Tuesday, 30 April 2013

April Round Up

So much going on in April. Property and pet care has kept me very busy and away from the sewing machine for quilting projects. Nothing like the productivity of last April. 

Holidays - swimming in the cold, heated and spa, Armidale, Dorrigo and Coffs Harbour

Quilt Top - Polaroid 9 Patch. Blocks made by Quilt Club Australia Bee #1 members plus a couple of generous other bees - Waverlee and Christie.

Blocks - Dr Seuss, garden fence, party drinks, snip it good and retro clock.

Chooks - moulting, coming into lay, going off lay, convalescing and growing up.

Injuries - double bumble foot, nail injury and swelling.

Reptiles - tree snake, water dragons.

Harvest - limes, pecans, macadamias, lemons, avocados and leeks.

Books - It's been a good month for reading. You can read my reviews on GoodreadsWombat Stew Book club - Mao's Last Dancer

Monday, 29 April 2013

Producing Too Much

Living on a semi rural property is new to me and so is taking care of fruit and nut trees. We certainly have inherited  a lot. Lemon, lime mandarin, orange, avocado, macadmias and pecans.

I don't really know how to take care of them. They are producing an awful lot and I cannot possibly use it all. I feel sorry for the lemon tree who is overburdened with fruit.

So I am reading all that I can about tree care. I even subscribed to Gardening Australia magazine. I need to know when to prune, and fertilise and how to stop the discolouration of the skins.

My mum and dad spent last week at our property, looking after our chickens, whilst we went on holidays. I was able to send them home with ample produce to thank them.

And so did the hens.

Bumble Foot Update

Poor Washington has had a terrible time of it. My parents took her to the vet three times to have her foot rebandaged. The right foot was much worse and the dressing only came off last Friday. Only 12 hours later it had swollen up considerably. There is a nasty bruise underneath as well. I did some looking through Backyard Chickens Forums and found that bathing the foot in a warm Epsom Salt bath will help. So I started that yesterday.

So today I went back to the vet with my concerns. They prescribed some oral antibiotics in the hope that the swelling will reduce in the next 48 hours. If not she will have to go back for further surgery. I really hope it won't come to that.

And speaking of rescue today I had to rescue a medium sized water dragon who was stuck in the chicken wire - twice!

The chickens were a bit frightened of his open mouthed defiance!

Armed with wire cutters and a hand towel I was not intimidated.

Linking up with Scottish Fiona for the New To Me April linky party.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Sunday Stash #60

Strawberry and Chocolate

What's not to like about a pink and brown together? Like a Strawberry Freddo right?

A while back I started collecting pink and brown fabrics to make my daughter a Strawberry and Chocolate quilt. 

Since then my mum, a prolific quilter, has been sewing Fran so many quilts that my idea has become redundant. 

But anyway, with so many good charity causes out there, this project may one day still get done. They did come in handy as table cloths recently - for my daughter's 5th party!

What about you? Any fabric collections lying dormant in your stash still?

Thank you to Kate from Kate Quilts who hosted Sunday Stash last week and for those who linked up.

Feel free to link up below

Friday, 26 April 2013

Once More Around the Fence

Last April our QCA Bee had to make some Garden Fence blocks for Marieka in grey, black and yellow. 

Marieka ended up making a gorgeous quilt for her father. See it here.

This year Marieka has asked us for these blocks again, following the FREE tutorial over at Hyacinth Quilts, but in a different colour scheme. Something like Kristy's Peacock's In The Garden quilt here..

It will look fab. Each person chooses their own centre fabric of interest and solid border. So I am hand delivering my block this week when I am catching up with Marieka, Jane and Kristy in Coffs Harbour.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Sunday Stash #59

Sunday Stash is over at  Kate Quilts today. So I will see you over there for the linky party.

Wombat Scraps

Every time that I get Wombat Mail, I get scrap love along with my blocks. Look what has shown up recently from Alyce, Kristy and Gemma.

Have you been scrapped loved recently?
Kate Quilts

Friday, 19 April 2013

Party Drinks

Wombat Stew Party Time

This month Gemma, from Pretty Bobbins, is chief wombat and she is putting together a Party theme. You can check our her inspiration board here.

I chose the free party drinks tutorial by Ayumi Mills found on Sew Mama Sew. Not too hard. I did simplify the top piece and two of my blocks are slightly larger but Gemma can trim them up. Unlike Kristy's paper pieced patterns, these did not come with the seam allowance and I think that accounts for the sizing difference.

You can check out a few other party blocks like Kristy's cupcake and party hats (patterns now available in her Quiet Play Craftsy shop). Keep your eye out for more from the other wombats this month - some bunting, fairy bread and candles.

Linking up with TGIFF!

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Bumble Foot Surgery and Post Op Care

Warning graphic photos of wounds

On Tuesday the three kids and I took Washington down to the Ballina Veterinary Clinic to have minor surgery on her bumble foot. The vet nurses were all glad to see her back again. 
Kirsty, the vet, was so good reading up about the procedure from the links I emailed her. She has never seen a case of it before. Washington was put under with some gas and we picked her up later that day.

Right foot before surgery
I am sooooooo glad that I took her to the vet rather than attempt this surgery at home with one of the kids holding her down. It was a lot more complicated than even the vet thought it would be. I knew the right foot was bad. It was evident from the  blackened circle however the left foot was just as bad once they opened up the tiny speck on the outside.
Left foot before surgery
Yesterday, I went back down with Washington to get wound dressing lessons from the nurses. . They snipped off the right foot bandage and I saw it for myself - the gaping holes in her feet are huge - roughly the size of a Smartie each. Full of necrotic flesh! The right foot bled a bit too. They did the first foot and I made myself do the left foot. I learn best by doing.
Right after before surgery

I have to wear gloves because I could contract the staph infection from the chicken too. They showed me how to fill the void with a syringe for of the antibacterial cream - Flamazine (the Veterycin arrived only after the operation ).  Then put gauze in place and wrap the wound with this amazing stuff called Vetwrap. It can be a bit tricky and sticky with gloves on!

Today I had to dress the wounds by myself at home. I had all the gear ready. Washington flapped around maybe four times (stuff flying everywhere) but for the most part she was patient lying on her side as I cut away yesterday's bandages and re-dressed the wounds. I was sweating profusely and I got a sore neck and back from the tension and posture I had to keep. 
Add caption

I am a bit in awe of vets and nurses now. They are so cool under pressure. My parents are coming to chicken sit while we are away next week, so I have arranged three vet appointments so that they can take her down to be re-dressed by the nurses. My folks are in their twilight years and I just cannot see them managing this job between them. It may be enough for them to try and catch her anyway!
The patient chook patient, Washington. All re-dressed.

I do really pray (and so do the kids) that the infection has been cut out and treated before it spread to Washington's foot bones. After everything she has been through I would be so devastated to see her die from a pine cone puncture wound.

Her first dressing was PINK!
I have done some serious pine cone eradication these past 2 weeks. I must have cleared out about 30 bucketsful of them. Some buried quite deeply in the leaf and needles litter. I also gave some lower branches a prune so that the chickens can get around. 

Washington spent the first night in our bathroom but last night she was back in the hen house and able to sit on the roost. It must have hurt though. Her right foot bandage was a bit bloodied today and she has spent most of the day lying down. I have been out to give her tasty treats and water so she does not have to walk far. She has enjoyed two dust baths though and has been clucking loudly.

Still part of the flock whilst recuperating

Linking up to 'Down Home Blog Hop #33' at Tilly's Nest.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Small and Quick

Wombat Stew

This should be a small and quick progress report this week. My party drinks blocks for Gemma are almost done. I just have to get out my fabric stamps and name them.

Polaroid 9 Patch

I am sizing the blocks to 13.5" for the polaroid quilt. Two of the rows are sewn together but I had to unpick the dark grey one. I need to resize the seam allowance to match the other orange row.

This Week's  Sewing  Stats

Completed projects  -  0

Currently in progress -    'Let's Party' paper pieced block for Gemma
                                                  Lorax Quilt top
                                                  Dr Seuss Quilt top
                                                   'Polaroid 9 Patch' Quilt top
Yet to start  -  QCA Bee #1 block for April

Tiddler in the Sink

And speaking of small and quick, look what I found in our bathroom sink. It's a tiddler water dragon. Easily returned to the pond but still I had to be careful when handling it. They can give a nasty bite. 

Last week I found one in the bath (no water), literally hiding among the bath dinosaurs, lizards and sharks. I thought he was well camouflaged!

Linking up to WiP at Freshly Pieced - a lot of you seem to be joining in on Bloom Bloom Pow over there.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

High Protein Chicken Porridge

I did a bit of online research in forums and through chicken blogs and found a few interesting facts about feather moulting.

* Most chickens moult in Autumn preparing for winter,
*Roosters become infertile while they moult,
* Hens usually stop laying because the protein used for making eggs is diverted into feather production,
* there are different grades of moulting - from bare skin to a subtle loss.

Though it is not necessary, if chickens are free ranging most days, you are able to supplement the protein intake of the chickens during the moult. You can do this with:

* fresh meat such as sausages, leftover BBQ, ham, 
* cat food or tinned fish,
* layer pellets,
* meal worms (I am not sure if we can access these in Australia),
* extra worms and bugs from the garden,
* scrambled eggs
* high protein porridge

I have been very worried about the weight loss of Breanna during her moult. So I put together a special mash for her (and the others).


* 1 cup layer pellets
* 1 cup rolled oats
* 1/2 cup baby rice cereal
* 1/2 cup of sultanas
* 1/4  cup of other dried fruit (I used some dates)
* 2 raw  eggs
* 1/2 cup yoghurt
* 2 cups of boiled water


Mix well
microwave 4 mins
Allow to cool

I used vanilla yoghurt and so the end result smelt quite sweet. I was not sure how they would react but after a few curious nibbles most of the flock had a nice fill of the warm mash.

BTW our rooster, Silver MacGregor is moulting too!