Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Backyard Update

Well, I have been busy in the garden planting and planning but the weather has not been very kind to me (or my plants). We have had temperatures in the high 30s and I have heard reports that we will be hitting 40 by this weekend ...yikes.

One of our bunnies (Peppa) suffered from heat stroke and passed away last Saturday so we have all been extra vigilant with the shade and frozen water bottles for the animals. Zac has worked especially hard at this..checking their water every couple of hours and moving them around the yard. I am very proud of him.
I have some photos of the backyard taken on 31 Jan for our records of where we started. Hopefully next year the backyard will look very different.

This first photo is looking at the back fence. The shade sail is partially over the cubby house because that is where it blew in a windstorm and one of the legs is now busted. The cubby at the moment is where I am storing my mulch and potting mix etc. Notice the plastic toys everywhere..no there was no cyclone...just Ben and Matt.

Second photo is our back corner and garden shed (lovely glare of the shed there lol). The shed is Nige's domain where he stores his tools etc and is due for a massive cleanout but we will get to that later. The back garden has only weeds at the moment. When the rabbits free-ranged (before Max- one of the dogs..not a child... decided to start nipping them) it was full of rabbit burrows and was there favourite place to hang out. Nige has plans for an Olive tree in this garden and some herbs in pots.

Third photo, my passionfruit vine. I am hoping to grow this around the pool fence. Mmmm passionfruit on icecream yummo ...can't wait for that one.

The other corner of the yard with the guinea pig hutch sitting in what will be my second vege patch. I am planning to do a no-dig style garden bed there with layers of newspapr, hay and compost.

A Meyer Lemon Tree and a Kaffir Lime in self-watering pots by the back steps.

Ben watering the seedlings for me. I have planted:

* a capsicum bush,
* three cucumber seedlings only one of which survived the first day
* six mixed capsicum seedlings (only one has survived)
* three watermelon seedlings..all going well.

I mulched with pea straw. They had compressed bales at Bunnings so it was convenient. I plan to buy some bales of hay from one of the local farmers before I start the next vege patch.
Strawberries are still going along nicley..I have one strawberry almost ready for picking. Not quite sure how I will share that out amongst the boys though.
I have moved the worm farm to a shadier spot beside the house and added some more worms. I am hoping they will go a bit better here (also less likely they will be knocked over when Nige does the mowing). At the moment they are nowhere near keeping up with our kitchen scraps.
I told you I had been busy.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Back to Basics Challenge

I have been thinking about leading a simpler more fulfilling life for quite a while now and so to help me get from thinking to doing I have decided to participate in Belinda's Back to Basics Challenge

The challenge is:

"The Back to Basics Challenge for those who choose to accept is to report weekly or fortnightly on either their blog or in comments here on the topics of
Sowing seed or Planting
Planning for The Future - meal planning, the next seasons garden plan, working out storage plans or more long term goals and projects like plans for digging root cellars
Working for the Future - storing food, managing stores, preserving, building that home made cob or solar oven, adding house insulation, saving for manual grain mills etc
Building Community - volunteering, donations, joining an existing community group, forming your own community group, taking a cake to a friend having a hard time, calling someone you just let drift out of your life, etc
Learn a new Skill".
So this blog will be a place for me to record my efforts, challenges and achievements on my path to a simpler life. So firstly this week I plan to:
Sowing Seed or Planting: Dh and I have decided to try and grow a pineapple from the top of a store bought one we ate yesterday. We have a garden bed down the western side of the house that we don't use at all. The land on that side of the house is only just over a metre wide and the fence is only short. The neighbours house and front door is right there too so there is no privacy and we just don't use that area. It is sheltered by the neighbours house so won't be affected by the frosts and apparently pineapples don't require a lot of watering so it will handle a bit of neglect. We will give it a try anyway. At the moment it is wasted space so we have nothing to lose.
We have also bought three strawberry plants that I have in a plastic self-watering trough on the back verandah. One of the plants is already flowering so hopefully we will have some fruit fairly quickly. I think the boys will enjoy that planting (Matt is such a strawberry monster..whole punnets have been known to disappear into his mouth within minutes).
The vege patch currently holds one lone tomato bush (that desperately needs staking). We have some serious weeding to do and also need to get some compost or something to get some nutrition into the soil. I will also need to mulch.
Planning for the Future
I will get back to menu planning this week. It makes such a difference at the end of the day to know what is for dinner and that we have the ingredients to make it. Also helps with the budget.
Working for the Future
I am getting the worm farm up and running again. I will need some more worms. DH knocked over the farm while mowing the backyard and I think most of my worms are now free range.
I plan to build a compost bin too. We have some old bricks around the side so I was planning to build one with them. I will do some research for some plans and get onto that this week. We have all the materials I think I will need in the yard so it should be a frugal project.
Building Community
I am sorting through our cluttered cupboards and I have already given away several boxes of stuff through freecycle. I also have more clothes from my wardrobe to donate to our local St Vinnnies.
I will organise a scrapbook day with my scrappin buddies once a month on a Sunday as well.
This week we also adopted a homeless dog from the vets. His name is Charlie and he is the cutest little terrier cross. Such a great nature too. Our Silky Terrier Selby died last August (he was 14 years old and part of the family). Our other pup Max (a Shitzu x Maltese) was lonely so he has been so happy chasing Charlie around the yard and I often see them curled up together. They are so cute together and I think they will be great buddies.
Learning a New Skill
I would love to learn to knit or crochet so I will try and work on these this week. Nan was a fantastic knitter and always made jumpers for us but her hands are too sore now. Mum used to crotchet as well but her hands don't allow her to do that anymore either.
Okay so those are my plans for the week. Lets see how we go.


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