Shy

Spring has sprung here but like always it’s not sure if it’s going to stay quite yet. Why is it that Spring has to be the shy season?

The weeds chicken food that I’ve actively grown over the winter 😉 is almost overwhelming to contemplate cleaning up feeding to the chickens but the sunshine these last 2 weekends has helped and I even managed a light sunburn. The vitamin D has helped to boost the motivation further yet, as has good company (thanks S and T).

Food for the chooks.

Food for the chooks.

2 beds partly cleared and also partly sown - carrots, snap peas and some very early pumpkin seeds.

2 beds partly cleared and also partly sown – carrots, snap peas and some very early pumpkin seeds.

The time has come to pour some energy (and money 😦 ) into tidying up our gardens. The veggie patch needs nothing more than some hard yakka to find the soil underneath the “green manure” (how many phrases can I come up with to disguise the fact my gardens are a weed fest I wonder 😉 ) then some time spent transplanting seedlings and sowing seeds, etc. That’s not so bad (as long as you only look at 1 garden bed at a time) but the front is more than a little overwhelming. With the help of some good friends, 8m² of eucalyptus mulch (so far), more hard yakka, several garden tools, 2 wheelbarrows and a few days of sunshine, the front garden is coming together too.

We’ve decided to surround the beds with hardwood sleepers. We’ve been over the pros and cons of hardwood vs treated pine, both CCA (Chromated Copper Arsenate) and ACQ (Alkaline Copper Quaternary) and decided that although “they” say it’s safe, neither of us are entirely comfortable, even with the beds more likely used for fruit trees and flowers. Still, the price difference stings. 😦

Sorry for the half shadow - bed cleared of weeds, allium seedlings replanted and 2 plum trees planted too. They'll shade the greenhouse in summer, just when it needs the shade most.

Sorry for the half shadow – bed cleared of weeds, allium seedlings replanted and 2 plum trees planted too. They’ll shade the greenhouse in summer, just when it needs the shade most. I’ve since added some scrap plastic garden bed edging I had lying around and it all looks much neater. 🙂

We’ve sourced a local supplier of greybox in Maryborough and hopefully the first lot of sleepers will arrive at the end of the week. Here’s hoping the preliminary forecast for fine weather arrives along with them.

In other garden news, the orchard is starting to burst into both flower and leaf with all bar 1 of the trees having made it through. The 1 tree that has no sign of greenery ran afoul of some small child breaking it in half (culprit unknown) but if the root stock lives, I hope to play at grafting. The seed grown apples are also coming along nicely. We spend Sunday out weeding the beds and paths, topping up garden beds where needed and feeding the chickens anything green from in there. Our poor chooks must be totally glutted I must say but if the egg the kids found is any indication, I’d say the greenery agrees with them. There is 1 poor hen walking funny tonight. 😉

Here’s hoping the weather lasts as these school holidays I would like to spend outside in the sun, weeding, sowing, planting and structuring, teaching and learning alongside my children. 🙂

It's Lizzie the Skink, found on the woodpile, released into the veggie patch.

It’s Lizzie the Skink, found on the woodpile, released into the veggie patch.

As an aside, my unbelievable daughter was in the garden with me the other day. She picked a leaf, brought it over and asked me what it was. It was a FOUR LEAF CLOVER! I could scarcely believe my eyes! 1st and only leaf she picked. Today, out in the garden with friends I was telling them of Allegra’s incredible find. She tells them how she did it, picks a leaf and brings it over to show us. Would you believe it? Yep, ANOTHER FOUR LEAF CLOVER! What are the odds?! Both of them are pressing between the pages of my Earth Garden magazine to be laminated for lucky charms. Not that she needs them if she can find them like that!

The first 4 leaf clover. It's 1 in 10,000 chance of finding one. What's the odds on picking 2 leaves over 2 days and those very first leaves are 4 leaf clovers?

The first 4 leaf clover. It’s 1 in 10,000 chance of finding one. What’s the odds on picking 2 leaves over 2 days and both of those leaves are 4 leaf clovers?

Still kicking

Sorry for the lack of posts from the hippy homestead. It’s been a busy time with spring planting and of course the lead up to Christmas (bah humbug 😉 ). We have also been spending time focussing on family which has been wonderful. I’ll be back before Christmas, at least to wish you all a good one. 🙂

Take care my hippy friends. 🙂

I got sunburned

In August! And no, I am not in the northern hemisphere. It is winter here. Maybe the last few days thereof, but it is still winter. It’s been absolutely lovely outside in the sunshine, soaking up fresh air and vitamin D but after 2 days of doing so, my vitamin D requirements have been overshadowed by sunburn. Continue reading

With all things being equal

The day and the night that is. Happy Equinox hippies. 🙂 We are on the lighter side of it now and heading fast into Summer. 😀

True to form we spent the weekend in the garden, trying to get done all we need to do. Our fences are finished and had a test run with 5 kids under 7 on Saturday afternoon when my nephews came to visit us. Jasper, clever little fellow, showed us where the greatest weaknesses in our perimeters are within 5 minutes. The gates. They are easy to climb and we then had the chance to recite the poem “swinging on a gate, swinging on a gate. 7 little sisters and a brother makes eight” although ours was more like 4 boy cousins and Allegra makes 5 but oh well. 😉 We can easily put some chicken wire over the gates to stop the climbing but with them opening it we need to think about what steps we take.

Sitting on the deck eating hot chips for lunch. This is what we can see.

Sitting on the deck eating hot chips for lunch. This is what we can see. A LOT of mess!

And lowering clouds that threatened and pulled faces but didn't follow through on their threats.

A large woodpile to be moved and glowering clouds that threatened and pulled faces but didn’t follow through on their threats.

The fences have also opened a lot more of the garden up to us which the kids have been exploring and loving. 🙂 We have some cleaning up to do there with a huge expanse of roofing tiles that need to be cleared (some will be broken up and used to create a base for the 3000L water tank we’re putting up to catch shed run off) but they’re pretty brittle sadly and not much use other than to add to cement to stabilise it or as a rock base underneath something else as the edges are too sharp to leave exposed. Another shameful waste. 😦 If anyone can think of any other uses…

Over the fence and down near the creek.

Over the fence and down near the creek.

Saturday also saw me out in the front garden digging up the area where I plan to plant my asparagus. There is old lino underneath small white stones and copious weeds that need to come up. I’ve discovered though that despite some widely variable weed-mats (plastic, lino, carpet underlay etc) and other interesting gardening choices we have one thing really going for us. The garden has worms. Yeah, I was going to write that we had worms but figured a little bit of class wouldn’t go astray this once. 😉 The pebbles above the thick clay and lino layers are absolutely seething with worms. I feel like a murderer every time I dig as I can’t but help hurt some of them. So, I tried paying Jasper to collect them and move them to the hugelkultur and blueberry beds but even at 10c a worm he piked out after 40 worms.

So when I found out that my 6-year-old nephew is learning the value of money and saving up and was keen to earn his money I offered him the same deal. He collected just over 100 worms in a space probably 1×2 metres! :O We capped his earnings at $10 (as I was fast running out of money) which he was stoked with and he had a blast diving on worms like a hungry chicken whilst his dad (my brother) sat and watched (he’d hurt his back again sadly) and I dug. It was a really lovely time to be honest.

We talked gardening and worms although he prefers his worms hanging on a hook suspended in the water. I sent them home with various seeds and instructions on how to best plant them too as they are burgeoning gardeners, more for the curiosity than the intent of truly growing things I think, but I am stoked. 😀 I hope the green thumb bug sticks and Jayke continues to grow and then eat all the wonderful foods he grows. I hope for his sake the Summer is kind with warmth and rain in perfect balance (but this is Australia in a time of climate change so I’m not holding my breath) to give his garden the best possible start. I’ve also offered to buy some worm wee and castings from him when his brand new worm farm gets up and running. I spoke to my sister-in-law this morning too and after a few more jobs and a bit more pocket money Jayke had enough to buy what he had been saving for. 😀

He earned $4 and my garden is much happier.

Jasper earned $4 and my garden is much happier.

Sunday morning saw me finishing off the last few metres of chicken wiring under the edge of the shed to prevent escaping chooks and then for the first time in months the funny buggers were let out to free-range. They’ve been kept in to prevent garden damage as they have been marching straight under the house and out the front and have even headed towards the neighbours which, considering he trains greyhounds for racing is not in the best interest of the birds. They are now, with the fences in place and barrier wiring finished, safe and welcome in the garden. 🙂 We need to build another small free-range access door for them so they don’t need to traipse into Anna’s run and then out to the garden, and so they can wander in and out as they please (to lay and such) too but on the whole it was lovely to see them out in the garden eating bugs and grass. 😀 And destroying my gardens of course. 😦

A messy back deck and free-ranging Dorkings.

A messy back deck and free-ranging Dorkings.

We also spent some time moving wood from out the front around to the wood lean-to, finishing off setting the trampoline up and moving it back to open up the garden a bit more and just general clean up. I have 1/2 of the asparagus bed area cleared and am now thinking I will build 2 beds instead of 1 but we shall see. I hope to finish digging up the rest of the stones and weeds today but if there is no lino or other weed-mat I shall just pull weeds and build on top. MUCH easier. 🙂 I also simply MUST plant out my seeds today or I will have no tomato plants to plant out come November. So much to do and still so little time. At least I have a garden safe for the kids to run and play in. 🙂

The Hawthorn is putting out leaves. Spring must truly be here.

The Hawthorn is putting out leaves. Spring must truly be here.

One lone daffy (past its prettiest). I shall plant out other bulbs down there later in the year.

One lone daffy (past its prettiest). I shall plant out other bulbs down there later in the year and hopefully pull out some of the sticky weed.

We also spent some great time with the kids. They were stripped down for Vitamin D again for most of the day and in the later afternoon on Sunday we had 3 nudies running around the garden having a blast. We also built a pirate ship with them using a few fence palings, a bike tyre, 2 chairs and 2 kids camp chairs. They weighed anchor, had a flag pole and even caught a whale. What fun and what imaginations. 🙂

Our creek really does have some pretty little spots. Not bad for a storm-water drain with a glorified name.

Our creek really does have some pretty little spots. Not bad for a storm-water drain with a glorified name.

Last night saw me fall into serious unconsciousness around 10pm. Exhaustion and bed are a great combination and I love the feeling of being so tired that I’m melting into the sheets. Sheer bliss! 😀

Not much of our garden can be seen through the trees. I love our privacy.

Not much of our garden can be seen through the trees. I love our privacy.

What did you get up to on your weekend? Did you get stuck into Spring planting or Fall/Autumn clean up perhaps or just enjoy the sunshine perhaps?