A whirlwind weekend and some huge achievements

Wow! What a weekend! Again! We seem to be having a few “wow” weekends these days. 😀 First of all, let me just say….

Drumroll please…

 

 

Wait for it…

 

 

Wait for it…

 

 

Wait for it…

 

 

We bought a TRACTOR! :O

Trevor the Bolens tractor

Yes, we bought a tractor. Now before you get all “they only have a 1/2 acre, what on earth do they need a tractor for” on me, it’s ok. It’s not a big tractor. In fact it’s one of the most pint sized tractors I have ever seen that isn’t made of plastic. 😀 He is the size of a ride-on mower and that’s in fact the reason we bought him, but Trevor is in fact a tractor with a slasher/mower attachment that goes underneath. It comes off though and we will be able to use Trev for other things like towing a small trailer (still looking for that) which means he can haul wood, compost or anything else we can think of. The kids love him, and Jas helped name him.

Trevor the traction engine from Thomas the Tank Engine series.

Boys and their toys 😉

Jasper loves Trevor

Allegra loves Trevor too

Boys and their toys starting young. Orik loves Trevor and we’re fighting to keep him from climbing up of his own accord.

In other exciting news… 😉

We have a kitchen! Lee has finished installing the kitchen and I must say it looks absolutely AMAZING!

Old kitchen

New kitchen. Not quite completed in this picture but since finished

I am in LURVE! On the left are my pantries. There are 4 narrow deep drawers for storing bulk rice, flour, wheat and rye (or maybe pasta) and then the narrow but wider drawers above will hold potatoes and onions. Then there are the shelves for storing the bounty of our summers harvest (here’s hoping) through bottling, drying and pressure canning. At the moment I have taken up some of my Fowlers Vacola preserving jars but given the space in those shelves, I will need MANY more jars 😀

The rest of the weekend was filled with finishing (although not yet completing planting) the veggie gardens, digging out the grapes bed and planting about 150 Erlicheer bulbs (yes I know they’re VERY late but one doesn’t look a gift horse of 600 free bulbs in the mouth), getting 2 loads of compost and a bale of straw, setting the veggie garden gate posts in concrete and of course, the endless job of mowing mowing mowing.

My grapes are bursting into leaf!

150 Erlicheer bulbs

The last of the veggie beds, my 3 spud boxes and compost bin. Along the left hand side is the beans garden.

We planned to choose tiles and carpet on Saturday morning but discovered that, unlike the Big Smoke, shops still close at lunchtime on Saturdays and don’t open on Sundays! It’s wonderful but it will take a slight mental adjustment. We did manage to get some floor tile samples and I think we have our chosen tile but having 5 minutes to run in and choose whilst the shop owner reopens the store for you is not conducive to a thorough search of the tiles. I need to choose splashbacks and bathroom tiles anyway so hoping I can convince a friend to come with us for babysitting purposes. Not sure taking children into a tile shop is a good idea. Well, not my 3 anyway. At least the carpet shop has a play area.

Moving day looks like it will be 2-3 weeks now which is scary and exciting all at the same time. I have a lot of packing to do and we have a LOT of stuff to move. At least now that the kitchen is installed I can start taking up excess pantry items and the rest of my preserving gear.

Fencing and the chicken run are our next big jobs. I need to finish the fence that sections off the veggie garden (mainly to keep the kids out) and now that the posts are sunk and cemented in I can attack that. Then once the gate is on we’re ready to go. A friend has offered to come and help/teach us to put up ringlock fencing along the creek. Martin is madly trying to at least mow a cleared swathe where we want it to go so that we can borrow/hire a post hole digger and get the posts in. I really don’t fancy digging them by hand after the hard yakka from last time. Mark will then help us with the star pickets and the ringlock itself. We have had to take a step back in regards to the chook shed though. There is a lean to kind of shed already on the property which we were intending to convert to a wood shed but with time constraints and other more pressing jobs, as well as it being absolutely perfect for the job, this shed will become the chickens home. I still intend to dabble in superadobe at some time in the future, just won’t be quite yet sadly. I need to add in a 2nd story (divide it in half) inside the shed, add perches and keep a space to add nesting boxes in the future (6-8 week old chicks won’t need nesting boxes for a few months) and then add in a door and fence off their run. We also plan to keep a couple of ducks so our half wine barrel will become their swimming area. Fencing the chicken run will involve more post hole digging and digging a trench around a foot deep so that the chicken wire will go down into the ground in an attempt to foil any crafty foxes that may come prowling. We hope that the presence of 3 large dogs next door may also help deter any members of the Vulpes family. It’s going to be a busy busy weekend over Melbourne Cup weekend. Thanks goodness for a 4 day weekend.

The beans bed and the fencing. And the shed in the background which will become the chickens new home.

Also got my pumpkins and onions planted, and their are even more potatoes sprouting up through their lucerne bedding. Zucchinis are starting to peek up through the soil and there are even more corn plants sprouting up like little green needles. My tomato seedlings are sprouting their second set of true leaves and the siberian tomatoes are starting to poke out of the soil too. My watermelons are still deciding whether or not to forgive me for transplanting them. Their cotyledon leaves died and the stems withered a little but there are some true leaves showing so I am holding out a little hope. My capsicum seedlings are doing well and looking lush and green in their punnet and I have HEAPS of broccoli seedlings that have nearly bounced up out of the soil too. My sunflowers are also beginning to grow their true leaves and the lettuces are continuing to provide a bounteous crop. I also have 4 strawberry flowers on 1 plant! I was going to pinch them off to give the plant the best go at doing its thing but reckon the kids will enjoy far more if I let them ripen. Next year I will plant a whole tonne of alpine strawberries I think – they’re the best cold climate strawberry and are supposed to be deliciously sweet. All my other plants are doing well and I am nearly ready to harvest my first few rocket leaves too. 😀 Spring has most definitely sprung!

Well, I’m off to enjoy the sunshine with my children. 😀

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15 thoughts on “A whirlwind weekend and some huge achievements

  1. Ingrid says:

    Love it!

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. wow, you’re getting so much done! I’ve just planted my 3rd round of watermelon seeds this season- I’m determined, but they like it quite warm, so November might be a better time to try them.

    • Which watermelons are you trying? Mine are sugarbaby watermelons and although they took a while to sprout, once the warm weather was here they did well. Good luck and let me know how they go.

      • We’re trying the moon and stars variety, I raised nice seedlings on my laundry windowsill, but I think they ended up chewed by snails or slugs even though I (naturally) baited them. My mini rockmelons are doing well on their mound though.

        • I know they don’t handle being transplanted and the leaves withered away like they’d been snailed. I’ve planted more seeds in with my tentative seedlings in newspaper pots which will just go straight in the garden pot and all.

  3. Paul - The Kind Little Blogger says:

    What a cute little tractor! I bet it will come in very handy, even just for mowing all that lawn.

    • He is cute isn’t he. Although he’s in the snots with us at the moment. He ran out of petrol. lol The fact that he does run on fossil fuels erks me a bit but until we can get up and running, and then get necessary permits, sheep as lawn mowers really aren’t possible.

  4. Lisa Sleep says:

    that kitchen is ammmmazzing

  5. narf77 says:

    I am twitching with excitement over everything that you have been doing! You guys are dynamite powerhouses! I would have expired LONG before you got to the bulbs…you are putting me to shame girl AND you are giving me incentive to get stuck in. I am excited for you as you get ready to move. I know it will be hell on earth BUT at the end of it you will be able to wake up in your own country bed and “know” that everything is right with your own world :). Good luck fencing the kids out of the veggies…good luck with the ducks and don’t bother trying to keep succulents anywhere where ducks forage as they eat them all! I had a magnificent succulent/cactus population and can count them on 1 hand after duck predation over last summer. Don’t let your chooks free range in your garden unless you don’t want a garden. I am in the process of taking my romantic ideas of free range darling hens on the lawn and shoving them where the sun don’t shine! Big Yin (our rooster) is skating on thin ice and his cohorts are nesting everywhere, laying eggs everywhere where we can’t possibly hope to find them and are hatching out broods of chicks when they are HOPELESS mothers and may as well just feed them all to the feral cats as soon as the poor little things hatch. I am envious of your preserving station, your magnificent kitchen and your incredible energy and enthusiasm…could you sling a bit my way so that I can get somewhat positive about tackling the mass tangle that is Serendipity Farm? 😉

    • Ducks and succulents, who woulda thunk. I’m not a fan of them anyway, although I will probably grow some aloe vera at some stage but I will note to keep Christmas and friend away from them. Our hens will be given seletive free ranging but they will have a run that we an keep them in otherwise which will allow space etc but not necessarily access to the garden unless we choose to let them out.
      Setting up with a Fowlers Vacola system is actually not that expensive. I bought my stovetop FV waterbath from eBay for about $40 I think and it came with some jars. There are heaps of sellers who sell both new and second hand jars ( I LOVE the second hand ones as the glass seems to be thicker) and all you need to buy new every year are the rings. No BPA like in canned food and you an safely preserve fruits and high acid vegetables like tomatoes with the FV system. You need a pressure canner for things like corn, lentils, beans and other veggies though.
      As for enthusiasm, have some nettle tea. It’s like a power tonic it’s brilliant. If you have stinging nettles growing (silly weeds) then brewing them up into tea solves 2 problems at once. 😀

      • narf77 says:

        Tea for me and tea for the garden! I like it! I have a pressure cooker that I can use to can things like corn etc but I would rather dehydrate it and just store the lentils etc dry. My mum was a preserver of old and the last thing that she ever did before she passed away just after Christmas this year was give us some jars of her home grown home made strawberry jam, a small jar of home grown cumquats in brandy (she made wine but never progressed to brandy) and a jar of home grown home made loganberry jam. I still have some of that sweet heady sunkissed strawberry jam in the back of the fridge. I am loath to use it as it reminds me of mum :). I might have to trawl ebay methinks!
        The chooks here have free reign of the entire 4 acres and they certainly take the mick! We have “lost” several of them over the last few weeks and they are probably sitting on clutches of eggs that you could see from google earth! Goodness only knows how many new babies we will get. You want some blue Wyandottes by the way? We have 14 of them locked in the outside enclosure with their 2 mums so that the feral cats don’t dine on them. I wish we could give you some! Anyway, time to get back to designing sustainable suburban landscape garden designs to satisfy our lecturer…mine is almost done and I am suitably proud of it. I might even put it into a post to share once I get it marked and ticked off :). Have a fantastic day garden building. I am avidly following the blog as your nettle induced enthusiasm is transfering over into my tired dog weary bones 😉

  6. leonefabre says:

    well done ….. not long to go now!!

    at least the weather is starting to warm up, though I can’t say the same for today. No idea what happened to the warm sunshine we have been having, I think it just went east with all the cold wind we have here!!

    But – fingers x’d – it is warming up and the sun will shine and we will all be happy little vegemites. 🙂

    Check out the following if you have not already done so:

    http://www.liveability.com.au/

    Thought you might be interested to have a look at the document. This is the Government organisation which Tom Livingstone mentioned at the community garden when we were there last, and where he gets good advice from their Ballarat office. Which is good because the weather pattern for Ballarat is similar to Ballan.

    keep happy 🙂

    • Thanks for the link! I’ve forwarded it to my husband and I will have a good look through it too. Thank you
      I had a peek at the community gardens last week too – they look great. As for the weather, it was glorious here the last few days but today is pretty icy, although there are a few moments of sunshine. I’m hoping it’s winters last hurrah and it continues to be warm although not too hot, with just enough rainfall overnight to water the gardens. Not asking too much am I? 😉

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