Well, we had a pretty good run of weather for the first part of winter, until the end of July when the more usual rainy season weather showed up. And it has stuck around. This is probably a good thing, as I needed to slow down a bit. Our water woes are definitely over, at least until summer. We survived without having to buy in water! We’ve had the tank and the water cleaned now, which is a good feeling.
Simba has been enjoying lots of time outside, after I blocked off access to under the house and deck. He was attracted to the depths like a lion cub to an elephant graveyard and I didn’t want him hanging out under there where other feisty neighbourhood cats were lurking. Now there are no more cat fights under the house either. Simba has been finding his way around and using up some of his endless energy on outdoor things, like climbing trees, chewing on branches and chasing butterflies. He has learnt how to come back to the nice warm house, so that’s a relief.
I haven’t been giving much attention to the Vege Garden but I’m still surprised how much is in it this winter. The most surprising thing has been the lettuces. The ‘Great Lakes’ iceberg lettuce has been an excellent performer. It is supposed to have good bolt resistance in summer as well. The ‘Red Salad Bowl’ lettuce did well for a shorter time before bolting. These are some of the things I didn’t realise we could grow well over winter. The keys are finding the best varieties and getting the seedlings in the ground in early autumn. Our winter salads typically involve lettuce, mizuna, spinach, kale, young beetroot leaves, grated beetroot and/or carrot, chopped hard boiled eggs, spring onions or garlic chives and parsley, topped with mayo. So far this year, the only vegetables I’ve bought have been onions, garlic, kumara and the occasional bag of mushrooms, not that they’re technically a vegetable. I make food from what we have in the garden and the freezer as much as possible.
Crop planning for the coming season is mostly done, including discussing with The Little Fulla what he wants to grow in his vege garden in the warm season.
The Husband has upped his game with a few things around the homestead. He has installed a few more of the light fittings. There are three left for him to install and then we can get an electrician in to do the rest of the bits and pieces that need to be done. He also cleaned our bathroom fan and ducted it to the outside of the house, which is important for reducing dampness. We have been looking at ventilation systems and will be getting one installed in the near future. The Husband has begun work on roofing for the wood racks, since the black plastic cover got pretty torn up by the stormy weather of late.
Meanwhile, after purchasing more timber I’ve been plodding along at more outdoor building projects for The Great Vege Garden Expansion Plan. My crowning glory is the outdoor sink. I built a base for it and now it sits in the Processing Corner. I haven’t quite finished it yet, I need to build a shelf across the lower level, which can’t be done until I move the barrel of comfrey tea, and I would like to figure out how to hook up some water flow from the rain barrel to a tap. But even just having the bench surface there will be so helpful with chicken butchering. I am really stoked about this addition to the outdoors!
This is how I made the outdoor sink structure, subject to change if it needs more support. The sink top cost $50 from Trade Me. The screws I used are 75mm treated pine screws – a pack of 50 costs around $16 from Bunnings. I used about 36 of them. The timber was all free, found on our property.
After this, with our new stash of timber, The Little Fulla and I built a raised bed in the Processing Corner, which became necessary for this coming season’s crop plans. The timber is 150 x 50mm H4 and for most of the support pieces I cut a piece of timber into three, so they are around 50 x 50mm. Now we need to weed the area, which mostly involves digging up the annoyingly stubborn buttercups, then fill the raised bed. If this wasn’t exciting enough, we have just made more space for growing food crops. We’ll talk about that next time…