I thought winter was supposed to be the quiet season. I had great plans of getting small bits and pieces done, you know, the things you shove to the side when the weather is good: cleaning all the windows, building a spice shelf, doing some fun crafty things… Most of that stuff went out the window. Including finishing cleaning the windows. But, despite the wettest, soggiest, driving-me-insane-est winter I have known, we did actually get a lot done. Here are some of the main achievements that occurred during winter:

  • Going on holiday/away three times, including a wedding and a funeral
  • Day trips to Auckland x2, including meeting the newest wee family member
  • Building a chicken coop
  • Making screens for the woodshed
  • Selling some chickens
  • Resurfacing and selling the old dining table
  • Creating a shelf and glass bottles feature for the wall.
  • Installing small shelves in the lounge and The Little Fulla’s room
  • Installing an additional towel rail in the bathroom
  • Magnetising the Garden Produce Board in the kitchen
  • Making three recipes for gluten-free bread plus cake and other new gluten-free baking
  • Learning how to render lard
  • Growing mushrooms from a kit
  • Planting brassicas, garlic and onions
  • Sowing tomatoes, capsicums, chillies and lettuces
  • Shifting the weedpost pile into a compost bin for the chickens to turn
  • Leveling the ground beside the garage for more raised vege beds
  • Felling a plum tree
  • Planting two fruit/nut trees
  • Transplanting three blackcurrant bushes
  • Transplanting the large flax away from the gate
  • Planting more ornamentals in the Plum Tree Garden
  • Tidying the back porch
  • Removing firewood and black plastic from the future patio area and acquiring $2 pavers
  • Chopping up most of the ugly too-big woodpile near the deck
  • Acquiring and chopping up two vehicle loads of free chunky pallets for the fire
  • Acquiring some stones for a future parking area project
  • Acquiring a $5 swing and slide set
  • Weeding. There is always weeding.

Take that, rain! I certainly did not sit inside twiddling my thumbs.

Sandpit cover
You might think we’re trying to make a pond, but we just bought a tarp to cover the sandpit, which has yet to be filled with sand. The rain has other ideas.

The last week or so I have been kept busy with preparations for a small boy’s birthday, housework, tidying up outside, gardening when the sun deigns to show his face and some training for a temporary job. So much for the provident sun; he ran off again leaving us with his soggy brother. We are being teased with one or two nice or half-decent days followed by many more bouts of rain, soggy ground and pools of water. I have also continued the egg thief investigation, which I thought was almost at a close, but now I’m not so sure. An investigation that ends with “I’m not sure” is not a very good one, so the full report will have to wait until I have a satisfactory answer.

The Little Fulla and the broccoli
“If I hide behind the broccoli, Mummy can’t see me nibbling it.”

The Little Fulla has just turned two. How did that happen?! We had a family party for him on the weekend with a bit of a car theme – as much as I could manage in a short space of time. He had a great time opening and playing with gifts and eating yummy food. We love him more and more each day and enjoy his personality and funny antics. He’s a winner.

I am learning to make the most of the nice or half-decent days by getting gardening or outside tasks done on them and saving outings for the rainy days. If it’s going to be raining all day we might as well be driving and doing the shopping. The Little Fulla has been good at helping me with the weeding. We cleared some space in the compost area to put the two potato barrels, then used compost from the chicken compost bin to partially fill them and cover the early Lisetta seed potatoes. Recycled weeds at their best. We also planted red spring onions and transplanted some more meadowfoam  (Limnanthes douglasii) around the vege garden. These red spring onions or bunching onions, are a compromise on not re-sowing my full-sized red onions. I only ended up with five red onion seedlings to plant. Oops! Well, seven, but The Little Fulla took out two of ’em.

Spring onions
I like to plant my spring onions between the blocks of carrot beds to help deter carrot rust flies from eating holes in my carrots. These tiny spring onion seedlings that can barely be seen are a red spring onion or bunching onion. The garlic is at the back of the photo, the bigger ones being elephant garlic, and the meadowfoam (Limnanthes douglasii) is at the front of the photo.

I also learned that I cannot eat sheep’s milk products. I made a lovely quiche for the party with bacon, silverbeet and sheep’s feta cheese, which I used as an experiment to see if I could handle sheep’s cheese. The night after the party I threw up because I failed to take a dairy enzyme pill when I noticed symptoms of intolerance before I went to bed, because I was stubbornly clinging to the belief that I would be able to have sheep’s milk products. Sigh. No dairy for Twiglet; cow, goat or sheep. And I was just starting to ponder whether we could keep some milking sheep one day…

I’m going to be working a bit over the next few weeks but there is still a lot to be done. Spring has sprung and there are more seeds to be sown, things to be planted and weeds to destroy. And with more than one chicken standing on trial, as well as other non-feathered suspects, who knows what will happen next?

Chickens
Who’s been a good chicken?
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