Chicken husbandry 101

So I bought 8 point of lay pullets, and they were all starting to lay, one by one. We were getting plenty of eggs every day. Life was good.

And went broody.

For those of you who don't know, broody is the term for a hen who wants to sit on eggs and incubate them. She refuses to leave the nest, except once or twice a day to eat, drink, and poop. She will sit on any eggs she can find. She can get really aggressive about it too, pecking anyone who comes near her. She doesn't make her normal clucking noises; rather she makes broody hen noises and puffs up her feathers anytime someone comes near her.

The broody hen will normally take the favourite nest box and set herself up there, which disrupts the other hens when they want to go lay in the favourite box. Broody hens also don't lay eggs while they're broody. So someone with a backyard flock who just wants the chickens for the eggs, this can be kind of a pain in the neck.

Three hens trying to crowd into the same half of the nest box

So as I said, one of ours went broody (our Birchen Orpington). I wasn't sure if I wanted to break her broodiness, or let her sit on some fertile eggs (since we don't have a rooster, none of ours would ever hatch into anything except a smelly mess). After thinking about it for a few days, and asking what the kids thought (mainly Chuckie since he has the most to do with the chickens), I decided to get some fertile eggs and let her hatch them. I figured even if most of them ended up being roosters, I could probably still sell them since the eggs were a mixed set of heritage breeds (translation: purebred).

Okay. So I've got the broody chicken, I've got the fertile eggs, I've got a second small chicken coop that I can use as a brooder. No worries, right?

Hahahahaha. How naive I was.

I set up the other coop with a nice nest box, food, water, a perch for later on, and I put the eggs in the nest box. Then I grabbed the broody hen (Flame) and put her in there. She was NOT impressed. She kept clucking the alarm noise as if she was in danger. She wouldn't sit on the eggs in the nest. She just wanted out. So after about an hour, I gave up and let her out. I put an X on each of the fertile eggs, put them back in the normal coop, and let her go back to them.

I think my mistake with this was doing it in the middle of the day. I should have done it after dark, when the chickens are asleep and almost totally out of it. I might have succeeded if I'd moved her at night.

But anyway. Two weeks go by, and apart from having to look at each of the eggs every day to work out if it's a new one or a fertile one, things go fairly smoothly. Although Chuckie and I did each crack one by snooping too much. Flame did kick a few out of the nest, whether by accident or because she knew they were no good, I don't know. I candled them around day 17 and whatever wasn't developed enough, I buried in my garden.

So we were down to about half the eggs we started with, and then Buffy, our buff Orpington, went broody. So she and Flame were both trying to sit on the eggs, and I think either Flame gave up on trying to take them back from Buffy, or Flame's broody cycle was over anyway, and Buffy continued sitting on the eggs.

So. Once again, I decided it would probably be better for the mum and her chicks to have their own space. This is what almost every chicken book, expert, and website will tell you. "If you don't keep the mum and chicks separate from the other chickens, they might kill the chicks." So that's what I decided to do. Only this time, I decided I'd move them at night and avoid all the stress of the first time.

After dark one night (and I'm pretty sure this was before day 17, for any chicken keepers about to tell me off for moving them after day 17), I moved Buffy and the remaining eggs into the other coop. I set her on the nest, and assumed that she'd just sit on them all night without issue.

Hahahahaha. How naive I was.

(Aside: that's the second time I've typed that line, and both times I tried to spell 'naive' with an extra E. Go figure.)

When I went out in the morning, Buffy was clucking the alarm. She was off the nest. I checked the eggs and they felt cold. Oh crap.

I decided to put the eggs back in the original nest box, and let her go back to them there. I didn't have high hopes of them hatching after having gotten so cold, and it wasn't a warm night (this was in October when it was still pretty cold). But I thought we'd give them a chance and see what happened. Maybe some of them were still ok.

This was while Chuckie was away at camp for a few days, so I had to tell him when he got home what had happened and that we might not get any chicks. But this is the reason they say "don't count your chickens before they're hatched." Lots of things can happen. And even after they've hatched, something can still go wrong that's totally out of your control.

The rest of the incubation period proceeded without drama. Monday morning on the 17th of October, I checked on them when I let the chickens out for the day, and I saw a little yellow head.

I picked up Buffy to see if anything else was happening under her, and there was another darker chick with the yellow one.

Baby chicks do do do do do do

There were still two more eggs at this point that hadn't hatched. Later when I cleaned out the nest box, after Buffy took the chicks out in the run, I found evidence of a third egg that may have hatched and the chick died. Or an egg with a dead chick inside it that had cracked. Not sure, but hey, at least we got two chicks! The unhatched eggs went in my tomato bed. The chicks are 12 weeks old as of yesterday, and we're fairly sure the darker one (turned out to be a silver laced Wyandotte) is a boy, and the yellow one (another buff Orpington) is a girl.

Ben, Jeff (or Minnie), and Buffy

And that whole caution against having chicks in with the adult chickens? At least in our experience, if they're with the mum, the other chickens don't mess with the babies. They know better. We never had any issues. In fact, I saw Buffy peck the chicks more than I saw the other chickens peck them!

But wait! There's more!

Because we don't just have two hens. We have eight. You've only heard about the first two going broody.

I can't remember when, or in what order, but we've also had our Sussex (Eggwene, named after Egwene in the Wheel of Time series - not the pathetic excuse for a TV show, but the actual books) and our Plymouth Rock (Marty) go broody. I put them each in broody jail - in a coop with food, water, perch, no nest - to break their broodiness. Marty took two days. Eggwene took a few more, but I don't remember how many total. Things were ok for a while, and I hoped we were over the broodiness.

And then...yeah, if you've kept chickens, you know what happened next.

All three of the hens who had gone broody before, and not hatched eggs, went broody again. AT THE SAME TIME.

By this time I'd built a new chicken coop with three nest boxes, so quite often all three would be filled up with broody chickens AND other hens trying to lay eggs. And the chicks were still trying to nest some nights, though we were trying to get them to perch by this time.

So we just let them do their thing for a little while, but eggs were getting broken, and the first lot of chicks were grown up enough to be perching, so why not have another go at hatching chicks?

Glutton for punishment.

I bought a dozen fertile eggs from my friend, and moved two of my three broodies into the original coop, because it's not a bad setup to be a brooder. The nest box is nice and dark and quiet, there's enough perches for a mum and several babies, and room for food and water as well. And the other chickens can see them through the chicken wire so they're not total newcomers when they come out into the run with everyone else.

Things went ok for the first two weeks. And then it was starting to look like Marty had gone off her broodiness. So I let her out, and moved Eggwene in. This would prove to be a fatal mistake.

Eggwene is probably the top of our flock's pecking order. So when she appeared on the scene, she decided to take over the eggs that Flame had been sitting on for two weeks. And one day when we went to the run, we saw 6 eggs just sitting on the ground out in the middle of the run. No idea how long they'd been there. But what had happened is that part of the bottom of the nest box had fallen out, and the eggs had fallen out as well. But we had more than 6 eggs...I think I'd had to get rid of two after I candled them, so we should have found 4 more. But there was no trace of them, or any broken shells, or anything. It wasn't a really hot day either, so I don't think a snake took them. They were just...gone.

One of the remaining 6 was cracked, so I put that one in the garden. The last 5 I left in the nest box. And they continued to fight over them. This was when I finally realised that their fighting over the eggs was causing problems. Why didn't I do anything then? Complicated. I could have put one in broody jail and left the other to sit on the eggs, but I only have two feeders and three coops. I'm also cheap and didn't want to go buy a third feeder just to break a broody hen. And it was close enough to the end of the incubation period that I thought it probably wasn't worth doing anything just then anyway.

But I probably should have. Because a few days later, the rest of the eggs got cracked when the bottom fell out of the nest box again, and that was that. I had Chuckie bury the eggs in the garden, and later that day I found a dead baby chick in the run.

Flame got over her broodiness in all the stress over fighting with Eggwene. Eggwene is still broody and in broody jail now. I will not be trying to hatch any more chicks this summer. And if I do next year, Flame won't get to be mummy. Twice now she's given up her eggs to another hen and it's caused issues.

And I need to fix that nest box in the brooder. The bottom is meant to come out in two parts for cleaning, but after having 8 chickens in that coop for several months, it's falling apart. I'll at least need to reinforce it before I let a big hen in there again to raise babies.

It's been a minute.

Yep. So the last you probably saw from me was on July 4th. It's 6 months later. Over the last 6 months, I haven't been posting because we've been (slowly) migrating my website from WordPress to Serendipity. We were having a lot of problems with the database crashing, and Darrin was sick of running mySQL because he hates it, so he found Serendipity, I tried it out, and decided yep, we'll switch it over.

This wasn't without its own share of problems, however. It took a bit of digging and code cracking, but we (and by we I mean Darrin) finally got it working how it should be.

I'll post more about the last 6 months separately. Most of the topics really deserve their own posts. But in a nutshell, we're all well, and things are going fairly smoothly around here.

So I've been researching canning methods.

Source: unknown. Please let me know if you know who created it.

I believe it started a couple of years ago, when The Virus Which Must Not Be Named was first being talked about. I thought about doing some canning and preserving, and wondered if it's possible to can meat. And I decided it must be, because you can buy things like chicken and tuna and Spam in a can, and it's perfectly fine to eat. So I think I did a Google search or two and found out about pressure canning.

And then I looked up pressure canners in Australia, and instantly regretted it. Ouch. That's a huge expense for someone who doesn't even know if they want to do it! I wonder if I could borrow one from a friend. Who do I know who might have a pressure canner? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

So I gave up on that idea for a while. And every now and then, I'd think about it again. Because you never know when the power will go out for an extended period of time and freezers will fail. I didn't want to have to cook up a bunch of meat all at once to make sure it didn't spoil, and hope we could get through it before we had to throw it out.

A couple of weeks ago, in Dr. Berry's Patreon group, he posted a link to a YouTube video about canning meat. I think that video mostly talked about doing it in a pressure canner (of course), but in the video they talked about another video where you DON'T need a pressure canner to do it (say, if the power goes out, and you have to cook up a bunch of meat quickly so it doesn't spoil). So instead of watching the original video, I watched that one. And I found one about Amish canning methods, which is water bath for everything, even meat.

So yeah, you could say I question the official guidelines for pressure canning non-acidic foods. I'm not saying you shouldn't, I'm just thinking...I need more information.

I did some research today, and found out a few things, and came up with more questions. First, what I know or found out recently.

1. The Amish use water bath for everything.
2. Before 1980, everyone used water bath for everything.
3. Botulism is fatal in 5-10% of cases.
4. Honey isn't recommended for infants under 12 months because of the risk of botulism. After 12 months, they develop resistance to it.
5. I asked my mom if anyone she knew ever canned meat, and she said my grandma canned chicken once when she was a kid.
6. Botulism spores are not killed by boiling water. You need to get it to 250F (about 120C) to kill it.
7. You have to have just the right conditions for botulism to be there in the first place, and then reproduce, so it's actually pretty rare.
8. Botulinum toxin is found in soil, and it's most common for intravenous drug users to become sick from it.
9. Botulinum toxin needs an anaerobic environment (no oxygen) and warm conditions to grow.
10. A lot of places in the world, water bath canning is the only method they have.

Now the questions.

1. Regarding #4 above, if infants develop a resistance to botulism by 12 months (or thereabouts, obviously everyone is different, it could be earlier or later), wouldn't they also be resistant to it in canned food?
2. Was water bath canning always as 'dangerous' as the authorities tell us it is now? Or did people just have better immune systems to handle it? How many of us have healthy immune systems now?
3. Regarding #8 above, if it's found in soil, then wouldn't cleaning your food really well before canning mitigate the risk somewhat?
4. Regarding #3 and #7 above, if it's so rare, and only 5-10% die from it, is it really worth all the fuss making sure people buy expensive pressure canners to can their non-acidic foods?
5. Couldn't you just add some acid to food to make it more acidic?
6. Is our industrial food production part of the problem? Does this make botulism more prevalent, using modern pesticides, herbicides, and factory farming procedures, and thus necessitate pressure canning of certain foods that are grown/raised this way? Would fully organic fruit & vegetables, and pasture raised meat be less prone to these problems?

It seems to me that if you keep all the food really clean, cook it hot enough and long enough, make sure your jars are clean and undamaged, make sure your lids are clean and seal properly, and do the water bathing properly, and then store it correctly after it's preserved, that should minimise the risk of most toxins.

There's still a lot that I don't know, and I'm not advocating one way or the other. I just think there needs to be more open discussion of this topic, rather than one group of people shutting down the other group of people just for thinking differently.

Happy Fourths-giving

Independence Day. Usually full of barbecues, fireworks, and other summery things. When you're a Yank down under, however, it's a little bit chilly for things like that.

And then there's Thanksgiving. Turkey, dressing, pumpkin pie, lots of hot comfort food. But it's regularly on the verge of stinking hot near the end of November, so it's the last thing on our minds.

So a few years ago, I decided to swap them. I'll still buy a turkey in November or December when they're in supermarkets, but said turkey will stay in my freezer till July. When it's winter, and cold, and we naturally want hot comfort food.

So happy Fourths-giving. May we all remember to be thankful for what we have - especially the sacrifice that many made to bring forth a new nation, dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, and are endowed with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Six months worth of life updates

So I decided it was finally time to post again and let people know what's going on in our lives. And I looked at the last post and it was...January. Holy moly. There's SIX MONTHS of updates to write about.

Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

House stuff

Not long after my last post, our old house was demolished. Just an empty block. I drove past there the other day, and it looks like both halves have now been sold (the for sale sign was gone), and there's work happening on one of the new blocks.

The new evaporative air conditioning system we had put in works GREAT. We did have to get the touch screen controller replaced, but that was covered under warranty. We're pretty sure the controller had been dodgy from the start, because it never really worked all that well, and then after the power went out one day, about a third of it was just dead. Fortunately it was at the end of the season when we'd need cooling, so it's not like we were really struggling.

Middle of May, we had our shed delivered in pieces. The company who make them don't install them anymore, so I had to hunt around for someone who was available to put it together for us. That took a while because everyone's busy, and it's winter so it's cold and wet. But finally we got an installation date, and they came and did it, and yay we have a shed!

[caption width="2560"]Shed![/caption]

We had power installed last week, but we're still waiting on the concrete slab to get poured so we can start using it properly. That happens tomorrow.

When the shed is finished, we'll put our chest freezer out there, and get some nice sturdy shelving, and move a bunch of stuff from Chuckie's room onto the shelves. We'll also be able to get a 4x4 set of cube shelves where the chest freezer is now (in the dining room), and use half of it for school stuff, and the other half for board games. (Most of our board games are still in boxes in Chuckie's room). There's a few other boxes of stuff in other rooms that we'll move to the shed as well.

We had a split system air conditioner put in the kitchen/dining area, because it's the biggest room, so really too big for one of those fin heaters to work well (like we've got in every other room in the house). It's pretty awesome.

Life in general

I don't think I mentioned this on the blog at all, but as of the 4th of January, our ridiculous state government decided that all passenger transport workers had to be jabbed to keep their jobs. Darrin was not, and is not, and will not be, so he wasn't able to work, even though the boss didn't care if he was jabbed, and probably most of his passengers wouldn't have cared either. So this persisted until this direction was repealed on April 1. He's been back at work since then.

So my message to you, if you're facing a similar situation: STAND YOUR GROUND. You don't have to succumb if you don't want to. They WILL eventually remove that requirement, because every industry who's mandated it has had it repealed because they don't have enough workers! Don't have savings to get you by? Do whatever you can for income in the meantime - babysit, Uber Eats/DoorDash, deliver pizzas, walk dogs, whatever can get you by. And then, when you get your job back, save up an emergency fund, because something WILL happen again where you need a big chunk of money all of a sudden. Life happens and it's best to be prepared.

And that kind of leads into my next topic, where in the second week of the April school holidays, we all came down with The Virus Which Must Not Be Named. And yeah, yeah, fine, it's the weakest variant that's been out there since the beginning, blah blah blah, but what a wussy virus. We were tired for a couple of days then we were fine.

[caption width="2560"]Two sick boys having a rare afternoon nap[/caption]

And honestly? I'd rather have that again, even every year, than have gastro EVER AGAIN IN MY LIFE.

I had my birthday in January, and Darrin took the kids out for the afternoon so I could be home ALONE. Then the next week Darrin had his 50th birthday, and we stayed home to have chicken & chips. Caleb turned 15 in March. I can't remember what we did for his birthday. Maybe we ordered pizza.

We're still homeschooling, and in fact just had an extension on our government approval, so we're good till the end of June next year.

I had to dig my passport out for something in the middle of May, and I saw the expiration date. YIKES! It was a month away. So in the next 24 hours, I collected all the documentation I needed and sent off a renewal application. I got my new passport a few days after my old one would have expired.

Elijah (3) has moved from our bedroom into a room with his big brother Micah (5). They have the biggest bedroom.

The younger 3 kids and I have started going to a Bible study, which is actually held at our church. We're actually on a break now and starting a new subject in August.


We have chickens! It was a bit sooner than I was planning to get them, but we brought home 5 pullets (female chickens under 1 year old) at the end of February. We were meant to get 6, but the lady I got them from (who had to travel up from Mt. Gambier, several hours' drive away) said her partner forgot to load one up. So they brought the last one up about 6 weeks later.

And started laying. The Barnevelder. The smallest one. Which was a surprise, but a welcome one.

[caption width="1920"]The first egg we got from our flock, which I put in my pocket and forgot about until I squished it against something.[/caption]

And then...our black Orpington started to look bigger than the rest. And she was definitely in charge. And her tail feathers looked like...not a pullet.

And then he started crowing. At 5:30 in the morning. In the suburbs.

So I put a call out on one of the local poultry groups on Facebook, and a lady from out in the country came to pick him up. I saw her again last week and she says he's doing well. Yay.

So we had 5 chickens again for a few weeks. And then yesterday, I got a message from the lady I got them from saying they were coming up TODAY for a poultry sale, and she could bring up my replacement black Orpington. So I asked her for a couple more along with her, and now we have 8 chickens.

In addition to the Barnevelder, two of my Orpingtons are laying periodically. We're generally getting 2 eggs a day at the moment, sometimes 3.


I've got veggie beds! And 7 fruit trees! And blueberry bushes! And a little greenhouse! And...BLACKCAP SEEDS! I'm really excited about that last one. I grew up picking them and eating them when I was a kid, and I've never seen seeds for them here. Then one night, I was Googling stuff on my phone in bed, and I found them. So I ordered some, and got them last week. Just need to work out where I can plant them.

So at the moment, I've got one bed strawberries, one bed peas, one bed broccoli & cauliflower, and the fourth bed is carrots, onions, garlic, lettuce, and parsley.

I've harvested 3 heads of broccoli and 1 head of cauliflower. The lettuce is big enough that I can grab a few leaves when I need them and leave the rest. Same with the parsley. I'm not sure how the carrots will do. I've never really had success with them before.

That's about all I can think of for now.

What a time it's bin.

So the three times I visited this house before we moved in, I didn't remember seeing any council bins (trash and recycling collection bins). I asked the agent if they would be ordered for us or if we'd have to do it ourselves. She said we'd have to do it. No worries.

So I filled out the online form asking for bins for a new property, because it was the best link I could find related to my request. They told me their records said the property already had bins, so check when I got here and if we didn't have any, they'd send them out. No worries.

So then we moved in, and there were no bins (as I suspected). I rang the waste management authority and asked to have some delivered. They said they'd be here later that week. No worries.

Thursday came and went, and no bins. I rang them again. They said we'd been given the wrong date, and now we wouldn't get bins till the 4th of January. Ugh. Well, ok, if we know they're coming then, we'll put up with it.

The 4th of January arrived. We were also getting our air conditioning installed that day so mostly focused on that. But by the time the guys left at 3 pm or so, we still didn't have bins. So I rang them again.

The response? "Your bins will be delivered on Thursday." That's it. No apology, just a statement, and they were on to the next caller.

Seriously?! This was the third date I'd been given. Every time the bins didn't arrive, and I rang up to find out where they were, and was told another date. I was over it. We had a dozen bags of trash in the back yard, and piles of recyclables. Some of it, like the cardboard, I could pack into the car and drop off. But the rest either wasn't drop off-able, or cost money to do it. It didn't seem right that I should have to pay to drop off a load of rubbish when THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO BRING THE BINS 2 WEEKS AGO!

So I wrote a nice long explanatory email to both the council AND the waste management company. I told them that we're a family of 6 who just moved in, had no bins, and the rubbish was piling up. And said that a drop off voucher would probably solve the problem.

A friend was nice enough to offer me space in her soccer club's bins, so we got rid of some of it that night. But that only took care of 4 bags. We still had another 10 or so in the back yard. And stuff was blowing across the yard too.

So the next day, I put all the cardboard I could into my car, along with my 10c returns, and dropped all those off. It helped a bit, but there were still the 10 bags of rubbish.

Later in the day I had a reply from the council stating that yes, my bins were on the roster for Thursday, and the manager had given permission for me to drop off a car boot load of rubbish. Yay.

So Thursday, Caleb and I dropped off 8 bags of rubbish at the waste transfer station. Conveniently this place is only 5 minutes away and basically on the way to anywhere we would need to go, so it's easy to take stuff in when we're going somewhere.

The rest of the rubbish went straight into the red rubbish bin when they were finally dropped off. And the recycling bin got filled right up too. Bin day here is Friday, so they've been emptied already and we've still got more to put in the recycling bin, but at least now we can manage it.

You don't tend to think about your bins that often, but believe me, you don't want to NOT have them!


Drove past today and took some pictures. Although the first one is from a couple weeks ago.

They've taken off all the fibro cladding (asbestos laced stuff that was popular at the time it was built) and if you look closely at the second and third photos, you can see bits of the back yard between the beams in the walls.

Yes, the whole back of the house was that cladding.

So now we're just sitting around waiting to see how long it is before they bring in the bulldozer and knock the rest of it down. I guess they'll probably get rid of the air conditioners and whatever else they can first (at least for the scrap metal if not to reuse).

Oh, and one other thing...

It's already for sale again!

That's if you want to buy just the block. The house and land packages are here and here.

The saga continues...

It's been a busy 19 days since I last blogged. Here's the scoop.

So the last time I blogged was Saturday the 11th of December. At this point, we had signed the contract to purchase the house in Davoren Park, and were waiting on the loan documents at the bank to be ready to sign.

Monday arrived and...nothing yet. By 3 pm, they still weren't ready, so the loan officer emailed and said he had requested to escalate the contracts to get them ready quicker. Bear in mind this was the 13th, and we were due to settle on the 17th. The housing trust had left us hanging long enough that we were getting worried whether our end of things would be ready in time. But they'd done all their stuff so it wasn't their problem anymore. Typical government...

Tuesday there were a few emails back and forth. and at about 1:30 pm I got the email that the contracts were ready, and when did we want to come in to sign them? Darrin was working, so we couldn't do it till Wednesday. So Wednesday at 3:30, we were there signing loan contracts and whatever other associated paperwork the bank wanted us to sign.

(By the way, just because I'm pedantic, I have to mention that we actually do our 'banking' at a credit union. Bank is just shorter to say.)

So all of that was done at our end. Just waiting left.

Friday morning, the skip (dumpster) arrived. I put a few things in it. I put a few things in my car that weren't accepted in the skip and took them to the 'waste transfer station' or, as I've been calling it with the kids, the dump. Even though it's a big building. It's where you dump stuff. So it's a dump.

Our settlements were scheduled for 12:30 pm, and our conveyancer handling all of it told me that if everyone signed off, it should be all done by 1 pm. Well, that time came and went, and we didn't hear anything. Darrin was working. He did get a call from the conveyancer just to confirm bank details (because we'd filled out all the paperwork online), but no confirmation that things had gone through.

Then at about 2:20 pm, I got a text from the agent responsible for the Davoren Park house. Several, in fact. She said that the funds transfer hadn't come through yet from the sale of our property. She said that if it didn't happen by 4:30 that day, the settlements would have to be delayed till the next week. And she also said that the people at the office at Playford Alive, where we were picking up the keys, had to leave at 2:30, so we wouldn't be able to get the keys that day after all, even if settlement did happen before close of business.


The plan had been to pack up the kids in the car, take over Christmas stuff and a few other things that we could unpack right away and/or would need right away. That plan quickly went down the toilet. My car was already packed with all that stuff. So it just sat in the driveway at Banks Street, waiting, like the rest of us.

It was also a stinking hot day, and our evaporative unit decided to play up again. So I had to turn on the refrigerated cooler in the lounge.

Waiting...waiting...ranting to my friends on Messenger that this was happening...

See, I did NOT expect the selling end to be the end that went wrong. That bit seemed to be all wrapped up and the people buying seemed eager to get going on things. If anything was going to go wrong, we thought it would be buying from the housing trust, because government departments do things on THEIR timetable, and if that doesn't work for you, well, that's just too bad.

It didn't make sense. And Darrin was working, and he said later that he'd been ready to punch something/someone, but he had to keep driving a bus! So much fun when you're agitated!

Then he got back to the depot, and walked in & said 'it still hasn't settled' and almost THE VERY NEXT SECOND the conveyancer rang him telling him the settlements were all finished. It was done. Hallelujah.

The plan for dinner had been to clean up whatever leftovers we had left so we didn't have to move them, but guess what? We totally ordered pizza that night.

Next morning, I dropped the little boys off at a friend's house, then came back to Banks Street and picked up Darrin to go pick up the truck. But that was delayed by an hour as well. So we left an hour later than we'd planned to.

See a pattern here?

Anyway. By the time I got back, a couple of Darrin's friends had turned up to help. We had HEAPS of people help out. We got almost everything moved in one day. There were just a few things we had to go back for over the next few days.

I picked up the keys at Playford Alive that afternoon at about 1. Drove straight to the new house and unlocked it. People turned up to unload stuff. I drove off to pick up little kids & came back. Caleb cooked sausages. Little kids had a bath. More unpacking. More unloading. More sore feet. But we slept here that night, albeit around boxes of stuff.

Our sale contract said that we had 1 week after settlement to get everything moved out and cleaned up. We finished that on the Tuesday, so 3 days early. Darrin worked Wednesday, so I went to hand over the keys on my own that morning.

On our next episode of The Smith Family Moves House, just how much does a family of 6 spend at Bunnings in their first two weeks after moving? The number may shock you! Or it may not if you've been there before. It's not a small number.

Moving week

So we've got a lot happening this week, even though school and all our activities have officially finished for the year.

Sunday there's church. There's also a rally I'm thinking about going to, but it's at the same time as church.

Monday, Darrin's work has a Christmas party that he might go to. I'm also getting a quote on ducted aircon in the new house. And hopefully we'll be able to go to the bank and sign all the paperwork at their end.

Tuesday, nothing as yet.

Wednesday, I'm taking the kids to see the chiro. Was meant to be last week, but they only booked me in instead of all the kids. So I dragged them all down there and found out oops, it's only you this time. They went back to sit in the car while I was on the table.

Also, our new neighbours in number 24 (on the other side of the shared wall) are settling on Wednesday.

Thursday, nothing yet.

Friday is gonna be a doozy. We're getting a 9 cubic metre skip dropped off. I also plan to go to Costco to get snacks & drinks for everyone who's helping us move on Saturday. In the afternoon, the plumber is coming to pick up the temporary hot water service. Sometime that day we'll be getting a text from the conveyancer telling us that the settlements have gone through, at which point I'll pretty much drop everything and go pick up the keys.

And then the fun starts.

For Friday, the plan is to take over the Christmas tree and decorations and set that up. I'll also fill up the rest of the back of my car with as much kitchen stuff as I can fit, and start putting that away at the new house. We'll all have showers or baths. Then we'll come back to Banks Street to spend our last night in this house.

Saturday I'm dropping the little boys off at a friend's house at 9. I'll probably pack up my car with more boxes for the kitchen and head over to the new house after. Darrin's (hopefully) picking up a moving truck at 10 to move the big heavy stuff (we're still waiting on confirmation that there's one available). And we have friends bringing trailers and muscles.

We'll feed everyone at the new house. Maybe we'll make Caleb cook sausages. Or maybe I'll get Costco pizzas on Friday and cook them in AN ACTUAL WORKING OVEN!

Anyway, we'll see what happens. Tuesday & Thursday I'll probably have the kids help me pick up EVERY LITTLE PIECE OF LEGO around the house and put it back where it belongs. Caleb may have to move out of his room and in with his brothers for the week so we can store stuff in his room.

And then on Sunday the 19th...yeah, none of us are getting to church that day.

You don't know what you got till it's gone.

This is a list of the little things I miss. Things that most people take for granted, and I did too, till I didn't have them anymore.

In no particular order.

Hot running water. Actually, this alone covers a LOT of things that we've had to put up with since September. Because the gas is out, we have a temporary electric hot water system hooked up instead of our usual one. The pressure from this thing is pathetic. Yes, that's partly because the hot water is (still) connected to a gravity system on the roof, so it has to go UP to the tank on the roof, then back DOWN into the pipes and taps. But while we did notice a difference in the pressure between the hot and cold water before, it was probably only a bit less than what you'd find in a more modern house without a gravity system. It was definitely usable. This...not so much. Showers work ok...if you turn the shower head to the setting where it's coming out the least amount of holes. takes about half an hour to fill up the sink with the hot tap.

And it won't even make its way out to the laundry room to do a wash in hot water. So everything's been getting washed in cold water...including everything from when we had gastro a month or so ago. I've been using a laundry sanitiser additive for the really gross stuff, and always make sure that stuff gets hung outside to get some fresh air & UV rays to kill off whatever it can. But I'm going to be so glad when I can do a hot wash again in a week and a half.

A proper stove and oven. We're making meal times work without one, but it's a huge headache. I'll be so glad when we have a working oven again. For the first time in years, I'm having eggs go off in the fridge because we're just not going through them quick enough. I didn't realise how often we used to have omelettes before the gas went out. That would use up an entire carton of eggs and then some (given the size of our family). And I can use my air fryer to make things like roast potatoes, cook chicken legs, etc., but the capacity is about half of what I can do on ONE tray in the oven. I've had to use my Thermomix to boil water for my tea in the morning, which means it pretty much always stays wet, and if I want to make something that requires the bowl to be dry...I either have to forego my morning cuppa, or get a nice clean tea towel and dry it out really really well.

Being able to plug all electrical devices DIRECTLY into a power point, and not through a shared extension cord with 2 other appliances. So yeah, this one's a major pet peeve at the moment. Ages ago, maybe a year ago, one of our electrical circuits just quit working entirely. Darrin got up in the roof and tried to work out which part of it was causing the problem, and eventually gave up in disgust because nothing made sense. So for that long, we've had an extension cord plugged into Caleb's room to power the washer & dryer in the next room. But it gets better. Because the air fryer (which is huge and really needs its own permanent spot) and microwave aren't plugged into anything permanently, so when we want to use one of those, we have to unplug the laundry and plug in whatever appliance we need. And if there's a load of washing going and you want to use the microwave? Too bad for you. Because it can't go on the only other available circuit, because of the hot water system plugged into it that pretty much takes up the entire circuit's load.

Our new house has FOUR DOUBLE POWER POINTS IN THE KITCHEN. This house has ONE and it doesn't even work anymore. You better believe both of those are getting their own permanent spot when we move.

Some of you may ask, "Why didn't you get these things fixed when they became a problem?" Well, because for at least 5 years now, we've been planning/hoping to knock down this house and rebuild. So we didn't want to spend money on fixes that were only for convenience. If it was a matter of safety, absolutely, we'd fix it. But we didn't see the point in spending hundreds of dollars to get an electrician to fix a circuit when we knew we wouldn't be here long enough to get our money's worth out of it.

So yes, we have extension cords through nearly every room in our house. After we move, we'll still have that to some extent, while we work out where we want all our computers. But as soon as we have a good idea of where everything will be long term, we'll get an electrician in to put in some more power points.

Also, I am SO getting a dishwasher. We have so many cupboards in our new kitchen, I don't mind losing one for the sake of a dishwasher. I've never had a dishwasher anywhere I've lived in Australia. It's time.

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