Saturday, March 3, 2012

Summer days

When we first moved to Otway Fields, I sat down and made a list of all the vegetables and flowers I wanted to grow. The list was long, and probably a tad unrealistic. So I set about planting seeds and seedlings that would give us food first. Flowers took a back seat. The vegetable garden beds have taken priority. However, Frans did have one request. He wanted sunflowers. We created a long garden bed along the north facing wall of the old barn. We used the easy ‘cheat’ or ‘no dig’ method. First lay down a row of flattened cardboard boxes. Then drive the trailer to town and pick up a meter of three way soil. (Sand, compost and something else… I forget). Give the cardboard a good soaking with the hose and then shovel the soil onto the board. Give the soil another water and plant your seeds. Sit back and wait. I planted the sunflower seeds in early December when the ground was warm. It has taken a little while, but we now have a dancing row of beautiful sunflowers lining the old barn wall. It’s a welcoming sight when you come home and drive down the long drive. In the meantime, the cardboard has broken down and the earthworms have moved up through the cardboard layer and are now doing their job of keeping the garden bed healthy.
The bees are loving the flowers too.

The north facing wall of the old barn.
 Many years ago I was lucky enough to see one of Van Gogh’s Sunflower paintings  at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. Last year, Frans and I visited it together. This picture is of the painting we saw. Somehow these blooms always look happy.

An update on the paving project. It is 'almost' complete. Frans slotted the last brick into position last week. We've left the cement to settle. There is a little finishing off to do around the edges. This weekend we should be able to put a table and chairs onto the bricks. If the weather holds, we'll be enjoying a BBQ tomorrow afternoon.  

Why a fly net you ask? Well, some days the flies just won't leave you alone. We live in the country and there are cows around us. Say no more! The challenge is keeping the flies out of the house. I'm collecting plastic bottle tops to make a South African style door curtain. A bit like the one below. So if you don't live too far away from me, please save your plastic bottle tops. Any size. I'm not fussy. And it would be great if someone drinks milk with red tops. I don't have any of those yet!

I found this image on the net. Ref: Rosa Pomar


Some days we should not get out of bed. I think this is what Frans thought on Wednesday morning. He went to the chook shed to feed the chooks as he does every morning. One of the ducks had found a piece of string, who knows where, had swallowed one end and the other was dangling from its beak. Frans went to grab the string from the duck's bill and lost his footing. He fell backwards and put his elbow through the very dirty chook shed window pane. He administered some basic first aid to himself and then proceeded to drive himself to the emergency in Colac. I was in Melbourne and our neighbour wasn't home either.

The window Frans fell into.
A respectable scar!
After a few hours in hospital, Frans left with a newly stitched arm, internal and external stitches. He is a bit sore and tender. He won't be doing any digging or physical work around the farm for a few days. However, this little injury didn't stop him from climbing a 22ft ladder this morning to fix some loose sheeting on the old barn!

And if it's not bad enough having one injured person at home, I managed to get myself stung on Tuesday morning by something as I was watering the garden. We're not sure what it was. It could have been a wasp, hornet or enormous bull ant. Whatever it was, the sting felt like fire. The insect crawled up my pants leg to above my knee and stung away merrily. My leg swelled up to the size of a dinner plate. The area was red and hot. Huge big blisters formed on my leg. It was like a burn. It's been a few days and the site is still itchy and red. I'm not sure if there is anything that can be done to prevent some accidents or incidents. It's just a matter of soldiering on!

Last Saturday we drove down the winding road to Apollo Bay to the weekend market. We were hoping to sell some of our daffodil and earlicheer bulbs as well as some of our crafty bits and pieces. It was not the best weekend to be down near the sea. The wind howled and it was hot. Very hot. At 9am it was already in the 30's. Frans and I unpacked the car, then set up our table and stock. The wind whipped the table cloth about and hair accessories flew about the market. We looked at one another and decided we didn't need to be there. So we packed up in a few short minutes and took to the road. We headed down the Great Ocean Road. Driving in air conditioned comfort was far more enjoyable than battling the elements outside. We took a few detours down interesting country roads. On one of the roads driving towards the Cape Otway Lighthouse, we were lucky to see a number of koalas in the wild. We stopped numerous times to photograph these slothlike creatures. A day that was frustrating to start with turned out to be most pleasant.
Australian wildlife and scenery. Beautiful.

A quick produce update......

It's all about apples at the moment! Lots of them. Sara helped with the preserving last weekend. We're looking forward to homemade apple pies this winter! We filled a number of Fowler jars and heat treated them in the Vacola boiler.
Geoff's Geraniums. When we lived in Melbourne, Sara used to visit an elderly couple who lived around the corner from us. Geoff gave me some cuttings from his garden. I've managed to get the geraniums growing in our new garden. This week I picked a few of the flower stems. The red is incredibly vibrant. Lovely. This past week Sara and I visited Geoff and he gave me a few more plants that he has been nurturing in pots along the side of his delapadated little weatherboard cottage. Geoff is almost 95 now and his memory is fading. He says it's not as good as it was when he was 85! He had trouble remembering our names but he knew who we were once we'd been there for a while. 
Nala is getting old. She'll be 14 years old this July. We had to take her to the vet this week to get some medication for her. Hopefully we can keep her well for a while yet!

And lastly, here's an early morning pink sky that Frans captured early this week.

Have a wonderful week!

1 comment:

  1. I love your blog Mum - I think you could start developing a book.... coffee table book.... try and get it published :-) You have a great way with words and story telling.
    Keep writing and updating we love reading it here XXX