2 Ducks in a boat

Hi All
I am not saying that we shouldn’t pay people to tell us what the weather is going to be…I just think that they should have to give some of it back if they get it wrong. Today was supposed to be warm, sunny and 23C. It has been overcast, with a cold breeze and I doubt it even got to 19C let alone 23. We procrastinated until 10am till we got stuck into painting blackberries and regrowing stumps with glyphosate and hand grubbing all sorts of weeds from the garden bed directly underneath the deck. I love weeding. So long as the weeds come up relatively easily, I will spend all day weeding. Forget-me-nots are a big pain in the derrière, but in saying that, they are very easy to pull out. I also yanked out a lot of spear thistles (Scotch thistles) from the prospective veggie area by hand (wearing big thick welding gloves) because they were just setting flower and if we catch these things before they flower and seed, we can start to control the massive weed infestation that has overtaken this place. I think it’s a matter of slow and steady wins the race here, and if that makes me a turtle, so be it. I think that breaking down the larger tasks into smaller increments, makes it more manageable and you are more likely to actually accomplish things because you don’t feel like the task is too massive. It’s part of the way that I look at every task that I take on now. I used to procrastinate my way into sloth, but that didn’t get anything done and so I learned pretty quickly that you have to just make it less obnoxious to you. Break it into smaller tasks; reward yourself for doing what you have done and just make a start sometimes is enough to get you going. I am impatient and want to get everything sorted out yesterday and I am also a bit of a perfectionist, so I need it to be done well, and being a natural born sloth, that makes it a bit of a juxtaposition of forces tearing me in 2 directions. Being married to Steve means that sloth rarely wins so we get a fair bit done around here.

Heres what we started with…

We now have to work out what to do with some of the plants that we left here. There are a lot of native raspberries (Rubus parvifolius) that the birds deposited into this garden that I really want to transplant out into the vegetable garden as the fruit is tiny, but very sweet. They look like this and before we cleared out this garden (previous to these 2 photos, it was a massive tangle of wild unkempt shrubs that reached the top of the deck railings) they were hidden and I didn’t know that they were there. I thought that they were wild roses (similar leaves) and was just about to yank them out when I remembered seeing the same plant in the bush around here covered in little sweet fruits and decided to keep them.

We are almost finished our studies for this year and are starting to realise that we are going to be able to get out into the garden and actually ‘do’ something substantial this year. We have so many plans and it’s a matter of sitting down and working out what is possible to achieve in the time frame, and what order we are going to tackle it in. Obviously it’s smarter to take out everything dead, prune, remove, and prepare the ground before we do anything with planting. We want to irrigate everything that we plant with soaker hose to make sure that they get the best chance of survival. After that, we are going to get a lot of lavender’s, rosemary, sages and other plants that don’t mind the odd dry spell, to reduce the watering bill. It’s important to think about things like that now as who knows how much more expensive the water will get? We are thinking about making swales in our garden to ensure that run off water down our very slopey block will soak into the ground and will benefit us, rather than the Tamar River in run off. When this garden was lovingly designed, water was so cheap, it was practically free. You can’t go more than 15metres in this garden without there being a tap within easy reach. Now that we have learned a lot about making sure that you get your precious water to where the plant actually needs it, it’s a lot easier to irrigate without wasting water. We are making sure that we irrigate the areas that we are working on and the vegetable gardens will be irrigated with an ingenious system that I have stolen directly from Peter Cundall’s gardens in the Hobart Botanical Gardens. It’s a series of black garden pipe (the cheap stuff that you get for about $5 a roll from any good hardware shop) all held together with a rectangle of pipe and all leading into a single connector that joins onto a hose. That way you can irrigate the gardens that you want to as it’s in rows, you can move it to other gardens that are in use, you can rest gardens and allow them to grow a green crop and you can make the best use of water in your veggie garden.

Heres a couple of pictures of some of the dwarf conifers that we are going to put into the garden bed below the deck. Its perfect for conifers as its well drained, raised and in full sun all day…

and here are some more…

I am getting quite excited at the prospect of actually ‘doing’ something around here! We have asparagus, we have spuds going nuts, we have fruit trees that were liberated and that are now going great guns apart from one small mandarin tree that the possums seem to have decided is their personal gym and it doesn’t go a night without some fat possum bending or breaking off a branch. The white nectarine tree that dad said “there used to be a nice nectarine tree in that lot, its dead now”…isn’t dead at all, and has a nice crop of fruit growing on it. It’s right next to the chook yard and is taking advantage of all of the lovely nutrients that the chooks are excreting every day and has lovely dark green leaves. The only thing that didn’t live was a poor apple tree that the possums had been targeting for years and that finally gave up the ghost this year. We are going to cut it down and use the wood to make wooden spoons. Steve is very good at spoon making and we can at least remember it fondly while we are ladling out sugar or stirring a stir fry. We have been harvesting asparagus for a while now and its lovely fresh from the earth. I like to eat it raw and it’s equally as delicious lightly steamed. We should get a good crop of Pontiac potatoes at least; I am not too sure about the Kipflers as the chooks seem to be intent on digging them up. The purple Congo spuds seem to be off and racing as well so we should get a few of those to try.
Our new acquisitions had not come out of their new house since I picked them up on Tuesday morning. We decided that they should get to come out and inspect their new free range premises. We filled the boat up with water and headed into Ducktopia to get them. They were not all that impressed with being grabbed and man handled out of their comfort zone, but as soon as we put them into the boat they suddenly changed their minds about what awful people we were. We put them into the pond at 10am and they are still in it at 2pm. They know how to get out. We watched them jump out of the boat and then straight back in. They have dived, wet their heads, swum crazily around after each other, dibbled with their beaks into the water and when they get bored of diving and swimming, they just muddle their way over to one of the seats and just sit in duck ankle deep water for a bit till it’s time to zoom of into the deeper stuff again. I am not sure that they are going to come out of the boat, but that will make it easy for us to catch them tonight when it goes dark wont it? Here they are when we first put them in…

That’s pretty much what they are doing now and most probably what they will be doing in a couple of hours’ time. At least they like what we did for them. Now we just have to work out how to coax them out to get them back into their enclosure. We went for a walk around Deviot, which if you don’t know what it is, it’s a nice affluent suburb right next to where we live. I have fallen in love with one of the houses just up from the yacht club. If it ever goes on the market I am going to start buying lotto tickets in earnest. I will see if I can’t get some photos of it to show you all and you can see why I think that it’s lovely. It’s very reminiscent of a house that I also fell in love with in Albany Western Australia when I used to live there. I used to get up at 5am to walk around the town nice and early before anyone else was up and did a full circuit of the town in just over an hour. I used to walk past this house and it just pushed the right buttons for me. It was a weatherboard house, circa 1930’s. It had a widows walk balcony and a lovely glassy kitchen addition with a bay window that was full of plants. I just loved it as it felt like somewhere that I would love to live. That coupled with its situation, which was right on the foreshore of the bay on the side of a lovely small park and it was just a pleasure to walk past this lovely home every day before the world was up. This house in Deviot reminds me a lot of that house back in Western Australia. If the house in Albany was ever to come onto the market, I would need more than a first prize in lotto to afford it, but this one in Deviot, would leave me with change. Isn’t that strange? The house in Deviot is just as lovely and has a better view but is probably a third of the cost of the other one simply because it’s located in Tasmania.

This isn’t a picture of that lovely house in Deviot as I didn’t take the camera with me today. I do have a nice picture of clematis and yellow climbing banksia roses that is particularly pretty so you can look at that :o)

We decided to walk past the lady that sold us our very first chooks, house today on our afternoon walk. We love our original girls, but they were NOT what we were told that they were. The woman that sold them to us also told us that they were all guaranteed to be girls…and Big Yin is testament to her fibbing as are the girls that are most definitely NOT Barnevelders, but a mix of Isa browns and Wyandottes. She was apparently getting rid of her unwanted mixed breed chooks to buy Plymouth rocks, but she really should have been honest about what she was selling us. Whenever she sees us (we live not too far from her) she acts very guiltily. As mentioned, we love our girls (and Yin) and wouldn’t swap them, but she knows that she took liberties with the truth, as did the second woman that sold us our Wyandotte’s. Now that we know more about chooks, we know that one of the Wyandotte’s is very old and is unlikely to ever lay an egg. They were also sold with scale which at the time the woman told us was just something minor and very easy to fix up by spraying the chooks feet with fly spray. On researching this problem we discovered that it’s not that minor and that if we had continued to spray the girl’s feet with fly spray we might have killed the chooks as well as the scale. Again, we love our new girls as well (Earl especially loves the Wyandotte’s as we discovered yesterday…) but it would have been nice to purchase them without the half-truths that we were told. We now have 14 baby chicks that have swelled the numbers to 27. I am getting some guinea fowl fertilised eggs soon as well as some turkey eggs to put under Ethel Doocark as at the moment, she is sitting on nothing. Every day Steve lets her out of the coop and she trots out to her little nest that she made in the garden and sits there all day until Steve picks her up at night and puts her back in the coop with the others. This place is going to be teeming with fowl!
I hope that you all have a lovely weekend and that you enjoy yourselves. We have a long weekend here and so we will be spending it doing some work in the garden. It certainly makes you feel like you have accomplished something when you wrangle weeds, poison blackberries and tussle with advancing hoards of clematis, climbing roses and wisteria. See you tomorrow :o)


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mum.
    Nov 05, 2011 @ 16:42:21

    Well now, what sort of ducks are they pen? They look like they love their new bath. Maybe you should m,ake their house down closer to their bath?They’re only young yet by the look of them, so I hope they aren’t drakes! Get some eggs under that hen soon, or she’ll come off the brood. Even a couple of turkey eggs will suffice, till she wonders what the hell she hatched! Those raspberries will be from bigger plants from the birds too, so feed them up a bit love. They do look nice too.When you plant out the trees, lay wet newspaper & some mulch around them for the summer, to keep the soil damp too. They’ll get themselves settled well before winr=ter too, planting them now. They’ve grown since I last saw them all! Plan out where you want them, & don’;t forget to imagine just how tall they will eventually be! Have fun in the garden over the weekend.


    • narf77
      Nov 05, 2011 @ 18:05:47

      Hi Mum
      Those raspberries are actually native raspberries. Normal raspberries grow on canes but these grow on climbing vines like blackberries. The fruit looks just like teeny regular raspberries but is incredibly flavoured for their size. I was going to dig some up from the bush but now I have my own closer to home so I don’t have to. They are Rubus parvifolius rather than Rubus idaeus which is the regular one. I thought that they were wild roses but after researching them and seeing the fruit, I know that they are native raspberries now. I am going to have to move them as otherwise they will tangle up in all of Steve’s precious conifers!


  2. athursdayschild has a long way to go and much to be thankful for.
    Apr 12, 2013 @ 06:14:29

    Love the ducks in the pond. Your rocks are beautiful! I don’t know what it is with me and rocks. There is a park I sometimes walk, a 5 mile trek, in the town where Chris works. One day Chris went on a walk with me. I asked him to guess what my favorite house was along the way. He got it right. It was the stucco one.


    • narf77
      Apr 12, 2013 @ 16:48:04

      They say that people who connect closely (for whatever reason) are able to develop a mental and spiritual bond that goes beyond normal. A bit like twins. Steve and I often finish off each others sentences and know what the other one is going to say before we say it. We are together pretty much 24/7 and I think we prove the theory because otherwise we have NOTHING in common 🙂


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