At the moment, the atmosphere on the homestead is LETS DO ALL THE THINGS. Spring is here! It seems like progress is slow, but I remind myself that’s it’s as much about the journey as the destination. There’s been a small child’s birthday to organise and many other social things, there’s been illness to deal with, there are young chickens growing and rooster decisions underway, there are seeds to sow, seedlings to prick out, weeds to be pulled, projects all over the place and the big front yard project.

The Garden

The newest raised bed in the Vege Garden has been half-filled with compost that The Little Fulla and I shoveled out of the compost bin in the Cedar Pen. Since we emptied out the compost bin we were then able to move it to a better location away from the apricot tree – against the garage wall. It is closer to the gate and easier to work around. We can even throw some stuff in from behind the fence, which is always a bonus. The new raised bed is waiting to be filled the rest of the way with soil.

I’ve been pushing to harvest and use or process crops in the Vege Garden to make way for the new season’s crops. We’ve eaten most of the broccoli and cauliflower and have been munching our way through carrots. I dug out the last large kale plant and put heaps of washed leaves into the freezer to be whizzed up into kale flakes. We still have lots of beets and celery, plus beetroot, carrots, parsnips, cabbage, spinach, leeks, cocktail onions, elephant garlic and lettuces.

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How many winter crops can we use for a raw coleslaw-type salad? Five: cabbage, carrot, beetroot, broccoli and cauliflower.

The Little Fulla’s vege garden is packed full of plants. Aside from red-stemmed beets, colour mix beetroots and carrots, there are many, many pansies. He already had plenty of self-seeded ones in there but he knows that I only want red-flowered pansies in my Vege Garden, and so, he is allowed to pull out pansies of any other colour from it. He has been doing this a lot, hence the burst of purple, white and yellow pansies in his garden. I wonder if any summer crops will make it into his garden, or will it be taken over by pansies? Whatever the case, it is pretty.

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The Little Fulla’s vege garden is flourishing.

Seed sowing is in full swing.  The tomatoes, peppers and chillies have been sown and the first of the lettuces, plus some carrots have been sowed into the ground. I sowed some of the tomatoes in seed trays as usual and some in my new, exciting gadget: a soil blocker. What on earth is a soil blocker? It’s a contraption that makes square blocks of ‘soil’ with a little hole in the top to place a seed into. The trick is adding enough water to seed raising mix to make it stay firm when compacted. For the plant this means no transplanting from tray to small pot and the roots are air pruned when they reach the sides of the soil block. For me this means no plastic seed tray or small pot required. I am very interested to see how it all pans out. Meanwhile, the early giant pumpkins have been potted up into bigger pots already. They grow so fast!

Fruit tree blossoms are a sight for sore eyes after the sparseness of fruit in winter.

The Animals

There are chickens all over the place, although there aren’t as many as there were… With 15 chicks growing fast and moving into the main flock with mumma Frodo, the young ‘uns approaching maturity and more hatching planned I have been dispatching a few chickens that weren’t healthy enough or good enough to breed from. Blaze is gone and Rory Junior is gone. In the cockerel department, I had four to choose from. The blue Frodo boy has become a particular favourite of mine. He’s much better looking than Frodo’s last son, Thomas. I chose not to keep the two black cockerels, leaving us with the blue Frodo boy and the blue Jemima boy. And black head rooster, Andrew. He isn’t fond of these young upstarts and is doing his best to stop their attempts to get personal with the hens. After I set another hatch from Andrew (although the paternity situation is slightly murky) I have more decisions to make. The female counterparts to the cockerels are a blue Frodo girl and a black Tiggywinkle girl. The black pullet is looking just lovely. It will be a while before I can tell how good the chicks, fathered by Andrew, are going to be.

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Frodo and chicks enter the main flock.
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It’s always good to merge the flock at the same time as switching pens, so everyone is somewhat distracted by new surroundings and food.
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Andrew, stop photobombing! Here are the young girls, daughters of Tiggywinkle (black, 20 weeks old) and Frodo (blue, 19 weeks old).
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The beautiful blue son of Frodo. Yes, I really need to come up with some names.

Simba, Mr Friskypants that he is, got bitten by another cat, which caused an abscess on his back. He is doing a lot better after his operation and is literally bouncing off the walls since he’s stuck inside while he’s healing; kind of like when you have a small boy stuck inside when it’s raining.

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Simba, before he got himself into trouble. He looks so innocent, doesn’t he? But he’s only innocent when he’s sleeping.

Knitting

I’ve knitted two baby hats for friends recently. It has been difficult to knit with a small fur child who is equally excited about yarn and knitting needles. What to grab first? I need to start a new project but I’ve been too tired to get my brain into one yet.

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One of the baby hats I knitted.

The House

I finally made the spice shelf. Yay! Special claps all around! We’re both dying to put our hotch potch collection of herbs and spices on it but it needs to be painted first. This led to the question of: what colour are we eventually, one day, when we have the money and copious amounts of time, going to paint the walls? For I always intended to paint the spice shelf the same colour as the walls. But not the current colour. Some people like grey walls and that’s ok. But I am not one of them. And when it’s not just the walls, but ALL the skirting, framing, ceilings and interior doors that are the exact same shade of grey, well… It’s uninspiring, dull and a bit gloomy. But wait, there’s more! The front carport is also grey all over the walls and ceiling. And the wood panels on parts of the upper exterior are grey. As are the french doors. The grey doesn’t tie in well with the cream coloured bricks on the exterior of the house. But really, the ceilings? Grey ceilings? Do we want to live in a bunker? Ok, grey rant over.

Because I like to think ahead, I already had two testpots for a potential wall colour and a potential skirting/framing colour. I tried them out in a few places and I like them, so that’s what we’re going with. The wall colour is Quarter Canterbury Clay. This might sound familiar because Featherburn Lodge, the main chicken coop, is painted in Half Canterbury Clay. The skirting/framing colour is Quarter Villa White. I don’t know when major house painting will ever commence, but spice shelf and wall-behind-it painting will hopefully commence soon.

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The spice shelf is a thing! Now to paint it the colour of the test patch on the wall. After a basecoat. When I get some time uninterrupted by a small child. He’s caused enough trouble lately without the enticement of an open paint can…

Next time, I’ll show you what we’ve been doing out the front.

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