The Catch Up Post


It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Well, there hasn’t been much to talk about. Winter was here. It was long, and cold, and so very, very, very WET. It’s a little surprising how wet it was. I looked up the Bureau of Meteorology, and there was some information there that said it was the wettest June/July period for Melbourne on record. Basically it was so cold and wet – sideways rain, temps not above 6C most days – that we stayed inside, tending the fire and knitting things. (well, the others may have played cards, but I knitted.)

However, looking at some photos of the last little while on my phone, I saw that we had actually made some progress on some tasks… so with out further ado, via dot points and photos, here’s what we’ve been doing:

All that rain made the path to the cars very muddy. After the I-man fell one day and caught himself on one hand to save his suit from being mud-streaked, he snapped. And spent the Queen’s birthday long weekend digging a path bed, laying gravel, and using a whacker plate to compact it down. We’ve now got a path that we love, and MUCH less mud and dirt in the house! Win! (That there’s the Boychild helping. He’s so happy in his raincoat in the mud!)

The path got finished, complete with some winding through the garden, and I planted some lavender that I got at a bargain price from a local nursery to make an informal hedge eventually (that’s the lavender in pots, about to go in, and yes, it was a very rare sunny winter’s day – one of the few we had):

Amusing-shaped vegetables were harvested from the winter vegie patch. This one’s a parsnip. Only a couple were forked and twisted like this, the rest were gorgeously round, fat and just as a parsnip should be. Roasted alongside an organic chook… YUM!

Other things of note:

  • Boychild’s purple sprouting broccoli began to grow actual broccoli! Here are 2 shots: one just starting, and one just at harvest:

  • We’ve been eating masses of broccoli for the last 4 weeks. The plants have gone totally mad, and the side shoots that grow after the central head has been harvested are succulent and delicious, either raw or cooked! Yum!

  • Coco the goat has gone back to our friend’s house, just for a while, until the blackberries grow out of hand again. We’ve booked her back for late September!
  • We are taking the opportunity that a low livestock-to-person ratio offers, and renovating the chook shed. It is a lovely big one, but is not rat and fox proof, and the run is enormous, taking up the heart of our property. We’ve made a plan, and are excited about moving fences, opening up the heart of the place, and finally getting feathered friends again. We love chooks! Hooray! Photos of this are to come, I think it deserves a post all of it’s own.

And now that it’s Spring again, and the sun has been wrestling itself out from behind the rain clouds, I’m sure there’ll be more to tell, and more to show.



Borrowing a solution

Now, this isn’t like borrowing the solution to Question #27 on a chemistry multiple choice. I promise it’s not.

We have been mulling over our blackberry problem for a while now, and proposing various herbivores as appropriate solutions. But the actuality of an actual real live sheep/goat/alpaca/elephant has been offputting – all of that fencing, tethering, defending from marauding dogs that are sure to sniff out that we have a new takeaway on legs for them captive at our place, the possibility of vegie patches devastated by a quadruped on a rampage. It all just seemed too hard.

But then a friend rang, needing a place for her goat to stay while they gave their garden a rest for a while and built a suitable goat shelter for the coming winter. I said yes before I’d even thought about it. I must say I worried a little when I hung up. (What would happen if somehow I didn’t do something necessary and the poor goat suffered a terrible fate?) But I needn’t have.

Meet Coco, the solution to our blackberry problem that we’ve borrowed from some friends:

She is the tamest, most compact goat I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. We walk her around from place to place on the dog lead, tethering her on a nice long rope near impenetrable blackberries, and she EATS THEM. I honestly thought that she wouldn’t. However, it seems that she actually prefers them to almost anything else. (I wouldn’t trust her with the vegie patch or the orchard though…) When she is finished with a patch, she bleats for a bit until we move her to the next tough, spiky, prickly patch which she then demolishes in her delicate, nibbling way.

I think I’m in love.

(For all the worriers out there, we also have a couple of disused chook runs that have secure fences and gates, and she gets time off her tether in there. Ok?)