Farm News – SpringNov 24, 2023
A day in the Daffodil Paddock.
As my Winter Farm News mentioned, the daffodil paddock was a riot of hope and delight, a glimpse of warmer days approaching. Last year, I harvested them every Friday for six weeks, and I wanted to share the experience with my flower-loving friends.
So this year, about ten of us gathered at the farm, had a beautiful ‘bring a plate’ lunch and then headed to the daffodil paddock. I had asked everyone to bring a bucket, good boots, secateurs or snips, and gloves.
The sun was shining bright. There was a lot of chatter and excitement as we walked toward the paddock. I then demonstrated how to harvest, bunch and look after the blooms. As I was doing this, it made me realise that I was doing the thing I had dreamed of. I was growing beauty and sharing it with others; it filled me with emotion.
What happened next was a shift I did not expect but wholly understood. I had told everyone to pick as many blooms as possible; there are thousands of daffodils in that paddock, and I was off to NY, so they would not be harvested otherwise.
Everyone then scattered among the daffodils and started harvesting, and suddenly, there was complete silence.
The chatter altogether ceased, except now and then, someone would lift their head from the sea of gold and say something along the lines of “ I can’t believe I get to do this.” “This is what life is about.” Or “This is sublime.” Or “I feel so rich being here.”
If you saw my Instagram post on Tuesday of this week, you will know that I posted a picture of a triplet of peonies.
The peonies are from the test peony bed, which I planted soon after we bought the farm. I planted twenty plants then, and over the last three years, I have only had to replace about three.
It’s funny planting and navigating wild nature. If a seedling disappears in the city, you can see the snail tracks or possum droppings; something leaves a clue. But at the farm, plants disappear! I assume most of the time it is the roos because the wombats leave their poo everywhere, so you know if they knocked something over, and generally, the plant is still there. It’s just not in the ground anymore, and it’s covered in wombat poo.
But otherwise, the peony patch has been a success. I ‘disbudded’ the first plants, which means that you don’t allow them to flower for the first two years so that you can promote established and more robust root systems. So, although you forfeit blooms for the first two years, you are guaranteed a better harvest in the long run. #delayedgratification
If my plans go to plan, a kangaroo fence will be erected early next year in time for me and a few good friends to plant at least one hundred peony plants.
Teens and Mums
Our neighbours had a very successful lambing season, and as they are agisted on our land, it has been fun to watch them gambol around over the last few months. The other week, I was in the kitchen garden and saw that a group of lambs, about twenty of them, were gathered around a huge Messmate tree in the soon-to-be flower paddock. All of their mums were on the other side of the paddock. I watched these ‘teenage lambs’ as they played around, and maybe I was projecting, but I’m sure the mums were as happy to have some respite from their teens in the same way the lambs were enjoying hanging out with their mates without the watchful eye of the mums. I thought this sighting was a moment in time, but the next day, around the same time, the same thing happened again.
But this time, I witnessed the mums calling the lambs back to them, and all the lambs ran to their mums. And it was dinner time, the kookaburra said so. So delightful to witness.
Finally, I want to share a meme I read the other day that I have shared with a few friends, and we have all found it to be hilariously true.
“As you age, it’s ridiculous how fast bird-watching creeps up on you. You spend your whole life indifferent to birds, and then one day, you’re like, “ Damn, is that a yellow-rumped warbler?”
Just last weekend, my mother-in-law and I became determined to work out a particular bird we had not seen before. If you are interested, it was a grey shrike thrush.
And then, the other day, we were looking at one of the old apple trees and saw a tiny nest with what I now know is called (by way of my mother-in-law, Cheryl) an Eastern Spine Bill), and suddenly, a baby chick popped its head up looking for food. We stood there with our mouths open, huge grins on our faces. I gently called over to my sister-in-law, and the three of us stood there, mouths open.
It is so easy to think that richness is only for ‘the rich’, yet richness is everywhere; it's called nature. It is a richness and magic that many of us have access to; we just need to stop and pay attention.
There is richness everywhere. Look around. Seek it out.
As always, I would love to hear your insights, thoughts or musings.
Wishing you a weekend of cultivating richness in your life.