Raise

On my priority list, work, cooking and gardening all sit well below raising my two gorgeous young sons, Henry and Hugo. But really this page is about raising animals, not kids.

At this stage, our domestic animals consist largely of our flock of 13 beautiful heritage breed hens, which include Barnevelder, Light Sussex, Dorking, Plymouth Rock, Silkie, Araucana and a few mixed breeds out of my favourite (now deceased) Silver Spangled Hamburg rooster, Dirk.

Of course, my dear old Labrador, Zen, is a permanent fixture around the place as are the mob of kangaroos that live in the bush reserve next door. The wow factor that international visitors feel when they see kangaroos so up close and personal is not how I would describe my feeling when they use my vegetable garden as their own private salad bar, along with the rabbits and bandicoots that scurry through the undergrowth.

I would love to add bees to the menagerie sometime soon and I lust after a Flow Hive. But unfortunately, it’s not high enough on the financial priority list at the moment.

We are lucky here at Edgefield to also have the most incredible wild birdlife. Endangered Carnaby cockatoos and their more common but equally delightful red-tailed cockatoos are regular visitors. So too are kookaburras, crows, willy wagtails, blue wrens, butcher birds and numerous others (I’m no ornithologist). Ubiquitous as they are, the curious magpie is a source of great delight, especially when they’re nesting in late winter/early spring and warbling all through the night or following in my wake as I dig in the garden to wrest bugs and worms from the newly turned soil.