Monday, August 13, 2012

Gearing up for Spring

Have I told you that it rains a lot in the Otways? Well it does. A lot! We've had 104mm's of rain in June, 84.5mm's in July and 47.5mm's so far in August.
All our water tanks (120 000 litres in total) are FULL! We will not be running out of water any time soon.
Water has pooled in the trench beside the driveway 

The crab apple trees are starting to sprout blossoms

The cows are stomping in drenched paddocks. They don't seem to mind the wet. However, the three black girls are all pregnant and when they leave the boggy area at the bottom paddock they seem to stagger up the hill. The extra weight they're carrying makes traversing up the hill on the wet and sodden ground difficult. Poor things. We think that one of them is due in September. We will need to start watching them closely. Heaven alone knows what we're going to do once the action starts! Hopefully nature will take it's course and all will go smoothly.

August is proving to be a very busy month. There are so many chores to be undertaken in the yard. If only we had more sunny days than rainy ones!
Today was just perfect. The morning mist finally lifted around 10am and the sun shone brightly for the next few hours. I got stuck into mulching, planting flower seedlings, weeding and pruning the never ending rose bushes! Our tree lady Deb also came today. She pruned all our fruit trees. She's a whiz. In four hours she expertly removed all the unwanted growth, something that would take me a lot longer and I'd probably stuff up the tree! Frans and I are left to pick up the pieces. Literally. There are offcuts all over the yard. Deb's as well as mine! The next sunny day will be a mulching day for Frans and I. We have a date with our mulcher!

While I was outside, I was treated to the squawks of these three parrots. 

I'm slowly working my way around the garden. These two large garden beds are the next to get a makeover. There are rose bushes that are desperately crying out for a good haircut, not to mention straggly bushes that I can't identify. My plan of attack is to prune the roses, cut back what I recognise and pull out the rest. Then I'm going to mulch the entire bed with the chipped mulch we got from the power company blokes a couple of months ago. Then I'll fill in gaps with plants I like. Well, that's the plan anyway!


Ami's Garden List for August

Plant 10 new trees along front fence (trees are sitting in the greenhouse waiting for me..)
Spray fruit trees again. Last week it rained the day after I sprayed, washing all the good stuff off!
Finish pruning roses (I thought I was over half way but I miscounted... damn)
Mulch garden bed along driveway
Prepare veggie beds (all 7 of them) for planting (drop a load of compost onto each bed. First go to town with the trailer to pick it up)
Clear the greenhouse of last season's dead tomato plants
Add new compost to greenhouse beds
Cut back any tree/bush or green thing that needs cutting back before spring
Plant seeds in punnets: tomatoes, eggplant, capsicum and set them in the greenhouse to sprout
Take cuttings of lavender & rosemary to be potted up for sale at the Birregurra market this year
Plant summer veggie seeds in vacant spots in the veggie beds
Spread mulch under strawberry plants (the patch is big!)
Weed under netting area. Never ending job. I need to add more mulch to this area I think.
Turn compost pile over
Prune ornamental grape vines
Mulch all cuttings

Phew! I think that's it for now. I'm slowly working my way through the list. It's a great feeling of accomplishment to put a tick next to a list item!

Yes, these are my orange shoes. Every time I go into the orchard area where the chooks range freely during the day, they come running to me. I usually have a bucket of kitchen scraps for them. They certainly know who gives them the treats! They're laying an average of 10 to 12 eggs a day. I'm about to experiment with pickled eggs. We have plently! I need a sign on the gate soon: Free Range Eggs for Sale $4 a doz. 
Anyone with a good recipe for lemon butter? That uses up lots of eggs too!

And a little duckling update...
Little duck follows it's mum everywhere. We kept the two separated from the chickens and the other two ducks for a couple of weeks. Last Friday Frans let the little duck out of the pen for the first time. It's coping really well in the big wide world! It follows it's mum all around the yard and copies what she does. The initial introduction to the other two ducks was a little tentative. The drake (Mr Harold) was keen to peck and have a go at little black duck. But the mum stood her ground and won't let any of them too close. Unfortunately we have now disposed of the remaining egss that didn't hatch. Perhaps the cold winter was just not conducive to hatching eggs! We may have more success during summer if duck number two decides to become broody.  

A winter project that is now complete is a quilt I made for my dear friend Lynnie. She recently celebrated a big birthday, and she deserves something really special. Trying to capture the quilt was not easy as the wind was a tad blowy.

Ah, that's better. 

And finally, the first blooms on the camelia bush beside the wood shed have errupted. The colour is glorious!

Have a happy week everyone!

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