Farm News – WinterAug 18, 2023
We are now in our third year of owning the farm and being custodians of land.
It is still amazing to me the incredible opportunity we have to build something that nourishes us, our community and Mother Earth herself.
I can't imagine being anything other than amazed, humbled and deeply grateful.
So what is happening? So many things.
Kangaroos (roos if you are an international reader x).
The roos are ruining the lawn; luckily I don't care too much for lawn in that I don't need a cricket pitch lawn, but I'd prefer not to have gaping scratch holes in it!
Anyway, we have been assured by our farm friends and neighbours that once we move into the house the roos will stay in the paddocks and out of the house gardens.
I actually feel the same about roos as I do about possums; they cause various forms of havoc, but then I see them, and I am flawed by their cuteness. This may change over the years!
Which leads me to foxes.
I am now an English and Australian citizen. As an English person, who did not have to deal with foxes from a farming standpoint, I grew up with a bucolic image and reverence for foxes. When I arrived in Australia and was out running one day, I saw a fox. I literally felt like I had been visited by a unicorn. I was so excited that I returned home to my husband, high on my fox sighting. He looked at me, deadpanned and said, "They are vermin. An introduced pest that has had a terrible effect on Australian ecosystems."
I crashed back to earth.
But the truth is whenever I see a fox at the farm, I still feel like I have spotted a unicorn. I know I'm not meant to find them graceful and beautiful, but…
And then I met Neil. He came to the farm with our friend and neighbour to introduce himself to us.
Neil is the resident fox shooter. Neil is lovely, and Neil kills foxes. They have risen in numbers this season and our neighbours' ewes are soon to lamb; lambing season is Christmas for foxes.
One night my husband and I were sitting by the farm when I saw a flashlight in the paddock; it was Neil, looking for foxes. Quite disconcerting and quite necessary.
I am learning the difference between the romantic ideals of caring for land, and the reality of caring for land, but I am enjoying the constant shifts in perspective, the learnings, the challenges, the growth.
Hopefully, we will catch some of the lambing this year. They are agisted on our land, so even if we miss the births, we will get to watch the lambs gambolling about the paddocks, which is a funny and beautiful sight to witness. The sheep spent some of the early winter in the daffodil paddock, so they could fertilise before the flowers bloomed. Which leads me to…
What is romantic in reality is the daffodil paddock, which is now blooming without apology. I had my first day harvesting this week, and there is delight in being surrounded by yellow heads of joy while the sun is shining on my face and the kookaburras are laughing.
That evening I returned to the city and felt like a flower fairy knocking on my neighbour's doors and gifting them flowers. I might buy myself a yellow tutu for next year!
Flower growing is very exciting to me, but people's joy when receiving flowers is heart-filling.
Ray and The Blackwood
In 2022 one of the huge blackwood trees on our property decided it was time to lie down; luckily, the fence was not completely obliterated. Ray has been the woodchopper on our property and adjacent farms for many years.
We called Ray about three months later to ask him to come and process the tree. He said he'd get to it. We heard nothing for about six months. Then he sent a message saying, "I've done half the tree."
We had hoped to get some planks out of the tree for furniture, but this wasn't possible due to the tree's shape. So instead, I asked for ten big rounds to be cut from the trunk and the biggest branches. We now have ten stunning stools that I will use in the house and in the garden when I can work out how to move them; they are very heavy!
Ray then moved all the chopped wood from the top paddock to the woodshed, no easy feat, which took him two days in total. We now have enough firewood for the next two winters!
And still to this day, we have never met Ray, our woodchopping fairy.
Flower Farm Plans
My first attempt to begin to transform the first flower paddock has been a complete fail. I purposely planted the experimental peony and rose beds near the farmhouse because I wanted to see what challenges would arise with those beds and the chosen flower paddock.
Those beds, now named the House Rose Garden and House Peony Garden, are thriving.
But my first attempt to begin to transform the first flower paddock has been a lesson. I planted three viburnum tinus bushes, as the paddock will need windbreaks. The next time I visited the paddock a week later, only two bushes remained. The next time I visited, no bushes remained. The bloody roos.
I only planted three to see what would happen. Now I know. A roo fence needs to be erected before I can plant a thing, which is good to know now. Lots of time, energy and money have been saved until I have to pay for the fence!
Lessons. Lessons. Lessons.
As always, I would love to hear your insights, thoughts or musings.
Wishing you a week of facing reality, learning the lessons and adapting for growth; with moments of delight.