Lifeboat Farm

First Carrots
April 27, 2008, 3:53 pm
Filed under: Food, Garden

And not forgetting the spring onions. Our garden just got a little more useful with the first carrots of the season. There are plenty more to come and some purple heirloom varieties will be ready soon too.


Chickenopolis is Open
April 25, 2008, 3:59 pm
Filed under: Building, Food, Menagerie

Our new laying hens arrived last week so I spent a few days building them a new house and enclosure. They seem to like their new accommodation and hopefully their appreciation will be in the form of lots of eggs.

I designed the house to be made from 4 sheets of 15mm plywood and there were only a few scraps left over. The legs allow the chickens to shelter underneath from sun or rain and will hopefully stop any rats setting up house under the coop. The front opens right out for easy cleaning and the nesting boxes at the back are accessible from outside the fence. Hopefully it will be easy to grab eggs each morning without disturbing the chickens. The disabled access ramp is for our dodgy old rooster who limps a bit. The battens on the ply were a bit of an afterthought – I put a couple on to cover joins, then had to keep going to make it all match. A coat of stain to protect the wood, and it was done.

The final touch will be some green roof paint to match the house and shed (luckily the previous owners left some behind).

First Snow on the Ranges
April 21, 2008, 4:00 pm
Filed under: Weather

Woke up this morning to see snow on the Tararua Range (that explains the 3 degree temp). Winter feels just around the corner.

Hi Dave!
April 21, 2008, 3:40 pm
Filed under: The House


Darina’s Quick Soda Bread
April 19, 2008, 4:02 pm
Filed under: Food, Recipes

So my favourite cooking book in the world is Stephanie Alexander’s Cook’s Companion – if you only ever buy one cookbook, this is it, seriously. I’ve just discovered a recipe for soda bread that’s quick and easy, but still delicious.

Stephanie credits Darina Allen for the recipe, so I’ll credit them both here.

Darina’s quick soda bread

450g white flour (or a mix of white and wholemeal flour)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)

350ml buttermilk

extra flour and buttermilk

Preheat oven to 230 degrees C. Sift flour salt and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the buttermilk. Using one hand, mix quickly to a softish dough. Tip onto a floured board. Wash and dry your hands (they will be very messy from the mixing) and then knead dough briefly to shape and neaten loaf into a round. Flip onto a heavy baking dish and pat into shape. Darina cuts a cross about 2cm deep across the top of the loaf to let the fairies out but it also helps it expand and cook evenly.

Brush the top with the extra buttermilk and sprinkle with flour.

Bake for 15 minutes at 230 then reduce the heat to 200 degrees for another 20 minutes. You can test by tapping the bottom of the loaf – if it sounds hollow it’s done.

I’m not sure how long it keeps for because ours seldom last long enough to get cool from the oven. I did manage to save some once until the next day and it toasted beautifully.

I thought all Irish people (like Darina) were born with the ability to make soda bread but I’ve posted this for a certain Irish friend that needs to know the recipe….something about coals to Newcastle springs to Niall?

Garden Update
April 7, 2008, 4:03 pm
Filed under: Garden

The garden is doing well and with recent rain I’m not having to water quite so much. We’ve been harvesting spinach, lettuce, beetroot and lots of herbs. The carrots and corn are almost ready to pick and I’ve just planted onions in the near garden.