…Busy in the real world. 🙂
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. 🙂
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. 😉 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. 😉
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. 🙂 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. 🙂 I’m back out there again this afternoon.
In the meantime, these compost ingredients require composting and who better to assist than our lovely flock of hens. 🙂 I’ve extended out a temporary run for them covering this top third of the garden bed and we installed a gate to allow them access to what amounts to Gallus Domesticus mecca. 🙂 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. 🙂
I also finally got some hardcore weeding done. It’s funny when 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!
Yesterday saw me getting stuck in to the middle third of the veggie garden, scheduled for works in Spring 2014. 🙂 Yep, I’m ahead of schedule! That’s what happens when you subcontract to chooks! 😉 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. 🙂 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 😉 )
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. 🙂 It is all really coming together and most exciting to see. 🙂 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. 🙂 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. 🙂 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 and I have been working through learning reading and writing and maths and Jas is doing really well. I can see him improving every day. 🙂 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. 😉
Well, time to get out into the garden and dig some more soil. Truly, it’s so wonderful finding that every spadeful of your imported soil is now chock a block full of fat worms. 😀 I’ll take some more photos too. 🙂