Spring is in the air

It's been a busy couple of months here with a stream of Grandparents, Aunties, Uncles, and cousins visiting. It was wonderful. It is not easy living so far away from everyone, especially after the past two years of border closures, so these visits from loved ones are particularly special. Everyone has returned home and things have returned to normal. However, there is still a visit from dear friends to look forward to at the beginning of October. Yay!

There have been some new additions to the farm in the way of two Friesian heifer poddy calves. Friesians are a well-known dairy breed and we aim to train them both to be milking cows. We hope we to use them to help us raise poddy calves in the future.  Buying Poddys is a cheap and easy way to begin to build up a small herd of cattle. We have an abundance of grass here, it is one thing we grow extremely well, especially in the warmer months. Being bottle-fed, the calves are very sweet, especially the black one who walks around trying to suck on everyone's clothing in the hope of discovering milk, much to the boys delight. 

The meat chickens are fully grown and we have begun to process them in batches. Anyone who visits will be fed chicken for the next couple of months! And by we, I mean Grant. I confess to being useless when it comes to the processing of animals. I'm far too tender-hearted. Although I am more than happy to cook them up, knowing they have had a good life.

I'm pleased to say the bug shed is lined out. and up and running The cement floor ensures it's rodent proof, and the slow combustion wood fire maintains a warm dry atmosphere which the woodroaches require for good breeding. It still needs insulating and exterior cladding which will take more time and money, but it is warm and dry and the woodies seem very happy with their new home. 

The room out the back is the woodroach palace. There is a heavy duty tarp along the back protecting it from the weather. It still needs exterior cladding and insulating. But it's functioning which is the most important thing!

The goats are looking well with big swollen tummies. We have given up trying to predict when they will kid. It seems they have been pregnant forever. We have found a fellow living not too far away who has been working on breeding hardy Boer goats with worm-resistant genetics. We hope to replace Bob and add a couple more does in the not-too-distant future. 

Recently Grant and I had a discussion, where I expressed my need to have a project that was wholly mine. A project that I have free rein on. Something I don't have to wait around for him to want to work on it with me. As such, the garden has become that project. Grant will help me by carting in compost and gravel with the big cattle trailer as I am not confident carting such a heavy load on our rough tracks. But I will unload it and do the rest as I see fit. Sure, we will talk about things, but it is a project that I will have the final say on. He doesn't think he is bossy. It is likely I feel the way I do due to different communication styles and the passion he has for this property. Such is the joy of married life!    

With spring here and a project up my sleeve, I have been chipping away at getting the gardens ready. Nothing grew during winter except a few weeds and maybe some leafy greens and herbs, and even then it wasn't much. I think the soil was cold, sodden and heavy after the record wet season and didn't ever really get a chance to dry out. 

I have since been busy opening the soil up, adding compost, manure, and trace minerals. After the past couple of incredibly wet summers, we have come to realize our soil needs a lot of extra nutrients added to counteract the runoff. 

This spring I hope to add a bunch of raised beds down the bottom of the garden, to add to the two I have. Both the raised beds were done as hugelkultur beds and are looking ok, though the soil needs further improvement. I mixed compost in with our heavy soils to save money, whereas in hindsight I should have just topped them with 10cm or so of pure compost. I might still dig out the top layer and do so in a few months yet, depending on how the seedlings develop. 

Our round garden is in dire need of some springtime TLC next, which I'm hoping to get done over the weekend.   

Grant built me some wonderful and much-needed steps to our front door. Apparently, we are in for an incredibly wet summer for the third year in a row, so a safe walkway with my dicky ankle is a huge relief. There is a fair bit more gravel to bring in for various paths and around the veggie beds, but it all takes time and money. I was initially going to lay barkchips around the raised garden beds when the time comes, but have since learned that many people in tick-prone areas find gravel helps keep ticks at bay. Particularly important around our yurt as we have small animals and children. I also rather like the idea of burning weeds with a blow torch, which is something you obviously can't do if the paths are topped with bark chips. Win-Win!

Well, the day is beckoning and the sun is shining. 

Much love,



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