Hi everyone and welcome to our little adventure! We are a small family of 4 who, for a long time now, have always wanted to find that little slice of land where we could have the freedom to grow our own vegetables, raise our own chickens, goats, sheep... you name it! My partner and I both grew up on farms so it has always been in our blood but after years of living in the big city we started to miss the rural life. My partner works full time and I am still a full time mum so I spend most of my time between looking after children and chickens, cooking, baking and all of those other dreaded house hold chores.

We have recently moved onto a small lifestyle block (which is rented) but has provided us with the perfect oppurtunity to start us on our path. Our little property has an acre paddock for grazing but is currently being occupied by only our flock of chickens made up of 2 roosters and 17 hens. It is Autumn here in New Zealand which, as any other chicken owner will know, is moulting season. This means that the half of my flock which are of laying age are currently walking around looking like they have been attacked with a pair of scissors. This also means no eggs from them until they grow in all of their new feathers. At the moment, I am lucky to get 3 or 4 eggs a day from our new layers. Once spring arrives we hope to have enough eggs daily to be able to sell them at the gate. Eventually we will invest in a new coop to house more hens which means more eggs and more baby chicks!

Another one of the things I love about spring is watching all of the baby animals being born. Unfortunately for us, we don't really have any animals yet, apart from the chickens, and a cat called Lulu who won't be providing us with any babies but has been providing us with little mouse presents on our doorstep on a regular basis. Good girl.

In addition to our flock of laying hens we also have 4 fluffy Silkies who the children love to cuddle to death (not literally) and 11 little 4 month old Pekin Bantams, which are coloured Blue, Black, Splash and Mottle. I'm hoping they will be good enough to breed from in the near future but for now "The little flock" as I like to think of them, are happy running around our back section where they feel safe from those big mean hens down in the paddock who could squash them with one foot.

When we have saved up enough we will be buying a few sheep and goats to graze and raise for milk and meat. The goats will provide us with the milk and also keep the nasty weeds and thistles down in the paddock.

Our little property also has a total of four gardens of varying sizes but only two of these are in use at the moment as the colder seasons mean less sun and less daylight hours. When we first moved in here 6 weeks ago, the gardens were a mess and completely overgrown with weeds. I have cleared out the biggest garden and planted some Brassicas and, as a last ditch effort to save them from being wasted, I planted out my crop of Red Rascal Potatoes which have been sitting since summer waiting for a home. I have probably left it too late but consider this as my first experiment! They have had a bit of a shaky start already. As soon as I planted them, it started to rain. I thought, ok this is fine, I won't have to water them for a few days. But the rain turned into a heavy downpour which lasted for a week and caused some serious flood damage to surrounding areas. We are lucky that our house is on a hill so we didn't suffer any damage but it will be interesting to see if the potatoes survived the shock of being nearly drowned. In another garden which is a raised bed, I have planted Mesclun, Rainbow Silverbeet, Asian Stir Fry mix and Purple Carrots. This was intended as a fun garden for the kids but I think the carrot seedlings are none too happy about the wet weather we just had as half of them have disappeared. I have a few bean seedlings which germinated a week ago and are growing at a very fast rate. If all goes well I will be able to plant them out in a few more weeks and, hopefully, get a harvest out of them before winter sets in. I am also about to plant some heirloom seeds into seed trays and germinate them in the hot water cupboard covered with plastic wrap. Sounds tacky but is actually very effective if you don't have the right weather or equipment. I purchased some Land Cress seeds which is like Watercress but, obviously, can be grown on land instead of in water. I actually did successfully grow watercress in dirt but will save that story for another topic. I also purchased some Giant Leeks, and Onion seeds. I decided to keep to all year round varieties for now that will tolerate the weather. Here is a link to the website of the lovely lady who I purchased the seeds from. http://www.howtogarden.co.nz/ I intend to buy a lot more seeds off her in the future and she has a wonderful collection which I encourage you to have a look at if you are looking at starting your own garden or just want to add more to it.

Well, I could go on for hours but this page is probably long enough already! I look forward to hearing any feedback or comments you may have about improving the page or just sharing tips in general. Happy reading!