Whilst the inside of the house is being painted, I thought I'd do some updates on what's been happening outside in the garden. The last couple of months have been kind of crazy as there is just so much to do both inside, outside and with life in general. We've been spending heaps of time outside just tidying up, planting and figuring out the design of the property. We've started building a chicken coup and have also been working out the best place to position the big veggie garden of my dreams.
Spring is my favourite time of year and it really is just beautiful here at the moment. The place is green from all the rain and brimming with life. From tiny green frogs to finches nesting in the shed to spiders webs glistening at dawn, the garden is alive with activity.
I'm so excited that we've managed to bring our avocado tree back from the brink of death. It's been suffering badly since the cyclone and we discovered it had borer and other funguses attacking it. I think it may have been put under too much stress when we had the little brick shed next to it treated for termites back in April. Anyway after much deliberation about whether or not to hard prune it as its' branches were all dying and it lost all its' leaves, we decided to just give it a whole lot of love and see what would happen. Jamie pruned the worst affected limbs and I removed a lot of the soil around the shed and replaced it with bags of cow manure. Then I mulched it and continued to water and fertilise with a liquid plant food for a few weeks. Last week we had a few days of rain and it has just bloomed! It's a real sight of beauty when I look out of my kitchen window and its starting to fruit again at last.
We mulched and fertilised all of our other fruit trees a couple of months ago as well and the mango trees are now loaded with fruit.
The kids really love helping in the garden which is awesome.
My dreams of semi self sufficiency aren't exactly going so great but nevertheless I have been planting more fruit trees and have started a little herb garden that I've managed to keep alive. Just.
Until the mango's ripen, I've come to accept that a handful of cherry tomatoes and an abundance of garlic chives isn't really going to feed the family so I went and bought something I know I'm good at raising - chickens! For eggs, not meat.
I initially bought 6 little babies, four of which turned out to be roosters which is not really helpful to the 'home grown eggs' plan, so I went and bought 4 more this week who appear to all be hens. Fingers crossed. Chickens really are so much fun to watch. The chook pen is still under construction so they are currently free ranging about the place and sleeping in the guinea pig cage at night, which is fine as the guinea pigs are also free range (aka wild) and they prefer to sleep in the shed anyway.
I am so entertained by my chickens. They follow me around the yard and often try and sneak in the house. I realised I have a bit of a problem when i heard myself say 'I have to go to bed early so I can wake up early to let the chickens out'. I'm going to miss them when they are locked up in their chicken coup, though I may change my mind once the boys start crowing.
The chook pen, like most things around here, is taking an eternity to finish. But its starting to take shape and is going to be quite special when it's finally done. We are using bits of wood and iron from the old house next door which saves money but takes so much time to pull out.
We've also had a bobcat in to level out the barn and clear a path to the creek which is currently bone dry!
The bobcat was such a time saver. In less than a day, our barn was levelled, trees were moved, paths were carved and holes were dug for the fences.
My citrus hedge is still alive and I've added a few more fruit trees to the orchard.
I planted two mulberries, a black sapote, a lychee, a rolinia, a persimmon, a blueberry bush and a dragon fruit.
We planted a charlie tree too.
Now I'm trying to decide what colour to paint the outside of the house. The coral is actually growing on me but I think we will end up changing it. Feel free to leave me a comment if you have any good ideas as I'm open to suggestions. I need to decide pretty quickly as the painters are going to move outside once they've finished inside.
And thats about it. Even though its a lot of work and we are finding many, not so pleasant surprises - rat nest under the kitchen I'm looking at you - I guess you could say we really are living the dream. The kids are happy, healthy and playing wonderfully with one another (mostly) and Jamie and I are so happy to be giving them this childhood.