orchard and veggie patch














I can hardly believe it but after many years in the dreaming, I can now say we have an orchard and a great big veggie patch! It’s so exciting! As I type this there’s a new water tank being installed specifically for the veggies. The shed tank is also receiving some plumbing love with new tap connections running off it into the orchard. Although water is plentiful right now, I know summer will change that and we’ll be using it like we’re sprinkling gold dust.

In the orchard we’ve planted a yummy selection of trees, some are old heritage varieties and some newer varieties. If I’ve semi-planned it half way right, we should have fruit over an extended period of time although I still think there will be a glut at times when lots of varieties peak their harvest periods together. There are apples, peaches, apricots, cherries, figs, pears, nectarines, quinces, plums, a crabapple, an almond tree and a mulberry tree, plus we’ve planted a few lemons, limes and a blood orange. We planted just over 50 trees! Along one boundary of the veggie patch we’ve planted raspberries and in the patch we already have potatoes, onions, cauliflower, broccoli, radishes, carrots, parsnips, beetroot, beans and peonies planted! ( Now I know peonies aren’t veggies but we brought a heap of them with us from our old house and if we left them in their ‘temporary’ planter boxes any longer we might have lost them.) I also have a heap of peas, snow peas and sugarsnap peas all starting to sprout in my little make shift seedling nursery on the back deck. And today I’m hoping to add tomato seeds to the mix.

We garden biodynamically and have applied preparations to the property, it was quite the surreal moment as it was often talked about when dreaming out loud. Everything has been planted in accordance with the moon calendar and I’ve done a few extra things that I’ve read about in Biodynamic books but are possibly just good gardening tips. For instance I’ve heard about soaking pea seeds prior to planting them, as it helps soften the outer skin which can result in better germination rates. The only difference I did was soak my pea seeds in Chamomile tea, as chamomile is a significant herb used in Biodynamic gardening. Actually it was Chamomile and honey tea as that’s all I could find at the time!

Our property was certified Biodynamic when we purchased it and we can see how much this has benefited the land, the soil is incredibly healthy. Even the earthmoving guy that dug our tree holes and cut in our garden beds, couldn’t believe how many worms there were… and he digs soil for a living! It’s quite a heavy clay type soil but it’s chocoblock with worms and there’s a lovely layer of rich top soil that’s been chemical free for 8 years, whilst being fertilized naturally by the sheep and cattle that are lucky enough eat all the spray free pasture. The proof’s in the pudding as they say, and so far whatever we’ve planted is looking great… fingers crossed this continues! Although I did hear a funny saying from a neighbour the other day, ‘They say you could plant a toothpick a grow a forest around here!‘ … maybe the odds are in our favour anyway hey?

To say it’s been a very active time getting our orchard and veggie patch in, is putting it rather mildly. I’ve been keeping an eye on my step counter in my phone, and when you see the graph for this year it’s very easy to spot exactly when I finished work in the office. I love it! It’s wonderful to be doing something physically active during the day after years and years of sitting at a desk. My body is thanking me for it, albeit in a whiny ouchy voice at times! Meanwhile the voice in head keeps telling me to pinch myself. ‘You’re here on the farm of your dreams. And now you have an orchard, something you’ve dreamed of for years. And a massive veggie patch, with more room than you could possibly need. Better pinch again to make sure you’re not dreaming girl’…. *pinch*

Wishing you all the fruit and veg and sprouting seeds of your dreams x

PS. Here’s the before and after photos in case you want to see exactly what we did and just how paddocky this patch of earth was before we turned into an orchard and veggie patch!


Before – Looking East towards Veggie Patch

After – Looking East towards Veggie Patch

 

 


Before – Looking West towards house

After – Looking West towards house

 

 


Before – Looking North over Veggie Patch

After – Looking North over Veggie Patch

 

 


Before – Looking West over Orchard

After – Looking West over Orchard

 

 


Before – Looking South over Orchard

After – Looking South over Orchard

Phew that’s a lot of photos…you’re pretty awesome if you scrolled all the way down here – thanks!

life on the farm… august 2016























Oh my busy bees! Life’s so chock-o-block I really wonder how I would’ve got everything done had I still been working. Since finishing work I’ve spent way more time at the computer than I anticipated I would … there’s always the next stage of our dream that I need to research… lawnmowers, fruit trees, seeds, excavation, mulch, fences, tow bars, trailers etc etc etc … and there is something to learn about all of them. Go on ask me about ride on lawn mowers, I never thought I’d know so much about those things, that’s for sure! We still haven’t taken the leap and committed to purchasing one yet either, which is kinda driving me nuts, the lawns are so long we need to make a call soon before we’re living in a jungle.

The winter brought fog so thick one morning that our view completely disappeared. I watched the fog roll over the hill and down the valley, then back up the hill towards us until all I could see was our back gate about 10 metres from the back door. It was a complete white out and was incredibly eerie… and beautiful… and cold. Thank goodness for the tonnes of firewood we’ve had delivered. Even though it was delivered in the driveway as it was too boggy to drop direct into the shed this time. I am proud to say I moved over a tonne of firewood by myself one day! Talk about farmer material! (Let’s not talk about how I could hardly move the next day shall we?)

Lucy the lamb is quite the gutsy little girl. She’s not really integrated that well with the others, but it doesn’t seem to bother her. No fence holds her in, she’s under, over and through the barbed wire in a blink, and was caught jumping up onto the trailer to reach the tender leaves from the low branches of a tree. Whereas Buttons and Bouncer still stay close to their mums and don’t look like they’re game to try and get through fences let alone jump up on trailers. The cows are so very curious and looking positively radiant at the moment, I don’t know if it’s all the fresh green lush grass or the season or the organic farming, or a combination of all of the above, but the late afternoon sun highlighted just how shiny and glossy and healthy they are one particular day.

Of course with this lovely organically farmed land, and all our waste going back into the land, our choice in cleaners and detergents have never been more important. Have you heard of Soapnuts? My lovely friend introduced them to me the other day (thanks Jill!) and I’ve already done a couple of loads of washing with them. They are a natural nut/seed/berry thing that grows on a tree and you just pop a couple into a little laundry bag (or odd sock!), and no other detergents are needed. My washing came out clean and didn’t have any artificial soapy smell. The bonus is they appear to be very economical to use as well. You can find out more about them here if you’re interested.

I hope to be back again soon with a recipe, some craft and an orchard / veggie patch update.

Wishing you busy bee blessings and great washing days!

buttons and bouncer












The day they were more inquisitive than timid and walked towards me… they let me get really close… and seemed happy as I took a million a photos and blew them a hundred kisses… in fact I’m pretty sure they were showing off for me as they playfully bunted each other off a favourite patch of mud… they ate so close to each other they might have been eating the same blade grass… and pretended to not look at me whilst eating, when I could clearly their see their beautiful big eyes peering over the top of the grass at me… they bounced and sprung around and around the water tanks… and it was ever so delightful!

Hope you have a spring in your step today too x

life on the farm… may 2016















My perfect Sunday morning is sitting on the back deck in my pj’s, sunnies on and coffee in hand, watching cows, spotting roos, looking for foxes and talking to the birds. The best afternoon is weaving hills and watching cows whilst listening to the birds. A lovely evening is a big deep hot bath with the bathroom window open enough to hear the frogs in the top dam. A chorus of frogs can be really loud – and cheery! A favourite thing to do is take eleventy billion photos of the sunrise and sunset. Wandering the paddocks picking mushrooms for dinner feels almost like cheating as we didn’t do anything to receive this delicious bounty of goodness. Gardening on windy days is a bit like riding a motorbike without putting your long hair in a ponytail – I found out the hard way. Chopping firewood with an axe is harder than it looks, I’m still a bit scared of the axe despite chopping some kindling for the first time in my life and surviving it with all fingers and toes. The lushness of the green grass has to be seen to be believed. The grass in our paddocks is getting really long and we need to get some grass chomping animals roaming it soon before it becomes unmanageable. The wind has to be felt to be believed – all washing on the line must include peg reinforcement. We’ve discovered where a little family of roos live, and love watching them soak up the morning sun. We spotted a beautiful owl on our property for the first time today. Watching a calf run will make you smile every time. The weeks are long and the weekends fly by. It’s a battle to get everything done on the weekends, let alone schedule some down time. We leave for work in the dark and return in the dark, so live for the weekends when we can see our beautiful rolling green hills. But I sense big changes are ahead, so I’m sitting tight and rewriting my lists again and again, and thinking about garden designs. I’m a big list writer and if I happen to do something not on the list, I’ll write in on just so I can cross it off. Cheap thrills.

May your washing never be blown off the line and your list be full of ticks. x

one perfect autumn morning

















A lush fluffy blanket of fog surrounded our home this morning… I raced outside with my camera… boots with no socks… pj’s with my faithful alpaca jumper… the fog is thick and damp.. wet on my face and frizzing my hair… it rolled up the hills… tumbling and vanishing before my eyes… and when the sun rose it illuminated the mist… sunrays met tiny droplets of moisture and reflected light in all directions… breathtaking … flocks of birds soared high the new blue sky… birdsong filled the air and my heart with joy… I was torn between looking up and looking down… checking not to step on the mushrooms that are multiplying faster than we can eat them… oh what a delight to spot their white tops peeking through the dewy grass… where to look… so much prettiness… ‘you’re pure beauty Mother Nature’ I whisper… I breathe it in slowly… a crisp breeze brushes my cheeks… reminding me this is not a dream… it’s just a perfect autumn morning… at Harvest Moon Hill.

May pure beauty find you today x