The windy, wet weather that plagued us for weeks finally let up and gave way to sunny days and frosty mornings. I don’t mind the cold, frosty starts when sunny winter days follow. This is great news on the gardening front. And for the chicken pen. The sodden, squishy ground has finally been able to dry out. And things can be done. With typical Twiglet timing, The Little Fulla got sick then shared his sickness with me just in time for the sunny weather. I didn’t have time to be sick. The shadow of many outdoor tasks was growing bigger. Once The Little Fulla was over the worst of his sickness I started carting him around on my back in the afternoons so I could get some stuff done outside. Except for the afternoon I had to take him to A&E for cutting his mouth on the side of the bath. That was the same day he got his thumb jammed in a hole. And several days after he jammed his finger up the nostril of his unsuspecting uncle. He’s obsessed with holes, that boy. We’re thinking about sending him to Holeaholics Anonymous. But really, can’t I be sick in peace? And then those chickens… I was so busy I practically scared the sickness away.
The trick to getting stuff done with The Little Fulla on my back in the carrier is to keep moving. If I stay in the same spot or face the same way for very long, he gets bored and fidgety. The arms start coming out and grabbing things: branches, chicken wire, my hair, anything within reach. I was getting hit on the shoulder (I discovered that was what he’d been doing to the rocking horse when he wanted The Husband to make it go around the room again and The Husband obliged – but not anymore!) And then he starts grizzling or yelling. So, I have to do active things. I managed to fork the pile of decomposing chicken wood shavings and hay over the area we’re building the new vege beds on and dig out some weeds. The Little Fulla somehow accepted this constant movement as exciting. It probably helped that he could see the neighbour’s sheep. Sheep are very exciting. I have done a small amount of hydrangea pruning, as in, it took me two days to do one bush. Well, most of it. He got bored of that as it wasn’t enough movement. I cut up some of the feijoa pruning mountain to put on the compost pile. He got bored of that too. I picked some flowers to put on the table. He liked that, although I had to fight him for the flowers.
When The Little Fulla has been sleeping, I have been slowly pruning the big pear tree and the apple tree, shoveling some of the ‘wood shavings’ out of the giant bag to spread in the chicken pen (The Husband picked up some of the proper wood shavings for the chicken coop), moving things around outside to tidy up and digging out some tough weeds from the soon-to-be-built vege bed. The pear and apple trees are quite old and in dire need of some good pruning. I didn’t get to them last year aside from cutting a few in-the-way branches off the apple tree. If only I had a telescopic chainsaw instead of the telescopic pruning saw I have been borrowing from The Father. I wonder how much they cost… Yeah, no. Slow and cheap it’s going to be! I also have to be selective about when I prune the apple tree since it’s in the chicken run by the coop and I don’t want to disturb the egg-laying proceedings. The feather children get nervous when mummy climbs up the tree and piles big branches in their run.
I have now chopped up and removed the pruning mountain from in front of the feijoa tree. Success! The Little Fulla helped by putting sticks in his mouth. And flowers. And leaves. I have also moved the bamboo tee-pees (they’re so tall I just don’t know where to stash them) and started digging out the ivy that had taken up residence in various parts of the orchard, including the base of the lemon tree. I have to admit I’ve been avoiding it. It scares me. It gives me a horrible, itchy rash if it comes into contact with my skin, so I have a good excuse for procrastination. I just have to wear longs and keep an eye on my skin. There is a swathe of crocosmia, also known as montbretia (Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora), growing under the feijoa tree that I need to get rid of too. While not bad to look at, it grows like a weed here, spreading by way of its brown corms as well as rhizomes. I need to dig the clumps out carefully before it gets out of hand. I think the chickens helped it to spread last time they were in there. Other than that, I just need to finish chicken-wiring the paddock fences around the orchard, move out my stash of wood, concrete and such and convince The Husband to get a move on with cutting and assembling the timber for the vege garden, then chicken-wire the side of that. And chuck up some temporary gates until we get proper ones. Then I think the chickens can move in. I’ve already opened up part-way behind the garage for them using staked plastic netting so they can have some greens to peck at. They’ve near decimated the green life in their current pen, although I’ve been forking in clumps of weeds and grass with dirt attached so they can peck at them.
Progress still seems slow but I am getting a lot done. And I’m loving the beautiful weather we’re having. The sun is shining, the wind is calm and there is more light in the mornings and evenings. It is just glorious.