Mulch, Volts, Peas, and Poop

Posted by Nick  | 02 Oct 2014  | 1 comment

It’s been a little slow on the farm for the past month or so. Auckland still has its jaws firmly latched onto our lives, so we haven’t had too much time lately to launch into bigger farm projects. Since this is undoubtedly your favourite blog about country living, I bet you’ve been overwhelmed with anticipation for a hot new post. I’ll tie a few odds and ends together to put you at ease. You’re welcome.

We’ve planted two thirds of the initial tree boundary but are leaving the final portion for when a couple friends come down soon. Then they, too, can enjoy the pleasure of planting trees (and we can score some free labour). In the mean time we’ve made use of the pile of wood chips from the cypress milling to mulch around the wee saplings. It’ll keep them warm and moist, and hopefully act as a defence against the encroaching pasture.

Oh, and did I mention we finally got a wheelbarrow? I’m quite chuffed about that.

With dryer paddocks and new tyres on the ute, next time we’ll be able to transport the mulch by the tray-load.

We set up a temporary hot fence to keep the stock well clear. Can you imagine if those heffalumps got through and trampled/devoured the babies and all our hard work? I’d lose it. It would be the Waikato Chainsaw Massacre, hamburger style.

Instead of buying an expensive mobile solar unit for the hot fence, we just ran it through the orchard to a pre-existing energiser in the laundry/tool-shed near the cottage. Not the prettiest set-up, but it’ll do for now until we decide on something more permanent.

When it came to connecting the electric tape to the energiser, I had to work around the expertise of the previous owner (a recurring theme), whose penchant for rough-and-ready improvisations is unabashed.

The quality of our own set-up ended up being no less makeshift.

In other news, along with a wheelbarrow we also picked up an extendible ladder, allowing us to finally reach high places like this to untie random loops of rope:

One of us was particularly enthralled with investigating the new gadget:

The wheelbarrow was immediately put to use, and not just for carting mulch.

I believe this is the technical unit of measurement for a shit-load. We dumped this lot around the old plum trees in the orchard, whose fruit were tasteless last summer (when we first visited the property). Here’s hoping with some extra fruit food and scattered manure they’ll squeeze out a bit more sugar this season.

Aside from those odd jobs we’ve been doing a bit of gardening. Nothing major, just adding a few greens here and there. Twenty strawberry plants should suffice for the two of us this year, right? Nom.

The lettuces have picked up! Not looking like stunted frost-bitten frills any more. Char’s pointing at the lettuce in case you miss it:

We also planted some snow peas and built a trellis from some old wire net that we fished out of the shed:

We’re committed to having a productive veggie garden this summer; we’ve become complacent at our little unit in Auckland the past couple of years. Veggies need love! We’ve weeded, fertilised, and mulched this bed, adding a little pathway so we can reach the middle. Will it all have grown when we return? Ohh, I feel like a giddy grandma!

We met some more of our new neighbours who are just as lovely as all the others. They spotted us grubbing thistles in a paddock adjacent to their property, so they popped over bearing a carton of (truly) free-range eggs, courtesy of their own chooks.

As well as having a couple hundred acres for sheep, they have the makings of a little lifestyle block going on around their house, including — wait for it — donkeys. That’s right. Donkeys. Having some burros of our own has been part of our dream since the beginning, so to hear their broken heehaws from across the farm warms our hearts. We’re obviously in the right place. The fact that these neighbours also accommodate a bunch of other animals, including a striking white goose, tells us we’re going to get along just dandy.

It’s been a couple of weeks since we’ve been down to the farm, so we’re itching for this weekend to arrive. In the coming weeks we hope to see a few more projects take the spotlight, like the restoration of an old cast iron garden bench, the construction of an archery target, and — if all goes to plan — finally showing some friends around our paradise-in-progress. Watch this space!

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‘Technical unit for a shit load’ – hahahahaHA! So funny! And SO envious of that HEALTHY soil! Very unsettling for an Auckite, who deeply yearns to go BTTL. Dunno about donks though…

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