We are now half way through winter. Hooray! I was just thinking that winter hasn’t been such a terrible thing this year, being quite preferable to last winter due to less rain and surface flooding and more frosts, which are good for the fruit trees at this time of year. Of course, now we are in a consistently rainy, soggy stretch.

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Considering that the Cedar Pen is usually the less soggy of the big chicken pens, this isn’t good.

One great happening of late is that the big pruning mountain has gone. It disappeared in a flurry of cutting, transporting and stacking, despite The Little Fulla’s desire to climb the mini sorted piles and scatter branches into chaos. Once this was accomplished I was able to plant the new Belle de Boskoop apple tree.

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This monstrosity has gone!
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The Belle de Boskoop apple tree has a weeping habit. That last giant pumpkin loitering around has a weeping habit too. It’s now in the chicken pen, without traumatising the chickens this time.

The Little Fulla and I finished filling up his new vegetable garden with dirt from the mound in the chicken pen. Somehow, I managed to avoid getting knocked out by his flailing shovel. But the chickens might have been wondering why their water source was suddenly coated in dirt. I have attempted to teach The Little Fulla Rule #1 of vege gardening: Never stand on the soil. After all the flailing business, it was planting time; the thing both of us were really looking forward to. In went the pansy, broccoli, beetroot and red onion seedlings. It’s fair to say there are too many things planted in there, but that’s ok! There’s a significant chance they won’t all survive to adulthood anyway. We had some spares, which got planted in the main Vege Garden.

The elephant garlic is bursting forth from the ground and the brassicas and leeks that got planted rather late are slowly chugging along.

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Elephant garlic and brassicas.
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The leeks are doing well thanks to the planks, which stop birds or cats or whatever despicable creatures it is that have been digging holes and destroying seedlings in some of the other vege beds.

I also found myself tackling another pile. The Stone Pile. I decided it needed to be moved onto the concrete at the edge of the front carport instead of on the tarp on top of the garden/ future parking bit. So I started shoveling. The Little Fulla helped, to some extent. The Husband helped, to some extent. But by and large I worked my butt off, carefully, and couldn’t move the whole pile. Shoveling stones is hard work! Especially when you have an injury-prone back to be mindful of.

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Well, half the Stone Pile got moved onto the concrete. This bit of garden is the smaller part that needs to be turned into a carparking area.
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This is where The Husband parks his van when the ground isn’t too soggy. The rest of the ultimate carparking plan is to make the whole grass area on this side of the drive into parkable space.

I thought I would finish shoveling the stones another day, then, once the stones were off the proposed carparking spot worksite, we could dig out the final camellia stumps lurking under or around the tarp, then think about how to do the proposed gravel carparking area. I have since decided some things:

  1. The stones we have are just not the right sort of stones for a parking area, as, even if they were mixed with other grades of gravel, they are round-edged and wouldn’t make for a strong parking surface, which we need with our wet winter conditions. Thus, I am selling them. Now, if I’d just decided that sooner, I wouldn’t have had to do all that shoveling.
  2. This carparking area business might be too much for us to do ourselves. We would need to hire a compactor and some sort of mini digger or such, which does sound fun, but there’s drainage and all sort of things to think about. If money grew on trees I would just hire a company to turn that spot as well as the bigger bit of lawn it connects to that The Husband currently parks his van on into a parking area all in one go. But for now, I just want to get rid of the stones. And the stumps.

As if to cement the fact that we need to work on our carparking situation, we had an incident one night. I was hosting my church life group ladies at my place. Three ladies arrived, one by one, and announced that their cars were stuck in the mud out by the road. Fortunately, The Husband was here to save the day by way of towing them out, and I found it much more amusing than they probably did as I helped push the cars out of the very squelchy, very wet ground in the drainage ditch in the black of night. The biggest tire hole was more than a foot deep and quickly filled with water as the car lurched out. We sure made some memories there.

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Making ‘memories’. The drainage ditch really needs to be dug out more. It’s gotten far less ditch-like than it should be, luring people into a false sense of parking security.

While we’re thinking intense thoughts about the front yard… I also decided that The Husband is going to turn the large section of lawn on the other side of the drive into a corn field. Yup. There’s no point in a lawn just sitting there not being used, so I want to grow stuff there. It won’t be all corn, mind, because I have masses of pumpkin plants that need to be grown as well. Giant pumpkins, mini pumpkins, pumpkins for baking, pumpkins for making pumpkin racers… This is the dangerous thing about winter. There is a lot of planning that goes on. The less time I have in the garden, the more crazy the ideas get. I have bought corn seeds. This will be the first time we’ve ever grown corn and I have selected a heritage variety: Country Gentleman. I also bought seeds of a yellow cherry tomato, a red pepper and a red cabbage and got a free packet of cardoon seeds. I do not yet know what we are going to do with cardoons, but it’s fun saying their name. I will be buying some more vegetable seeds as well. So, we just need to get something to till up the front yard now…

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The chicks are 7 1/2 weeks old and doing well. I still think they all look like girls at this stage. Since the other hens are doing so well and not spiraling into an egg eating disaster, I thought I might try reintroducing them to Frodo and the chicks. Or rather, one day I forgot to latch the gate and came home to find the chickens co-mingling. But it did not go well. Not because of the chicks, who are fast enough to get away, but because of Frodo. Without a good fatherly rooster, as I have always had with chick raising, there were fights. With supervision, Frodo seemed to be getting along well with Betty and Juliette, who respected her, but while I was off dealing with something else, one of the others must have got into a big scrap with Frodo (probably Paris). Frodo ended up with face wounds so I felt terrible. She is still not in super health, as she has been moulting. The poor thing just doesn’t have the strength to match the other boisterous, healthy young hens but neither does she want to back down. Oh, for a Mr Darcy. I will just have to wait until Frodo gains better health, then temporarily take Paris out of the flock, plus any others that are being difficult.

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The chicks at 7 1/2 weeks.
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Paris (front) is a tough customer. Annie and Rory are behind her.
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Rory, Annie and Juliette strike a pose.

I have had a birthday of some sorts. I came home to find this. Was this The Husband’s idea of a birthday present?

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The Husband decided we needed more firewood to cut up.

It’s not like the pallets were taking up precious parking space when I had people coming over or anything… Or like I was making a really big effort to clean up the front door area or anything… Or like there are heaps of bits of demolition wood out the back and the grapefruit pruning pile to cut up or anything… Dargh! Anyway, I did get some nice, actual birthday presents. I will tell you about one of them next time.

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Things are slowly getting more tidy out here again. The thing with projects and big tasks is that they make more mess in the short term. I have started cutting up the demolition wood that is clogging up the carport.
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6 thoughts on “Ding, Dong, The Pile is Gone

  1. Winter is looking pretty good now that it has been gone for a few months. We have not had rain since about March. It is nice summer. I just happen to miss rain.
    Are the cultivars of Cordyline popular there? Yours does not look familiar. There are quite a few cultivars here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s always the way isn’t it? Right now I can hardly imagine that hot and dry could be a bad thing. But come Summer…
      There are quite a few Cordyline cultivars here. They are known as cabbage trees. No idea why. The species Cordyline australis is quite iconic in the wild around coastal areas but many people can’t stand cleaning up the hard-to-break-down leaves in their gardens. They don’t bother me here, as they can be used as mulch on the ground. The purple/red cultivars are the most popular here, but I wouldn’t say they’re hugely popular compared to some of the other natives. The variegated one up the back there has re-sprouted from a stump, cut down before we got here, and I’m quite happy to keep it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The neighbor behind my mother’s home had three along the back fence that were planted in the late 1950, cut down, and the regrew back into new trees. I happen to like them, but not there. Old publications actually recommend cutting them down every few years, and just growing them as foliage plants, rather than as trees.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. That is a nice one. There is a modern cultivar that looks like that, but with short leaves that do not hang so nicely. I do not know why all these weird modern cultivars are as popular as they are.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I prefer the more droopy ones too. I can see how cutting them back periodically isn’t a bad idea. I’ll see how this one goes. If it gets too tall I shan’t be afraid to cut it back now.

          Liked by 1 person

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