Thursday, October 30, 2014

Heatwave

Hot weather is not my favourite kind. No way! Coupled with the lack of precipitation and it's a double dose of yuck and of course this heatwave that we've been having this week is just the start of it. So there's nothing for it but to carry on,  think cool and be grateful that we have solar electricity installed now to make the most of the copious sunshine.
 

The sweet peas are still looking fine but the edible peas are ready to be consigned to the compost heap. I've let them go longer than necessary so I can save seeds for next year. It has been a good year for the winter vegetables which I hope in turn means it will be equally good for the summer crops.



 
The English lavenders are just starting to flower (no pictures yet) but all the other types are ready for cutting back/ dead  heading. That's seventy plus lavender plants that need a hair cut. Obviously I wasn't thinking any further ahead than the flowers when I was planting. 

Wind battered foxgloves
 
The heat itself ( high 30s degC) isn't really too bad for the garden in fact some plants relish the heat. The zucchini plants and the corn for instance. The wind on the other hand causes a bit of drama. I have been madly picking and dealing with the broadbeans because the wind knocks them over and dries them out and hastens their demise. The poor bed of foxgloves above are sad and sorry and would gladly take a day or two of just gentle breeze rather than be buffeted by dry gusty winds.
 
I hope it's not too hot or too cold where you are.
Tracy
 
 
 
 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Lamb and Eggs

We do have more than a few lambs now. It is always nice when there are baby animals about. Lambs in particular seem to find such joy in just being alive. They bounce! Late afternoon is their favourite time because it is just too hot to do much more than loll around during the day. I completely understand. Yesterday I wanted to loll around too, it was too hot for me and is set to be as hot as 39degC 102 degF by next weekend.
 
Babette


Butter
 This is Babette and her mother Butter. Babette is being bottle fed because one of Butter's teats were inflamed and swollen and too sensitive. She is still mothering her little lamb but not feeding her. It happens and we have more than enough volunteers to feed her a bottle.

Hawkie

Tiny chicken eggs

 Our little pet chook, Hawkie, has started laying again. If her eggs were anything to go by, I wouldn't be certain that she was a chicken at all. They are tiny and of no use at all weighing in at a huge 6 grams  (1/4 ounce).


Here is one compared to one of our regular chicken eggs.  Hawkie used to lay larger eggs, regular bantam sized ones anyway but she is getting a little older now at five years of age. I'm surprised she is laying at all and regularly every second day too. She's a good egg.

Now I've done what needs to be done today and it's letter-writing this afternoon. Oh and thinking about what cake to make for Grace's birthday tomorrow. Very last minute and disorganised which is not like this list-maker at all.

Tracy

Friday, October 24, 2014

Baby Fruit

If you have been reading here long enough then you will know that I love gardening. I don't even think I could stop gardening if I tried, I'm addicted to it. Edibles in particular are my passion and I'm forever boring enlightening people with vegetable garden posts. Today I thought I might talk about the orchard. It's a nice place to be, the orchard. The bees like it. The birds like it just a little too much.
 
This week I have been mulching and mowing and weeding around the trees and giving them all a good deep water. The weather is definitely hotting up and as fruit is made up of a high percentage of water, the quality of the fruit can suffer in dry times. Even more mature trees need a drink now and then to keep them happy. The citrus trees really show signs of heat stress during the summer months, turning up their leaves and dropping them in protest sometimes. 
 
It's not that bad right now. In fact, it might be just right for the orchard at the moment. There are plenty of baby fruit on the trees and bushes and we are even picking  mulberries and strawberries (if the birds let us). The white mulberry once again disappointed but it is such a nice tree that it can stay. 
 
Macadamia flowers
 I'm not really in the best climate for growing macadamia nuts but I always like to experiment and see how far I can push the gardening boundaries. I'm not expecting to have any nuts but ...one day maybe.
Cherry- Stella

Tiny pear.

Tiny peaches- Anzac

White currants

Mulberries. Hope's favourite.

And because the orchard is looking healthy and manageable and I was doing some shopping for Grace's birthday which is coming up on Monday, I bought a new raspberry plant today too. You can't have too many.

Tracy

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Things I like

In reality the list of things I like is never-ending. There's something to new to like and love every single day. That's how I am. Some of the things that have pleased me today are.
 
Alpine strawberry

Alpine strawberries. Both  the alpine and the regular strawberries are fruiting now but these tiny little gems are super sweet and lovely for a snack on the hop.


 Flowers in general and the foxgloves in particular are just starting to look lovely.

Fabric covered journal.
.
Christmas bunting for a gift
 A few finished craft projects always brighten me up. It means I've had some time to sit and create and explore one of the other facets of what makes me who I am.


Animals! Not a day goes by that I don't deal with animals. I'll admit that sometimes they can cause some stress. Animal illness in particular is worrisome. But all of my animal friends- pets, livestock and the native wildlife bring me joy on a daily basis.


And lastly, twins. We are half way through lambing and so far there has only been one singleton. If one lamb is cute, twins are (in my opinion) more that double the cuteness. The ewes may very well have a different opinion on twins but I don't listen to those types of complaints.
Tracy

Friday, October 17, 2014

Foxes

I am as a rule an animal lover. Flies and rats are the exceptions that prove the rule in this case. I even like snakes. Like, not love, mind. Foxes are no exception even after one took a little lamb last night before it even had a chance to take its first steps. I like foxes in their rightful place which is not here in Australia. It was such a big mistake made in the past bringing them here after the colony was settled.

We are vigilant with watching for predators and doing what should be done to keep them at bay but sometimes it happens. Foxes are crafty. It's not the  fault of the fox, he is only doing what he must to survive. If I could, I'd tell the foxes there are plenty of rabbits which he is more than welcome to.

When I first stared farming a loss like this would have maybe brought on a tear or two but I'm harder now. You become accustomed to these sorts of losses. Even the girls don't cry as much and they are fairly sooky. It  doesn't mean that you aren't affected, just that you can take more in your stride.

I am glad that this ewe like most of the others had twins so she still has one lamb because when they lose both that is sad.

No pictures today.
Tracy

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Weather?

The herb garden

You have to go with the flow as far as weather is concerned especially when it is so different from one day to the next. In the single figures yesterday and very chilly the last few nights and back to the spring sunshine today. I'm not complaining, there's no use in that. The only time I'll really complain about the weather is when it is HOT and even more so when there has not been enough rain.


 For the life of me I cannot take a decent picture of these lavender bushes. They are really lovely at the moment. If you could visit then you would know. Covered in flowers and bees too. In there amongst them somewhere is a mandarin tree that would probably definitely benefit from moving. One day maybe I'll shift it or maybe it will pluck up some gumption and get growing where it is.

I had some visitors today (my parents) just in time to give me a rest from figuring out where to plant the last of my dahlia tubers. They came bearing gifts of tomato plants of which I don't think you can have too many. I gave them a cup of tea and after a quick visit sent them on there way with a load of wood, a dozen eggs and some sunflower deeds. Then I whizzed around and planted those tubers using the notion of where would I like to see a dahlia flower as my guide. I hope that works.


Our tiniest lamb so far this year is this little girl. She's a cutie and I would call her that if we didn't already have a Cutie.
Tracy

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Of course


 It's raining and it's turned cold so the lambs are being born. Of course. Nothing so civilised as having babies in fair weather here.


The local birdlife (not the chickens) are loving the wet weather and truth be told, so am I.
Tracy