New Years Eve

Well, as I sit here enjoying a rare moment of peace and quiet on this last day of 2012 I naturally fall to reflecting on the year that was. It’s sort of the day for it hey. 😉 and all I can say is wow! What a year it has been. We decided for sure to relocate this year and decided where to move to, bought a house, had it renovated, moved in, bought 18 chickens and 3 ducks, anted gardens, built a greenhouse (I just need the right bolts to attach the gutters), built a chook pen, fenced, chopped down trees and so very much more.

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Our domain!

I haven’t blogged in a while, mainly due to lack of Internet access (I’m posting this from my phone which I am WELL over my monthly data allowance for) and not due to nothing to say. Those that know me know I am rarely without anything to say. 😉 So, here’s an update since my last post.

We made it through the gluttony of my family Christmas which involved frugal and carefully thought out gifts from us and my sister-in-law (although she still spoiled them silly) and a gross spoiling from Nanna who loves to shop. It was a nice day with family though although Allegra loved her birthday gift (my old dolls house my dad had made for me as a kid that mum repainted and refurbished for Allegra) so much she was reluctant to open her gifts or eat lunch too. Funny girl. 🙂

Christmas day for us was a quiet affair with just us. We had our big meal on Christmas eve with roast duck (we didn’t harvest our own but tried to buy ethically), broccoli and cauliflower (organic but full of caterpillars so the chooks and ducks enjoyed them), peas and corn, parsnip and roasted organic pumpkin and teeth breakingly crunchy spuds. The leftover duck was stripped off the bone and into the fridge and the bones went straight into a saucepan with some filtered water to simmer for 24 hours for stock (and a brilliantly gelatiney stock it made too). No waste there.

Christmas day we started with sourdough pancakes, Greek yoghurt and organic raspberries, leftover duck in sourdough crepes with some hoisin sauce I found in the fridge, sautéed grated carrots and sliced mushrooms. Yummo! Dinner was some locally made cheeses I’d bought from the Ballan farmers market, sourdough bread and Fernleigh Farms locally raised and sourced, pasture/free range raised, heritage breed pig, organic ham. Delicious. We ate extremely well yet there was no gluttony and nearly no leftovers aside from the duck (we used all of it up). The kids played with their gifts from us and from Santa throughout the day and as we ate our home are rapadura sweetened custard and sourdough plum pudding we Skype called my mother-in-law, the kids Omi, who lives in London, to wish her a merry Christmas. It was a lovely day.

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Jasper with his cousins at Nanna’s house.

Since Christmas we’ve seen our builder all but finish the house. He’s just touching up the paint on the doors now and about to work on the bathroom window which finishes off he inside! Yay!!!

Our baby chicks are growing up well, all except for 1 of the roosters who was quite ill and we thought we’d lose him. He pulled through but he’s pretty pint sized. I hope he catches up soon. They’re enjoying their first day outside in the old chook pen inside the big pen getting used to it all. They will go outside for good in another 2-3 weeks and then into the big pen a few weeks after that.
Our older birds are clearly distinguishable between hens and roosters now and although the hens a starting to cluck rather than cheep the bits are yet to tune their vocals thankfully. Once they do they’re on limited time.

My gardens aren’t growing as well as I’d thought they might sadly but after mentioning it to our neighbour he suggested hitting it up with blood and bone as it’s likely to be nutrient drawdown. As the Lucerne or straw that the beds are made of toys down it draws down the nutrients into itself and effectively starves the plants. Hence why my tomatoes aren’t as rabid as yours Fran. :)It had me well puzzled! They have had their treatment this morning which I’ll water in well this evening once it’s cooled down and fingers crossed for some action. On the up side, the pumpkin and zucchinis are flowering and the corn is shooting for the sky. 🙂

The kids are all well and loving life. They’ve started sleeping in until 7:30 again too as opposed to the 5:45-6 we’ve had to tolerate for the past few months. We woke up the other day and it was after 8! I’ve never felt more rested. 😀

2012 has been a good year. Yes, it’s been a vey good year. I look forward with anticipation to 2013 as it promises to hold many new and wonderful experiences. Jasper is off to kindergarten this year, Orik will start to speak a lot more although he’s definitely my quiet bubba and Allegra is going to get a lot more one on one with mum time too which we will both enjoy. We’ve got a play group to join, new friends to make, our first harvest (hopefully), building our gardens up more, our first Autumn, Winter and Spring to experience, the return to work with the longer commute for Martin and much much more. More animals maybe? Removing trees and planting new ones.

Well, my immediate goal is some lunch and a clean kitchen before my husband and older kids return so I’d better get moving. See you all in 2013 and happy new year to you all.

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10 thoughts on “New Years Eve

  1. I’m so glad to hear from you. I have missed your regular posts. Is Ballan good for internet access–do you have something more reliable, like ADSL, on its way?

    Sorry to hear about the garden. Ours has been a bit hit or miss so far. Most of the tomatoes took ages to do much. Now they’re growing taller, bushier and are starting to fruit. Well some of them. The other tommy plants look like they have gone diseased. Doh! Meanwhile, the tomatoes that belong to the folks we share the lot with are going insane. They’re fruiting like mad and they’re delicious.

    Our cucumber plants are growing inches every day and are madly flowering. Let’s hope for some fruit really soon.

    Our sweetcorn is looking good–it’s tall and thick, and some ears are starting to form. Out of 6 plants we should get at least that many ears.

    Enjoy your last day of 2012 and I wish you all the best for 2013.

    • Paul, thanks for your kind words. 🙂 It’s nice to have been missed!

      Ballan is fine for Internet but given the holidays and many other more pressing needs we simply haven’t got around to hooking it up. I’m sure it’s fine though. Ballan isn’t rural really.

      I’m desperately hoping the blood n bone does the trick as I have invested a LOT of effort into the tomatoes and I have big plans for the big harvest I’d anticipated. I will let you know how it goes. I wonder why your tomatoes are no doing so well. Have you tried Epsom salts?

  2. narf77 says:

    Hey don’t hog all the missing Paul! You were indeed missed Rabid :). Good to see that you are settling in and that you had a wonderful sustainable Christmas. We did as well…a family interloper who threatened to make us spend a consumeristic Christmas with him decided against heading over so Steve and I had a fantastic sustainable no waste Christmas and enjoyed every single minute of it. My tomatoes are crazy mad and I am officially scared of them. They are covered in tomatoes (where they haven’t stuck out of their protective net and been scarfed by the wallabies that is…) and thanks to my clever reasoning they should all ripen this year as I picked out cherry tomato and small tomato varieties. My eggplants are just picking up and starting to flower along with my capsicums and chillies and we have so many lettuces that I am going to start giving them away to the neighbours (or making green smoothies out of them!). I think the organic compost that we bought was the reason why all of our veggies went mental this year. It’s amazing stuff and we are going to be building a massive enclosed veggie area (with viewing platforms for the possums and wallabies to drool over them on…vindictive?…MOI?!) over the next month and that way we can really get stuck into growing veggies. We picked up some more ex-fish farm netting and are going to get some more to fence off our orchard area as the fat possums ate every single piece of fruit (aside from the pears…they don’t like them much) that grew :(. 2013 is going to be amazing isn’t it 🙂 Have a fantastic New Years Day, one of many to come 🙂

    • Happy new years! I am feeling missed and loved now. I have been reading your posts although I have well over 100 other blogs to catch up on.
      I too used well composted horse manure compost for my veggies, from Spring racing carnival no less but the lack of rot down time for the Lucerne straw in the no dig garden beds has been my downfall. As for wallabies, we’re too suburban for them and so far no possums… But we do have a little cotton bottom who has chewed out all my basil, 90% of my marigolds, much of my parsley, the top of my sugar snap peas (that popped up from the pack of seeds I accidentally buried) my chives, all the lettuces bar 1 (the chooks took that out in seconds when they were let out to free-range) and a few sunflowers too. We know where he lives and he has stew written all over him… If I can catch the little gourmet nibbler. :(Which bright spark ever introduced those few fated bunny ancestors near Geelong back in 1840? and the foxes too! At least rabbits are edible. *sigh* Well, if you do put in a viewing platform you could sell tickets to see your little shop of horrors veggie patch to all the curious neighbours and envious blog readers. I’d buy a ticket to see it!

      • narf77 says:

        We don’t have cotton tails…the exponentially breeding feral cats (7 kittens and counting 😦 ) deal with them quick smart! We also don’t have rats, mice, baby wallabies, baby possums or snakes so I suppose I shouldn’t complain too much…the wallabies and possums are like tag team wrestlers…the wallabies eat everything from the ground up to about a metre off the ground and the possums eat everything down to ground zero. Forgive me for gloating prematurely about being able to isolate our food from the little buggers but I can’t help myself…an area completely safe from them is the stuff that dreams are made of :). I am also going to make a raspberry patch and a strawberry patch this year. My friend in the witness protection has lots of raspberries and lets me take clumps of them but prior to now they just get inhaled by the wallabies. They love garlic and anything allium as well! I was most surprised to see my vigorous garlic reduced to ground level stalks and they scarfed an entire chive plant…weird! Our little shop of horrors veggie patch is going to be HUGE. If I can keep getting fish farm netting it is going to be joined by another equally as huge veggie garden patch…I am a most determined gardener! ;). Your veggie patch is coming along well by the look of your photos. I haven’t even bothered to fertilise our veggies aside from some worm wee, powerfeed and seasol on a semi regular basis…we just wanted to see how they grew this year and we were completely amazed at how well they have. I have some more photos to share in tomorrows blog to give you an idea of how good that organic compost was that we bought. I will try to get to my friend in the witness protections place to see if I can’t get a photo of her enclosed garden as she says that her veggies have gone mental as well and she used the same organic compost (we told her about it 🙂 ). I went to my daughters place for a weekend not too long ago and came back to 1000+ blog posts to wade through in my rss feed reader…I can’t get rid of any of them and that’s why I get up at 5am ;). Glad to see you back in the blogosphere, we did miss you and here’s to a year of some serious gardening and seed saving. I am hoping to grow most things from seed this year and will be buying some unusual things from Phoenix seed company so I might have some interesting stuff to send to you…my little native pepperberry (Tasmanica lanceolata) has berries on it! When they ripen I might pick some to send you if you would like to have a go at growing your own. It’s a very attractive shrub in it’s own right with thick dark green leaves and red stems. The coming year is ripe with possibilities and I, for one, can’t wait to hurl myself into them 🙂

  3. […] Vegetable Garden BedsNew Years Eve […]

  4. Emma says:

    I’m having trouble with my tomatoes in Bacchus Marsh too! Got the seedlings from diggers club and no fruit as yet. Have been in the ground since the end of October too.

    Anyway can I ask if your builder John did your kitchen as well? Im needing to find a decent local builder for my place, so if you reckon he’s good and did a good job I’d love his details!

    Also: try the family sized pies at the Ballan market. I think they’re made in Golden Plains and they are AMAZING!

    • Hit your tomatoes up with some blood and bone. Mine are still not the wonder bushes I dreamed of but I do have flowers so here’s hoping.
      Our builder didn’t do our kitchen, a neighbour of a dear friend did but he lives in Trentham and works out of Sunbury so that’s pretty local. Our builder has done a great job in my opinion. I’ll email you his details but might take me a few days (email still playing funny buggers) so remind me if I don’t get to it.
      I’ll have a look out for the pies on Saturday too. Thanks.

      • Emma says:

        Oh thanks so much! Would love the details of the guy that did your kitchen.

        And yes i’ll blood and bone the tomatoes up tonight. Heres hoping.

        Thanksfully my eggplants and zuchinnis have flowered 🙂 Will have to steal some tomatoes from my folks’ garden in Melton

        • He he he, tomato thief! 😉 I just hit my tomatoes with another dose of blood and bone and also some epsom salts. I’ve heard that tomatoes love them but at this stage in the game if it doesn’t work… Well, I really have nothing to lose. I DO have a lot of flowers though on my tomatoes AND my capsicums, just majorly stunted plants. Live and learn I guess.

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