The property is blessed with a beautiful dam. There are residents which give us confidence in the quality of the environment too. We are going to have the water tested though, as we have a neighbour who sprays his weeds with some nasty poison or other, but we're hoping to be able to irrigate the veggie gardens with it.
25 April 2011
Another early job is to get the kitchen garden going. There's nothing like being able to pick fresh herbs as you're busy cooking. So next to the kitchen, I've planted two small beds, one for sun loving herbs and the other for shade. Both are growing well, no doubt helped by the worm juice from the worm farm nearby. We were a bit worried about the bush turkeys getting in and digging it up, but it seems they don't like herbs (they are partial to Chinese greens though)
24 April 2011
In selecting chickens, Shaun went for something practical and low maintenance (being a man) and I picked something for both beauty and bounty (being not a man). Shaun likes to tell me every day that his four White Leghorns are a far superior choice to my four Light Sussex. Granted, his are laying and mine are yet to, but mine are gorgeous to look at and complete characters. They are still fighting it out as to who the boss chook is and whilst there is a bit of pecking going on, its mostly being decided by who can rush over to another hen the fastest and then stand dead still the longest. Even if one of the chooks trips over a stalk of grass (which they do), its on. All the Light Sussex chooks come pelting over and then play the statues game.
Last week we had someone come in to dig some swales for us. The purpose of the swales is to slow the water down as it comes down the slope and capture it in "channels". Then on the low side of the swale, you plant your fruit trees so that when it rains, the water collects in the channel and seeps into the ground underneath the fruit trees, rather than it just washing off down the slope. So slopes become more productive and orchards can be more effectively watered. You start by finding the contour lines on which you'll dig the swales. We used a laser to map them out and then Ben (from Yards) dug them as marked.
The place to begin with all properties is of course to purchase a few toys. Our first and most important purchase was the right ride on lawn mower. We've got some very steep areas on the property and we were looking for a mower that could manage that so we didn't have to pay to slash it all the time. A mower that can do slopes is harder to find than you would imagine. Shaun did so much research that he should now open a consulting business on the topic! When he found the right one, he was over the moon. I had to ask whether he could have imagined being this excited about a mower six months ago. Back then, only a beautiful road bike or mountain bike could have had him this elated. The brand we went with was a Grillo, and it seems to defy gravity as well as chewing through long grass like a tractor.
18 April 2011
When we came back to Australia from South Africa, we had a 10 year plan to move to acreage but didn't know where. We looked around for years, holidaying here and there, taking long drives, until we found somewhere that was both close to a major city and affordable. Once we'd found the area, we then looked for another year to find the property. It needed a good deal of flat land for organic food production, some slope for Shaun to build a mountain bike track, a dam and a liveable house. We found all that with a salt water pool to boot and now here we are on our five acre property. There's lots to do and even more to learn, but that was the whole point.