We’ve had an unusual cold snap. Outside it was 11degC (it had gotten down to 2degC overnight) and frigid rain was falling. It isn’t autumn or winter here. I found myself making Christmas decorations with the fire going and listening to ‘White Christmas’, 10 days out from the first month of Summer, and I thought, this is as close as we’ll probably ever get to a white Christmas here. Feeling warm and Christmassy inside gave me the warm fuzzies. Then I had to go outside to clean the chicken coop and cages and the warm fuzzies left. But at least the rain left at that point too. Then it came back. Then it got hot. Then cold and VERY rainy. Now it’s humid and rainy. All in the space of a few days. If there’s one word that sums up this spring it’s ‘bipolar’.

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Some of the Christmas decorations in the process of being made.

Before all this coldness and wetness, The Little Fulla and I started cleaning up in the old Compost Corner on the other side of the potting shed. The buttercups had gotten quite out of control and it is taking a lot of work to regain the ground. This is also the site of the greatest slug and snail massacre. We found heaps of them hiding around plastic that was covering part of the ground (obviously not enough ground to stop all the weeds) and all under the weeds as well. This is where all the biggest molluscs seem to be hiding and breeding. No more! We’ve planted a telegraph cucumber and three tomato plants along the fence behind the Herb Garden and another giant pumpkin in there, although there are still some buttercups to dig out.

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The old Compost Corner will be the last bit to tackle in The Great Vege Garden Expansion Plan. For now, we have to try and keep the buttercups at bay, creeping in from the left, stop young bulls from eating the peach tree with random things like black barrels and plant random things in here until the site gets properly structured.
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A cucumber and three tomato plants have bagsed the position along the fence beside the killing cones, with the Herb Garden behind.
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Now there are two giant pumpkin plants in the ground and that feels good.
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Bad snails!

I managed to convince The Husband to fell another tree. Well, we hadn’t felled one for a while. But really, this kanuka (Kunzea ericoides) was just too big where it was. I did like it, but it was squishing out other trees: the dwarf pear tree on one side, which needs more sun, and a totara (Podocarpus totara) on the other side. And so, it came down, with a lot of pulling to make sure it didn’t fall into the neighbour’s place. Now, we can see just how squished the totara tree was. I didn’t realise it was that bad! It will recover in time. And the pear tree will be more happy too. I just have to prune the camellia on the other side of it. And someone needs to deal with the ivy. And clean up the big post-tree-felling mess.

Speaking of timber, I am excited to report that we are finally in possession of the timber to make the next raised bed in The Great Vege Garden Expansion Plan. I am seriously pleased about this. It will be a 4.8m long bed running along the edge of the back carport from the garage to the tap. It won’t really be a vege bed though. The plan I decided on is to make a bed closest to the garage three widths of wood high, then the rest of the length will be two high, like all the other raised beds. The higher bed will be the Raspberry Bed, as this will help stop runners from popping up through the ground. The lower bed will probably be housing two blueberry bushes. Once that is built I can properly figure out what size to do the awkward-shaped bed that will eventually come off this one.

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The new raised bed will be built along here in this figuring-out spot, from garage to tap. The weeds have to go first. And the wood shavings mulch pile.
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That will leave us with the awkward-shaped bed to figure out, which has somehow become the site of a cutting/mulching pile.
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Of course, I have a scale plan of the Vege Garden in a spreadsheet. Aside from the work-in-progress on the left, I’m figuring out if I can fit a narrow raised bed somewhere along the paddock fence on the right to fit an olive tree hedge for privacy and shelter. The old Compost Corner isn’t even on the physical plan yet, but it comes off from the bottom right.

Seedlings of various kinds of veges and some herbs continue to grow.

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I think basil is my favourite seedling to grow. There’s something very pleasant about its smooth, rounded little leaves.

The two chicks are doing well and are now getting grower pellets mixed in with their chick crumbs to adjust their bodies to the new food. They’ve been spending part of their time in The Cedar Pen by themselves, while I keep my eye on them. When they’re totally off the chick crumbs I’ll see if they can handle being with the oldies under Darrington’s watchful eye. He’s still hard to handle, but he does keep the flock in line.

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The chicks.

Frodo and Paris, the two broody hens, settled down into an acceptance that they could both sit on eggs in their own spots in the Corner Coop. They get a bit weird on breaks though and there have been a few attempts to escape back to the main coop, so I keep the door shut, with food and water inside, and let them out once a day for a poop break. Frodo has to be put out the door, then Paris comes out of her own accord. Frodo is definitely the feistiest broody but Paris still maintains top spot. Paris is proving to be a dedicated, quiet broody so far. I almost forgot that Frodo is her grandma, since Frodo was Mr Bingley’s mum and Mr Bingley was Paris’ dad.

Since Paris has been sitting so well, she was entrusted with the three Annie eggs and three Dorking eggs. Frodo is sitting on her own four eggs (upon candling again one of her five had a blood ring – an early death I somehow skipped over the first time) and two Dorking eggs. The Dorkings will be easy to tell apart from the Australorps. That leaves six Dorking eggs and one crossbred Paris egg in the incubator. Lockdown is tomorrow, so it ought to be an interesting week.

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Frodo (bottom) and Paris (top) decided upon their own nesting spots in the Corner Coop with fake eggs. Then they were given real eggs from the incubator and they mean business.
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