I forgot what was on the list! I can, however tell you, that we did a lot of things. Whether they were on the list or not is another matter. Stevie-boy the magnificent, a magician of a man who can make a hole appear out of pure rock, dug 19 holes this week (prior to today which is Sunday so he has dug 20 holes since Wednesday ;) ). 2 of them now hold large round treated pine poles that are going to accommodate a large farm gate that we repurposed from the back block and that is going to allow car and trailer access to our new much larger dog compound/yard. They also hold a good deal of concrete. One of the 20 holes contains a deceased chook and a small quince tree that is housed inside the parameters of the new dog compound. I am starting to get excited about all of the trees and plants that I can plant out inside the new compound but am going to have to be careful about just how excited I get because if I plant too many it is going to be more of a jungle than a yard.
The new compound includes a small stand of Blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon) wattle trees that provide a good amount of shade in this particular area. We made sure to include this stand of trees in our plan because the dogs, in particular Bezial, will love lazing around in the shade in the heat of the summer. I wanted to name it after Bezial and went hunting for words for trees; shrubs; undergrowth etc. that started with “B”. I wasn’t holding out much hope but was quite surprised to discover that a small stand of trees is known as a “Bosk” so this small stand of wattles is Bezial’s Bosk. Earl needs something as well. He once found the nesting spot of a chook that had gone clucky and dived in up to his shoulders to try to catch her in the vicinity of Bezial’s Bosk and the only thing that saved her was a blackberry bush that she had conveniently made her nest in. This area is going to be known as “Earl’s Chookberry patch” ;)
The holes that Steve dug last Wednesday filled up with water and resembled little ponds at the end of the day. Only some of the holes contain water still and hopefully they will have dried out by Wednesday when we start concreting poles into them. Thursday saw Steve digging most of the rest of the holes. It is amazing how many rocks can fit into our soil and how little soil is left after you remove all of the rocks from the picture. I am trying, very hard, to keep permaculture first and foremost in mind and remind myself that there is a silver lining to everything and that rocks are valuable resources for making garden beds, circles around planted trees etc. to stop the chooks and other critters from rootling around and digging up mulch etc. but it is hard to be enthusiastic about rocks, especially when you have to dig them up, out and some of them are enormous!
On Friday we headed off into the city. Ostensibly to price timber for the dogs compound but the real reason was to find a clam shell wading pond/sand pit to shut the duck up! She had been complaining vociferously ever since we upturned her foetid algae filled boat/pond and pressure sprayed it clean. She initially complained over at the site where the boat had been taken from but then moved over to the boat in the driveway to voice her concern. We were both very tired of duck accusation every time we headed out of doors and so we did a bit of research and found that where K-Mart sold clamshells for $27 a single half, Bunnings, (a huge hardware store for all of you Northerners) had the same thing for $12.50. We bought 3. 2 for ducky, so that we can rotate the algae nicely, and 1 for the dogs to splash around in when summer starts making itself felt.
If you would like to see how to garden in conditions even harder than those here on Serendipity Farm, head over to Ms Alys’s blog and check out how she does it…
Saturday saw the last of the holes being dug. Steve only had to dig 5 holes and they were nice and easy because they were situated in a cutaway segment of the slope near the house block section and thus all of the rocks had been removed prior by some large excavating device and Steve only had purest yellow clay to dig in. Luckily for him, he was digging when it was wet. Not so sure it would have been so easy if he waited till it dried out. He had to dig through about 30cm of road base that had been compacted down to form a driveway and a very thin shim (for ONCE we were happy about bodgy Tasmanian “workmanship” ;) ) of tarmac that covered it. Steve only took 30 minutes to dig 6 holes and was inside playing the “Grand Turisimo 6” game that he bought himself as a reward for all of that hole digging by the afternoon. The peace and quiet was interrupted by a mass barking session by the dogs who had spotted our friend Gordon, from down the road walking up the pathway that leads up to the house. He was carrying what looked like half a trees root system over his shoulder so we hurried out to stop the dogs barking and see what he had and was after
If you would like to try your hand at making the dead fish hat feel free to head on over to this site and have a go…
It turns out he had an enormous rhubarb root with 6 crowns attached to it for me. He knows that Steve HATES rhubarb but I like it and want to plant it and last year’s rhubarb just disappeared under all of the pumpkins. I am going to plant Ruby rhubarb in her own bed this year to see if I can’t at least get some rhubarb to make mum’s pink rhubarb champagne. I am even thinking of fermenting the results and see if I can’t make a rhubarb version of cultured ginger beer (maybe throw some ginger in as well…YUM!) Gordon also gave me his recipe for vegetable pakora that I had tried and loved. I, in turn, gave him (offloaded) two dozen eggs. I love possibilities and bartering :) So I am rhubarb rich, raspberry future rich, I have lemon trees, an orange tree, a lime tree (that Earl tried to squish when he was lizard hunting inside Sanctuary the other day), 2 figs to plant out, another olive that I got as a cutting from a fellow student in horticulture of an olive tree that no longer exists (was removed). I also have 2 carob trees that I grew from seed, a bay tree that needs planting out that dad gave me ages ago and lots of other things that I need to work out where to plant ASAP because they are either going to need to be planted out or re-potted up for the season.
I have been walking Earl for the last couple of days because Bezial needed a bit of a rest as he has a bit of a limp at the moment. He wasn’t used to walking every day like we have been doing since Steve stopped working and we forget that he occasionally needs a day off. Steve has no problem with sleeping in an extra hour as Earl and I head out the door at 6am for our early morning perambulation. Yesterday we got back to find that Steve and Bezial had been outside pulling all of the potted babies that still remain out onto the driveway. We are going to go through them with our friend Jenny (formerly of the witness protection scheme but who outed herself so I can safely identify her now ;) ) to see what she wants before we give the rest away to anyone who wants them. I noticed that I must have missed a few hazelnut trees as when they are deciduous they look pretty much like just about everything else that is deciduous and so I will go through them and see if there is anything edible that I missed. We are keeping Steve’s Dragon’s blood trees and his Yucca and several natives that should grow alright in our conditions as well as a few potted specimens that are going to be bonsaied in the near future or repotted and kept as potted specimens but the rest need to go. We don’t want to spend another summer watering them and feeling guilty as we watch them shuffle off…one, by one.
Today I got back to find that Bezial and Steve were still in bed. I would usually call them both lazy sloths but today is Bezial’s birthday and he could do whatever he liked and if he wanted to stay in bed with Steve, he could! So far Bezial has been allowed outside to wander around to his hearts content (whilst Earl has been firmly contained on the end of a lead, much to his discontent) and has eaten lots of meat treats, been able to bask in the sun and had the ultimate revenge on Earl…he stole his soft drink bottle. Earl had found an empty soft drink bottle in the shed and was chewing on it when a freight train formerly known as Bezial raced up and stole it right out from under Earl’s nose. He then ran away with it and chewed it up. I guess revenge is sweet, especially on your 7th birthday :)
While Bezial has been enjoying the delightful 20C day that nature put on just for his birthday, Stevie-boy and I have been slaving. Steve concreted in 2 poles for the gate and then we decided to burn off a large pile of debris that has been waiting for the right burning conditions. The problem is, we have lots of piles of debris and so we spent the next 3 hours lugging large branches in various stages of decomposition over to a most enthusiastic fire. We tidied up an area on the fence line between our property and Glad’s next door and discovered 2 treated pine logs that we can use as poles as a reward. We are going to put another smaller gate in closer to the house so that we can access the side area of the house easily. After lugging heavy branches and burning them for 3 hours we decided to call it a day and that’s why I am here typing out a blog post on a gorgeous spring day. The main reason I am typing rather than Pinning, is that I know that tomorrow is going to be busy. Steve is off to pick up a car trailer that he is hiring in order to bring home a whole lot of treated pine that we need to create the fence. He then needs to return the trailer, come home, and then return to Exeter to pick up a trailer load of road base ready for concreting in the holes on Tuesday. Tuesday will see our friend Jenny arriving to take some plants and watch us concrete poles or burn more debris or both if we can manage it. As you can see, I will be flat out for the next couple of days and so I took this opportunity to at least get a really good start on today’s email (on Sunday).
Lucky really because I spent the whole day today doing battle with blackberries and helping Stevie-boy hack away at the undergrowth so that we can start putting up fence railing tomorrow. I am very tired but very content. So can we all agree that I may just have collected a “Tick” for effort there? :)