We’re Hurtling Towards Something

I’m at the point where I really need to hurry up and write about all the things. Spring is only a few weeks away! This spring is different. It marks The Little Fulla’s 5th birthday and his heading off to school. I have a lot of mixed feelings about that. We’re gearing up for that and I will also be doing some temporary work for several weeks in spring. These things come on top of the usual busyness of spring with getting the vegetable gardens ready, sowing seeds, potting up seedlings, planting out, breeding chickens, ongoing projects and trying to stay on top of weeds. It’s going to get very busy, which is why I’m trying to get a lot of things done now. The Husband’s computer broke and he’s been waiting for a part to get fixed, and I am not-secretly pleased because he’s been really good about helping with more homesteading things lately. That’s good for all of us. He even made GF waffles for me one evening! I think he suddenly remembered that food is one of my love languages.

I’ve been developing some good morning routines with getting up at 6am every day (6:30am on the weekend), so that I have time to do an exercise routine (6 days) as well as my Bible study before getting ready for the day. It’s been way too long since I had any kind of exercise routine. Although I do a lot of physical work on the homestead, it’s not consistently working out all the things. I started learning and doing these exercises from The Fit Farmer. There’s a video on the Abundant Permaculture website called Mike Dickson’s DIY Farm Fitness – Exercises for Anywhere. He goes through all the exercises, explaining how to do them correctly and how you can progress each one as you get better. I have a Workout Music playlist now and I’m really enjoying doing the exercises, which I can just do in the house. They definitely showed me where my weaknesses were. Yesterday I couldn’t fit into my smaller-sized jeans anymore and I was stoked about that, if you can imagine that, because I’m getting my old thigh muscles back! This is also setting me up well for the physical tasks of spring and summer and has already given me better strength and posture to do the things I need to do.

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Getting up early has a number of benefits.

Here’s some of what’s been going down.

Patio

The Patio Project is on hold at the moment. I laid out the pavers to see how they would look. They look good. And that’s as far as we’ve gotten. I’m supposed to be stacking them off the site again but I’ve been getting distracted by other things. It’s been too wet to deal with the site anyway and we need to get timber for the new fence/porch side support and oust the old black fence first, so we’ll get back to this later when the weather dries out a bit. Or when some other projects get done…

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The future patio. Don’t get too excited, the pavers are just sitting there to see what they look like.
Front Plot

The Front Plot has acquired a fantastic amount of mulch. A friend offered me some of their mulch mountain that came from chipping a bunch of trees. That was a perfectly-timed blessing to me! Saturday was mulch day. The Husband and I shoveled two trailer loads into and out of the trailer. I could still do with heaps more, but that’s what our bodies and time allowed for. It was enough to finish mulching the Front Plot and some of the grass beside it. We covered the grass with cardboard, then pushed the mulch out of the trailer onto it, which made for easier emptying. I intend to put cardboard and mulch all around the Front Plot so that we have less lawn to mow and so the grass and weeds don’t creep into it. This vegetable garden is getting serious. I still need to mulch the main Veggie Garden paths too. And like, the whole rest of the garden…

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We got mulch! The Front Plot is spreading out.
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It’s a bit harder to see the rows at the moment, but things are getting nicely under control. The first row has, front to back: tatsoi, red cabbage, broccoli and kale. The second row has some green cabbages, lettuces and a few onions. The third row has mostly broccoli with some lettuces.
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Pretty colours of healthy vegetables in winter.

The brassicas and lettuces are growing nicely in the Front Plot and taking up half of it now. The oldest broccoli plants are forming little heads and there’s been plenty of kale and tatsoi to use.

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The broccoli is coming!
Front Garden

The Front Plot isn’t the only thing out the front that’s been getting lots of attention. The Husband helped me to haul out the last of the large, blue hydrangeas from around the walnut tree. Some of them were very old and gnarly and put up a fight. One right up against the front fence refused to be pulled out by vehicle and tow rope, despite hacking and digging around it, so it ended up on the receiving end of The Husband’s chainsaw.

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This was after we’d hauled the first two hydrangeas out.

The riddance of the hydrangeas opened up the garden space nicely. But there was something else to deal with before I could start planting new things: onion weed. I was going to try and ignore the swathe of onion weed, which I have tried to deal with in various ways before, but I just couldn’t. It was spreading into the lawn and I didn’t want it everywhere, marching ever forward. I began the long process of forking and pulling it out, bulb by bulb. The smallest plants have bulbs tinier than a pinhead. They look so innocent. But they’re not! I’m not naive enough to think I’m getting all of them out, but every one I find gets bagged for disposal.

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Right, half this garden is under control. Onto the next swathe of onion weed.
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The onion weed slowly gets evicted.

Once I had weeded most of the area I started to plant the things, which is the exciting reward at the end of the annoying, slow, onion-smelling process. The things I’ve planted so far are native plants I grew myself, plus oakleaf hydrangeas and the rose. Yes, there’s even a rose. I’ve planted two oakleaf hydrangeas, Hydrangea quercifolia and the smaller Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Pee Wee’, which have white flowers and the bonus of red and pruple leaf colours in autumn. There’s also a purple-flowered hydrangea we left in there. Then there’s some Austroderia richardii (aka Cortaderia richardii), a native toitoi. I originally thought I was growing Chionochloa conspicua, which does look similar but is a bit smaller and can handle a bit more shade. At the time I collected the seeds, that’s what I thought they were, but looking at the plants and back at the photos, I can see they’re Austroderia richardii. Oops! Well, let’s hope they don’t get too big and can handle some shade in summer. Then there are the smaller sedges: Carex trifida and Carex comans (green form) and the bigger, dark red sedge Carex tenuiculmis. There are several different plants yet to come before I continue figuring out where to put everything.

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It doesn’t look like much yet, but the Front Garden just got more exciting.

As the garden narrows along the side fence there is a rose. It’s the first rose I’ve ever bought: a red climbing rose called ‘Souvenir du Dr. Jamain’. It is said to be a tall shrub or less-vigorous climber. It wasn’t my first choice, or second choice, but I was a bit late in getting a rose and a lot of the bare-rooted roses had sold out from the online nurseries. It’s a very old rose and I’m a little nervous about it’s abilities to handle disease. It’s strong points are a rich-maroon flower colour, a rich fragrance, repeat blooming, tolerance of some shade and the ability to help hide an ugly fence. We shall see how it goes. The rose is fronted by an Astelia nervosa ‘Westland’ and flanked by bronze Carex buchananii sedges. They should help hide some of the rose’s ugly bottom.

Now that I’ve got a good bunch of plants in the ground I need to get back to the onion weed. I have to dig out what’s around the walnut tree and prise out the ones in the lawn. And get the ones that have escaped out the front fence. But maybe after I’ve done some other things…

Some of the other things and projects that are happening at the moment or need to happen are:

  • Propagating plants to sell.
  • Installing the support system on a fence for our grapevine.
  • Re-doing the roosts in the main coop, Featherburn Lodge.
  • Building the chicken tractor.
  • Finishing the greenhouse structure so we can cover it with greenhouse plastic.
  • Finishing the Veggie Plan for spring.
  • Acquiring the materials for tomato supports.
  • Acquiring things for the bathroom that need to be installed.
  • Getting back to the Garage Project – starting with building the cage shelf.
  • Weeding.
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The chickens were out helping with the weeds again, but they overstayed their welcome. Particularly in the strawberry patch. Hmm.

Oh yeah, there are also chicks running around and popping out at the moment. You’ll have to come back later for that cuteness.


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