Friday, May 23, 2014

Diggers, Garlic & CWA!

It's been 'Action Stations' here this week! The plumbing is finally being done for the cabin. A BIG hole had to be dug to fit the septic tank. It took Wayne a whole day to dig it. 
By late afternoon it was down to the final finishing touches in preparation for the cement tanks. 
An impressive effort!
The next day the truck arrived with the septic tank and the overflow pipe. 
Neatly placed in the hole. 
And then the overflow pipe went in. 
Done! All this so a toilet can be flushed! 
But the job wasn't quite done... A sewage pipe had to be laid from the cabin to the house to connect in with our pipes. See that blue dotted line on the driveway? Well, six burst pipes later.... 
There's a trench running across the drive and the garden bed is about to be attacked too! 
We've not quite finished yet.. there's still the pipe to be connected under the house. Straws are being drawn... nobody wants to go there... spiders, cramped space, darkness.... 

And whilst there was plenty of outside action, the inside of the cabin was seeing its fair share of attention too. Frans and Andre' finished the floor!  
The floor looks really good. The window furnishings have been ordered, made and collected.  
The boys... doing a happy dance! 
One more job complete. The carpet goes in on Monday. Besides all the work on and around the cabin, farm jobs still have to continue. 

We planted our garlic crop. Before we started we had to separate all the cloves. This chore took two days. The kitchen smell was pungent to say the least. No vampires around here! I'm over the moon with the quality of our garlic seed this year. I'm not counting my chickens just yet, but if I was, I'd say that our garlic crop is going to be sensational! The bulbs are going to be fat and big! Just think of all those fabulous plaits!
The beds were dug over, weeds picked out, smoothed and pampered! 
Then it's a case of 'head down, bum up' till all 5000 seeds are neatly planted!  Jayne, Andre' and I planted the little cloves.  
Every now and then we look up and admire the view... and the impending rain clouds, and hope they stay away till we're done. 
If you think living on a farm is quiet, then think again. Our neighbour moves his cows up the lane every now and then. We stop and watch with amusement as we plant our garlic cloves. Cows, steers and heifers, all mooing and protesting loudly. They get herded to the cattle yard where they get tagged, vaccinated and rubber banded, in the case of the baby bulls. Then it's the same trip in reverse. This time they run.... they know which paddock gate to aim for and there's no stopping them! 

A couple of weeks ago we pulled out all the summer vegetables. We cleaned the beds and prepared them to plant the next lot of veggies. Beetroot, carrots, Florence fennel, kale, cabbage, rocket, broad beans and loads more... My trusty shadow, Nala, is ever by my side. 
A little light housekeeping to remove all the autumn leaves from the beds, gives me a chance to inspect the small seedlings that have sprung up. This area looks quite sparse now that it is cleaned up. Before long it will be bursting with produce. We're still picking lettuce, rhubarb, spinach, carrots and swedes, plus a few herbs that haven't died off yet. And yes, those are orange crocs on my feet! A fashion statement indeed! Very handy in the garden. Not to be seen in public!
The broad bean seeds have sprouted and have popped out of the ground. I like to grow nasturtiums around the outside of a couple of beds. The leaves and flowers are lovely in salads, plus they are good companion plants in the veggie patch.
Carrot seeds are always tricky to get going. They take on average 3 weeks to sprout. They need to be kept moist! This lot have been perfect. We'll be picking lovely carrots, all colours, from Spring all through Summer.
When I plant cabbage, I'm always tempted to plant the seedlings closer together. It seems like such a huge area for so few plants. But believe me, they get big! So I limit my cabbage patch to around 6 plants. This is just enough to give us a few great meals and to maximise the soil rotation of the garden beds.
Isn't this just an amazing looking flower? It's an artichoke! 

Off the farm we've had plenty of fun too! This past week I took part in the Polwarth CWA Craft Exhibition. I entered a few of my preserves, just to 'test the water' so to speak. It's not easy beating experts in their own fields. I was pretty thrilled to have won 5 firsts and 2 seconds for my preserves and craft pieces.
So here are a few of them: 

Did you see the two pics above that both had gold stars? They're very special! They are the winners in the two major categories for the whole exhibition. Who would have thought that an old fashioned Raspberry Vinegar Cordial would have what it takes?! What do I get for that? 
I get my picture taken with a local councillor, the Polwarth President and a lovely CWA lady who informed me her name was on the shield I'd just won NINE TIMES! I have something to aspire to! Stephen Hart kindly held onto my second trophy!

Remember the chicks we hatched about 3 weeks ago? They've been promoted to the outside chicken kinder. They have a permanent heat light, food and water. They are getting used to the other chickens being inquisitive around their cage. And the older chickens are familiarising themselves with the new little ones. In another 3 weeks we'll open the door and let them into the big wild world; the back yard! 
A quick Autumn update: The ornamental grape vine in front of the lounge room window is spectacular at the moment. Another week or two and the leaves will be gone, allowing the winter sound to spill into the room, warming it beautifully. 
The paddocks are looking lovely this year. Our Autumn Break brought lots of lovely rain and the grass has been growing in the warm weather. The trees are spectacular. 
And if you haven't fallen asleep by now, I'll leave you with this beautiful photograph that Granny Pat took a few days ago. The fog was as thick as soup! The sun took till lunch time to shine through. 
Have a wonderful weekend!


  1. It's all looking fantastic Ami, autumn is such a great time of year. Well done on your CWA success!

    1. Thanks Dy. Yes, I love this time of the year! And thanks :-) Who knew that living in the country could be such fun!

  2. Your farm is so beautiful with the autumn leaves and congratulations on your win in the CWA. I have been thinking about joining my one for a while I think you have just given me the encouragement to do so.

  3. Hello Julie,
    Thanks so much. Yes, I would encourage you to join your local CWA. It's not just about scones and tea anymore! Lots of good work gets done by amazing women all around the country. And we enjoy a wine or two... :-)