Monday, August 18, 2014

Farmageddon


It's all happening! Exactly 3 weeks ago today we secured funding for Stage 1 of our Farm Project to go ahead. Stage 1 is all of the Orchard and Berry plantings along with the Vineyard and a smaller Farm-Gate building at the bottom of the site near the road. I think elsewhere in the world it would be referred to as a Farm Shop of sorts but it will essentially encompass the Chocolatier, the retail/fresh produce outlet as well as a gorgeous Cafe. 

It has been the cause of much celebration to finally see our little dream turn into a reality. It has also been 3 weeks of enormous activity and pressure as we are racing against the clock to get everything prepared and in the ground before Spring, less than 2 weeks away!

We immediately welcomed Jamie to the team, a Farmer who has worked in the area for a long time and has been an absolute legend and has embraced the concept of a family business with open arms. He arrives at 7am into our chaotic kitchen and we try and have a coffee and a morning chat about work as Flynn climbs up his legs for a cuddle whilst we deal with the everyday interruptions of spilt milk at the breakfast table, school lunches and the search for missing socks, books and whatever the new puppy has found to chew up that morning.

Things are moving so fast that I'm running the risk of not having any "before' shots, so this is just a little update of what's been going on.

Old fences have been removed, new fences put in and all the of dreaded Box Thorn has been removed from the top of the paddocks.

We have a new road at the top of the Project site (below) which will provide a safe turning circle for the tractor as it reaches the top of each row as well as being a nice flat viewing platform for visitors picking their own fruit from the Orchard to look out over the Coal River Valley. The road will have another pass over with the bulldozer and smoothed off at the edges and grass planted over the top.




All of the trees and berries have been ordered and delivered. There are over 2000 trees with numerous varieties of each type of fruit, 15 000 Strawberries, 10,000 other Berry canes, 10,000 grape vines and a large flower bed. We have a portable fridge on the driveway to house the plants and we cleared out the shed for the ones that didn't fit.


Aside from the grapes which will be planted in Summer, all of the above will need to be planted over the next couple of weeks. That's a lot of plants! It is going to be a busy couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, there is no time for luxuriating under the stars in the outside bath but it is still being put to good use bathing the roots of the trees in a special solution before planting.


The paddocks have been worked over, fertilised and deep ripped. 


The first 300 Apricot trees were planted on the weekend. The cherries will go in tomorrow.


Looking north, the Strawberry bed is ready to be planted out on the left and the other berries on the right.


Looking south, the bed to the left will be more Strawberries and the one on the right that I'm most excited about is the Flower bed.


These upper grassy slopes will be where the Vineyard will go and tomorrow it will all be ploughed over and sown with Oats until ready to be planted out in Summer.


And because I am a glutton for punishment and fell head over heels for his little Whippet puppy eyes, here is our new addition to the circus, "Rocket".


As an aside, apologies for falling off the blog without notice. I didn't anticipate it.  The start of this Project has brought about two rather conflicting revelations. The first is that there doesn't seem to be  much time available in the evenings to dedicate to blogging anymore - the older children are now staying up a bit later and Daniel and I are needing the evenings to chat about work things now too. An obvious solution seemed to be what I hear other people doing and that is to squeeze some time out of the mornings before the children wake up. However, the second revelation I've had, as highlighted by the arrival of Jamie at the crack of dawn, is that I'm not at my conversational best in the mornings or at least in the first hour before the 2 coffees have worked their magic. This will no doubt translate to my blog writing so please bear with me as I embark on this new phase of life I'm going to call "Mel gets cheerful in the mornings". I wrote this Post this morning and it was hard and did feel very strange. I'm hoping it won't take too long to find my morning groove.

41 comments :

  1. That is brilliant news Mel! I am impressed with how much you have done in 3 weeks, you guys are machines!! Looking forward to seeing this project develop, I am sure it will be a huge success. So exciting! Julie xx

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  2. Wow, quit a lot of work done there. thumps up!

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  3. All so exciting!! You guys must be high on a cocktail of emotion and exhaustion just now. I do hope you can build some downtime into your days soon. And meanwhile ... good luck!

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  4. OMG Mel, when I think of 'my' orchard I think of ten or so trees so reading about your orchard and seeing the tree pictures I have orchard envy :)
    As for Rocket, he is beautiful! Good luck with the planting, wish I was closer so that I could come and give you a hand.

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  5. Mel you have been such a busy lady and everything looks and sounds fantastic. The view is just stunning Mel and when all of those trees and plants grow, it's going to look magical. I will be around to visit when I come back to Tassie that is for sure. Your new addition is so very cute too:) x

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  6. Oh golly, golly, golly, you guys have been so busy and about to get busier! I am looking forward to watching your dreams grow and come alive, its going to be absolutely amazing! Wow.
    And as for little Rocket, how cute is he!
    x

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  7. I love the bath being put to use.

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  8. I've been thinking of you lately and wondering how all of your plans are working out. So surprised this morning to read of your venture coming to fruition!! So many plants!! You sound exhausted, but extremely happy, and I wish you all success in the next two weeks of planting ;) Your new puppy is adorable, and maybe good timing to keep the kids amused on the sidelines! Wendy x

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  9. Wow, what an exciting time Mel!! Congratulations on your dream finally coming to fruition. Rocket is too cute, hope he's behaving! Good luck with all the planting! x Dre

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  10. Hey Mel,
    Good grief this is so exciting. I've looked and read with huge admiration for you and your family, as you make your dreams a reality. I shall have to live vicariously through you a while longer. Our plans are on hold for the foreseeable future - contracts engineers and Iraq make for dodgy incomes ;)
    And we will all still be here when you have time to post. Meanwhile the best of British to you all!!
    Leanne xx

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  11. Such excitement! It must be fantastic to see your dream start to come true. It sounds like a lot of hard work, but it also sounds like the end result is going to be breathtaking. My suggestion for your dilemma of no time to blog would be to do picture posts. Just have a two sentence intro, then put up a string of pictures with captions. Your photos of your family and the area where you live are always so captivating, and it would have the added bonus of recording the progress of your farm development.

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  12. I've been waiting for this post! So exciting to get this far, but so much work to do - I hope the weather holds out for all your planting. Keep us posted when you find the time.

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  13. Hooley Dooley Mel, I'm gobsmacked, but utterly thrilled for you! This just looks AMAZING! I do remember you writing of these dreams (albeit pipe at the time) back before my long hiatus from blogging. And here it is, coming to fruition. You must be exhausted and I think you're a marvel to get a blog post up. I am quite excited by the sounds of all of that and the pics are glorious, it looks like you have the perfect spot to make it all happen and I can't wait to follow the lovely process...without all the hard work of course! And just look at your new baby Rocket, can totally see how he ended up snuggled into the beautiful crocheted blankie, beautiful & lucky pooch :) Take care & I look forward to the next instalment...whenever that may be xoxo

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  14. Wow, how exciting, congratulations on getting phase 1 under way. So much planting to do, but it's going to be wonderful to see it all starting to spring into life. I'm absolutely thrilled for you, you've worked so hard on your plans, it's fantastic to see it all coming together. May all of your dreams come true Mel. CJ xx

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  15. Wow! Thrilling and exciting, you've taken your brush to canvas and your dreams are materializing furrow by furrow!

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  16. Wow all of that is just amazing and a stunning location. If you don't feel like writing blog posts just keep up with "weekly photos" and no words because you'll also have something to look back on yourself. Just having a family your size makes you a very busy person so with all of this you will be running on a high. It is all so exciiting and in a few years time when it's all up and running and the plants have grown you can come back to these blog post photos and look at it in amazement. Congratulations to you both for bringing your dreams to a reality. I wish you all the success in the world. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane

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  17. Wow, what absolutely amazing views! The landscape looks so vast and wide open. I have never seen such mass plantings before - that picture of all of the bare root plants and trees just boggles my mind! What an endeavor. Good thing you have something cute and furry to break up all of the work, even though it has to be terribly exciting also!

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  18. sooooo very excited for you hun and to see your dream unfold xx

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  19. Wow what a huge and massively exciting development! In one of my favourite places in the world too. It's going to be amazingly beautiful. Congratulations!

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  20. How very very exciting but bloody hell thats a lot of plants to get in the ground!!! Don't worry about the blogging, it'll still be here when you have the time xx

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  21. Your new puppy is just adorable. I can't wait to see what your place will look like when all the hard work is done.

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  22. So much excitement Mel. It sounds wonderful. Hope everything goes according to plan for you. Bee xx

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  23. Congrats guys, so pleased to see all your hard work coming to fruition, and hopefully we'll get to see it in early 2016 as we are planning a family holiday to Tasmania. Keep the blog posts coming when you can find the time.

    Cheers, Col

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  24. Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is just brilliant. I hope that you enjoy it and that it all goes really well for you. You certainly are working very hard and have done masses in a very short period of time already. You really need to get those trees out of the bathtub though, because you will be needing that to soak in at the end of the day when you are worn out after all the planting!! I hope that it all goes wonderfully. xx

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  25. How exciting, everything, so exciting! Congratulations to you and best of luck with your new morning schedule ;) don't you just wish there were more hours in the day? xoxo

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  26. Woohoo! So exciting! It must be overwhelming, though, I'm sure. But happy-overwhelming! Thanks for showing us all the progress, I especially liked seeing all the trees stacked up ready like that, or in the bath. Rocket is very cute and I could just picture your breakfast time chaos. Good on you for aiming to become more of a morning person, I also need to get up earlier. But boy, is it hard in winter! Hope everything goes super-smoothly over the next few weeks. xx

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  27. Excitement plus Mel! Good for you (whole family) for having the vision to carry this off. .... and you will succeed admirably of course. All the best. cheers Wendy

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  28. Ha! I don't speak nicely to anyone till I have one tea under my belt and I stop slurring after two! The second often is sipped in the car on the way to school. I know how you feel about the blogging time but at least you have something very coo to blog about!

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  29. Gosh, so much hat happened and so much work to do! Good luck with it all, it's very exciting and I'm looking forward to seein.it all take shape. Love rocket too!

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  30. That's sooooooo exciting! Woo
    Hoo!! (Mrs bok)

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  31. Wandering amongst the newly planted fruit trees must feel like you're in a bit of a dream.
    Just think of these photos in the years to come when the trees are laden with fruit.. you're doing an amazing job.
    x

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  32. Oh my lord! The views are breathtaking. All that planting is incredible - just trying to imagine it in 5 years time............what an amazing project xoxo

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  33. Wow - it looks so exciting. We are in the planning stages of projects at the moment, and I imagine it must be so great to have some action happening after waiting for so long. Even if you are completely run off your feet! We are hoping to get to Tassie in a few years - we will have to stop by!

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  34. I haven't visited your blog for a while and holy crap has a lot gone on in the mean time!! I am amazed and awe-inspired by your ambitious plans. I wish you all the best with the planting and can't wait to see some gorgeous fruit pics one day!

    PS I would have fallen for the cute baby whippet eyes too xx

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  35. Oh my goodness, it really is all happening - how exciting! I just can't get over those amazing views, people are just going to adore what you're doing. Love Flynn at the tractor wheel - that grin is the best. Love the idea of 'Mel gets cheerful in the mornings' - if you can do it, you're a better woman than I! xx

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  36. Mel, I haven't read a blog post in over a week hence my late comment! So exciting to see all this progress at your place! The new whippet is gorgeous, your gang all look taller and life is just to busy isn't it? mel x

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  37. Wow - big changes, but all very exciting, and those views! Better not let my daughter see Rocket - he is adorable!
    Caz xx

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  38. Dear Mel, So sorry to hear about the loss of your dog too, they will always be there in our hearts and memories.
    You have been so busy with so much planting! I hope you have a very good first growing season. It must be wonderful to see the next stage of your plans being realised despite so much work!
    Rocket looks so cute too give Rocket an extra hug from me. Sarah x

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  39. How can I have missed this momentous post?! I am stunned by the sheer scale of the work on your farm, I am amazed that you found time to write this post. You are Superwoman, you really are. Rocket looks very cute, I would love a puppy, too. Cx
    P.S. Happy belated Birthday to Eleanor. I read over on Fiona's blog that it was her big day last week.

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  40. Oh my word, I don't read blogs for a couple of weeks and look at what I miss!? Seriously, this is HUGE! Huge as in on a big scale, and huge for you and your family. I am so excited for you, it's finally happening. xx

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  41. Hi Mel, looks like I'm late to this party, having only just discovered your blog. All those bare root stocks took me back to being age 11 when we upped sticks to the country and my dad started a fruit farm. 1500 trees he planted by hand: Victoria plums and 5 varieties of apples. I also remember picking courgettes by moonlight to make sure they were regulation size and not turned into marrows overnight! I wish you all the best with this project!

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