Saturday, 8 March 2008

House and Garden

I admit to being slack about updating the blog of late, but it doesn't extend to the rest of my life, which is almost at stage pop! I think there must be some kind of psychological disorder around trying to stuff too much into one life. I've got to the stage recently, that reading fiction, (which I usually love) has become too frivulous an activity and now I read only non-fiction, and not half enough of that as I'd like. Reading Peter Singer's The Ethics of What We Eat, in very short installments just before I fall asleep. Hopefully it will promote my vegan tendancies, as I was vowing six months of vegan/vegetarianism on January the 1st (Trev's birthday), but as his father died and there was the resultant turmoil, it was quickly put aside.

Bottled 52 jars of honey last weekend. All up we've had about 60 kilos of honey so far this year. Which isn't bad for a first years effort, and after losing half the colony when they swarmed.

The job has been made far harder by the annual influx of millions of European wasps. Though, in true permaculture spirit I have put them to work cleaning up my sticky honey barrel, and cleaning the honey off the beeswax. They're very efficient.

I made the mistake of putting two boxes of 'stickies' the frames that have had their honey spun from them. In the greenhouse, thinking it was a good weather protected area to allow bees,bumblebees and wasps to clean them up for me, and filled the greenhouse with them, half of which then had difficulty locating the exit. Eventually all was resolved.

Trev and I enjoyed watching a few wasps try and enter the hive recently, only to see them unceremoniously tossed out on their heads again by the guard bees. Great bouncers they are.

The cover article of the latest ABC Organic Gardener Magazine is on the basics of backyard beekeeping. Written from the perspective of a novice beekeeper (me) a few more years yet before I profess to know much of the intricacies. But I have learnt how not to get stung too often. No new stings in the last few months or so. Three layers of protective clothing gets very hot, but better than being stung. ABC Organic Gardener

Spent half last weekend in the garden digging trenches. The BOM have given Tassie a prediction of 10 for rainfall in April, 10 being the highest possible indicator of rainfall. So I've dug new beds with trenches for drainage, and filled these with sawdust from the mill. Planted out chinese celery, Carentian Giant leeks, savoy cabbage, paleface cauliflower, romanesco brocoli, a mix of heirloom lettuces, including drunken woman, Hollow crown parsnip, chantenay carrots, all season carrots,hunter river brown onions, white onions, beetroot, Rainbow chard, english spinach, parsley. Quite a lot of it, has been transplanted wildlings, as I enjoy letting things go to seed and then having a swing around in circles and scatter the seeds garden frenzy, hence interesting things grow in weird places.

Photo is of Trev in his Hawaiian shirt standing at the garden gate, my newly trenched and dug garden, and of course, the house behind him. Four more beams up since then, the big, big ones. Trev sighs alot while passing conventional houses, 'Look at those beams', he says whistfully, 'they look so flimsy'. But you know he'd rather deal with them than our oversized jobs.

Homeschool is going well. Caleb is sprinting along making up for lost ground over the past two years. We've quickly realised how little has been achieved, and how much has been lost since our last homeschooling round. Especially in maths. He's even starting to enjoy art, which is a formidable task to reunite him with his artistic ability.

I borrowed a stack of art books from the library and Cal and I looked through them together, me trying to pick up on any latent interest. I pointed out a particularly well drawn giraffe and said, 'Oh, isn't that a beautiful zucchini!'
Only I hadn't heard what I'd said, I'm already turning the page and Caleb is looking at me sideways, 'Ah, mum, that's not a zucchini, it's a giraffe', whereupon he fell into hysterical (and protracted) laughter, now whenever we can't think of a word we say zucchini, though Lions are now cucumbers.

Needless to say I'm chopping up the rest of the zucchini's and feeding them to the sheep and goats, somewhere along the line I've eaten one too many


Drew said...

Since reading your book Ive followed with interest what you all have been doing. The latest organic gardener article on bees has inspired me to prepare to do the same in Spring. Best wishes on your house building, all the best.

Linda said...

It's a hobby with a pot of gold at the end of it! Read what you can, and go to as many hands on things you can. It's involved, but nothing like as difficult as the books make it look!



Benny said...

Hi, I found your blog thanks to the A Current Affair segment on it.

It's exciting to read your blog and view your pics, I already had pretty much the same ideas as you - to live as self sufficiently as possible.

I look forwrd to buying your book and learning more of how your family has gotten to where it is today.

I have a question: How do you educate your children? Do you home school? Have you considered it?

Benny said...

EDIT: I just read the post below this one and saw that you do homeschool, thanks!