New Ducklings, Refinishing Furniture, and Glorious Autumn

muscovy ducklings

It has been a wonderful holiday here on the farm. Two whole weeks of lazy breakfasts, leisurely cuppas, and oodles of time to tackle fun projects.

It is well and truly Autumn in Queensland now, and I love it!!! Mornings are chilly and require flannels and cozy blankets with my cuppa. We’ve had a lot of storms and blustery days punctuated by sunshiny days so gorgeous I can hardly stand it.

I do love it here.

autumn berries

We were surprised one morning by five new baby Muscovy ducklings peeping from behind an old bicycle in the shed. They are unusual with their little brown heads, and absolutely adorable. Their mama is fantastic, very protective of her little brood, keeping them safe from marauding magpies and naughty goats who think it’s grand fun to stand on top of their pen. They were already swimming by Day Two and are growing so fast.

muscovy ducklings

In addition to a bunch of fun medieval projects (click here to see some of them) we also been working on a few just for us.

Bear has been waxing bow strings and collecting the accoutrements we need for our new hobby of archery. We have such fun practicing together and with good friends here on the farm, aiming for hay bales and actually hitting them now and then. 😉

I’ve been working on transforming old furniture we’ve collected on forays to dump shops and thrift stores. I love old wooden chairs, and I’ve been turning rather grotty ones into delightfully cheery ones with coats of glossy enamel paint in vivid colors. I’m particularly fond of this bright orange one. It makes me happy every time I see it.

one orange chair

Tomorrow we leave our happy holidays behind and embrace the new term feeling strengthened, refreshed, and restored.

What fun things have you been working on lately?

Muscovy Ducklings, Purple Beans and Homemade Cabbage Moth Spray

Muscovy ducklings

It’s been a piping hot summer holiday here on our Australian goat farm. Particularly the last week or so as record heat waves have simmered across the land, scorching plants and people alike.

We’ve been guzzling mango juice mixed with soda water and innumerable grape and blackcurrant popsicles (or ice blocks, as Aussies call them).

We are so thankful for a bit of a reprieve last night with s smidgen of rain and some wonderfully cooling winds.

We’ve welcomed some new critters to our farm family this week and they are beauties. 🙂

The arrival of four female geese – Sister Mary Kate, Gertrude, Annabelle and Anika – have caused no end of delight for our sole gander, Gus.

Our new Muscovy drake and his three ladies are producing big, gorgeous duck eggs by the basket full!!

But our favorites are definitely the Muscovy ducklings who are so cute and gentle I can hardly stand it. 🙂 They’re getting braver and bigger by the day, thoroughly enjoying swimming in their little pool on these wicked hot days.

Muscovy ducklings

My garden has grown like mad and, quite honestly, out of control. So I went through it this week and pulled plants out left and right. They’d grown so big so fast that although they were producing peas, tomatoes, and beans, they weren’t ripening properly and had to be thinned.

It made a huge difference and we’re finally getting gorgeously ripe heirloom tomatoes, delectable strawberries, and heaps of vivid purple bush beans. Hooray!

purple beans

The flourishing veggie garden has provided a haven for cabbage moths, and they’ve been reeking havoc with my Tuscan Kale, Silverbeet and Broccoli.

Unwilling to cover my organic veggies with chemical sprays, I researched options for homemade sprays. Garlic and oil are essential parts of a good homemade cabbage moth spray, so that’s where I started.

I poured a cup of vegetable oil into a blender, added two broken up heads of garlic and whizzed them together into a thick, oily paste. I let the mixture sit for two days then strained it, tossing the pulp and saving the garlicky oil.

homemade cabbage moth spray

I filled a spray bottle with lukewarm water, added a few tsp of the oil, a few drops of liquid dish soap and sprayed it all over the leaves of my kale, silverbeet, cauliflower, kohlrabi and broccoli.

So far it seems to be working well. The cabbage moths are fewer and they have moved on to other non-sprayed plants. Looks like I’ll need to spray them soon as well. 🙂 I also read that since tomatoes are naturally pest resistant, grinding up the leaves with the spray add a dimension of strength for keeping the moths at bay. I will try that with my next batch.

Do you have any tried and true tricks for keeping pests out of your garden?

Homemade Cabbage Moth Spray


2 heads of garlic, broken up but not peeled
1 cup vegetable oil
3-4 drops of liquid dish soap
3-4 cups warm water


  1. Add garlic and vegetable oil to blender. Whiz until it is an oily paste.
  2. Pour into small bowl, cover, and let sit at room temperature for 1-2 days.
  3. Strain, discard pulp, reserve oil.
  4. Fill water bottle with warm water, add 2-3 tsp of oil and 3-4 drops of liquid soap. Shake gently to combine.
  5. Spray on leaves of plants, shaking regularly to keep mixture mixed.