Quiet in the blogosphere…

…Busy in the real world. πŸ™‚

Things have been busy here again after a period of quiet and recuperation. It feels good to be back in the saddle so to speak. πŸ™‚

Things went quiet here on getting things done last month when my head-space and motivation nicked off on holiday without letting me know. 😦 The nice thing about a wood fire is the ability to sit in front of it and toast ones backside. πŸ˜‰ However, with my rear end increasing in size in proportion to the growing list of jobs, I dug deep and found where said motivation and head-space had disappeared to. Now the list of tasks and the rump are slowly once again decreasing. πŸ˜‰

The last week has seen us dealing with our rooster population which, with 7 mature roosters, was getting noisy enough to spur neighbours into complaining. I’m sorry neighbour. Cull day had arrived and with a friend up to learn and help we headed out to reduce the population to zero. 2 were gifted to friends from whom I will gain fertile eggs to stick under any of my career girls if ever they decide motherhood is for them. 4 of the remaining roosters met their maker, one at my own hand. I had been intending to learn to do the job myself as I have set myself the strict belief that if I can’t do the deed then I need to review whether or not I should be eating meat (a strict standard I would NEVER expect anyone else to adhere to). Not an easy job but one I am glad to have been able to achieve. With weather closing in and fast becoming miserable we left the last rooster until another day. He wasn’t making too much noise (I’d not heard a crow) so we hoped to slip him under the radar for a day or 2 (I had promised the council and I intended to keep my word as soon as I could). When I heard him crow on Wednesday though I had my hand forced and had to process the last rooster by myself. Harder than the first but a necessity. Done.

I’ve also been working on my spring garden. We are upgrading the veggie patch in thirds, a section at a time. I’d sectioned off and begun amassing compost for the first section a while back but progress had stalled. When a friend told me a local friend of hers had much horse manure needing moving to clean a house up for sale I jumped at the opportunity. I’ve ended up being gifted a heap of old hay no longer suitable for animal fodder, horse manure galore (and ongoing) and plenty of fire ash from burned hay too (all lovely and carboniferous) too. πŸ™‚ This week has seen me making the 5-6km trip out to her farm several times to collect what I hope will bring me a bumper summer crop of potatoes. πŸ™‚ I’m back out there again this afternoon.

Apparently it's fun to play in the hay and manure. Orik working hard before the chooks were allowed in there.

Apparently it’s fun to play in the hay and manure. Orik working hard before the chooks were allowed in there.

In the meantime, these compost ingredients require composting and who better to assist than our lovely flock of hens. πŸ™‚ I’ve extended out a temporary run for them covering this top third of the garden bed and we installed aΒ gate to allow them access to what amounts to Gallus Domesticus mecca. πŸ™‚ They did a great job out there yesterday and already things look great in sections. I will let them run this morning again and this afternoon they will receive a heap of horse manure to scrounge through for any manner of bug. πŸ™‚

I also finally got some hardcore weeding done. It’s funny whenΒ you spend all your time doing one thing to avoid another then get stuck into the other thing to avoid the first. Such was me with weeding and chook run. I dodged the weeding by building the chook run then dodged emptying the trailer of its contents for said chook run by weeding my whole veggie patch. The weeding was nowhere near as bad as I had thought it might be, despite one bed being thick with grass and weeds (note to self, don’t use goat manure hay without composting it first). Armed with kids playing happily and 20 minutes of peace I pulled weeds like a hurricane, finishing off with thinning my turnips to allow for bigger bulbs and feeding the scraps to the chooks. A job well done and I’m inspired to try weed the front hugels now (kids being occupied dependent). I started to weed one the other day but pulled out 3-4 worms for every weed so at least I now know why the magpies are determined to pull out all my potato onions (the worms are underneath). I wish I could train them to pull the weeds instead!

My best cabbages so far. They're about the size of a newborn baby's head so far. Brassicas are heavy feeders so I need to spread some aged manure around them today.

My best cabbages so far. They’re about the size of a newborn baby’s head so far. Brassicas are heavy feeders so I need to spread some aged manure around them today. The onions behind the cabbages are my Egyptian walking onions.

The grassy garden before I weeded it. Once I got stuck in I found about 8-10 potato onions and 2-3 tiny seedlings of cabbages. Here's hoping the nutrients in the soil will feed the food plants rather than the grasses that were hogging it all.

The grassy garden before I weeded it. Once I got stuck in I found about 8-10 potato onions and 2-3 tiny seedlings of cabbages. Here’s hoping the nutrients in the soil will feed the food plants rather than the grasses that were hogging it all.

Before thinning my turnips. All green growth and precious little bulbing underground. I guess that turnips don't like too much nitrogen, well not for good bulb growth anyway.

Before thinning my turnips. All green growth and precious little bulbing underground. I guess that turnips don’t like too much nitrogen, well not for good bulb growth anyway.

One of my 2 cauliflower heads forming. Time to fertilise them too.

One of my 2 cauliflower heads forming. Time to fertilise them too.

Yesterday saw me getting stuck in to the middle third of the veggie garden, scheduled for works in Spring 2014. πŸ™‚ Yep, I’m ahead of schedule! That’s what happens when you subcontract to chooks! πŸ˜‰ I started by “paving” an area using the stacks of old roofing tiles we have lying around. They’re not a fabulous job and I haven’t levelled underneath or anything but I don’t really care. I can walk without getting sopping wet feet from long wet grass. πŸ™‚ It’s easier pushing the wheelbarrow too. Once that was done I had a bright idea of removing the tyres we’d used to hold down the sides of the chook wire (as opposed to digging it a foot or more into the ground) and moving one of my raised garden beds to do the job instead. The kids helped eat all the broccoli I had in the bed (all going to seed) and the chooks and goats scored the leftovers. I dug out the soil in the bed, filled an apple crate bed sitting empty, then section by section I started moving the corrugated iron edges and shaping the new bed. It’s worked well! With today’s manure collection I should be able to fill that bed and fertilise the leftover bed where the raised bed used to be as well as hopefully provide for the upper terrace (the posh name for the first of the thirds of the garden πŸ˜‰ )

The back raised bed here is no more, as is much of the grass. All those yellow broccoli flowers were eaten by Jas and Egga or the chooks and goats. Good thing we're not milking Anna right now as broccoli flavoured milk doesn't appeal to me very much.

The back raised bed here is no more, as is much of the grass. All those yellow broccoli flowers were eaten by Jas and Egga or the chooks and goats. Good thing we’re not milking Anna right now as broccoli flavoured milk doesn’t appeal to me very much.

2 large earthworms next to the 1 HUGE worm I found in the bed as I dug it out. This big fellow was fatter than a child's finger! May he live long and prosper in my garden. :)

2 large earthworms next to the 1 HUGE worm I found in the bed as I dug it out. This big fellow was fatter than a child’s finger! May he live long and prosper in my garden. πŸ™‚

With the last of the poplar trees cut down inside the fenceline we are now into clean up mode so we can get a digger in to pull up stumps or a grinder to remove them that way, in preparation for planting out our orchard. I’ve almond trees growing from nuts I planted in a snap-lock bag of moist soil in my fridge some weeks back, cherry pips growing the same way, hazelnuts still striating in the fridge and my seed grown apples and other hardwood cuttings of buddleas to plant out too. πŸ™‚ It is all really coming together and most exciting to see. πŸ™‚ We won’t see fruit from any of these trees for some time and I have no idea if the almonds will be self pollinating or what they will be but I intend to buy a variety or 2 to plant out anyway which should hopefully cover pollination bases. πŸ™‚ I also hope to plant some more mature apple trees I’ll purchase from Newlyn Antiques heritage orchard/nursery so we should see some fruit earlier rather than later from them. They will cost more but I am keen to see fruit and it’s worth the price to me. πŸ™‚ The best bit is that you can wander their potted orchard in Autumn and see a few fruit on the trees!

Inside the house things have been much quieter. Jas andΒ I have been workingΒ through learning reading and writing and maths and Jas is doing really well. I can see him improving every day. πŸ™‚ We’ve put the winter sheets on despite the weather being decidedly autumnal (cold nights but sunny pleasant days) and with our added insulation, this winter is looking to be much warmer inside than last. And with Pandora radio gracing our airwaves it’s going to sound better too. πŸ˜‰

Well, time to get out into the garden and dig some more soil. Truly, it’s so wonderfulΒ finding that every spadeful of your imported soil is now chock a block full of fat worms. πŸ˜€ I’ll take some more photos too. πŸ™‚

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19 thoughts on “Quiet in the blogosphere…

  1. […] After dessert we headed home but my date fell asleep on me in the car. Once he was tucked into his bed, I too hit the sack as I was exhausted after a full on day in the garden. […]

  2. foodnstuff says:

    I don’t think you’ve ever said, or maybe I missed it, but how much land have you actually got there? Obviously big enough to keep goats and chooks, but small enough to have close-by neighbours who will complain.

    I see a paling fence in the first pic, which smacks of suburbia, but maybe big suburbia then?

    Anyway, well done for all the work. You’ve managed more than me.

    • We’ve a half an acre. Not very much really but our house is small and on one side of the block, away from the creek. The area across the creek is quite small really but we should be able to plant it quite densely with bamboo and blackwoods. Our goats are stabled and in a close situation, not in a paddock. It means they eat a lot more grains and such rather than foraging so they are pricier to keep. You are most welcome to come visit if ever you fancy Bev. We’re on the trainline so it can be a low carbon visit too. πŸ™‚
      We are in an area that is both suburban and rural. We’re considered residential rather than rural as far as council is concerned but our neighbours behind have 1.5 acres and had poddy calves last year. It’s the best of both worlds. I wish we had a little more land but we can definitely make do with what we have. πŸ™‚

      • foodnstuff says:

        You’re doing very well by the sound of itβ€”and can only improve. I would love to come visit, but I would rather the comfort of my car. πŸ˜‰

        Being the other side of Melb makes it a difficult option though. Would love to see Green Gav’s garden too, maybe one day I can combine the two.

        • We’re only 20 minutes on from Gav’s and Garden of St Erth is 18 minutes drive from mine too. Lots of great things to see up this side of town. Let me know a date you fancy. πŸ™‚
          We are getting there with our gardens but there is a LOT still to be done. I sometimes get overwhelmed by just how much there still is to do and I’m sure I will add to that list before I’m done (if ever I AM done) but whenever I’m feeling like it’s too much I have a look at google earth or street view and then I can see just how much we have achieved in under 2 years and I feel much better.:)

  3. Sounds like your motivation is well and truly back! It’s comforting to hear of others whose motivation has its ups and downs.
    You’re right- the weather is (scarily?) unseasonably warm in southern Victoria at the moment. Eek, not looking forward to more hot summers to come!

    • My motivation goes up and down like the tides sometimes although with far less regularity and order. Some days I can take on a regiments worth of work, other days, cooking dinner proves too much of a challenge.
      The weather is most whack at the moment although on a day to day basis I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it and capitalised on at least some of it. Today’s gale-force winds and sideways rain is more like what I would expect and I believe tomorrow will be icy. Friends in Trentham assure me snow is forecast! πŸ˜€

  4. Sue says:

    Your veggies are looking better developed than mine, it is certainly tempting in this weather to toast by the fire I am having trouble moving myself! Off to weed fruit trees by hand in the freezing cold this afternoon.

    • Nice one with your weeding. Did you get it done? Some of my veggies are doing well, some aren’t so good. Most of my cabbages are still to form heads though. You get to see the best I have. Of course! πŸ˜‰

  5. narf77 says:

    Your place truly looks like Tom and Barbara’s home in “The Good Life” complete with chickeny goodness :). That big fat worm is an Aussie native worm. They aren’t all that good at converting compost etc. but have their part to play in the ecology. Our duck put paid to a HUGE one the other day…she fully appreciates them ;).

    Glad your love affair with Pandora is still bubbling away and excellent news about the insulation doing what it is actually supposed to do, entirely justifies the cost :). Brunhilda is still chuffing away delivering a much warmer temperature indoors than out so happy days here on Serendipity Farm.

    I moved a trailer load of horse poo so that we could roll our water tank into place on Saturday and it was choc-a-block FULL of worms. Lucky I moved it and covered it with a tarp before the chooks and the worm guzzling duck turned up for a look-see ;). LOVE your fecund energy. It is almost inspiring me to get out into Sanctuary…”almost”… πŸ˜‰

    • Geez, what would I need to do to inspire you into Serendpity if that isn’t enough! Jeepers! I’ve worked myself into a crippled aching mess and it’s not enough! What more can I DO!!! AARGH! πŸ˜‰

      Nothing like shovelling manure hey. I have a load of horse manure in the trailer awaiting moving to the back garden and then into the garden beds. Given that the rain is coming in sideways with the gale-force winds though, I will be spending this cold, wet and windy day in front of the fire with my kidlets. Might be a good day for a movie marathon methinks.

      • narf77 says:

        Send some of that sideways precipitation to yours truly puLEEZE as I want to test the first flush-a-ma-jig and see if it works properly and then plug it up, shove the little plastic ball in and let it go…hopefully the tank will start to fill up sometime…just need the rain really. Did you get that Pin about the beautiful spiral Dutch wind turbines? LUSTING after one now! πŸ™‚

        • Yeah, I saw those turbines a few weeks back (VERY remiss of me not to share – I am sorry) and yeah, they are GORJUSSSS! I wonder how they go for turbulence and all that jazz. If they are better at capturing the wind too then they are most affordable I reckona nd will grace every house in the city with ease. Office buildings could plop several large ones on top and, well, ok I’m dreaming well big but yeah, I LOVE LOVE LOVE them! Fibonacci strikes again hey. πŸ™‚

  6. Lynda D says:

    Goodness, what’s a girl got to do to get a comment in here – you too sure can yak! Yes, very impressed with your efforts Jess but i expect nothing less from you. You’ll have those little permies trained so well you could just send them out to the garden and say, go eat lunch. What i cant work out is how you keep track of where everything is planted. I know you have a basic plan but there are so many freebies coming up. Yes, i’m looking forward to eating your orchard as well. Better yet, looking forward to having my own. I had to laugh on the weekend as Hubby was working away in the soil and he kept stopping to pick up a worm and either hand it to me or put it in one of my beds. I think i actually caught him talking to them. LOL. Since my Aspie’s don’t do well with people i bet that somewhere in there is a latent gardener. I think ill ask him if he would like a bed of his own, garden bed that is.

    • Me? Yak? NEVAH! πŸ˜‰
      I remember what I’ve planted by a combination of plotting it into the Mother Earth News veggie garden planner, the Gardenate app on my phone and memory. When the old brain box is working it has semi-photogenic tendencies. I can picture what beds I have and what is growing in each and I can identify them then based on appearance. Weird huh? πŸ™‚
      Hey, why not talk to the worms? They’re the hardest workers in my garden and aside from the 7 or 8 that the chooks snarfed down I appreciate all that they have done to change our crappy clay soil and not so wonderful imported compost into deep rich garden soil. I’ve found a heap of huge fat worms that Narf assures me are native worms. I have research to do. I’d love a native worm farm if only for chook feed so I’ve some research to do. πŸ™‚
      I reckon Rob would love his own bed. Out in the front garden perhaps? πŸ˜‰

      • Lynda says:

        Well something had better happen out the front soon, its been an excavation site for a few years and the sign stuck to the front window telling everyone the front yard is under construction has become a permanent feature. How embarrassing. Thank goodness for high fences. Only my friends get to see the real Dyson family. God, my spelling is shocking when I’m commenting (and probably posting as well). Too big a rush. I’m not really that uneducated. “She doth protest too much, methinks”.

  7. Linne says:

    I was going to post,, but got reading here instead . . . so I blame you! πŸ˜‰
    Love the progress on your garden; awesome, considering the wee permies and other time-eaters.

    Isn’t it wonderful when your kids think playing in old horse manure is a treat? Those kids will never know how lucky they are . . .

    It’s warming up here, but not too hot yet; just nice and late springish. Works for me. Have a lovely movie day; wish I could drop in. ~ Linne

    • We’ve only just reached winter, although our weather fits autumn still too. Cold nights, warm days. It’s been most pleasant out in the garden until Monday this week (which is of course when I have been most inspired to get out in the garden. We’ve got a solar spill happening at the moment but it’s been gale force winds and sideways rain on and off all week.
      The older 2 pint sized permies have actually been most helpful. Jas was lugging roof tiles, Allegra digging the soil (where I wanted it to boot) and Orik loves the new garden as he can just run laps around it which is no bother to me (and he;s not walking on the garden either which is a huge surprise and bonus) so it’s been quite a productive time.
      Enjoy your spring weather. May you only get enough hot days to do the gardens good and so you know it is summer but not so many to be draining. May you never see the week of 45’s Victoria (Australia) saw over our last summer.

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