Today was that rare kind of day where the weather was great, the family were all at home and none of us had major plans – which turned our to be just as well.
Regular readers will recall my recent attempt to take a week’s annual leave was taken up with being ill and instead taking the time as sick leave. Undaunted, I have booked next week as annual leave in the hope that I can rest, relax and enjoy the time off without writhing around in bed and spending inordinate amounts of time in the smallest room.
I use the term ‘rest, relax and enjoy’ broadly because this morning She Who Must Be Obeyed declared that today was to be a day of toil rather than a day of rest. So ordered, we all set to and did a whole bunch of stuff around the farm, which included all of the following and more.
Last night, we took delivery of a well worn but sound kid’s playhouse that Wendy bought on TradeMe. First job this morning was to size up the job of cleaning it up and converting it into what I shall be calling The Poulet Palace. With our rapidly-growing Brown Shaver chicks and Sussex and Leghorn ‘teenagers’ joining our four original chickens, including Cilla Black below, we’ll be needing more space soon.
We have been trying to prune back the rampant bougainvillea and creeper that has threatened to completely take of the deck and terrace railings. The first task of the day was to finish the job and haul the cuttings to the middle paddock to help make up a bonfire for later in the spring.
Meanwhile in the kitchen garden, as you can see from the photo of Maisie below, the raised veggie patch had run wild since the autumn and was a mass of out of control herbs and overgrown veggies.
Maisie and Robyn started the mammoth task without a second thought, gathering tools and digging over the patch like seasoned agricultural labourers…
…forking the earth, loosening roots and pulling up heaps of spuds, kumara and spring onions.
The veggie patch wasn’t the only thing that was overgrown; our rosemary bush (left below) has spread out to cover an area about 8 feet in diameter, so Wendy and Casia did some aggressive cutting back, calling me and my trusty chainsaw in to deal to the bits too thick for shears.
With chopped greenery, gone-to-seed veggies and dead wood piling up all around, the ride-on and trailer were pressed into service throughout the day, hauling stuff either to the bonfire pile or our organic dumping spot near the gully in the back paddock. The numerous trips afforded the three girls plenty of opportunity to hone their driving and trailer-backing skills, as can be seen in the following pictures.
Driving Miss Maisie
That Way Inclined
Freed from her paddock for the afternoon, our little heifer TJ enjoyed munching her way round the back garden and teasing the very interested bulls in the next paddock before lying down for a siesta in the sun.
Seeing as the animals were taking it easy, we thought it was time for a break and Maisie outdid herself laying on iced water and biscuits for the workers…
and Robyn, rocking gently in her chair, decided to copy TJ and have a lie-down!
Slowly, the sun was more and more obscured by dark clouds that threatened to bring the forecast rain and put an end to a busy day full of fun, laughter and quite a bit of hard yakka.
As we went around tidying up and putting tools away, it was good to see the results of our efforts.
The soil in our raised veggie patch was visible for the first time since we moved onto the farm.
The three stands of bamboo that smothered the back wall of the house were gone.
Our first crop, albeit an inadvertent one, was harvested, washed and gifted to our friends and neighbours.
Our ‘teenager’ chickens and their temporary dwelling were relocated to a sunnier spot.
Rampant rosemary was reduced and harvested for use in the kitchen and, in another of Wendy’s schemes, packing in cellophane for sale in the local veggie store.
Heading for the house and a hot shower, I took one last look across the farm, beyond the bonfire pile and over the valley and thanked God for the blessing of living in such a place. I look forward to hopefully many days such as this in the future.