Sunday, June 26, 2011

Raised Beds, Gravel and Gumboots

Well winter has arrived, the temperatures have fallen and the fire is lit every night now. Today we even lit the little library fire in the afternoon as we were not doing very much due to the inclement weather outside. As it has a wetback it serves two purposes, the solar panels would be totally ineffective today.

The last two weeks we have built our first raised bed in the vege garden/orchard. The strawberries need planting out, they have spent two years in strawberry planters that do not produce the best fruits, the planters require so much attention as they dry out.

The vege garden needs fencing, we have bought the materials but it is a big job and we have tried to finish other jobs before starting this one. However, the strawberries don't know the fence should come first so they will just struggle on in the new bed.

We need to get metal spread around the beds, but it is the chicken and egg scenario, the metal to keep the area dry, the beds in place to determine where the metal needs to go.

We had 15 tonnes of metal delivered this week for the areas directly surrounding the house, hired a little scoop to make life easier. In our mid 50's now we don't have the same energy as we did when we were younger. No point in getting fatigued and straining something. It only took about 2 hours to complete the job and it has made such a difference with all that boggy clay covered up.
In the first two photos of this group,you can see the ply piled up outside Dave's garage, that is our fencing material for the vege garden. And just some of the firewood we have stockpiled. The house is so well insulated we rarely light the fire in the day so we should have more than one years supply.

In this photo note the two worm farms.

Along with berries in planters I also have a number of citrus trees in large pots. The picture shows my blood orange with plenty of fruit nearly ripe. I have limequats, lemons, limes and kaffir limes.

The road frontage is well planted up now, the hares had a go at some plants and took the tops off before we got the repellant sprayed on them. So we have a few to replace, fortunately we did buy a significant number so we have spares to replace the hare attacked ones. We didn't see hares for months and the minute you plant something they appear from nowhere.

Every week we get a bit more of the kitchen developed, knives on the wall now and I have seen a blackboard that I would like to get to fix to the other side of the stove on the wall.

With it being a cold sunday we lit the lounge fire/cooker about 4.30pm. I decided to cook the leg of lamb in the oven section of the fire. We have been trialling the oven, it gets very hot very quickly so it has been a bit of trial and error. A friend was here last weekend and they have had two of these Broady Gourmet fires and gave us a good rundown on how to cook successfully with it. The advice was truely handy, the roast turned out beautifully. Moist, browned and only took an hour and a half.

We cook on the top most nights and always have the kettle ticking over if the fire is lit but we have not utilised the oven to its potential. So tonights success was wonderful. The Broady apparently cooks amazing cakes, I made perfect pizzas Friday night and I have had mixed success with the bread. Had the oven too hot, now I know how to let some of the heat out to regulate the temperature. 

We had a local joiner pay us a visit on the weekend to quote for the library built in shelves and display. Settled on ply which we will oil. Boy much pricier than we had imagined, but when you need bookcases you need bookcases, and what is the point of having rooms with a purpose if they don't end up serving the purpose they were built for. You only live once.

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