Kathleen and Rhode Island Reds - Sarndra and Diane.  That gives us a grand total of 13 pure breed chooks and one farm yard cross, she looks like a small New Hampshire.  When the new girls start laying in about 6 weeks time and the old girls get back to laying after a hot and humid summer, we should get about 10 eggs a day. Now we're getting one or two.  I'm giving them high protein feed at the moment in addition to their normal rations. It's just stale bread, and today, old organic corn chips, and a sprinkling of Weetbix crumbs from the bottom of the pack.  Over that I pour full cream milk that I make up using water and powdered milk.  The extra protein and shorter days should get those gals back to laying very soon.

Another task I used to carry out daily and let go of while I was busy - bread baking, is back.  I missed the routine of daily bread but I knew my time would come again, and here it is. I'm currently fine tuning the five minute artisan bread from the book of the same name. I used to make it years ago but when I was busy I bought our bread from the local baker.  At $6.90 for a rye sourdough and $4.70 for a preservative-free sliced loaf I'm glad I'm back baking my own. We don't eat much bread now that we have our main meal at noon. We only need a bit of bread for toast and an occasional sandwich. So the loaves I'm making are smaller, I make enough dough for two weeks and the dough sits in the fridge until needed.  It's easy, no kneading and it's got a great taste.  It's not sourdough in the traditional sense of wild yeasts, but it does ferment and complexity develops the longer it sits.

When I stopped baking, I froze all my flours and now I'm going through the remains of them before I stock up on fresh flour.  The bread made yesterday was a mix of organic white and spelt.  I'll do a post about baking bread when I finished my tweaking.  I've put away my bread-maker and the place is now taken with a meat and bread slicer. Next week, when I replenish the freezer meats after defrosting and cleaning, I'll be making cold cuts again and these are best cut on a slicer, so is the bread.

I've have a range of beautiful organic cotton from EcoYarns but as my eyesight isn't great at the moment, I've put it to one side until I can see what I'm doing. The only sewing that's been happening is what's going on in my head and I have quite a few projects planned after we get the garden planted. In the meantime, I've made use of an old woollen blanket my parents used to have on their bed. It's a double, pure wool Marnock blanket produced in the Geelong area and it's probably 60 years old. Instead of letting it sit unused in a cupboard, I've cut it in two pieces to make smaller blankets for the living room during the colder months.  When I get my eyesight back to normal, I'll blanket stitch along the edges to maintain the look and integrity of the blanket. I think my mum would expect that to be done.

We're looking forward to spending some time with our family on the weekend. It's Jens' birthday today and the family has been invited over to their place (5 minutes away) for a sausage sizzle, dessert, a few beers and a game of darts.  Simple pleasures, nothing fancy, just relaxing with the family and the dogs. Jens and Cathy have two Airedales so Gracie will come along and will probably be run off her little stubby legs chasing the other dogs. ;- )  Good times.

What are you doing?

ADDED: I forgot to mention above, I phoned the eye doctor yesterday to tell them my phone was broken and to call Hanno if they need me and was told I'm not having my eye done this week.  The appointment I thought was for the hospital is for a post-op check.  So more waiting, I'm afraid.  >: - (