Another day (or more)

I’d say another dollar but I never seem to see that other dollar somehow. Don’t ask Martin either. He’d tell you I’d just spent it! 😉

Another day in the garden is the correct ending to the phrase in this case. Another day spent digging and arranging and organising and having fun. 🙂

I’ve not posted for some weeks but not because there’s been nothing to post but rather the contrary. I’ve worked until I’m ready to drop and when I’m exhausted, words don’t come so easily (ok, I can still talk the hind legs off a donkey but typing is challenging ok! 😉 ) so it’s been radio silence in the blogosphere.

Firstly we were down with 3 very sick kids (or hoppers as Auntie Narf calls them) who all had the nasty cough and virus doing the rounds. Sore throat, fever, cough, snot. Fun for all I don’t think. We woke up on Friday morning with the full trifecta of sickies. Orik slept the entire day away, leaving me in fear of how the night would go but he slept that away as well. You know a kid is sick when they sleep for over 21 out of 24 hours! Poor bubba slept on my lap for most of the day so getting anything done was just not going to happen. Not a great end to the week by any account but thankfully they were all much better and perked up somewhat on Saturday a fortnight ago, although still off food and running slow. It took the rest of the week for them to bounce right back.

My poor sick baby curled up where he and I spent most of the day together.  Allegra gave him her Kitty for comfort.

My poor sick baby curled up where he and I spent most of the day together. Allegra gave him her Kitty for comfort.

Anyway, Martin and I had talked about Saturday all week long. What needed doing and which were priorities. We have 3 projects we need to finish asap. In no particular order they are:

1. Hugels. We need to run the hugelkultur beds across the garden as swales on contour next to or into which we plan to plant fruit trees which we can then espalier or not as desired. in between them I hope to plant clucker tucker so I can have tunnels of green for the chickens to forage.

2. Set up the cubby (Wendy) house, swings and trampoline for the kids. With everything that’s been going on the cubby house temporarily became tool storage for construction tools and then has been packed up and moved to allow for the excavator to do its thing. I was struck by a brain wave earlier in the week that we could build a platform and install the cubby on top of it. This in turn would provide a great place underneath the platform to build a sandpit for the kids which would mean it’s shaded in summer. The swing set is a lovely timber one we were gifted by our old neighbours in Spotswood before they sold their place, as was the cubby. The trampoline was a new purchase as our old one, a second-hand one we’d purchased on eBay, had seen better days. The safety net was damaged, the actual bouncing mat was torn and needed replacing, some of the pieces that held the safety net poles upright were missing and the padded pole covers were damaged too. It wasn’t a new trampoline by any stretch of the imagination. We tossed up replacing the old parts but in the end opted to buy new. The old parts have been saved to be reused wherever possible. The safety net for example has been cut up and stretched out to create shade over the chook pen.

3. Build some compost bays. We need to move some of the tires we have as garden beds around the edge of the chook pen. The tires have worked perfectly for what they were wanted to do but as we work on things and improve the systems we have we’re upgrading and beautifying as we go. The tires are slowly going. In this case I have about 6 to remove which will then be replaced with some roof tiles then the compost bays will be built partly on the soil and partly on top of a single row of tiles. The tiles are there to stop us from digging up the chook wire resting on the ground to stop fox access. I’ve some rubber posts we got somewhere or other ages back and some corrugated iron for the edges. Not a massive job I don’t think but we need to do job 2 first so as to free up the area in which to build them.

 

Planting out catnap.

Planting out catnap. 😉

Saturday saw me getting a chance to head off to the op shop, mainly to beg permission to take cuttings from their fig tree. Permission was granted and now I have several cuttings potted up and I plan to plant 1 inside the chooks pen and probably 1 more out the front in the food forest. I also scored some other bargains (of course 😉 ) and had a lovely hour to myself. 🙂

Martin then had his turn for a break whilst I dug holes for cubby platform posts. When Martin returned he set the posts in concrete whilst I planted out my second Cascade hop vine and topped up a couple of other garden beds with compost. Almost ready for spring planting now. 😀

The area I'm working on to put our pergola. The Cascade Hop vines are planted to grow over the arch over the back steps (hard to see here). Hops are medicinal, smell fantastic I hear and of course, are used in beer making. I believe nothing trumps using fresh hops.

The area I’m working on to put up our pergola. The Cascade Hop vines are planted to grow over the arch over the back steps (hard to see here). Hops are medicinal, smell fantastic I hear and of course, are used in beer making. I believe nothing trumps using fresh hops.

There's an injured Pobblebonk frog in the bucket. Orik was fascinated by the "poh-bo'k"

There’s an injured Pobblebonk frog in the bucket. Orik was fascinated by the “poh-bo’k”.

Sunday saw Martin heading to Bunnings for building supplies for the cubby and he returned to our builder friend J, visiting who then stayed and helped us erect bearers and joists and make a start on the decking floor.

The platform onto which the cubby will be moved and under which we shall construct a sandpit.

The platform onto which the cubby will be moved and under which we shall construct a sandpit. It will be nice when our back garden no longer looks like a construction zone.

Fast forward a week of recovering children. The kids were up to helping me erect the trampoline during the week though which saw 3 happy kids recovering whilst bouncing up and down for hours upon hours. It made for a happier recovery. 🙂

 

plenty of room for 3 happy bouncers. They still manage to crash and smash into each other of course.

Plenty of room for 3 happy bouncers. They still manage to crash and smash into each other of course.

Last weekend was planned to be another big one. The car needed new tyres so a plan was created. Tyres plus Bunnings for the rest of the necessary supplies and a few other errands which took up the morning. I spent the morning digging out the base for the pergola and dumping excess soil on the spud beds where it’s needed.

Driving lessons start early

Driving lessons start early!

Where the excess soil from the pergola area has been going.

Where the excess soil from the pergola area has been going.

The afternoon ended up changing direction rapidly. A friend, L, put me onto a local seller of hay who was selling off 2yo hay that is well past used by date. No good for stock feed but brilliant for the garden. 🙂 4 bales of rotting, weed filled, potato growing hay bales landed in our garden and after much manoeuvring the ute and trailer made it out of the garden safely. We spent the afternoon collecting the baby spuds growing in the hay for dinner (delicious), unwrapping the plastic netting around them (I hate that stuff) and pulling the few blackberries out too. I want blackberries everywhere but not the thorny ones. We scattered about half of the hay but we all ran out of energy after an exhausting morning and afternoon. The unscattered bits are also hard-baked together and filled with not a little mould so I’d been waiting for some rain to soften them up.

Hay!

Hay!

Hay helpers

Hay helpers.

Sunday did not go to plan. I ended up with a migraine so spent the day in bed. I did manage to plant out my pumpkin and watermelon seeds, most of which currently reside in water wicking mini greenhouses AKA plastic tubs with lids. 😉 No sprouts up quite yet.

Just some of my seeds planted out.

Just some of my seeds planted out.

The weather turned and we had a less than shiny week weather-wise. I did get some things done but nowhere near as much as I would have liked to have achieved. Garden beds remain half filled with soil and tools where they were left in the digging. On the bright side, the rain softened the soil up beautifully. 🙂

Friday morning though I was determined to achieve something. We got out into the garden around mid morning to find chaos from the chooks but once that was all put to rights I put in some heavy-duty work digging out the pergola area. The area we hope to erect the pergola frame is on a slope so it needs to be levelled out. I’ve dug down into the deepest corner and the level is set. The soil, as it is dug up, is relocated to our new zone 1 garden beds. It’s good soil and full of worms so with a little amelioration in the form of manure it will do the job just fine. 🙂  I filled 1 bed and have 1 more to go. It’s so exciting to see them nearing completion, just in time for tomato planting too. 🙂

The corner sleepers are in

The corner sleepers are in.

Jasper helped me with installing the sleepers and a little backfilling with rocks and the soil we’d excavated, then Allegra and I built a small rockery garden, inspired by herb spirals. We went scrounging in the front gardens to see what we can transplant in there and came back with several clumps of chives that needed moving anyway, some pink violets that were struggling a little and some of the purple violets that are taking over the bed (hence why the chives and pink violets needed moving) which will look beautiful when they spread and do their thing. 🙂

The rockery corner. It solved the issue of water eroding the soil down from the upper level to the lower one and looks beautiful to boot.

The rockery corner. It solved the issue of water eroding the soil down from the upper level to the lower one and looks beautiful to boot.

Violets planted in a small space. They will spread along the edge of the deck and smell beautiful.

Violets planted in a small space. They will spread along the edge of the deck and smell beautiful.

Saturday morning we got out into the garden early, Martin aiming to whipper snip then throw poplar logs back over the fence so they can be turned into hugel beds and I was focussing on the kids and the pergola base until the logs were ready to go. Martin had to help me with a few bits and then the kids had a sensory music event in town which broke the day up. Martin came back with a trailer-load of mulch and 2 happy kids. Orik slept whilst I finished getting the sleepers in place and now all I need to do is concrete in the corner posts and finish digging out some of the soil. Most of the rocks have been used either in backfilling or in the creation of another garden bed (a spur of the moment decision but none the less encompassing permaculture principles 🙂 ) and so we should end up with little waste. The last veggie bed needs probably 2 more trailer loads of soil barrowed over and then it’s ready to go. 🙂

Orik loves "Do-wa" and Pandora loves Orik. Kisses and treats through the wire.

Orik loves “Do-wa” and Pandora loves Orik. Kisses and treats through the wire.

Yesterday saw the last of the pergola base frame completed and the brackets to hold the uprights concreted into place. Martin also had a good go at the whipper snippering. This last is absolutely critical as it’s more than warm enough for the Joe Blakes to be waking up and looking for food. With more than a few mice around and the creek as a water source and highway, it’s well and truly time it was snake proofed. Whilst the kids were eating lunch I hopped up on the cubby platform and cut and nailed the last of the boards into place. All ready to lug up the cubby and screw it in place now. 🙂 I also finally got in and cleaned out the chook pen. It’s been a long time coming but the deep litter in there had to come out. It’s now on the compost which is nearing half full too. 😀 I’ll get the straw bale in and spread it around for the goats and chooks today. It’s been a crazy busy 3 weeks and weekends but the progress we’ve made is unbelievable. The focus now is on continuing to whipper snipper and then mow the grass down and continued focus on snake proofing. Once the logs are back over this side of the fence (I can’t do it with 3 kids around) then the hugels will be laid out and I’ll get those poor potted fruit trees into their permanent homes.

I guess that since these projects are coming together and nearing completion it might be time to think up some new ones. Shhhh, don’t tell my husband I said that. 😉

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14 thoughts on “Another day (or more)

  1. Jo says:

    Oh my goodness Jessie, just exhausted reading your posts! You must be very thrilled about your progress. I love seeing your garden projects coming along. Hope you sleep well:)

    • I have no idea why but I didn’t sleep all that well. Ask Fran! I was up not long after 4 and emailing her! 😉 Still, I feel good and I am so stoked to see some hardcore progress. It’s so easy to see what needs doing and I forget to look at what is already done but getting all this done clears off many of the major projects. Just a few left on the list which will relieve Martin no end I am sure! 😉

  2. Lynda D says:

    I dont think there will ever be an end to your projects Jess. Nor should there be. You can here the joy in your post as you achieve your goals. And yes, im exhausted too, just reading it.

    • There will be an end to the big ones though. I mean we only have 1/2 an acre and there is only so much space.
      Taking a leaf out of your book with a current project though. More to come later. 🙂

  3. Michael says:

    OK, now stop it! Just stop it!
    You’re making the rest of us look really lame!
    Seriously! where do get all that energy????

  4. narf77 says:

    “Bouncers?”…Hoppers! 😉 I have to say, you are VERY lucky none of the kids inherited Martins curly locks ;). They all look like they bypassed his genes entirely and hit mum up for the gene pool strike ;). “I spy, with my bleary eye, a seedling!” You are one up on me (literally HA!) but then, I only just planted my babies yesterday so I can’t be expecting miracles (can I?!) HAHAHAHA! With you on not telling Martin…make sure to not tell Steve about my new ideas OK? I am sure he cringes whenever he passes me and a bit of paper with a pen in my mouth with far-away eyes ;). Enormous kudos on the gardening. Your little patch of paradise is well on its way to permie perfection. By this time next year, your soil will be amazing, your hoppers will be healthier than they have ever been and Martin might get to be let off the hook for some of the hard yards that you are doing today. I keep telling Steve “this is a once off job, after we do it, that’s it, that’s all, no more digging holes for fence posts…” etc. I think you have to encourage them don’t you? Thinking of buying a carton of beer and dangling a cold bevvy from a stick in front of Stevie-boys eager fists whenever he starts to flag in the garden. You think it will work? 😉

    • Better make it his favourite ever beer then. 😉
      I am offering bribes too – a weekend away, his man-cave fitted out and schmick. Good bribes for a load of very hard work. 🙂

      • narf77 says:

        If bribes work, I say we should use them! Whatever it takes sometimes and if we can get our menfolk on board with our visions, they take much less time to achieve 🙂

  5. Glad the little guys are back and bouncy…. bad bug! Clucker tucker sounds a great idea, definitely be looking into that alright. We’ve just moved our hens into one of the poly tunnels, so hopefully no slugs, bugs or weeds next season fingers crossed, and they’ll be nice, warm and dry through the winter. 🙂

  6. Chris says:

    Well done. 🙂

    Hope it all fills out well for you during the growing season.

  7. […] are more hugels to build and more fruit trees to plant although they will be my seed grown ones), the pergola ready for its next stage and the cubby platform merely awaiting its top layer of the cubby itself, […]

  8. […] been working on a pergola project for a fair while now. Since October 2014 actually. It’s not exactly finished but it is now usable for more than just somewhere to dump […]

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