Farm News - Summer

Mar 08, 2024
Kemi Nekvapil Weekly Words Blog

As I woke up this morning, I could feel the chill in the air. So I went outside to inhale, and a familiar smell hit me—the smell of autumn. It seemed to arrive quickly, and I am happy it is here. But I need to catch you up on the summer happenings on the farm.  

The Potting Shed 

As I have shared, my last set of foster parents, Sue and Russell, have visited Australia every year (except during the Pandemic years) to spend time with me and their grandchildren.  

Their first visit to the farm was during the summer holidays of 2023, and they built a beautiful and eclectic potting shed right next to the kitchen garden.  

We designed it together and visited the local salvage and timber yards together, but they did most of the work.  

One day, when I walked into the potting shed and the main workbench had been installed, my first thought was, “I could write in here!” The reality is that I will not be able to use it as an actual potting shed until we live there full time, so writing shed it is.  

The shed looks out over one of the paddocks, and then my eyes ascend to the messmate bush at the top of the paddock. 

I have been painting my interiors for decades. I usually get the colour right the first time, but not this time. Firstly, I went for a green that I had already used in the house, but it was too bright. Then I tried another green, too dull.  

Then I realised I have always wanted a rich, dark, grey room—think dark Academia vibes. Emrys, my husband, is not a fan of living in a dark grey room, which I understand entirely. Not everyone loves grey. I love grey. So, I figured this was the time to give it a go in my potting shed, and I am so happy with the results.  

Over the long weekend, I will paint the door yellow with a colour called ‘Happy’. 

I will probably spend a few more comfortable months writing in the potting shed before winter takes hold, but until then, I will delight in my dark writing cave with the happy door.  

Flower Farm  

After four years of observing the land and experimenting with a small peony garden between the house and the chosen flower paddock, it is time to begin.  

I will turn fifty this year, and for the last twenty years, I thought I would go to Morocco for this milestone birthday. But things change, and flowers took my heart and I want to begin the flower farm; I need to cement this dream into the land. With fingers crossed and actions taken, a kangaroo/deer/rabbit fence will be installed over the next month or so. I will then work out how to turn a paddock into a peony farm. Ideally, there will be time to till and plant an autumn/winter cover crop to nourish the soil, but that depends on the timing of the fence.  

I aim to be a no-till farm (to not disturb the soil structure), but from my research, it seems that sometimes tilling is required to break the soil initially, especially if the land has been compacted by hard-hooved animals, which ours has been.  

Then, on my fiftieth birthday weekend, I will gather family and friends to help plant the first fifty peony plants. I will repay them with peonies for the rest of their lives!  

You do not let peonies bloom for the first 2-3 years, but if all goes well, they should last for fifty years. 


When looking into the daffodil paddock, I noticed baby elm saplings popping all over the place. The paddock is lined with mature elm trees, so this is a yearly occurrence, but they seem to be extra vigorous this year. 

I was wondering if I could go in with the ride-on mower or if I’d break the mower. I was wondering if Emrys’ tractor could slash them. Then I wondered if the sheep could be the answer. Through practising permaculture principles over the years, I know that humans are not the best solution for all jobs in the garden or farm. Other animals, insects and organisms do the job much better than we ever could, with much less effort. 

And then yesterday, my neighbour, who grazes her sheep on our land, texted to ask, “Should I put the sheep in the daffodil patch to graze the elm seedlings?”  

As you read this, the sheep will be grazing the elms and pooing their bums off, and that is all the daffodils will need to be ready for their winter blooming.  

As the colours begin to change and the air smells different, we are reminded of the seasons.  

Please note: This will be the last Farm News appearing in Weekly Words. The Summer Farm News will appear in The Harvest, my new offering on Substack, which launches on April 26th. 

The Harvest 

There is a founding member option for The Harvest; as one of the first to join the community, you will receive:  

• Live ‘Community Harvest’ events with me (online). A safe space to explore and honour the seasons of our lives 

• Planting The Seed: Self-coaching and Journal Prompts  

• A visual harvest of my flower farm and land stewardship journey (including Farm News) 

• First exclusive access to new offerings/events/retreats/everything! 

• Surprise and spontaneous audio ‘Delight Diaries’ delivered to your ears. 

• Ability to comment and engage with me  

More information on how to subscribe in the coming weeks.  

As always, I would love to hear your insights, thoughts or musings.

Wishing you a weekend of taking the time to smell the air and slowly exhale. 


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