Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Winter is here!

Well the cold and wet has set in. This is what the Otways is well known for. It is one of the highest rainfall areas of Victoria. Usually we can see the hills to our East, but some days (like the one in the pic below) we are engulfed in misty rain. It is lovely spending time inside with the woodfire going. However, it does mean that outside jobs are difficult to do or simply get put off till another day! Frans has been using this 'down time' to get our paperwork in order. You know, all those little jobs that you put off. Our important papers like insurances, birth certificates etc all have to be copied. The copies will be put on a memory stick and stored off site for safe keeping. This is just one of the tasks to be done for our Fire Plan. Frans is still cleaning up debris under the huge Cypress Pines. Another 'fire' job.

Since coming to live on this little farm, we find that our lives revolve around the seasons. If we're not preparing for the fire season, then there's the dam that has to be mended to cope with the winter rains. Wood has to be gathered for winter heating. There are garden beds that have to be prepared for the next round of planting. Living in a city where we used to go to a supermarket for all our supplies, separated us form the natural rhythm of living with the seasons. We've not had any tomatoes for a few months now. And I won't buy them. Instead we are eating what is in the garden or what we have previously harvested and preserved. In a few weeks I will plant tomato seeds at put them in the greenhouse. I am looking forward to a fat juicy, red tomato... around the begining of December I hope! 
Even the bees need protecting from the fierce cold winds that blow from the South West. Frans purchased hay bales from the Co-op and stacked them around the hive.

Remember the ducks mating? Well, we have some exciting news! Mama duck here is sitting on NINETEEN eggs. Yes, you read it correctly.... 19! She's a Moscovie. The eggs will take around 5 weeks to hatch according to our neighbour. She's been sitting on the eggs since around the 18th of June. So not wanting to count our ducks before they hatch.... I think we should see some ducklings emerge around the end of July. The timing will be excellent for us to sell Xmas ducks. Christmas dinner.... Yum. 

I want to show you what we did with the fruit trees we planted a few weeks ago. The problem with the position of our our backyard orchard is that this is where we let the chooks roam. Well, it's perfect for them. But, try planting anything new and the chickens scratch around and spread the mulch all over the garden. So Frans came up with this method of chook proofing the new fruit trees. He cut four logs (no shortage of wood here!) and surrounded the tree. The mulch was filled into the hole. Then he cut a piece of chicken wire and cut a slit in the wire and wound it around the tree. Then to keep the wire from moving he popped another couple of logs on top. And that's it. The chooks can't get to the mulch. In the mean time they are happy to dig around the rest of the yard. Periodically I check to make sure that the mulch hasn't smothered the stem.  

Now speaking of fires and keeping warm, I have to show you the difference in 'left brain' and 'right brain' fire lighting techniques. The well organised stack below belongs to Frans. Works every time.

Fire stack below belongs to me. Mm... works most of the time with the help of a fire lighter or three!

 I thought I would show you some of our text books! When we don't know something, we refer to these books. They are our 'go to' references. Yes, there is also Google.

Our future farm gate stall/van. A couple of weeks ago we bought (on ebay! I told you I love ebay..) a 1970 Caravan. She's a beauty. We're going to gut the inside and turn her into our farm stall. We're still debating the colour for the outside. I'm leaning towards bright red! We want her to be noticed from the road. Stephen says fluro pink.... mmm... ideas? 

Till next time... have a good one!

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