Tuesday, June 19, 2012

School Holiday Stay-cation

The School Holidays have been and gone and we are all the better for the lovely little 2 week break. 

Rather than packing up and heading off for a vacation we enjoyed a little Stay-cation here at home. And to be honest, we still feel like we are recovering from the big trip around Australia and really didn't feel the need to get away from home.

It was an opportunity to relax, spend time together and catch-up on many things that have been neglected around the Farmlet due to the busy moving-in period as well as the few shaky months which rendered my services quite useless thanks to bad dose of morning sickness. 

That didn't stop us having lots of fun though. And the highlight was a bit of backyard camping up on the hill, complete with campfire and toasted marshmallows.

The biggest issue we have faced since moving back is a lack of water on the property. Hobart is actually the second driest capital in Australia and there is something of a micro-climate going on in this particular valley of ours that I won't even attempt to explain because I don't understand. The gorgeous green countryside you see in the glossy pages of Tasmanian tourism brochures are from other parts of this Island. We live in the Coal Valley Wine Region with its mild winter temperatures and very low rainfall - perfect for wine growing but not so good for the garden. 

Luckily we have a 5 Megalitre water right attached to the property which is more than we could ever need. However, the water pump was missing upon our return and it has taken a whole 3 months for the insurance company to process the claim. The new pump was installed a couple of weeks ago but as soon as it was turned on, the entire house paddock resembled a Theme Park as the previous tenants - God Love Them -  had taken to the grass with a ride-on lawn mower which shredded holes throughout the entire irrigation system. 

So The Pianoman has spent the last couple of weekends putting in a new irrigation system and we are finally ready to rock and roll in the Garden.

We started with a bit of hard-core pruning to make way for the new vegetable patch. 

This necessitated a bit of burning off complete with "Defender of The Fire".

There were plenty of helpers on deck to stack the wood.

Blue Eyes set up his army and defended his upper bank with heavy artillery and catapults.

Miss Fancy helped prepare the Veggie beds.

Of course it is Winter and we have missed the main growing season so we have had to start from scratch and have planted Broad Beans, Snow Peas, Strawberries, Raspberries, Rhubarb, Bush Peas, Rocket and Kale. We are using our old Diggers seeds just past their used-by date so it remains to be seen what will happen with this little experiment, if anything.

Previously we had 6 raised beds based on the Gardening Australia's veggie patch but we got rid of those and are experimenting with a more organic traditional field Vegetable garden. I'm a bit worried about drainage issues but we'll just see how that goes too.

I will also be patient and wait for my pretty fence and fancy entryway to the vegetable garden. We really just had to get the veggies in the ground so there will be some food by Spring.

In other news around the Farm, the Chooks are now free-ranging and are very happy. There haven't been any sightings of the Goshawk that took out 2 of the Silkies so I guess it has moved on. They have decided to make their home a few metres up a pine tree. I do love seeing them lined up there in a nice little collegiate row but I'm not sure what will happen when the Spangled's come into lay. I'm also a little vexed at the Captain's 3am wake-up call. Why so early? 3am is just wrong isn't it? 

The rest of the Chooks do not like the Silkies and so the Silkies are now mingling with the ducks who are a bit more their style. Do you like their Blue Earlobes?

And Cecil and Rose, the Indian Runners are doing very well, adding a little comic relief to my day. If there was a competition for a synchronised sport for Poultry then they would be contenders for first place. They don't skip a beat those two! 

They are free-ranging too but rarely venture far away from their domain. Maybe it's because the Possum keeps stealing their bed!

Hope you all have a great week!

PS. To everyone who left such lovely comments on my last Post - thank you so so much!!!


  1. Oh Mel! This is such a classic post. I must show it to the pixies tomorrow - they'll want to be over at yours in a heartbeat ☺. Ooh, so much to catch up on - we always runs out of time! J x

  2. Mel, can't wait to see how the garden progresses. Don't worry about fancy fences or entrances ... that won't make the veges grow any better.
    3am - one reason I won't have a rooster!

    1. wise wise words Fiona! And yes, I think the Rooster would look good on a dinner plate -D

  3. Hi Mel
    Lovely shots of your farm.
    I love holidays at home. I love that you don't have to rush around.
    I've used Diggers seeds after their used by date and they have been fine. You could always use a few more seeds than needed so if some don't germinate you won't miss out.
    That possum is very smart, and very cheeky.
    Have a great week too. x

  4. What an idyllic life you lead, although 3am is definitely unreasonable. Roast chook sounds like it might be on the menu shortly! x

  5. We're staying home for the school holidays too, yay, no trekking to visit my husband in Brisbane as he's going to be with us in Canberra. Brrr but it's family!!
    Our ducks are Khaki Campbells & super social. Now everyone is outside during the day (8 hens, 4 Hamburg Chicks, 2 Pekin Bantan chicks) the ducks are so bold & friendly, they have everyone mingling around. A month old bantam & huge hens, so cute, they don't even come up to their feathers but they eat along side each other. The ducks are by far the most interesting & fun. They still sleep in the garage as they are featherless, but so beautiful, adore them. We bought the children all new donnas this year (um, seeing it was their 5th Canberra Winter, thought it might keep them actually warm) so we chopped up their old inexpensive Darwin donnas, which the ducklings sleep on, very cosy indeed.
    So when it's finally our school holidays, we'll join you at home thanks. We're not on a farm yet but we still play around with a camp oven, love Posie

  6. A staycation sounds like a lot of fun. 3 am is very early but in no time at all you won't hear a thing. Love the ducks they are so cute and what a cheeky possum.

  7. hello mel
    all the photos are wonderful!!!!! great blog!!
    wish you a nice rest week,
    greetings from germany,