Pretty pretty spring

Not a hugely productive few months around here as far as the garden goes. We had some hold ups with building the raised beds and a holiday to Australia and the village open day all took their toll.

We did, however, with the help of the gorgeous Nicole get one of the flower beds dug and planted out as well as a bunch of herbal tea plants planted in under the liquid amber.

This last weekend Craig has managed to get one of the new veg beds half full of dirt and compost. We still have a few more drainage holes to drill out (which only needs to be done for the first two beds and can be avoided for those not yet built with this new plan).

Pictures:

Flower bed placement:
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Dug and and filling back in:
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Plant shopping :)
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Snug in their new bed of paper and mulch
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Final prettyness. The white stick near the end of the bed is a marker for a larger flowering shrub yet to be decided on.
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And the littlies get out and enjoy the sunshine too:
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I think this is the first time Pip has actually gotten out his cricket set since last Christmas.
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Photos from the Atamai Open Day can be found here:

Open Day (Photographer: Hemon Dey)

A few highlights of just our family:

Me enjoying the start of the afternoon as folks began arriving

Craig showed off some of his woodworking skills before leading people on a tour of our house:

Tour group #1 (of 3)

I hardly saw Pip at all on the open day, he was way too busy being a free range kid.

Freerange kid

Nicole (our stella WWOOFer)

End of a productive month

This month has just been so busy and exciting. The vegetable beds are coming along nicely as are the new trees and their gardens. I’ve put in the first lot of seeds that will then be transplanted out around the tree circles. One is a strawberry and edible flower bed and the other is a “tea” herbs bed (chamomile, peppermint, bergamot and lemon balm).

Here’s Craig’s 3am inspiration:

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It’s wonderful making this into a reality.

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Most of the work is going into the building of the 8 raised vegetable beds.

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It’s also been a huge month for visitors, I do love the kind that like to roll up their sleeves and pitch in, it would have taken at least a week or two longer to get these footings done without the help of Simon and Mikey.

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What else has happened? Oh, we’ve been spoilt by Edouard, croissants and crepes, oh my!
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The boys all went off the snow with Carla & Lucas, while I stayed home and enjoyed the sunshine and kept toasty warm :)

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I’ve learnt to prune fruit trees with the help of another villager, Sharon (learn being the operative word). Aren’t the almond flowers just lovely?

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We had to make some repairs on the new pump but that should now be a little more resilient. We accidentally left it on and it began pumping air instead of water, so it broke, all good, it’s all learning and now we shouldn’t be able to make the same mistake again.

The cows at TeMara farm have started to calve and the milking is also beginning to happen. We all went over on Monday afternoon to give Bob a hand to bring the girls down for their first turn on the milking machine.

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It was really nice to know I still have a handle on the basic ins-&-outs of milking a cow by hand and now I also know how to get them onto the milking machine.

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(and yes, I did cuddle them).

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Can’t wait to see the progress September will bring (even if I will be taking a two week break over the holidays to spend with family in Australia).

Not spring

The problem with August is that’s it’s not Spring, but it wants to be. It’s sunny most of the time and warm enough in the afternoon to sit outside and read a book, but you can still feel that nip in the air and by late afternoon you’re back inside, closing the house to the fresh air and getting the heat going again.

The problem with August feeling almost like spring, is that you want to start gardening. Now, there are a dozen things in the way of me actually doing any gardening right now even if it was full blown spring, but that aside, I want to garden. Why can’t I? Frost. Early morning frosts that lay sparkling white all over the ground. Now I’m told that frost is great for clay and clumpy soils as it helps to break it up, but it’s not so good for for seedlings or even trimming back my lavender bushes (frost can get inside the newly cut wood and split it – ouch!).

However, it is time to plant strawberries as the frost helps to harden them up (or so I’ve read).

So today, this week & the rest of August I plan:

  • Mulch circles around with new trees (with cardboard, compost, B&B and mulch/straw)
  • Begin digging the foundations for the vegetable beds (bricks due to arrive mid week)
  • Purchase strawberry plants
  • Plant strawberries around the new trees
  • Find and clean old seed raising trays and seedling boxes ready for planting
  • Figure out a house/seedling/furniture safe place to start growing seeds inside
  • Order bulk load of compost
  • Order seeds
  • Order bulk mulch & straw
  • Beginning edging the paths around the new trees with bricks
  • Learn to prune my fruit trees and know what and how to spray them with
  • Figure out how I’m going to pay for all of this…

August and the last of winter

This month, so far, has been my favorite I think (even though it’s less than a week in). It’s just been such a warm, sunny, productive, fun week.

Not only did we start planning out the design for the main part of the garden on the platform:
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BUT! We also purchased two wonderful trees that were delivered yesterday. We managed to get one of them planted today with the help of our new WWOOFer Edouard (who, by-the-way, made us croissants while we were out this morning).

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On the cuddly side of life, Bootlace is starting to show his age of late, he’s even more of a warm snuggly cat then before (if that’s possible)

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On the crafty side of life. I made Pip a Jack Frost costume (ala Rise of the Guardians):
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This was all in honour of his school friends “Frozen” themed birthday party (’cause what’s a party without getting Jack Frost and Elsa together, I mean, really).
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Even Craig got in on the action (thanks Sven)
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July Update

Another new batch of WWOOFers, this time two french girls – Maureen and Lou. They had hoped to stay for longer than a week but Lou’s plans changed and she had to get back to france to take advantage of a job offer. While they were with us I taught them to knit, and they each made a very basic scarf to take home and in return I have a lovely wedded garden bed at the bottom of the drive (makes me smile whenever I pass it now).
Untitled We also baby sat Tinkerbell (the dog) for a few days, which was fun.
It’s been such a lovely warm winter this year with many cups of tea in the sunshine.
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June

Letti and Fiona have left us :(

But Paul and Patrick (German guys) have joined the family.
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With their help, we now have a temporary front step that doesn’t topple over and a ramp for my new scooter and shelves for storage inside the new shed. They also tidied up the sight, storing away builder leftovers of wood and bits of plastic etc. Things are looking much more comfortable and organised around here these days.

May Update

Pip turned 5 this month and has officially started school! He’s super excited about it, I can’t believe he’s already learning to read on his first day!

 Untitled The two of us decorated his cake together – as per the order 9 months or so ago, it was a star cake with dots on the points.

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UntitledHis other birthday requests were that people dressed as Super Heros and any gifts needed to be homemade – he ended up with some amazing things, like this rocket ship from Austen (seen riding in it with Emma).

UntitledNight out for the boys.

UntitledBeginning plans for the vegetable gardens.

On the other organised and productive side, we sorted out the little shed, installed some shelves and hanging spots for tools etc, much better space now.
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April Update

We officially moved in this month! WooHoo! 5 years in the planning and we are finally in our new house! And we had our first visitors even. Fiona & Mark come over from the UK (which is what actually prompted the move, we’d originally planned to be well and truly settled into the house by April, delays delays delaus). So, although the builders are still working around us while they finish a few things, we have made our selves at home. Untitled Pip in his new room Untitled Craig’s new office space UntitledOur first family dinner Untitled I has rainbows :) Untitled View from the village working bee Untitled Although not house related, Pip is back at horse riding lessons and going strong. Untitled Our first official WWOOFers!

With Craig’s help and guidance, Letti and Fiona built us a wood storage shed, just in time for winter:
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March Update

August 6th 2014: I’m going to be cheeky and add some backdated posts. There has been a lot going on around her, now I have the time to I think back on the last few months.

March highlights

We had a painting party! A bunch of our friends and colleagues (and some of their friends and housemates) all gathered over one weekend to help us paint our house. A bucket load of them we shipped in from the windy city (Wellington, for those not in the know).

Not only did we get the undercoat and two top coats on all the walls and ceilings of the entire house, but we had the most amazing painting effort go into Pip’s room.

These are some of our wonderful painting peeps:

Painting Partners

Pip’s room:

Mitzi & Silvia

Mitzi & Silvia

Pip inspects the results

Pip inspects the results

Ants, Silvia and Nanz hard at work (poor Silva, got so excited that she was invited on the last day to paint the fun room after painting white white and more white, so what did they give her to paint... white clouds!)

Ants, Silvia and Nanz hard at work (poor Silva, got so excited that she was invited on the last day to paint the fun room after painting white white and more white, so what did they give her to paint… white clouds!)

Amish Farm Leads The Way to Local Food Security in Indiana

Tracey Ambrose:

Now this is pretty cool

Originally posted on Future Growing LLC:

Greenhouse at Sunrise Hydroponics

Greenhouse at Sunrise Hydroponics. (Click photo to enlarge)

When you hear about a farm that supplies all-natural, sustainable produce, using 90% less water and 90% less land, one that utilizes the most advanced vertical aeroponic technology on earth, you surely would not guess it would be an Amish farm. Yet in Topeka, Indiana, you cannot get produce that is more local, fresh, healthy, and sustainable — even in the middle of an Indiana blizzard — like you can get at Sunrise Hydroponics, an Amish farm.

Sunrise Hydroponics is owned and operated by husband-and-wife team Marlin and Loretta Miller on their rural farm in Topeka. I have had the privilege of working with the Amish community for more than half a decade, and have come to learn that, while their lives seem simple to many outsiders, their homes, farms, and businesses are highly innovative. The Amish utilize cutting-edge and creative forms of technology to…

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