Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A new level of self-sufficency

Since arriving home we have been busy!  I had arranged the hire of a digger for the first weekend we got back.  On the Friday a severe weather warning was issued and reluctantly, I cancelled the hire.  When I woke up on the Saturday morning it was grey but not raining so I rushed over and picked up the digger.  Of course this meant that the dire weather warnings came true.  By the time we had driven it to the backyard, it was pouring with rain and blowing a gale.  But with Richard's new found digging skills and my screamed instructions on where to dig, we got it done in no time.  Well only a few hours!  This has us on target to move the soil into softly undulating hills with a path running through the middle this weekend.  Needless to say I have hit every plant sale in the Christchurch area this week and we now have what can only be described as a small nursery at the side of the house.  It will look lovely when it is all planted out, I just need the garden fairies help.

On top of this, I made the decision that we should expand our family and add chickens.  I have always wanted them and see them as my entry into small-time farming.  So on top of digging up the garden, I also got the hard working (complaining) husband to build a chicken run and coop the same weekend.  Yesterday we picked up our four new family members and bought them home.  They are settling in well and it is lovely looking out the kitchen window and seeing them pecking around their new home.  I decided on pure bred chooks as they live longer and have a great personality.  They may not give me the most eggs but that is a trade off I am willing to make to have happy chooks.  We are starting with 4 chickens and will add another one or two next year.  Their names are Ethel, Eileen, Gertie and Mrs Speckles.  They are lovely girls and are already becoming very friendly.

This morning the girls ran out to let them out of their house and check for eggs.  Two sad little faces came back with no eggs found.  I reassured them it would happen and sure enough, I have just been out and found the first egg.  Of course I left it where I found it and will let them discover it after school - very exciting!

Luckily my greenhouse did it's wonderful thing while I was away and I came home to lots of little plants.  I had planted lots of seeds before I left with no great expectations that they would survive.  I was pleasantly surprised.  This has kept me busy planting them out in the outside raised beds and getting on to the next lot of seeds to plant.  Mia's watermelons are coming on slowly as are Amy's pumpkins that she planted.  The first batch of potatoes are bursting out of the greenhouse as are the tomatoes.  I have planted a whole bed of strawberry plants this year so we will have a bumper crop, last year not many made it to the kitchen, just the snacking tummies while playing.

We had an incredible trip that we will all remember fondly but it was wonderful to get home and back to my garden.  The kids have happily started back at school and are getting ready for the annual Pets Day.  As we are a country school, it is like a mini Easter show complete with prizes for the biggest vegetable, baking competitions and of course pets.  Just not your average pets - cows, pigs, chickens and horses.  I do love living in the country!

And the perfect end to our holiday was Richard's Gold Pin at the New Zealand Best Design Awards.  We were and are so proud of him and knew the design had the quality to take away the highest award of the night.  On the first day of school the girls took their Mickey ears to show and tell as well as the front page of the paper featuring Richard's chair - they were so proud!

Life is rather busy at the moment but so rewarding, I wouldn't have it any other way!  Thanks for catching up on our news.

Richard having fun on the digger

Getting the hang of the all the levers

Chook house al la Simpson

Mrs Speckles, Ethel and Gertie

All the ladies 

My chicken, Gertie

Happy little farmers!

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