Patra's Other Place

I started out with Patra's Place, primarily dedicated to my linen collection and stitching projects. But I kept getting side-tracked, so I decided to create Patra's Other Place for anything not related to embroidery topics. So you now have a choice. If you are interested in me, read this. If you only want to see my linen and stitching, visit Patra's (original) Place! (Please note that by clicking on any of the photos, they will be enlarged to fill your computer screen.)

My Photo
Location: Melbourne, Vic., Australia

I am married to Ken. We have no children except a cat and a collection of Australian parrots, finches, canaries and a dozen hens.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Finished chook house, with bunting to announce Grand Opening!   Still got a sign to paint, but we can't make up our minds what to call it.  Lots of good names on the internet: Cluckingham Palace, BuckingHEN Palace, Chook Manor, KFC Halfway House, Fowlty Towers, The Colonel's (Sanders) Castle, The Rooster's Residence and Hen House, and so on..

The Bed room aka chicken coop.  On the right is the nest box which can be accessed from the front for us to take the eggs, instead of having to go inside the pen to get them.

Taken from behind the coop, showing the top of the pen, which lets the light and rain in as well as protecting the chooks from any predators.  Lots of straw and rocks for them to scratch around and find insects.

I made the bunting from scraps of chicken themed fabrics.

You can see how big the chook house is in comparison to the finch aviaries over in the corner of the yard.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Major addition to our back yard.

We have been talking for a few years about having a separate pen for our chooks, and we've had many quotes, both verbal and written, most of them about $1000.  But we ended up choosing a local man who specialises in building custom chooks houses and pens to suit individual backyards.  We found him online and after looking at the gallery on his website and seeing what he has done, we decided that he would be the best one to do the job, even if he is $3000 more expensive than anyone else!

Here is the top end of our back yard.  By top end, I mean the very back of it, which is the highest point on our sloping block of land. These were taken two days ago before Greg started work on the chook house.
The photo below looking up at the existing aviaries was taken standing behind the house which is on a much lower level as you can see.

Nothing, absolutely NOTHING grows in this dust bowl.  The slim tree trunk in the middle of the picture is a loquat tree that should have grown twice this size in the 40 years that it has been here, but the poor soil has kept it from growing faster.  There are a couple of native grass shrubs further along, which survive just about anywhere.

Looking at the same patch from the other end, toward the aviaries.

Greg and Craig started work on Wednesday, preparing the posts and groundwork for the pen.  They constructed the frames at their workshop and brought them here on the back of his truck.

Today, they finished erecting the frames, and added the wire over the top of the complete pen.
 The section in the middle will be the chook house, with a metal roof, and wood panels on all sides except the east which will have wire panels to let in morning daylight.  The door will be at the back (north side), and the nest box will be facing the yard, so we can take the eggs without having to go inside the pen.

Ralph and his girls inspecting the ground work. "Is this all going to be OUR place? - Wow!"

Ken checking the enclosure out with the chooks having lost interest and gone to grassier pastures!

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Nostalgic trip for Ken.

Ken has never forgotten being taken on picnics with his family as an 8 year old boy, with his little sister.  They often went to New Gisborne which is about an hour's drive from Melbourne these days, but 60 years ago it would have taken a lot longer, with no free ways and many unmade roads.  The picnic ground they used to go to is still there, and today we drove up there, as Ken wanted to try and find an old house he remembered playing in as a child.
It was a perfect day for a drive into the country.  We stopped at the Gisborne township for lunch - chips for him and French toast for me.
Further along the street I found a shoe shop that was selling the same shoes that I recently bought in Eltham, but for $10 cheaper!  So I bought another two pairs - they are so comfortable, and as I was already wearing red clothes, I left the red shoes on all day, and I could have kept them on indefinitely!

 After that nice little interlude, we drove out of Gisborne and found the park that Ken's family used to visit all those years ago.

Here is Ken walking along the road, immersed in his memories. He learned to ride a bicycle here, and saw his very first platypus in the creek.
We drove for miles along these roads, seeing no other cars and very few houses.  It was so quiet and peaceful.  Every so often we would stop and I'd take a couple of photos, like these, which don't do the views justice.

 I leaned on this gate to have my photo taken, and Ken was going to pose for me, leaning against the fence adjoining it, but....
He only got a small zap, but I got a bigger fright, wondering if his ICD (defibrillator) would react!  He seems okay, but it will be interesting to see if anything shows up next time he goes to the Austin hospital for his regular check up!
He couldn't find the house he was looking for, so we went back to Gisborne and checked out their library.  We were introduced to the ladies of the local historical society, who were very interested to hear about Ken's childhood experiences.  They sent us around the corner to the local newspaper office where there were three more people who knew even more about the local history, and they knew the house that Ken was talking about.  It was actually the first house built in that area, in 1864, and several generations of the original family lived there, but as the older family members died and the younger ones moved away, the house was left to rot, and was eventually demolished and the land sold.   When Ken first saw it, it was empty, but still in good condition, but on subsequent visits, he remembers seeing it vandalised and falling down, and that was why he was keen to find out the story behind it.

Gisborne is just one of many little country towns around Victoria that has a lot of history attached to it.  I know what Australians call history is laughable compared to England, Europe and Asian countries, but it's our history and we are proud of it!
This court house was built in 1856 and is well preserved, as is the little bluestone jail behind it.

We are planning to make the most of Melbourne's glorious spring days and go on more of these day trips.  One of the best things about being retired!

adopt your own virtual pet!