Operation Clean up

We are continuing to work hard to reclaim our little slice of paradise from the insidious creep of weeds that has occurred whilst Continue reading

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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?

Quiet in the blogosphere…

…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. 🙂 Continue reading

All tuckered out

I sit here, exhausted! And boy does it feel good. 🙂 I am well ready for bed though.

Continue reading

Seeds

Yesterday was spent in the garden again. This time it was time to plant some seeds. 😀 Continue reading

A whirlwind weekend and some huge achievements

Wow! What a weekend! Again! We seem to be having a few “wow” weekends these days. 😀 First of all, let me just say….

Drumroll please…

 

 

Wait for it…

 

 

Wait for it…

 

 

Wait for it…

 

 

We bought a TRACTOR! :O

Trevor the Bolens tractor

Yes, we bought a tractor. Now before you get all “they only have a 1/2 acre, what on earth do they need a tractor for” on me, it’s ok. It’s not a big tractor. In fact it’s one of the most pint sized tractors I have ever seen that isn’t made of plastic. 😀 He is the size of a ride-on mower and that’s in fact the reason we bought him, but Trevor is in fact a tractor with a slasher/mower attachment that goes underneath. It comes off though and we will be able to use Trev for other things like towing a small trailer (still looking for that) which means he can haul wood, compost or anything else we can think of. The kids love him, and Jas helped name him.

Trevor the traction engine from Thomas the Tank Engine series.

Boys and their toys 😉

Jasper loves Trevor

Allegra loves Trevor too

Boys and their toys starting young. Orik loves Trevor and we’re fighting to keep him from climbing up of his own accord.

In other exciting news… 😉

We have a kitchen! Lee has finished installing the kitchen and I must say it looks absolutely AMAZING!

Old kitchen

New kitchen. Not quite completed in this picture but since finished

I am in LURVE! On the left are my pantries. There are 4 narrow deep drawers for storing bulk rice, flour, wheat and rye (or maybe pasta) and then the narrow but wider drawers above will hold potatoes and onions. Then there are the shelves for storing the bounty of our summers harvest (here’s hoping) through bottling, drying and pressure canning. At the moment I have taken up some of my Fowlers Vacola preserving jars but given the space in those shelves, I will need MANY more jars 😀

The rest of the weekend was filled with finishing (although not yet completing planting) the veggie gardens, digging out the grapes bed and planting about 150 Erlicheer bulbs (yes I know they’re VERY late but one doesn’t look a gift horse of 600 free bulbs in the mouth), getting 2 loads of compost and a bale of straw, setting the veggie garden gate posts in concrete and of course, the endless job of mowing mowing mowing.

My grapes are bursting into leaf!

150 Erlicheer bulbs

The last of the veggie beds, my 3 spud boxes and compost bin. Along the left hand side is the beans garden.

We planned to choose tiles and carpet on Saturday morning but discovered that, unlike the Big Smoke, shops still close at lunchtime on Saturdays and don’t open on Sundays! It’s wonderful but it will take a slight mental adjustment. We did manage to get some floor tile samples and I think we have our chosen tile but having 5 minutes to run in and choose whilst the shop owner reopens the store for you is not conducive to a thorough search of the tiles. I need to choose splashbacks and bathroom tiles anyway so hoping I can convince a friend to come with us for babysitting purposes. Not sure taking children into a tile shop is a good idea. Well, not my 3 anyway. At least the carpet shop has a play area.

Moving day looks like it will be 2-3 weeks now which is scary and exciting all at the same time. I have a lot of packing to do and we have a LOT of stuff to move. At least now that the kitchen is installed I can start taking up excess pantry items and the rest of my preserving gear.

Fencing and the chicken run are our next big jobs. I need to finish the fence that sections off the veggie garden (mainly to keep the kids out) and now that the posts are sunk and cemented in I can attack that. Then once the gate is on we’re ready to go. A friend has offered to come and help/teach us to put up ringlock fencing along the creek. Martin is madly trying to at least mow a cleared swathe where we want it to go so that we can borrow/hire a post hole digger and get the posts in. I really don’t fancy digging them by hand after the hard yakka from last time. Mark will then help us with the star pickets and the ringlock itself. We have had to take a step back in regards to the chook shed though. There is a lean to kind of shed already on the property which we were intending to convert to a wood shed but with time constraints and other more pressing jobs, as well as it being absolutely perfect for the job, this shed will become the chickens home. I still intend to dabble in superadobe at some time in the future, just won’t be quite yet sadly. I need to add in a 2nd story (divide it in half) inside the shed, add perches and keep a space to add nesting boxes in the future (6-8 week old chicks won’t need nesting boxes for a few months) and then add in a door and fence off their run. We also plan to keep a couple of ducks so our half wine barrel will become their swimming area. Fencing the chicken run will involve more post hole digging and digging a trench around a foot deep so that the chicken wire will go down into the ground in an attempt to foil any crafty foxes that may come prowling. We hope that the presence of 3 large dogs next door may also help deter any members of the Vulpes family. It’s going to be a busy busy weekend over Melbourne Cup weekend. Thanks goodness for a 4 day weekend.

The beans bed and the fencing. And the shed in the background which will become the chickens new home.

Also got my pumpkins and onions planted, and their are even more potatoes sprouting up through their lucerne bedding. Zucchinis are starting to peek up through the soil and there are even more corn plants sprouting up like little green needles. My tomato seedlings are sprouting their second set of true leaves and the siberian tomatoes are starting to poke out of the soil too. My watermelons are still deciding whether or not to forgive me for transplanting them. Their cotyledon leaves died and the stems withered a little but there are some true leaves showing so I am holding out a little hope. My capsicum seedlings are doing well and looking lush and green in their punnet and I have HEAPS of broccoli seedlings that have nearly bounced up out of the soil too. My sunflowers are also beginning to grow their true leaves and the lettuces are continuing to provide a bounteous crop. I also have 4 strawberry flowers on 1 plant! I was going to pinch them off to give the plant the best go at doing its thing but reckon the kids will enjoy far more if I let them ripen. Next year I will plant a whole tonne of alpine strawberries I think – they’re the best cold climate strawberry and are supposed to be deliciously sweet. All my other plants are doing well and I am nearly ready to harvest my first few rocket leaves too. 😀 Spring has most definitely sprung!

Well, I’m off to enjoy the sunshine with my children. 😀