Thursday, September 29, 2011

A little trip away

This past weekend saw us leave Otway Fields for the first time since we arrived here. We headed off to sunny Brisbane. It was a special event, the wedding of our good friends’ Mark and Viv’s daughter Emma. Emma and Sara went to kindi together and we’ve been family friends since the girls were little. It took a bit of organising and planning to make sure animals were cared for while we were away. Our new neighbours kindly came over twice a day to feed the ducks and collect the chicken eggs. We took Nala with us to Melbourne and left her with Stephen’s family where she had a city holiday with Stephen’s beagle, Roxy. Nala did not want to miss anything along the way and stood in the back of the car up against the slightly open window, catching the breeze all the way to Melbourne and back. The trip back may have been a bit cold for her as she seems to have developed a cold. Rasping, coughing sounds followed by periods of what can only be described as hiccups. She should be well again after a few more days of lazing in her basket in the sun.
 Nala in the car on the way to the big smoke!

Frans and Graeme.... scrubbed up before the wedding.

Ready to go...

Sara was Maid of Honour to Emma. She carried baby Valeenah down the aisle. What a gorgeous little baby. She was so good. She took all the celebrations in and was happy to be passed around to family and friends. The wedding was fun and the music was great. Entertainment provided by Jed’s Samoan family. It was a true celebration. Lots of drumming and dancing. A suckling pig on the spit was served as part of the feast. Delicious. Well done Mark and Viv for a lovely wedding. We wish the happy couple a long prosperous life together with their little girl Valeenah.

Sara made her bridesmaid's dress. She did a great job. The sewing ladies at the Birregurra sewing group saw her progress from month to month. The Saturday before the wedding, Sara sewed up a storm at the group while I made the flowers. It is the Birregurra Festival in a couple of weeks time, and Sara has been asked by the Birre ladies if she would like to display her dress...... Nice.

Good practise Sara! Valeenah was such a good girl. Didn't make a peep through the ceremony.

The happy couple.... Jed and Emma

Frans and his second daughter, Emma!

Frans and his girl.

Sara and Stephen

We managed to catch up with my brother Lionel and his wife Adele, my nephew Delisle and my great niece, Leilani. Leilani is growing so quickly. She’s almost a year old. How time flies!

Two blokes besotted by a grand daughter and great niece :-)

Leilani is almost walking.

Sara and her second cousin.

Looking over the fence... Our view over our neighbour's property. Not bad...

We came home and got stuck into the garden preparation right away. We spread another meter of compost on the vegie patches and are now ready to plant. The planting will happen this week. Stay tuned..

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Spring has sprung

Baby lambs in our neighbour's paddock. Two sets of twins. They're about 10 days old

Spring has sprung here at Otway Fields. A myriad of different flowering bulbs are pushing through the warming ground. Daffodils, crocus, nemesis and ranunculi to name a few are bringing colour and fragrant perfumes to the garden. New blossoms are appearing on the fruit trees and the roses are starting to bud with new growth.  Snapdragon & poppy seeds are sprouting in the greenhouse, and tall blue cornflower seeds have been cast in an old cattle feeder near the driveway. In a few weeks I will plant sunflower seeds along the old shed wall; a sunny welcome to all who venture down our driveway.
Our gardening challenge will be to keep unwanted guests out of the garden. We had an unexpected visit from a confused herd of cattle early last week. They had escaped from a neighbouring farm and decided to take a fast run down the gravel road in front of our place. We went to investigate where they had come from and were side tracked at a nearby neighbour’s house. It was ‘happy hour’ and we were urged to leave the cows (“They’ll be fine” said Mr M) and we spent a pleasant hour getting to know them.  Our tete a tete  was interrupted when the objects of our excursion rampaged through the very pristine garden of said neighbours. We hoofed (pun intented!) it out into the garden and sent the cattle on their way down the long drive back to the road. We got home later to discover that the cattle had been through our garden too. Hoof indentations were tell-tale signs that they had wandered up our drive, circled the compost heaps and traipsed around the big shed. We will need to get a cattle grid at our gate. It will be more practical than a conventional gate which would need opening and closing every time someone leaves or comes home.
A little ‘Duck & Chook News”…. Little baby ducks are growing into bigger ‘teenage’ ducks. Their feathers are no longer fluffy and yellow. They are turning white. Their little tail feathers are forming and they love to shake them! Frans has re-jigged their ‘pool’ so that it is deep enough for them to have a paddle in and he has built them a little house that keeps them warm at night. So no more makeshift cardboard boxes. They are fascinating birds. We could hang over the duck enclosure and watch them for hours, but there is work to be done! They will shortly join the chooks in the chicken palace.
Tail feathers!
Today we had 4 eggs! The most in one day. That is an 80% chook laying success rate. We are proud of our girls. Nala has learned to look after them. They are woodland birds, and love to scratch around under the hedges. Sometimes they escape into the paddock.  There are usually a few anxious minutes of trying to locate our feathered friends. So far we have not lost any. Touch wood!
Work around the farm is continuing. There is something to do every day. Frans cut back the berry patch earlier this week. We have raspberries and thornless blackberries confined to a large netted area. This is to stop the birds from destroying the fruit. The raspberry bushes get cut right down to the ground and the blackberry canes get pruned. It was a time consuming, frustrating and swearing kind of task, but we managed to cut the patch down and mulch all the canes. Now we wait for the flush of fruit in the coming months. We are also lucky to have around 8 blueberry bushes. Muesli with fresh berries on top for breakfast is going to be a treat which we look forward to! Now I just need to convince a local dairy farmer to let me have some unpasteurised milk to make some natural yoghurt.  Mmm… I’m not sure how successful I’ll be as it is not legal to buy ‘raw’ milk at the farm gate.
Frans, wearing his cotton beanie I crocheted for him.... Gumnut baby? Or Irish Muslim?
My tasks  around the yard are focused on vegetables. I’m preparing garden beds to get the Summer crops into the ground. Before I can plant however, I am digging out old plants, weeds and turning over the soil. It took me a few days to work my way through the potato patch. I harvested two big baskets of lovely organic spuds. Some big, some small. We have enough potatoes to last us for months.  Then I shoveled spade after spade of compost into the beds. It’s back breaking work but incredibly satisfying. I have planted up the greenhouse garden beds and they are being monitored closely (nose to the ground!) to spot the first signs of sprouting seeds. Frans has unclogged all the sprinkler sprays and the watering system is working like a dream.
Nala is ever present wherever we are working in the garden
A couple of weeks ago we planted two truffle infused oak tree saplings. We were given these young trees as a ‘tree change’ gift by a few of my lovely girlfriends from Melbourne. It may take a while (around 4 years!), but we are looking forward to eating Spagetti Tartuffo.
Frans paced out the necessary distances between the two oak trees. We have placed them in our ‘top paddock’ which we will keep free from cows. We need to add a few more fruit and nut trees to our list. We will use this area for our additional trees. We would like to add a couple of figs (black and green), apricot, plum, bay, kaffir lime, chestnut, almond and hazelnut. This list of course is not exhaustive. There are whims and wants that will change our plans constantly.
This past week we received our pack of cattle tags and applicator. Opening the package was exciting. The covering letter from the Department of Primary Industries was addressed to “Dear Primary Producer”. What? Us? Yes! We had to apply for our own property identification number in order to buy cattle. We sound like ‘cattlemen’, but sadly our herd will consist of two cows and two calves. We are able to run 4 cows on our little farm. That is enough. Our neighbour is a cattleman and he will help us purchase our little herd. We will be doing that in a couple of weeks. We have been waiting for the ground to dry as it was an incredibly wet July. So stay tuned for when the ‘cows come home’!
Giant 'ear piercing' equipment! Fashion accessoris for cows....

And finally, another sign that Spring is on the way..... Frans was cutting back the hedge around the pool a couple of days ago. He had almost finished slicing the hedge level with the fence all the way around, when he came upon this little nest with two chirping little birds in it. Needless to say, the hedge cutting has not been finished. Instead, Frans piled some of the cut branches back around the next. We don't know what the little birds are, but we suspect they are starlings.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Short legs and electric fences!

We’ve been on the farm for just over a month now and thought we should wander over to our neighbours, Graham and Lorraine to say ‘hi’. They have been welcoming and friendly and have dropped by with the odd tray of fresh free range eggs. Graham is a treasure trove of farming advice and will buy our cattle for us as he is a cattleman and knows everything there is to know about bovine.  Their driveway runs parallel to our property and their home is about 300m away from ours. To visit them is like taking a long walk around a suburban block.
It was late in the afternoon on Sunday when we took off down our driveway to our gate, did a ‘U’ turn and walked back along their drive and down our boundary fences. Graham has sheep that had just had lambs (twins and triplets) a few days before. The little lambs were still wobbly on their long legs. We stopped to watch them play. They’re not snowy white yet. Their woolly coats are still grey and dirty from the birthing process. In a few more days they’ll be clean and soft.

 It was interesting seeing our place from a different perspective. There are a couple of magnificent camellias growing behind the big old shed. Graham sees them every time he drives along his drive. Their blooms are bright fuchsia and the size of saucers! We walked past a field of cattle which also held a big mean looking bull. We were hoping that the electric fence was working! On we went.
We visited for a while and had a cup of tea and some homemade cookies and headed back home. The sun was gone. It was getting dark. The moon had already risen and was hanging in the violet evening sky like a large Christmas bauble. Clouds were rushing past the white globe, casting an eerie glow on the fields around us. It was a beautiful evening to be walking out in the country.  
As we got close to our old shed, Frans decided that we could take a short cut over the fence. He didn’t think our own electric fence was on. (Although, I did hear it clicking a few meters down the road). However, he easily stepped over the fence into our garden.  Then it was my turn. Now I am not the most athletic or agile person around. So I gingerly grasped the top fence wire and pushed it down so I could hoist my leg over the top. Unfortunately, my short legs did not clear the top fence line easily, and I brushed against the second wire down. And THAT one had current running through it. If I tell you I was surprised by a sudden jolt of electricity that coursed through my body, then I’m sure you would understand. I either lurched over the fence or was thrown, whichever it was, I found myself on my substantial arse in the long wet grass. Frans had to drag me up. That was an effort. My legs felt like jelly. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Ok, I cried. Like a girl. I’m allowed to. No more fence jumping for me!

Getting into the swing of the farm

This week we have become acquainted with Polly. Polly pipe that is. We have 25 fruit trees on the property. And we have a large population of beautiful parrots and other birds that just love to nibble on the buds of the trees. So we need to protect the trees if we are going to have any fruit this coming summer. The idea is that we place four stakes into the ground around each tree, and then anchor two lengths of poly pipe over the stakes and arch the pipe over the trees (crossed over). Easier said than done. Unrolling 6m of polly pipe is not easy. The pipe has a mind of its own and snakes this way and that, making it a challenging exercise to measure! Our first attempt at manufacturing stakes from scraps of metal we had picked up from behind the chemist shop in Ashburton (we’re becoming expert scavengers for things that may be useful) proved to be rather pathetic. Instead of standing up squarely, the polly pipe just flopped and bent the stakes. Mmmm… big FAIL. So off to the hardware shop we went and purchased steel piping meant for concreting. We had the hardware assistant cut the pipe for us and back we went again to try again.  We spent most of Saturday hammering steel pipes into the ground, in between showers of rain. We eventually gave up going inside every time a sprinkle started, and kept going. We managed to hoist some netting over our new polly arches. I have to stop here and say that the netting is crap. We have to buy new stuff. According to our neighbour, it is only available at Bunning s in Warnambool. (An hour and a bit away). We were using some stuff the previous owner had left behind. We now know why he left it behind.  We woke up the next morning and the nets were flying freely in the breeze. Great big gaping holes everywhere.  Best not to cry, so we laughed!

Now let me tell you about our groovy new toy. It’s a soil thermometer. But it does more than that. It reads the pH level in the soil as well as the soil temperature. We have been running around measuring soil temps and pH levels with enthusiasm. What a neat invention. What would we do without eBay?!

This week has been compost week. We picked up a trailer load of the stuff and then had another truck load delivered. I cleared out the green house beds and Frans and I ferried wheelbarrow upon wheelbarrow of compost into the green house. I spread the stuff and then added a good sprinkle of organic fertiliser (chook poo) and dug every bed over. I then stepped back to admire my handiwork and turned on the sprinklers.  I will let the compost and fertiliser do their thing over the next week and then I’ll get to planting up a bunch of vegies and herbs. Most of the seed packets tell me what the ideal pH level of the soil needs to be. For most of the vegies, the level should be between 5.5 and 7. Our new toy tells me that currently the pH level in the greenhouse is around 6. So that’s good. Should the level be too low, then I would need to add lime. Should the reading be higher than 7, then I would add more animal fertilisers to bring the level down. I really wish I had paid more attention to science and biology classes at school!
Here’s my greenhouse planting list for next week:
-          Coriander (wonderful fragrant herb which we love with curries. It is also excellent as an alternative to basil when making bruschetta when tomatoes are abundant)
-          Rocket
-          Salad mix
-          English Spinach
-          Beans (purple king)
-          Carrots (Paris market)
-          Snow peas
-          Radish (Cherry belle)
-          Zucchini
These vegies are all to go directly into the ground. In the meantime, seedling trays are already planted up with 8 varieties of tomatoes, a couple of different eggplants, capsicum, onions, shallots, basil, spring onions, chives, silver beet, beetroot and leeks.  So far the beetroot seeds have sprouted as well as some poppy seeds.

Stockpiling wood for the next two winters is a big job. Wood needs to dry for a couple of seasons before you can burn it. Frans has been chopping fallen trees on our friends’ property nearby. He helps John by chopping up the trees, then splitting the logs with a big log splitter. They then share the cut up wood. Wood is expensive. As we use a wood fired stove in the kitchen and a combustion heater in the lounge, we go through a lot of the stuff. The calculation that Frans and John have come to is that we need 5 or maybe 10 trailer loads of wood per year. Mmm… which is it? Frans is keen to get 10 for the first year anyway. In the meantime, we have gathered three loads. It is a physically intensive job. Swinging a chainsaw about, followed by stacking a pile of wood (with my help!) is exhausting. We hit the sack most nights before 9.30pm!

These boots are made for working! The bright orange numbers are $4 jobs from Rivers. Bought a few years ago to use on Moreton Island. Coming in handy now. And the workboots on the left I picked up in Fiji for $17. Bargain!

Monday, September 5, 2011

All things FOWL

Chickens and Ducks…. Who would have thought we’d ever have our own! We purchased 5 Isa Brown pullets (young hens not quite ready to start laying) after our first week on the farm. Frans and our friend John went to the Poultry auction at the Colac showgrounds. Frans says they didn’t bother going inside. Instead they purchased the chooks from a lady who pulled up outside in her ute who was selling all sorts of farm animals. She was obviously well known as a lot of people seemed to be waiting for her. So at $20 each, we were the proud owners of five chickens in various shades of rusty brown. My brother Lionel decided to name them. So we have Roast, Soup, Stew, Curry and Stirfry!
Scratching around in the garden. Free Range!

We kept them in their flash chicken palace for a couple of days to get them used to their new residence. Then Frans let them out for a few hours each afternoon to forage for bugs and tasty bits in the back yard. Getting them back into the coop in the late afternoon took a bit of manoeuvring and cajoling. Frans decided that seeing that we had a dog that was half cattle dog, we would use Nala to help round up the ‘girls’. It was an exciting few minutes each afternoon as Frans issued instructions for Nala to bring the chooks in. Well, mostly the instructions were for her not to eat them! Frans and Nala have got the hang of it now, and together they can bring them in quickly. With me on the other hand, it is a different story altogether. Frans went to the city one day by train which meant he’d only be home after dark. So I had the task of getting the chickens into their enclosure for the night. I thought I’d use Nala to help me. Big mistake. She’s her master’s dog.  She did not know what I was on about. So instead she chased the chickens enthusiastically around the water tanks. Four of the five chickens scooted through the escape hatch and settled themselves back inside the coop. That left one crazy bird and Nala outside. Round and round they went. Finally Nala chased Mrs Soup over the electric fence and into our neighbour’s paddock. That’s where a big bull roams freely, so I was not about to go and chase after her. I called, clucked and begged. No chicken. I gave up and carried on with other chores. Periodically I would go back to the chicken run and see if she had come back. Nothing. I gave up when it got dark and hoped that the foxes wouldn’t get to her. Frans came home from his little trip and I told him I’d managed to loose a chicken.  He went to have a look to see if he could find her.  And there she was. Sitting on top of the food barrel at the door to the coop. What a good girl!
This event led to the ceremoniously clipping of their wings. So now instead of the chickens taking off over the fence in clumsy flight, they will instead do summersaults and shake themselves off in confusion.
Catching the chooks to perform this task is a major excersize in patience!

Which brings us to the purpose of having chickens at all. It’s for the eggs! Free range, organic, no fish meal, no cruelty, just happy chickens giving us lovely golden yellow yolked eggs. So three weeks into having five pullets, we still had no eggs. How much longer? We’re starting to wander if these are going to be very expensive pets! We organised for a friend named Wes to build us a chook feeder. It’s a home grown contraption that allows the chickens to eat their grain without the rats and birds getting to it. Wes is a fountain of knowledge. He told us that we could tell by the colour of the chicken combs whether they were ready to lay or not. Our ‘girls’ combs were still a little pink, except for one who had a deeper red comb. Once the combs turn red, they will lay. And he was right. A day later we had our first egg!
Wes' groovy chicken feeder.

Frans and I went into the coop a couple of mornings later, hoping to find another egg or two, but nothing yet. Frans had called me to come and have a look. One of the chickens was nesting in the nesting box. The rest of the chickens were gathered around her looking at her and hopefully learning! This was indeed a good sign. Soon she stuck her neck out of the box and started clucking madly. Not five minutes later, she hopped out of her box and there it was… another egg. Fresh and warm! And yes, they do come out hard! Us city folk really have no idea about farm life. What we take for granted is incredible. We felt like proud parents. We’d just witnessed the ‘birth’ of an egg. The problem is we don’t know if it’s the same chook that laid the first egg, or if it’s one of her posse.  We check the coop with great anticipation each morning now. Will we have a full quota of five eggs per day soon? We hope so!
An egg is on the way....

Still warm...

We are into egg production!

And then there is the story of the ducks. Sara and Stephen decided that they really wanted some ducks. Stephen has always wanted a duck named Mr Harold. Don’t ask me why… it is what it is. So a couple of weeks ago, they arrived on the farm one Saturday morning with a shoe box that had holes thumped into the lid. Emitting from the box were a lot of scratching sounds along with little ‘peeps’. They presented us with Mr Harold, Martha and Goose. Again, don’t ask where the names come from. The only problem is that it’s almost impossible to tell them apart.
So cute....
They gave us a bag of duck food and a list of instructions. The ducks had to remain warm and under a light for two weeks. What? That meant they had to stay inside. Mmm… not sure about that. All was fine for the first week. They were still small, fluffy and cuddly. Then they started to grow. Quickly. Ducks do nothing much except eat and poop. They quickly outgrew their first box and a bigger one was sought. Not only do they need clean water a number of times a day, they also need clean straw and more food. Lots more food! They finished that first back of food in about a week. When Sara and Stephen returned the following weekend, a new enclosure had to be thought of. The ducklings were getting too big for the box all day.

This is the first box. They outgrew this box within the first week.

So a discarded dog pen was used. The ducklings could sit in the sun in the mornings, and be brought back inside at night. Let me just say, ducks stink. A lot. They have now hit the 2 week mark since they came to live on the farm. So they have graduated to the chicken coop. They spent their first night there last night. Still in the box, covered with wire mesh just in case the chooks feel aggressive towards their new chicken coop mates. Watching the new feathers emerge is fascinating.

The ducks now have their own private pool, complete with ramp.

Frans decided to give the ducks some play time outside. Catching them proved entertaining! For me!

Alan, Sonja and Amelie came for the weekend. The ducks were a bit hit. Duck duty was undertaken by all! Changing water, straw and feeding them.

"So soft and fluffy Daddy"

They grow daily. Before long we will have beautiful white Pekings wandering around the garden eating the slugs. Hopefully.

Otway Fields

A month ago today we moved to our ‘tree change’ property in the Otways. We have named our little farm Otway Fields. We thought this would be a multipurpose name. It would work as a B&B and look good on a jam jar!
Stephen, Sara, Ami, Frans and Nala!

Moving day was a monster day. Two big trucks, three burly fellows, and about five hours later, everything was unpacked. We were very pleased with our movers. They did an excellent job. We had very little damage.

It took 3 blokes to push the doors shut!

Nala had to be chained up. We didn't want her taking off down the road. She just stayed in her bed and observed the proceedings from the sidelines!

Over the following week we unpacked and unpacked. Finding a spot for everything is always a challenge. I concentrated on the kitchen first. The last box I had packed at the old house in Melbourne was supposed to be the first box I would unpack on the farm. Unfortunately, it was buried in the far corner of the porch with mountains of boxes on top and in front of it. So no kettle. No plunger. Bugger. Fortunately our good friends who live just through the forrest  loaded us up with a basket of essentials. We could have coffee. Starting a day without a cuppa is just not going to happen. We were touched by the welcome we received from friends in the country. We had meals provided and I didn’t need to cook for 4 days. It was so easy. Norma made us a delicious pot of potato and chirizo soup. Prue supplied us with a lovely Moussaka. Our neighbours brought us fresh eggs.  We received welcome cards. We are going to love living here.

Packing space is a challenge. I've put all my entertaining crockery in the old fashioned cupbaord in the laundry.
All the bulk foods (tinned tomatoes, coffee etc) are also relegated to the laundry cupboard.

I'm learning to use the wood fired store. It warms the house beautifully.

We have slowly organised ourselves into a routine. We needed to purchase farm ‘stuff’. So every time we went into town, which is around 20kms away, we would make a list of things to do. Going to town for just one thing is not an option. There’s no just nipping down to Safeway for milk or bread. The trip has to have a number of requirements. We found the co-op. What an interesting shop. Horses bridles, sheep drench, fencing kits, lime for the chook shed, gum boots, bread flour… yes… bread flour! I bought two big bags of organic flour. (I’ve been baking my own bread for over a year now and will keep doing so). We changed our address details at many places. The beauty of living in a small country town is that there is never a queue. Going into the Vic Roads office is a breeze. No numbering system. Just walk up to the counter and do your thing. The same applied at the Medicare office, the Electoral office and the bank.
Our first few weeks on the farm have been a learning experience. We attended a course in Camperdown on Composting. It may sound boring, but it was a very informative day. The speaker was Dr Elaine Ingham, and American scientist who specialises in soil biology. We came away wanting to get our compost system up and running as soon as possible. The benefits are huge. The least of which is a reduction in the number of weeds you will have on your property. We hope.
In our third week we attended a two day workshop on Organic Farming. It was an introduction into the requirements and benefits of being certified organic. The rules are incredibly strict. We will endeavour to operate our farm by the organic guidelines, but unless we enter the market and actually sell our produce we won’t bother getting the actual certification.

The pool is behind the hedge. The two trees you see are crab apples.
The garden is beautiful. And vast! There are 5 enormous raised vegetable beds. There are lovely flower garden beds and plenty of fruit trees and ornamentals. I have a greenhouse which is a huge bonus. The weather here in the Otways is cold and wet during Winter. Spring is a little later here, so getting some seeds started in the greenhouse means we get our summer veggies going sooner. So I’ve created a spread sheet (record keeping is essential when planting up a number of garden beds) of all the seeds that need to be planted. The first batch of seed trays are sitting in the greenhouse being warmed. The beetroot has sprouted. A mini victory. I check these trays every day, inspecting them closely for the first signs of little green buds pushing their way through the soil.
I have claimed this corner of the enclosed verandah as my spot. I just love looking out of the windows. Mornings are usually misty. They are the best part of the day!

I've organised all my seeds according to their planting locations and times.

Nala keeps me company. It's truly a dogs life!

This is my temprorary potting bench. I'm sharing the shed with the chooks and the ducks.
The start of the seedling trays sitting in the green house.

The green house is big!
Don't believe that little red label! This stuff stinks!

We have done a lot of mulching with our new mulcher. What a dream. We had our fruit trees pruned a couple of weeks ago. I’ve also cut back some overgrown garden beds and pruned around 40 rose bushes. The mulcher just blitzes all the off cuts in a flash. We’ve had a few moments where we’ve jammed it with follage that is too soft or green, but we’re learning what can be mulched and what can’t. In the process we are creating a wonderful compost heap. This is biodynamics and permaculture at its basic level. Compost.  Beautiful stuff.

Nala is loving the farm. She is in her element. She has always been an inside dog. Spoiled one may say. Moving to the farm has meant that we have the challenge of dirty, muddy paws to contend with. Yes, we could just make her stay outside, but she’s an old lady now. And it’s cold outside! Yes, I’m a souk when it comes to Nala. She used to wake Frans up every night around 3 or 4 am to go outside for a wee. But since being on the farm, she sleeps in till around 7.30am! She’s exhausted from all her running around and exploring. So far she has not wandered out of the gate. The garden is big enough for her to play in. We need to keep an eye on her around the ducklings and chickens. She’s more used to the chickens now. But the ducklings still sound too much like her squeaky ball. She stands at their enclosure, licking her lips! “No Nala” is our catch phrase when she’s near the birds.
Nala looking very interested in the chickens....

Our ‘to do’ lists are growing! There are so many chores to be done. The trick is to prioritise them, otherwise we feel like we are not achieving much. There is wood to be chopped and stacked, garden beds to be planted, trees to be netted and the list goes on...

What beautiful moss you find on a piece of firewood....

Vegetable garden beds waiting for warmer weather before they get planted up.

At the end of the day, there is nothing more satisfying then to realise that 'we have done it'!

Stay tuned for more farm adventures!