We are very happy to announce that Otto joined us on 18 October. He is a very healthy little boy and seems to have adjusted to life on the outside pretty well. It also looks like he'll be a good eater just like big sister.

Sofia went to the hospital Thursday afternoon and looked a bit confused but she likes babies and seemed to like Otto. She touched his hand and gave him a kiss on the head. I think she will be a loving big sister once she adjusts. She went back to the hospital with her grandparents on Friday after a full day in child care but she fell asleep on the way there and couldn't be woken up. Saturday morning's visit was a bit up and down. She likes the baby but lots of things have changed and it's all a bit unsettling.

But now the big question needs to be answered - should this blog change its name? 


Fruit season is on its way

Last year we didn't keep very good records of when our fruit trees flowered, fruited and got their leaves - partly because we only moved in well into the fruit season - but we did throw together a rough fruit calendar. This is really helpful information for some fruits as it can help us know when the fruit should be ripe. So this year I had been keeping reasonably detailed records for each tree in a spreadsheet on my laptop. But my laptop went when we got burgled last week so again this year we have guesses and hazy memories about when everything happened in the garden. We don't even have dates on photos to refer to as the camera also went.

Lots of the fruit trees have flowered and a number of them are showing reasonably well developed fruit. The apricots are the size of olives, the peaches and nectarines a bit smaller. The almonds look pretty well full size, the damson plums are starting to develop, the quinces are there but small. And various currants and berries are also developing well with the red currants leading the race.

Last year there were only six apricots on the tree but they were the most intense fruit I've ever eaten. We were told different stories about why apricots struggled last year - some people say apricots are very sensitive to late frost, others said it was due to excessive rain while the fruit was developing. This year there are about 100 on the tree for now and hopefully we get a reasonable strike rate from here.
The almonds are full size and now need to ripen. The cockys have had a few goes at them but haven't taken many yet. Last year they took almost all of them by the time they were ready to eat.
The peaches are still tiny. Remarkably the tree has held together for another year.
There are heaps of damson plums, just as there were last year. These are yummy to eat and also make a great sauce.
Damson plums
It's only two months now until the fruit season kicks off and we are really looking forward to it, especially Sofia. Her new sibling will probably be on solid food in time to enjoy the end of the season too.



The chooks have been in residence for a week now and the plan was to let them explore the whole back yard once they had settled in. Saturday was a nasty day with constant rain and an icy wind (snow down to 400 metres) and being outside was no fun at all so we waited for Sunday which was a beautiful sunny day. You know you're acclimatised to Hobart when a 14 degree day feels hot.

Before we could let the chickens out Sofia had to give them their instructions.

It took a little while but they finally came out when we put some food outside the gate.

As they became more confident they explored further afield but were still definitely up in their corner of the yard.

The black chook (Barbara) seems to be the tamest one and walked right up to Sofia when she was sitting next to the apple tree.

All this exploring was thirsty work so they found some rain water in an old lid. Sofia thought his was such a good idea that she gave it a try too. She's going to have a super strong immune system.

The garden also has much better places for dirt baths than the pen so the girls spent some quality time in the dirt.

The plan is to let the chooks out into the backyard every day. We've fixed the gate so that we can open and close it more easily and keep them shut in. All we need now is the cheesy sign "Beware of the chooks - please shut the gate!".