I can’t believe that I haven’t written since Christmas. Although things have moved on around the farm a little, the harsh, dry summer nearly sapped all my enthusiasm. The cost of feeding our cows over the summer stung our average finances and you really start to wonder what it’s all about. I’ve also not been myself at all because for the last three months I’ve been preoccupied with the scary wait of getting through the early stages of my first pregnancy. Having passed that milestone safely, with lots of sleeping and eating I can finally feel my passion, enthusiasm and imagination for the property coming back with the rains and green grass. I’m not sure where I’ve been, but I’m glad to be back.
One important job over the forthcoming weeks are to revamp the vegetable patch for winter. I really haven’t been near it for a few weeks except to pick a few pumpkins and I’m a little scared of the neglect. I have been just too tired to nurture anything else but myself these last few months. I wake up, go to work, come home from work, eat and sleep and repeat the process. On weekends I just eat and sleep. 🙂 I think I’m getting to the better part now although my body is still finding ways to stop me from manual labour. I’ll fight it though – I want big cauliflowers and cabbages on my plate from the garden.
Richard helped a friend dismantle a tiny metal framed shadehouse in his backgarden, and had the excellent vision of extending the frame with some metal from some aviaries dismantled at my parents place. The pieces slot together like a jigsaw puzzle destined to be built. We now have the framework of roughly a six metre by two and half metre greenhouse in our barn, waiting to be fixed and then moved into place. All we need to do is find a suitable fabric to cover it and then we are another step closer to self-sufficiency for vegetables out of season. With a baby on the way the ability to support yourself with home grown organic vegetables becomes even more attractive, there is an increased motivation.
Yesterday, we bought and planted Kalamata olive tree for the orchard, and plan to establish the orchard over the next few months. I’m quite interested in using heirloom varieties from Diggers, but we’ll see how we go.
We also have a new Sussex hen called Rose and a guest chicken called Bess who is having a return stay at the chicken b & b. Bess is an Isa Brown like our others. We also have five baby chicks, all extremely cute. I missed out on their growing up this time as while I crashed and burned and Richard took on the role of chicken Grandpa. This property is a two person job *at least* so I need to get with it again.
We sold our last four Hereford cows a few weeks ago. The cost of feeding them was so difficult over the summer and we’ve now had to sell them just to give the land a chance to rest. We are thinking that our next season may be the opportunity to try a small breed, like Dexters, but this time with the intention of growing our our meat. It is the only way to not lose bags and bags and bags of money – something we can no longer do with a extra mouth to feed. I think it’s finally time to grow up and face the truth about rearing our own meat. If we can’t handle it, we don’t deserve to be meat eaters.
Anyway, enough dark tales, now the Autumn is here I can literally feel the life flooding back into me. It’s so strange as my time in the Northern hemisphere taught me to feel autumn as the start of the end, the step towards dormancy, but here in the South, autumn and the promise of winter feels alive.