Saturday, December 20, 2008

Early Summer Garden '08

I'm so amazed every time I wander around the garden now. Suddenly, a tangle of edible plants have softened all the hard lines we constructed earlier - namely the retaining wall.

But this post is about edible plants and what is growing in the vegetable garden at present. Firstly, I have taken a recent picture of the bed in-front of the chicken coop. The rubarb has shot up, with so many leaves popping out from the crown. I'm looking forward to apple & rubarb crumble, this winter - like my mum used to make!

In the above picture and also below, you'll see the brandywine tomatoes which have grown bigger. I'm really impressed with the vigor and ease of germination in this particular variety of tomato. I hear it has an incredible taste too, which I can't wait to sample myself.

Can you guess which plant this flower belongs to? It's one of those plants you don't turn your back on!

Yes, it's our bottle gourds growing next to the garden shed. The flowers are a beautiful white and only last about 24 hours before turning brown. I'm looking forward to seeing what shapes the gourds grow into.

Here are the apple cucumbers which are just bursting everywhere at the moment. They love climbing the pyramid trellis I constructed nearby. In there are some purple beans as well. I hope they overtake the vigor of the cucumbers soon, or there won't be any space on the trellis left!

The corn is growing well in amongst the pumpkins. Which reminds me, I have to plant more seeds soon, as I only have 10 plants in this patch. Can't wait for that sweet, sweet corn flavour!

And these are the softening plants I was talking about earlier. They're sprawling butternut pumpkin vines, which grow nicely over the retaining wall. This is my favourite view of the garden in fact. I love how nature can take such a hard line and blend it in amongst the foliage. A reminder that we can attempt to tame an area of land, but nature will always have the last say. Like a giant exclamation mark!

I'm really looking forward to eating all these plants, growing in the garden.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

New arrivals

Yesterday was a special day. Firstly, we had some relatives over for a nice lunch - secondly though, it was the day we got some new babies for the Bushland Project.

I saw an ad on Farmstock recently, and it was just a 5 minute drive away to pick up the chicks! So home came seven, 6 week old bantam Orpingtons. I know I've got at least 3 roosters there - you can tell by their little red combs and how they spar with each other. Fingers crossed the rest are girls.

I've only got one blue, which is the most boistrous boy of the lot! The rest I'm sure are going to be black. I know I've got at least one girl there, most likely two. So far the ratio of boys to girls isn't looking good, but I'll give away most of the boys when they start crowing. I want to keep the blue boy though, so I can have some blue babies.

I also got this little guy who is all alone at the moment:

He's a blue pekin rooster and only 8 weeks old. I've got him in with the three hens who don't like him very much. But he's quick and I've put little places he can hide from them in the coop! Which is where this picture was taken - from above the piece of corrugated iron leaned against the corner.

The a-frame tractor which was put out of commission when the coop was recently built, is now housing the 7 Orpington babies during the day. As they're only 6 weeks old I'm keeping them in the shower recess at night. It's funny hearing their little peeps just before they go to sleep.

Hopefuly they'll all grow up to be happy and healthy poultry!

UPDATED to include link to the Farmstock website: Farmstock

This link will take you to the main homepage with a menu of various livestock for sale and wanted. It's a national resource so you will get ads placed from around Australia. I look for the ones advertised in my region, although you do have to search through all the ads to find them.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

18 months on...

There's nothing like a before and after picture to see how far you've actually come. It's been around 18 months between these two pictures.

This is the before picture and not long before we were officially given the keys.

And this is 18 months on. Hasn't it changed? I can't believe you can take pieces of history and flash them right before your eyes like that. Change suddenly seems so instant - but of course I know every working moment and the hours it's taken.

You can also see the different climate conditions 18 months ago also. See how brown the grass was in comparison to the present photo? I took the most recent one today.

Amazing what a bit of consistent rain will do. Speaking of which, I can hear the rain falling on the tin roof as we speak. The vegetables are going to love it!

Reflections, December 2008

It has been a while since I've updated. There have been lots of things happening though. I've spent a lot more time inside (out of the sun) and getting my house organised.

Above is the picture of the junk corner I transformed recently. That's a photo of me in the background, slightly younger than my daughter is now. The hair isn't so much gold any more, but change inevitably brings experience.

The gorgeous rain of late has brought quite a big problem with it though. A jungle!! Yep, the bushland is greening up and the weeds are forging ahead. It's the first season we've experienced where we dread looking at the lawn mower now. Actually, the mower gets used very little - it's the brush cutter which works for hours on end. That can take days to finish our one acre.

So it's time to put our heads together again and think of new solutions.

It's funny though, how quickly life takes a detour when you were planning another direction. We have worked so hard to get our property to the stage it is now, that we forget it can't all be done so quickly. Pretty soon you see the weeds take over (hundreds of square metres of it) and you wonder how much you've really achieved?

We're just beginning to realise that it's time to slow down and use our heads. Not just for working smarter, but also for finding contentment. Remembering how we did overcome those initial challenges in the beginning is an achievement, but more importantly, a form of relaxation. It's so easy to look around and see the millions of jobs that still need doing and stress about it. But we're only two people and we've never really done this kind of thing before. Not on this scale at least.

So it's okay for the weeds to do what they do best - it doesn't mean their success is our failure. It's just a different pace for different things. Winter will be here before we know it and the weeds will die back again, giving us some physical respite this time.

So if you are battling your own jungle - inside the house or outside - don't be overwhelmed by the enormity of the task ahead. There is peace to be found, remembering that everything has it's place. Even the jungle!