The vegetable seedlings are all go at the moment. The dining table is full of little plants pushing up from the soil in various colours, sizes and forms. They are very interesting to watch. I have been doing a lot of watching; stuck with my compost-turning-induced back injury, with two different joints damaged. What was I thinking?! I hate being injured. Even worse than the pain is the feeling of uselessness that comes with not being able to do and achieve things. Some of the vege beds still need topping up with compost before crops can be planted in them, tomato and bean frames need to be put together and there are things that need to be planted now or soon. I’m trying to be patient, but in the surge of Spring I am finding it difficult. At least some of the ‘bombed’ tomato seedlings are making a comeback. The Black Krims seem to be particularly resilient.

DSCF3175 6x4
The Black Krim tomatoes are determined to forge ahead despite their trials.
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The Vege Garden is looking too empty. The time is ripe for planting but the Twiglet is not.

What do I do when I can’t do much? I am not a couch potato. In the absence of the ability to do physical tasks, the mind of a Twiglet runs rampant. I haven’t even actioned many of the ideas from my last ideas rampage. Aside from having to calm down the insanely infinite web of ideas and plans, this is good. I am coming up with some good stuff. Especially with regards to composting.

The current large compost heap is in the site of a planned three-bay wooden or wood and wire compost bin. I have scrapped that plan. Turning the compost is too hard on my back, even if it were to be better contained, and I’m not even doing it often enough to get an efficient turn-around time of organic waste to usable compost, considering how much I need for my garden. The new plan is a two-pronged plan. In the current compost site I want to make these double-barrel turning composters. I have two barrels with lids that I could use already. One is just full of rainwater at the moment. But back to that later. They will make easy work of turning and the turn-around time could be as little as three months. However, they will not produce enough compost for my needs.

Tumbling compost bins
Double-barrel tumbling composters (Photo credit: Community Chickens).

Hence, the second prong. The chickens will get compost bins in both pens so they always have compost to turn for me. They will get three-bay compost bins! They won’t be as big as the bins I was planning, they will be lower and open on one side for easy access. I am so eager to get these projects going, but for now, I will just have to think about them. And fiddle around on Pinterest.

Compost bin wood & wire
I have in mind something like this compost bin for the chickens, but with lower sides and without the lid. Photo credit: getbusygardening.com.

In other project plans, I ordered timber for the next raised vege bed and it is now in our possession. Yuss! I was hoping to have a crack at building one myself now that I have more DIY skills, but The Husband will definitely be required to help now. I still have seed potatoes waiting for this imaginary bed to become non-imaginary…

I have to confess that I did something naughty. I built a gate. Please don’t tell my physio! I did figure out a relatively low-effort option… It’s just that the chickens were wearing out the Cedar Pen and looking at the green stuff in the adjacent Orchard Pen. I knew it was time to move them and Mr Bingley knew too. He somehow got over the fence between the pens while I was working on the gate, but his ladies could not follow him. The makeshift gate leading from the Vege Garden into the Orchard Pen was falling apart and had to go. It was an old wooden flyscreen door from the house that wasn’t built to stand up to much and wasn’t opening in a functional way either.

I used one of the pallet frames stored in the carport for the new gate. These are the frames I used in building some of the walls of the chicken coop. I just had to saw through two bits of wood, in a very slow, rigid and weird way, then cut another narrow piece of wood with the circular saw to fill in the gap on one side. Then screw in a couple of small braces. Then staple on a section of chicken wire. Then screw the hinges onto the gate and post. Then screw on a little piece of wood up the top and wrangle a piece of wire around the garage corner cover to slip over said piece of wood for holding it closed. So, not a whole heap really, but things take three times as long when you’re back is taped up and you’re doing things in a slow and careful way. The new gate is so much better and opens inwards, keeping it out of the way of the vege beds. And The Little Fulla can’t sneak in there and eat rotten fruit anymore. Ha! It won’t last forever as the wood is only heat treated, but it will give me an idea of how the size and style work.

Another project I have been thinking about is garage storage plans. The garage is still very messy and the problem, aside from procrastination from certain parties, is that we need storage solutions. I would like to build wooden shelves for my chicken equipment to fit the space and my needs. I just need a Kreg Jig. I want a powertool! But that will not be happening until at least Christmas. I am re-thinking the chicken food storage bins too. At the moment I have a 70L bin for the layer pellets and two 45 or 50L bins for the chick crumbs and grower pellets. One 25kg bag of food fits into one of the small bins and the 70L bin will  fit one and a bit bags. This isn’t particularly helpful. Rats have eaten some holes in the other bags of food that are sitting around uncontained. The small bin is fine for the amount of chick food I need but I’m thinking bigger for the other two. There is a 160L storage dumpster I have found on the Bunnings website that I am interested to look at. It ought to fit three bags worth of food in it. I like it because it’s not too tall, thinking about my back. I could have these on the floor under the bottom shelf in my storage system. To have everything set up nicely, tidily and so that I don’t have to reach over awkwardly would be so exciting and satisfying. And then there is the whole rest of the garage to think about.

Storage Green Kids Dumpster
The 160L storage dumpster from Bunnings that is a possibility for chicken food storage. There is also an 80L dumpster. Photo credit: bunnings.co.nz.

We have just acquired two rain barrels, courtesy of The Parents. These are proper, secure rain barrels that we can attach taps and hoses to and they will put to rest The Mother’s worries of a small child disappearing into a water-filled barrel. They also look quite nice. And this will free up the current rain barrel by the potting shed, whose intact lid is sitting in the shed, to become one of the barrels for my barrel compost project above. The other current rain barrel by the back carport and Vege Garden doesn’t have a lid and is destined to become a planter barrel. We still need to make stands for the rain barrels and acquire fittings to attach them to the downpipes and to get water out.

There has been a lot of acquiring going on. And a focus on storage. If I can’t get physical things done then at least I can feel some sense of control by improving how things are stored around here. I was exceedingly pleased to finally find a filing cabinet that fits in one of our wardrobes, which are all the same, fairly shallow depth. Our filing cabinet has been in The Little Fulla’s room but it needed to move before The Little Fulla moved up to a big bed. And before he got in there and destroyed anything important. It’s a wonder he didn’t as it doesn’t have a key and he does know how to open it. The filing cabinet, however, would not fit anywhere else in the house as it’s too deep. Our new filing cabinet, found on Trade Me, fits perfectly into the wardrobe and it is lockable! No more worries about file destruction now. Also, after the big cleanout in our bedroom, I refused to put anything back under the bed unless it was in a proper storage container. So far, I have acquired a 60L storage container that fits all our study materials in it. Now I’m thinking about what else I could store nicely under the bed.

And then, I delved further into the world of essential oils. I bought a diffuser online and some more essential oils, with a focus on ones that could be helpful for my back and other muscle pain and oils that could help with respiratory issues like The Husband’s allergies and general sicknesses. I’ve been using essential oils for cleaning purposes but this is a whole new area for me, which I’m excited to experiment with.

And then, I started my Christmas shopping online. You can never start too early.

And then, I started running out of ‘safe’ things that I could do. Well, rather, I started getting stir-crazy and fidgety…

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