Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A new season begins

Finally, we have turned the corner from cold, wet, miserable days to ones filled with glorious Spring sunshine. It probably won't last till next week, but in the mean time if you listen carefully, you can hear the grass grow! The daffodils are still putting on a fabulous show and they're now accompanied by upright little bluebells. 

The cabin is progressing. Slowly. Now that the rains have eased, we're able to do more each week. We had a delivery of all the roofing and side cladding about 10 days ago. The truck delivered all the iron and it was placed on the sodden grass.  

After the blokes from the factory were done with the delivery, they came inside and we had tea and Anzac biscuits and chatted about quilting. (they'd seen my work in progress!)
Our young friends Michael and Adrian came for the weekend and got stuck into more hammering and drilling. It was rainy all weekend, so most of the work was inside work. The day they left the skies cleared and the rain disappeared. 
Once the boys left, I got the job of 'builder's apprentice'. I cut all the insulation for the roof. I have to admit getting distracted every now and then by the view! Nala is every present, keeping me company wherever I am. 
Below Frans is removing the old tin. I really love the look of the weathered iron. I'd love to use it for something creative. 
A view from above where the insulation has been placed into the roof 

And then I picked up our local council's latest flyer of the calendar of events for the coming year. I looked at it and noticed the picture at the bottom. It looked very familiar. 
Yep, it's our stall. Rather flattering.
Speaking of garlic... here's our garlic patch. It is looking healthy and the garlic is growing well. In about 3 months we will pick it. I'll make garlic braids again for the summer markets. These are really popular. They serve as decoration for the kitchen and an easy storage mechanism. 
The sunny days have brought the bees out! The rocket flowers were abuzz this week. I wanted to pull all the overgrown plants out and give them to the chooks, but the bees are enjoying the blooms too much. I'll leave them for a few more days. In the mean time the rosemary bushes are all starting to flower, so the bees will have plenty of food then. Arn't these rocket flowers gorgeous? Such amazing detail in a tiny little bloom.
Last summer I planted a row of geraniums along the old shed wall. I loved the red flowers against the tin. I also planted a heap of Earlicheers and Jonquils. I cut the geraniums back at the beginning of winter and the bulbs have bloomed along the tin wall. In a few weeks the bulbs will fall over and die back and the geraniums will take over again. I love the change of colour scheme. 
The camellia bush is looking wonderfully pink! The lemon tree beside it has lemons which are developing nicely. Lime cordial is making an appearance at the the Bannockburn Farmers Market this coming week, along with lime and grapefruit marmalade. Yum! 
Besides working on the cabin and in the garden, there has been one unpleasant chore that needed doing this past week. We needed to despatch three roosters. It's not a pleasant job, but we see no purpose keeping birds that won't provide us with any benefit. Even though the chickens are free range, they still need feeding. The roosters were behaving badly and the poor hens were often being chased from one end of the yard to the other. It was definitely time to send them to 'chicken heaven'! Frans does the hard part, despatching the birds, and I do the plucking.  
I've worked out the best temperature the water needs to be to make the job easy. The feathers stink. It's the one thing I do not like about this job!  
Thank goodness for rubber gloves! 
After I have plucked the birds, Frans does the final bit. Gutting. We're getting quite good at this job. In a little under 2 hours I had 3 birds cleaned and placed in the freezer. As they're free range, they are not as fat as ones bought in the supermarket. Their taste is far superior though. I will probably make a stack of chicken pies and a few pots of soup with these guys. 
I threw some kale and cabbage over the gate a few days ago. The chickens love it. So do the ducks. And for good measure, the visiting peacocks have now joined the action. Only Nala was missing.
She didn't miss out completely. The next opportunity she had, she was right there with the chooks enjoying carrot peels and other veggie scraps. Weird dog! 
I'll leave you with a picture of a recent purchase this new 'farm chic' made. My favourite shop is now the farm co-op. I needed new work boots. So I was pleased to get some as well as a pair of excellent socks. And just because they were sitting there on the counter as an impulse buy... I picked up a pack of washing pegs made by the same people who make electric fences. As you do. They were about three times the price as the usual plastic pegs available at the supermarket. I'm expecting them to last much longer though! 
Have a great week. Enjoy the first flushes of Spring!

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