1 May 2017 7:09pm – First Weekend at The Farm

This weekend, The Little Blue Van found its new home up at The Farm and we got to see our first sunset, first sunrise, start to organise the shed and mark out where the citrus will be planted in a few weeks time – isn’t the dawn sunlight through the mist over the orchard pretty! :)

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25 April 2017 4:27pm – A Beautiful Day

A beautiful day up at The Farm today :)

 

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24 April 2017 6:44am – Poor Langs!

Poor little Langs (bantam Langshans). I’m pretty sure there are more feathers in the carry box (we’ve been bringing them in at night since it’s cooled off) than there are on the chickens.

 

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24 April 2017 6:22am – Services Page Updated

The Services page has been updated.

Have you lost an orchard? :P Do you have any lantana you want removed? Give us a call/msg/email! :)

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21 April 2017 3:41pm – Shed, Tank and Drive Completed!

We have a shed, plumbed-in 24,500L tank and driveway!! Yay! :D

 

 

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16 April 2017 1:17pm – The Lost Orchard Project

As many of you may know, if you’ve been following this site for a while, I house-sit/farmlet-sit for a family friend at Bellthorpe once or twice a year so she can visit family.

Each time I’m up there, I try to help out a bit by reclaiming sections of her garden that have been lost to the bush over the years.

This time, it was the orchard’s turn.

Day O – ‘Before’ photos

  

I’ve tried to take circuit-shots from left-to-right from approximately the same location before work started each day. The third pic is a close-up of the tangle of lantana, wild raspberry and bush nettles I’d be dealing with. By ‘bush nettles’, I don’t mean the puney little ones you get in your backyard, these ones have the same stinging hairs covering both leaves and stems, but the leaves are larger (see ‘Flashback’ section below) and the stems are more like strings of a vine that can be upto 10m long … (the base of one can be seen in that last pic – its the pale Y-shape, slightly left of centre). The tree that you can see in the foreground of the second pic, is a mango. Behind it, hidden by the mess, is a mulberry with the largest leaves I’ve ever seen:

Post-Day 1

 

It may not look like much of a change, but you can now see two of the over-head pipes of the over-grown poly-pipe greenhouse (the one that I thought was the first hoop, is actually the second; the first was completely hidden by over-growth), and a little citrus has emerged out of the mess (to the right in the first pic, and left in the second). The green bucket was for nettle cuttings – these were added to the compost later. The pile next to it was lantana prunings, to be mulched, and the third pile (which is out of shot, closer to the camera) is raspberry prunings, suckers and roots.

Post-Day 2

 

  

The first two photos are taken from the original location. The last three are taken from a new location further down the slope because I was starting to move along the back fence (which was in remarkably good nick under all that mess) and the work wasn’t as visible behind the mango and mulberry further up.

The second over-head pipe is now well-clear at the fence end and I’d uncovered an old wooden garden bed (with a little foxy x whippet helping).

Post-Day 3

 

 

The third over-head pipe is now visible, and the first of a group of 3 old garden beds is revealed.

The last pic is the view from the front verandah of the house, to give an idea of the overall clearance job: the corner of the orchard fence is approximately in line with the right-hand end of the metal chair that’s in the foreground, and running straight back into the scrub. Everything to the left of that fence, is to be cleared (other than the fruit trees obviously).

Post-Day 4

  

 

The fourth and fifth (and final) over-head pipes are now visible, the back fence is cleared and the three garden beds are revealed, stepping down the slope. Now to move slowly back up the slope through the thickest bit…

Post-Day 5

  

  

Slowly revealing the other ends of the over-head pipes. You can see the large leaves of the mulberry tree below the mango tree in the second pic – the base of the tree is still hidden, off in the mess.

Post-Day 6

  

  

The base of the mulberry is revealed, within inches of the star-picket holding up the second over-head pipe (which means that it will have to stay there, because trying to remove it would cause more damage to the tree (possibly even kill it) than leaving it there). You can also start to see how spindly that mulberry has grown – huge, long branches with leaves right on the ends – to try to get light under all that extra canopy.

Post-Day 7

  

  

My Mum and Dad had arrived the evening before, and together we were able to clear the remaining mess, remove the damaged pipes and rotten central posts of the old greenhouse, clear away the rotten wooden garden beds, give the fruit trees a prune and generally tidy up, thanks largely to the addition of a machete, heavy duty loppers, rakes and two extra sets of very hard-working hands (Thankyou so much! Couldn’t have done it so quickly without you!).

And would you believe that all that lantana was just ONE bush!?

Unfortunately, we couldn’t get the mulcher going, so all of the lantana and fruit tree prunings also ended up on the burn piles with the raspberry and the rotten garden bed surrounds. Nevermind, the ash will make good fertiliser :)

The last pic is the view from the Orchard gate.

Day 8 – ‘Burning Day’

A few days later, once the piles had dried out a bit, burning commenced.

Day 9 – Work Complete, ‘After’ photos

  

  

Just a bit of a difference from the Day O ‘before’ photos :)

I now dub the Lost Orchard Project complete :)

‘Flashback’

Last time I was up there I started clearing the top-end of this fenced area, to the left of the clump of bananas that you can see in the view-from-verandah pic above, down the central path and around the mango, nectarine (?) and orange to the right of the path. While I was there, I took a few photos of what I’d be dealing with ‘next time’ (ie on the trip just completed). The raspberry:

 

The nettles:

 

(My gloved hand for scale. Yes, that leaf extends from the 3rd knuckle on my ring finger to my wrist. That’s approx. 15cm)

The ‘best’ of bedfellows – wild raspberry and nettles all mixed together:

So the mystery of where I’ve been for the past two weeks is solved, and I’m all stocked up on job-satisfaction for the time being :)

Next project: starting our own orchard at The Farm in a few weeks’ time :D

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8 April 2017 12:57pm – The Price of Fast Fashion

The price of fast fashion. Do you know where your clothes and other textiles come from?

Fast fashion: Rivers turning blue and 500,000 tonnes in landfill

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8 April 2017 12:50pm – Recognising Nutrient Deficiencies in Your Plants

Do you have difficulty identifying nutrient deficiencies in your plants? This is easily one of the best articles I’ve seen in a while – I’ll definitely be book-marking this for later reference!

Plant Nutrients Explained: Everything You Ever Need To Know

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8 April 2017 10:25am – Business Cards!

Look what also arrived while I was away! Yay! :D

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8 April 2017 10:09am – Jam, Jam, and more Jam

Making a quick restock trip home to Brisbane, from my house/farmlet-sitting and Lost Gardens/orchard rediscovery project, and find the Chief Jam Maker hard at work making mulberry jam, with white peach jam and nectarine jam already finished, and nectarine chutney next in line!

And yes, I’ll be posting a photo timeline/journal of the Lost Gardens project when I get back :)

Let us know if you’d like any jam! :D

Edit: Oh, the mulberries are from our tree, pesticide-free and grown in our chook run. The peaches and nectarines are ‘seconds’ from our local outlet.

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