“Most people seek after what they do not possess and are enslaved by the very things they want to acquire.” – Anwar Sadat

The week has been heavily focused on chickens and chicken issues, with the big news being that the Chicks have graduated to live in the chicken tractor.  The weather is now mild enough that they will not have any issues, and the tarp which covers them should keep most of the rain from wetting them.

The chicks in their chicken run. That one at the front was very interested in my phone.

I also decided that it was time for me to gather another dozen eggs and pop them into the incubator.  I had been delaying my using this, as one of my children’s friends seems interested in hatching some of her own chicken’s eggs.  She was over a couple of weeks ago and asking me questions about my incubator.  She told me that she wanted some chicks, yet the hen who was sitting on the eggs failed to hatch the eggs.  I recommended that she try an incubator, which she seemed interested in attempting.

After she left I thought it might be nice if I offered her use of the incubator to hatch her own, yet as I haven’t seen her I decided to hatch some of my own… sense in letting the space go to waste.


I placed them in the incubator on Sunday night, so on the 13 November I should have some new chicks hatching.  It has taken a little longer than normal to gather the dozen eggs due to my girls production being lower than average.  We have had some rainy, windy weather, yet I place the blame on me.  I allowed three of the seven hens to go broody and sit on their own eggs.  Out of around 45 – 60 eggs (each hen was sitting on between 15-20 eggs) only one chick hatched.  So, the hens stop laying when they are sitting on eggs.  Even when I removed all the eggs as they had gone rotten, the hens dutifully sat on their empty nests (which was very sad to see).  So I need to stop letting my hens go broody, by collecting up all their eggs and not allowing them to gather too many at once.

Here is the hen with her single chick

While on the Garage sale trail, on Saturday, Kitty and I managed to grab a large amount of bargains… yet that wasn’t all.  We also met many different people with similar mindsets that were friendly and eager to chat.  We saw many people’s gardens, discussed their production and learned a lot.  We both had in minds some items we were hoping to find… I wanted to find a cheap (yet good) Kayak or Canoe, Kitty wanted flower bulbs and a piece of furniture for our hall.  We set off early, around 7:30am, and went straight to Franklin.  Kitty had already located some places of interest, so we went to a house that was selling the two items I was seeking.  They had a couple of small kayaks (too small for me) and a large canoe (a 3 or 4 seater)… too large for me to take home or even get much use.  Still, we had a great chat to the home owner.

While visiting other places, Kitty bought a lovely set of retro table and chairs, as well as some very nice pieces of crockery.  I licked up an excellent book on raising livestock for $2 (containing many interesting pieces of info which I had never seen before), an electric grill, a huge family size tent (I hope to turn it into a greenhouse) for $5.  I bought a 6 cell Mag-lite torch (still working, for $2) as well as a bunch of other items.


Many of the sellers said that there were much less people this year, yet I put the blame for that on the fact it was a long weekend (we had a public holiday on Thursday) and the almost ceaseless rain.  Still, the lack of buyers worked in our favour and we managed to get many bargains.


“In the Soviet army it takes more courage to retreat than advance.” – Joseph Stalin

I am, once again, having trouble in my greenhouse.  Before it was mice and possums, now… I don’t know what is causing my problems.  Something has been digging holes and tunnels to get into my greenhouse, and I have been battling this creature by covering up the sections of floor it exposes.  I have laid mouse and rat traps (all get sprung, yet I don’t catch a thing) as well as moving my seedlings to locations which should be hard to reach (on high shelves).  Yet the animal keeps getting in, eating around a half a cup of fodder a night, and then chews the tops off some of my seedlings.


I have decided that it is time for a tactical retreat.  I am going to move my greenhouse again, lay down some weed-mat on the floor, and hope that the animal finds easy to access food on somewhere else.

The tree before loosing too many branches

I therefore needed to move the greenhouse to a spot next to my garden beds.  I needed to cut down a tree which was blocking light from getting far into my garden… so it was something I had been planning to do for some time.  This is a large job and will take a couple of days to complete (as I only work on it when the conditions are favorable, such as no wind), as you can see from the below video, other factors often come into play… such as needing to rest after a close shave.

“We’re running the most dangerous experiment in history right now…” – Elon Musk

A week or so ago I uploaded my new Instructable to the Instructables website, covering the topic of my improved Fodder system. This was so well received that it was chosen to be featured on their front page, which is a great honor to me.

The Instructable uses images and text to explain the Fodder growing system, followed by a link to the Youtube video I created.  If you have an interest in the Fodder system I would recommend that you check it out.

If you enjoy it, or enjoy the work I do on this blog, I ask that you consider visiting my Instuctable and cast a vote for me in the “Live off the Land Competition“.  It is a competition for projects which assist in deriving sustenance from the land.  I am in the chance to win a couple of items which will allow me to put up more interesting content here on my blog.


As well as making Instructables, I have been running a little experiment in my garden over the last few weeks/months.  I planted out beans and peas in various areas to attempt to ascertain which produced the best results.

I planted beans in my raised beds, one with a piece of glass covering the majority of the area;


the other raised bed had no covering.


I also planted beans in the ground of my garden;


some which were covered with a small poly tunnel.


I was interested to see if there was a difference in the production from these two areas, and whether cold weather protection changed this output.  The results so far have been close to my expectations.  The covered beans have grown much more than the uncovered beans.  This is most likely due to the increase in the heat they would have received (the sun would have been magnified slightly through the glass and it would have warmed the soil more, and the poly tunnel would have allowed the warmed air to warm the soil and plants).

The plants that were uncovered had less impressive results.  The ones in the ground showed very little growth, the ones in the raised bed were better than the ground plants, yet they were not great.  Part of this could be the location in which they were grown, I have noticed that my beans grow much better in raised beds than in the ground.

The results of these experiments will assist me in deciding where to plant future bean/pea seeds.

“Success is a science; if you have the conditions, you get the result.” – Oscar Wilde

All the chicks who were going to hatch, have all hatched.  Three didn’t make it from their shells (one made a hole, yet never made it out… poor little animal) I opened them up to check their progress.  All were fertilised, yet for an unknown reason they ceased development around day 17-18 (apart from the one who managed to breach the shell).

image from http://www.poultryhub.org/physiology/incubation/

This image is very helpful in determining their progress.


Each chick is progressing extremely well, eating a huge amount each day (I forgot how hungry these little birds could be as they grow) and growing well.  They have also shown their individual personalities and appearances.  A couple of them have interesting white markings on their faces, and each reacts to events in their own way.  All are getting regular handling, both by me and my children… so they are very familiar with people.

They spend the majority of their time in a Chick Brooder which I put together from some scrap wood.  During the day, if the day is not too miserable, they are placed outside in one of my chicken tractors or an empty rabbit hutch.  They are then free to run around, eat and play, as well as get used to being outside (which will be their home in a couple of weeks).



As well as the hatching, my son’s rabbit (Marilyn) has given birth to 9 baby bunnies.  Unfortunately for one of them, she only has 8 teats.  The unlucky one died two days after it’s birth and it’s mother removed it from the nest and left it in the open for removal.  While it’s death is sad, it was one which I had no control over… it was a matter of simple maths.  There were eight nipples to feed them and nine mouths.  I did find it interesting that the mother left the dead baby out in the open.  Perhaps if she was in the wild she might have removed it from the area, yet as she was in a hutch she did the next best thing.

“There is one consolation in being sick; and that is the possibility that you may recover to a better state than you were ever in before.” – Henry David Thoreau

The eggs which I placed in my incubator hatched… exactly 21 days after I turned on the machine.  When this happens, when I help life be born (or hatched) it fills me with a great sense of joy and accomplishment.  I asked Kitty to assist by taking a little video of the first to hatch from their egg.

A little video of the new arrival. Such a bold little chick #chick #chicken #birdinthehand

A video posted by Little Tassie Prepper (@littletassieprepper) on

This one is pretty bold, after the video was shot it was walking all over my hand, causing me to have to take steps to stop it from leaping off several times.  So far, nine chicks have hatched from the incubator and are currently in the brooder box.  I hope that one or two more might make it out of their shells (I know that one has died in it’s shell, having failed to make a hole to break out of, which is pretty sad).

Here is the adventurous little fellow.

On Monday night I decided to try to make yogurt, using the Erica Straus method.  I had heard her on the Survival Podcast a while ago and I always intended to try this, so Monday seemed like the best time to do it.  I almost followed Erica’s instructions to the letter (apart from the part where she used an Oven Warming draw.  I don’t have that so I used a Yogurt maker container).  The Yogurt came out looking great, it was a good texture and tasted pretty good (although as it was plain yogurt it was a little bland).  I did notice that a couple of hours after tasting it for the first time I experience some stomach pain, yet I put that down to working too hard in the garden.

I used my EasyYo container to make the yogurt. It didn’t turn out as great as I had hoped.

The next day I took the container of yogurt to work, and after adding a teaspoon of honey, I ate the container for my afternoon snack.  Well, ate wasn’t really what I did, I had to drink it as it had become very runny.  When I arrived home the stomach cramps began… I am sure that it was related to the yogurt.  The pain began to increase until I had to lay down.  Turned out that I didn’t really make Yogurt, I cooked up a batch of food poisoning.  I suspect that the yogurt culture I added was no good… it was close to expiry.  I am going to take a break from trying this, yet when I try again, I will be sure that the culture is as fresh as possible.

“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” – Jimmy Dean

Today, on the drive home from work, a truck crashed and blocked the road for several hours… stranding me on a country highway.  I arrived an hour before the clean up was completed which meant I had an hour to chill out in my car.  I could see a few police cars, yet no actual police, so I had no way of knowing what was going on.  I did consider getting out and looking for answered, yet i I used my mobile phone to call Kitty, who filled me in on the situation. Facebook does have it’s uses.

I spent most of the time finishing off a book I was reading, listening to a podcast, and watching the action.  I was pretty far away, yet I had packed a set of small binoculars in my bag some time ago.
binosNot the greatest pair in the world, yet they are small, cheap, and they allowed me to view some of the action while they were removing the crashed truck from the road from the dry front seat of my car.  I was pretty comfortable while I waited.

Kitty told me when I arrived home that she had gone out and encountered the same blocked road, yet instead of waiting (she didn’t really have that option, as she needed to get the kids from School) she decided to follow a truck who (she hoped) was driving an alternate route.  Around 45 minutes in she told me she began to panic, it should have taken 15 minutes to get home on the highway.  She realised she didn’t know where the truck was really heading, she had hoped it would be our home town.

Around 15 minutes later she emerged from the forest in a location that was familiar to her and she managed to drive home, yet the experience left her quite shaken.  I think it might be smart for the two of us to practice driving some of these alternate routes for any future event that might occur.


“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.” – Dalai Lama

I have taken a couple of weeks off work to do some work around the house.  My plan was to sleep in, spend some time in the garden, and lounge around.  Kitty has other ideas…

First week I have been clearing up the mess I made from my last few months of work on the house and property, then I had to get to work on the kitchen.  I had completed building some shelves in the kitchen earlier in the year, now I had to remove one of the kitchen benches in order to install a set of kitchen shelves from the 1950s that Kitty bought.  When I removed the bench I realised I needed to take care of the floor  Under the bench was the remains of three layers of linoleum dating back over the last 50 years, a type of chipboard type layer, and the an amazing wooden floor which was crying out for rejuvenation.  I decided that I needed to fix the floor as well.

Here is part of the kitchen after I began removing some of the draws.

I have never done anything like this before… I once assisted an old friend with sanding his floor, yet that was almost 20 years ago.  Despite this, I thought I would have a try.  I hope that I can complete this in the next couple of days.

After removing the tiles and cupboards.

In between all this work, I also found some time to put a dozen eggs into my incubator.  Reggy, our new Rooster, has been busy with his girls, so I decided to save some of the eggs for hatching.  Hopefully this batch turns out as great as my last one.


More sadness with my animals this week.  One of our little girl bunnies, the one born from Ginger and Rodger, died on Wednesday night.  I have checked her over and I can find no reason for her dying… she was healthy, well fed and watered.  My daughter and I buried her under one of our plum trees.  I did suggest that I might skin her and use her skin for something, yet after the ugly stares I received I decided that was a bad suggestion.

“…certainly not by biting off the hand that feeds us…” – Lynn Margulis

I have been spending some time working on a new Instructable, describing how to make fodder using my new system.   I hope to have it up on the site in a couple of days, so stay tuned for that.  The process isn’t flowing as easily as my previous submissions, yet I hope that it will come out easy to read and understand.


We have another new addition to the house, I bought a nice Rooster named Reginald (or Reggy as I like to call him).  As some of you know, I have been on the lookout for a new Rooster for a couple of months now… I was beginning to worry that I would never find the right one.  I found plenty of people offering Rooster from different species, yet I really wanted to stick to my Australorp breed (as least for the moment).  Well, after weeks of searching I made a decision on Saturday night that maybe I should find a different breed to try.  To that end I started to search for different breeds in my area, and it was then that I noticed a new ad for an Australorp Rooster.  Someone in Cygnet was offering them for sale for $10 (previously asking $15), I couldn’t let this one go.

Here is our new Rooster, Reginald. Please ignore the mess in the background.

Early next morning the whole family and I set out to meet the new Rooster.  He was living in a pen with around 5 other Roosters and a dozen or so Hens.  I was allowed to grab which ever Rooster I liked (although it turned out to be which ever Rooster I could catch), and I ended up getting a hold of Reggy.  He is a fine looking boy, he seems a little larger than my current Rooster.


I delivered him home and set him up in the hen house to stay the night.  I wanted him to be used to the location before I opened the door and offered him the chance to flee, although I am sure that once he realised he is going to have 7 hens to himself he was very happy he came to live with me.  He was so happy that within 10 seconds of leaving the Hen house, he mounted and mated with one of the girls.  This Rooster is a real chick magnet.

Here is Reggy getting to work right away.

The Rooster I already owned has been waiting on Death Row for several weeks now.  He is my last Rooster and I have been trying to work out a way to justify keeping him.  I can’t keep him to breed with the girls, as they are his sisters and mother.  No one seems to want to buy him, and he is just eating food, messing up the grass, and making a racket in the mornings… yet I still didn’t want to eat him.  Well, he made it a little easier for me last night, when he decided to attack me when I fed him.  I blame the fact that I brought home a new Rooster, so he is a little put out.  When I went to feed him he started to bite my hand and scratch my arm with his claws.  Right then and there I decided that when I get a chance I will have to eat him.


“I’m going to sleep well tonight knowing that I made the right decision.” – George Ryan

A couple of weeks ago I ordered a camping hammock to help fit out my Get Home items.  I had intended on making my own, using various items to be “MacGyvered” together into a functional camping hammock.  As I began work on this project it seemed it would be more economical, lighter, and more robust if I just went and bought a cheap hammock from eBay.  It was produced in China, a producer on who I do hear a lot of negative comments.  I am not opposed to buying things from China, especially if it turns out to be a good product.  The idea of not buying from a whole country reeks of racism in my opinion.


The hammock arrived the other day and I have managed to run a couple of small tests in my backyard.  The weather hasn’t been conducive to a full test, or even any recording of my test (Extreme Wind, rain and cold have been the norm here), I will endeavor to get a review completed as soon as I can.

Picture from the seller’s eBay page. It doesn’t look to bad to me.

I have had to make a few adjustments to the hammock before I could really use it.  It didn’t come with instructions so I have had to work it out for myself.  The ropes they provided were not long enough for my needs to I added a few of meters to each side of the hammock, as well as a couple of sets of carbineers to assist in quick set up of the structure.  It also didn’t come with any rain cover, which isn’t a big deal as I had already bought one for myself made hammock project.

So, watch this space for a review on this item

“Life is a tide; float on it. Go down with it and go up with it, but be detached. Then it is not difficult.” – Prem Rawat

Emergency situations can be difficult to anticipate.  Even when you are expecting something, you may not have all the information you need to make an informed decision.  In the south of Tasmania this week we have had some wild weather.  On Wednesday we had a serious amount of snow covering most of the areas above 200m (I even had snow at my house, which is unusual).  We had sever wind which had injured people and caused a lot of damage on Thursday.  Today, Friday, we have floods.  There were some warnings that there could be some flooded roads, and to check the applicable websites.  So, this morning (before I left for work) I dutifully checked the websites… they didn’t mention anything too serious about the flooding.  The river at the Huonville bridge was high, yet it didn’t say there were issues.  I also checked the local Police website… all clear there.  So I left for work around 6am.   I was careful on the roads, yet there was nothing really to worry about.  No mini-rivers running across the road like last night, no large sections of water.

This all changed as I approached the Huonville bridge.  Due to the dark, I couldn’t see much more than a dozen flashing lights in Huonville.  I could see headlights beaming light everywhere, and traffic was jammed on the bridge.  The side roads were closed (which I knew would be the case from the weather website), yet nothing of note.  I was behind a truck, so I couldn’t see anything ahead of me as I stopped on the bridge.  I had to wait for a couple of minutes before my lane was allowed to move forward.  They seemed to be letting through each side of the road, one side at a time.  I kept looking around for someone to ask, or a sign to tell me what was happening… yet nothing was there.  As I edged forward I came closer to the service station and I could see a huge amount of water flowing through there, yet no one was making a big deal of it, so I (stupidly) crept forward.  I finally saw a man standing on the road, which I could see now (or the small part I could see due to the darkness and the truck blocking the way) was covered in water.  He was standing in ankle deep water, so nothing too serious, yet before I could ask a question he waved me forward.  Obviously I should keep moving.

Picture from the ABC News website. I thought that car on the right might be my car, yet the water level is too low.

I drove onwards behind the truck for a couple of seconds and then I realised the depth of the situation… I was driving in deep water!  My car was struggling to make it.  I could hear my exhaust spluttering, so the water must be deep enough to cover that.  There were people on the sides, spectating on the traffic.  I am sure a few of them pointed at me.  The little car was floundering, yet I had to make it through the flood waters.  I was looking around, trying to figure out the situation.  These seemed to be deeper sections, which the truck easily drove through, and I had to avoid.  I was desperately trying to work out where I could pull over to stop, yet all I could really do was drive on.  I think the truck in front of me ploughed some of the water from the road… making it a little easier for me.  After a couple of dozen seconds I made it through.   I had to stop to get some petrol, and it was as I slowed down that I noticed the car was making some weird noises, especially when I braked.  The breaks didn’t feel right.

I kept on driving after fueling up.  Checking the breaks, till they eventually started sounding better.  Apparently just after I made it through, the bridge closed… I really should have slept in a little this morning… I could have had a day at home.  Six hours later, the road alerts have been removed, so the road is safe for traffic.

An aerial view of Huonville from the ABC News website.

Did I learn anything?  Yes, I learned not to rely on the government (yes, I should already knew that)…. I shouldn’t trust their websites, I shouldn’t have confidence in SES workers judgements.  I really shouldn’t have crossed the bridge…. And I wouldn’t have if I knew what the situation was in Huonville.  Next time, I will have to be more aware of my circumstances and make an assessment for myself.  All my preps were not going to be much use if my car was stuck in high water.