Monday, August 8, 2011

An early spring

I had heard at our local plant nursery that we were in for an early spring, and after the last week of record August warmth for our region, I have to say I agree!  Although it was lovely, its a bit disconcerting to be out and about in a t-shirt in August!!! 

Again, I have to apologise for the lack of updates on the blog.  Due to the lovely weather, I have been spending very little time inside, and even less time on the computer! 

I've been slowly working away at all the jobs that need doing around the farm.  I've planted about 12 fruit trees, plus about 30-40 raspberry plants, and a dozen rhubarb crowns.  I've fenced off what will be developed into a food forest, with 4 strands of electric fencing to keep out our 2 free range goats (my next fencing project will be upgrading the paddock fencing, so that our 2 free range goats will be restricted to being 'paddock goats' instead!!).  I've spent a bit of time fencing off another garden plot to plant our potatoes in this year (its about 8m x 8m).  Now I just have to dig all that area over to plant the potatoes!!!

happy free range ducks with my simple goat proof fence in the background
 We did some burning off of cypress prunings. I'm not a big fan of burning off, I don't like wasting even sticks for an 'unproductive' fire, but we have alot prunings around the place and dry cypress burns a little too good to have it lying around all summer (especially since its predicted to be a much drier summer than the last....).

I'm getting excited about our spring/summer garden.  We are planning on planting some new crops - popcorn and luffa (to use as a more eco friendly alternative to dishwashing sponges -yes we are the only people on the planet who still wash up by hand, haha).  Plus a few different varieties of tomatoes, pumpkins, cucumbers, beans and zuchinni.  I'm really going to push myself a bit with the garden this year and aim to produce some good crops that will cover us for the whole years consumption. 

the vegie garden, getting ready for spring
Next year we plan on starting to grow our own grains.  Probably just wheat, oats and maize (a better alternative to growing ordinary sweet corn as you can pick it 'green' for sweet corn and leave some to mature as maize for cornmeal and animal feed).  We will look at buying some pigs to employ as ploughs to help with preparing bigger plots for planting. 

The bees survived the winter and were out and about enjoying the sunshine!  That was a relief as I was unsure how much honey they had and how much they need to keep them going.  We will harvest some in late spring, just enough for our own needs and see how that goes. 

We are still reading the 'little house on the praire' series of books as a family and loving them.  We are now up to the 5th book and now have a popcorn and reading ritual going (inspired by Almanzo's family popcorn and reading nights in Farmer Boy).  We can't recommend these books highly enough - not just for kids.

Our little girl turns 5 this week!  She got an early birthday present of a trio of Rhode Island Red bantams, which she adores, and goes out to visit MANY times a day.  Hopefully the hens will be good broodies and hatch some chickens for us this year.  Speaking of chickens, summers little chicks are now all grown up and some are laying!  We are getting a few more eggs each day.  Another sign that spring is around the corner.

happy free-range kids!

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