Sunday, January 15, 2017

January 2017

We enjoyed the longer than usual Spring, but the cold and frosts held back a lot of early plant growth. The beneficial bug blend I planted in some newly created garden beds was awesome. It was an old packet of mixed seed, so I threw it around in hopes something would happen. Well, yes, we got radish, radish and more radish! They are great flowers and the bugs went wild! So did Willy Wagtail, the plucky little bird that eats mostly flying bugs. There were also some absolutely wonderful fennel plants too, which went to flower nice and fast, and the seeds have a flavour that is fantastic. I've saved the seeds of both plants and will be spreading it around.

Bill the Chough eating slugs near the radish
Bugs gone wild

4 Willy chicks stuffed into the nest somehow
Willy Wagtail is currently sitting on the third lot of hatchings for the year. They successfully fledged 3 chicks in Spring, 4 after that, and they're sitting on 4 eggs as I type. They're nesting in the lemon tree, so we can watch all the drama as it unfolds.We planted a lot of tomato this year, protected by bird netting simply to keep the Choughs from digging through and removing the mulch. Haven't seen them around much lately though, since it's warmed up. Perhaps they've found alternative food (sick of slugs?) or maybe Willy is keeping them away.

The garlic has been amazing for something so easy to grow. We've both learned a lot about garlic flowers, baubles and seeds, and eating fresh elephant garlic is completely different to the shop bought stuff with no flavour.

The shadecloth was put up over the arches again this year, as the grapes have not yet covered them. The two purchased ones are growing nicely, the "early" one was subject to an early attack of caterpillars, so it suffered the loss of almost all it's leaves, but has since made a full recovery. There was a surprise grape growing on the other side of the trellis, which we have trained up onto the arch. (We have the pleasure of living with a random assortment of old grapes that came with the property) They flowered and the grapes are turning purple now!

The kitchen garden

Little Kubota digging out the north
I admit, I jump around with projects, so here goes another one.. We cleared the north side of the house of some of the concrete and junk, and are digging to bring the land below the level of the house foundations. One day, this will be the green and bath house. :)

 I think I mentioned way back in winter that the enclosed deck on the west of the house is sinking into the ground. There wasn't much we could do about it while it was so wet, so it's another project on the go right now.

Jacking it up
Concrete blocks for support
The remains of the old water tank were put into an old trailer and carted away so we could access that corner. The stumps (piers) were well rotted and doing nothing to hold up the room. We used car jacks and raised it up slowly over a few weeks. It had obviously sunk over a very long period of time, and far further than we realised! The construction leaves a lot to be desired, there's only 3 sets of stumps, only 1 good bit of wood for the bearers, and the other three are pieced together from smaller bits. We may have to pull it down and start over, but for now we've used concrete blocks to hold it up. It's a work in progress, as is everything!

Another project on the go is filling the front of the tool shed with cob. It's something fun to do first thing in the morning and it can be left to dry all day while we hide in the relative cool of the house. I'll be sure to post a picture of that soon, as the ones I have aren't really useful yet.

Now that I have a better idea about how to upload pictures again in Blogger, I'll be sure to update slightly more frequently. I think I'm getting old. :)

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