Sunday, June 30, 2013

Winter Solstice means longer days at last!

The night of the 21st of June. Shortest day of the year. Two nights before the Super Moon. An almost cloudless sky. This pic was taken around 10pm. The sky was sprinkled with thousands of stars. Just beautiful!
And in the morning, a thick fog rolled in and shrouded the farm in a still grey cloud.  
We've had some beautiful crispy winter's days the past week. I've been digging and pulling out tired old roses and plants that have been in the garden beds for years. I've not done anything to the beds yet and have left them to travel through the seasons so I could see what was worth keeping or getting rid of. I've come to the conclusion that I want to start with my own clean slate. Not some else's haphazard planting plan. My main driving factor is that I'm growing the flowers for Sara and Stephen's wedding in October. I've pruned the roses and have now planted hundreds of bulbs that will hopefully be blooming by the end of October. 
I started with a garden bed that is roughly 4m x 6m. I cleared out almost everything that was there, except for the Kaffir Lime and the Bay tree that I planted. I'll have to keep these two trees under control. I don't want the Bay tree to get enormous. 
This garden bed was full of these onion weeds. I think they're actually called Oxalis. They're a pain. It's incredibly difficult to get rid of them. 
I dug these weeds out in big clumps the sifted them. They will not be going on the compost. They'll be going to the tip next week! 
Finally after a few days of clearing, digging and sifting, this first bed is done. A visit to the nursery and a few hours of planting followed. I've planted a variety of perennials, herbs and annuals. Catmint, Lavender, Seaside Daisies, Cineraria, Larkspur, Stock, Foxgloves and Flanders Poppies. There are also a couple of hundred Freesias and Ranunculi in there somewhere! I'm looking forward to taking the 'after' shot in a few months! There were some daffodil bulbs hiding among the mess, and they're already poking their stems through the ground.
First bed done, so I'm moving onto the next one. This one is big. Really big! There are about 10 rose bushes in this bed that I'm probably going to cull to around 4. I'll put in some new ones to replace the ones I pull out. 
The ornamental grape vine in front of the North facing lounge room window is now completely bare. The winter sun now streams through the windows and warms the room. Frans doesn't like plants that grow up posts or close to the building. He was determined to get rid of any creeping thing. I convinced him to wait. Let's see what happens throughout the seasons. The vines along the North side of the house are brilliant energy controllers. The leaves keep the sun out in Summer, and in Winter the sun shines through the empty canes. 
I'm working my way down the North side of the house. All the beds will be tidied up and new perennials, roses, bulbs and annuals planted.

Our young friend Michael came down from Melbourne again this week to give Frans a hand. We have visible progress. The ensuite framework to the cabin is complete. Frans has also made the hole for the kitchenette window on the left. Now he's starting the front deck. The white old window will be replaced with a large sliding door that will lead onto the front deck. 
A view from the South side of the cabin below.
Before Michael left, he sat down at the kitchen table and wrote out a two page list of what Frans needs to do next. It will be a couple of weeks before he's back, so Frans needs to keep going.
There are always distractions when you're busy. I was digging (see previous pics!) when Frans called me to come and see what he'd found while working on the cabin. He went to get his camera, and for a good 20 minutes or so he proceeded to snap away to get the perfect spider pic. My job was to tease the thing with a stick to make it stand up and bare it's fangs. I think I did ok... Usually I would not get this close!
4 eyes?
It wasn't really that big. Still... I wouldn't like to get bitten by this one! That's my gloved hand.  

And when the outside jobs are done, I try and do something constructive in the evenings. This week I've been making little rainbow hats. I had a request from Frans' little niece, and I've been trying out different sizes and styles. Sadly, the two I posted to her last week were both too small. So it's back to the drawing board to start another one. This will be number 4. 

And I'm leaving you with a photo of one inquisitive chook! This girl constantly flies over the fence and makes her way to the front garden. She comes to the door and looks in expectantly. I'm sure she knows this is where the chook bucket with delicious veggie scraps comes from! Yes, she's moulting. She looks rather scraggy.
Have a great week!

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