Friday, June 2, 2017

Hello Winter

After what has felt like the mildest and driest autumn ever, winter has finally hit with most of May's rain falling in the last few days of the month, and with it a big drop in temperature!  It feels cold here, but I think its just its been so warm and we just haven't had a chance to acclimatize yet.  Livestock farmers notice it more than others perhaps, as we still have to tend to our stock no matter what the weather (vegetables can be abandoned for a day or two and not suffer much!).

The goats are always hoping for a treat

Letting the girls out at sun rise on these chilly mornings
Our garden is going great, and we have now reached self sufficiency in vegetables.  We have onions, pumpkins, potatoes, garlic, dried basil and paprika stored away, along with many pickles and jams.  Plus the garden just keep pumping out loads of food.  Now we are enjoying beetroot, sweedes, carrots, cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower, kale and bok choi (and still the odd capsicums - do these plants ever stop!!!) fresh from the garden.  Our chooks aren't laying much at the moment, but the goats are still making enough milk for our fresh use and the odd cheese (but not enough to make cheese every day).  In the polytunnel I'm planting peas and lettuce and I'm getting ready to plant onions.  Our garlic is all up and we have also planted shallots.

Not rushing to the supermarket any time soon
A perfect broccoli (not sure why blogger wanted to flip this image)
We are also preparing new blocks of growing beds for spring planting as we are expanding out garden a little more. Either with the view of moving into growing for market or to supply our animal feed (an area that we still depend entirely on bough supplementary feed).

tilling up a new block for planting potatoes
collecting composted goat manure with the new (very little) tractor (yes, it is THAT small)

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The great pumpkin harvest of 2017

There are a few things that really make it feel like autumn, and one of them is pumpkins!

Our son holding an Italian pumpkin variety called 'Tondo Padano' 

Miss 4 holding an 'Orange Cutie'

Miss 1 holding a 'Sweet Dumpling'

Miss 10 holding the Australian classic 'Queensland Blue'

We have just finished getting all our pumpkins out of the garden and into storage in our 'cellar'.  And what a haul we have had.  I haven't weighed them all but there is plenty more than we need which is great!

We grew 9 different types of pumpkin, such a diversity in colours and shapes.
So my plan is to play around with adding pumpkin to more of our food, like the sourdough bread I bake every second day.  Also things like pancakes and pikelets, fruit cakes, scones and I may even manage the American pumpkin pie.

Friday, April 7, 2017

that moment, when you realise you are living your dream....

Ever since I was a teenager, in the mid 90s, obsessed with Earth Garden magazine, I would dream of 'one day' having a place in the bush, building a house, having milking goats and chooks and living self sufficiently growing all my own food etc etc.  I used to draw designs of my hand built mudbrick house and all the animals I would have  (at least one of EVERY farm animal that there is!).

We hatched ducklings form our own ducks this season, so cute!
Funnily enough, as I was rushing back in from locking up the goats in the dark, to get back to read the kids their bed time stories it clicked for perhaps the first time, that this is as close to living one's dream as it gets.  We have been eating meals made pretty much entirely from our own produce for weeks now.  I'm preserving lots of weird and wonderful pickles, cooking tomatoe sauce, making sweet chilli sauce, and contemplating the storage options for what looks to be a bumper pumpkin harvest.  I've made more cheese than I care to think of, and seem to have to bake more bread than I sometimes feel like (the romantic notion of cooking on the wood stove isn't so romantic on a hot day, and far too sweaty!!).

Abundance is heavy work when you need to push it up hill....
So many cucumbers!
I won't be sorry to see the end of the tomatoes!
Perhaps I didn't realise I was living my dream, because while it might all sound idyllic and all that, its SO MUCH WORK.  I love it don't get me wrong, but I just don't get alot of time to contemplate or think about these things, I am usually thinking about the next thing that I can get done.  And then there is the sleep deprivation (our one year old has very quickly turned into the WORST sleeper in our family by far, yawn...), the late nights preserving and baking and washing up (not so idyllic).

So while its not all perfect and there are so many jobs we want to get done, I also feel that I am as close to my 'dream' as I 'need' to be.  We have achieved so much, and its so truly satisfying to eat meals made from all our own produce and to sell some too.  A few more weeks and it will be mostly over, everything will be 'in' and either stored in its natural state or will have been cooked, dried or something else, and then perhaps there will be that elusive relaxing day by the fire in winter reading or spinning wool or something, ha!

Monday, January 9, 2017

First tomatoe of summer!

Hey there!
Our garden is growing great this year, and we have had our first tomatoe.  (Obviously grown in the polytunnel, a bit early for out side tomatoes around these parts!

Also picking zuchinni, cucumbers, basil and shortly capsicums.

Many hours have been spent working the garden this spring/summer, and alot of money spent in irrigation.

Hoping you, dear reader, have had a lovely holiday season, celebrating in what ever way suits you.  For us its such a busy time of year, we mostly focus on catching up with family.  And now its to look forward to what 2017 will bring for us.

All the best!