Autumn…. Winter… Hurry the f@$k up spring…

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Cold winter mornings make for such beautiful scenery ❄

Yeah, I know, I know. We all, people, animals, plants need the quiet of the winter months to regenerate, be still, regain energy to be able to go full steam ahead during the warm months, but hey?! It can get a bit depressing… Especially when everything seems to be falling apart on you…  Big things. Septic tank spilling crap everywhere, broken stove/ oven, car, bloody driveway because of the trenches that needed building months ago…. And E.V.E.R.Y day carting in piles of wood to keep us warm ( not to mention all the other house/ farm chores). Winter has been reasonably warm, but seemed more…. miserable to me. Maybe I’m miserable?? I found myself withdrawn from the outside world, social media world recently. First, I took around 2 month break and it felt great. All the extra time I had and no need to deal with all the online drama. I’ve been back online for a little while now, but feel like disappearing again. I just don’t like all the follow/ unfollow world, all the fake likes. I have a bunch of people who I know are genuine, but then there’s the rest… Anyway, maybe it’s the blues of turning 40 or maybe I’m just tired. Sooo tired… Either way, I feel like I need some kind of a push, even better a kick to get me excited about doing all this again, because at this stage I resent it. A LOT! And I have to admit I have seriously considered giving up…

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The days are getting longer, warmer and the sun is out more. Every day I check on my orchard and all the excited, swollen buds that are almost ready to burst open. We even spotted a couple of daffodils in a warm sheltered spot, and snow drops, and dandelions started to pop up in the paddocks, and the hens are grumpy and broody again and we have duck and goose eggs again… Yes, spring is definitely round the corner… and I need it to hurry the f$@k up…

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Doing a bit of gardening as a part of homeschooling 💚

It’s hard work, no denying it. Having Leo home homeschooling him puts even more pressure on me. It’s such a huge responsibility. It is going ok, but we’re still trying to find our rhythm.  There are good and bad days… Not much gets done during the week. It’s all about Leo, the kids, trying to stay on top of things to then just colapse on the sofa exhausted at night and then cramming in all my projects on my kid free weekends. People tell me to sit down with a cuppa, relax. I CANNOT! There are so many jobs I simply HAVE TO DO just so we are warm and fed and content. And all the extra projects?? This is the life I want for me and my kids. We bake our breads, cakes etc, we cook from scratch, we ferment, we preserve, we grow, we forage… To me there’s no giving up on any of these. I don’t do it because it’s trendy. I do it because this is what I believe in and there’s no other way I’d like us to live. So, no. I can’t just sit down and relax. I just simply work out ways to manage. It might be called simple living, but it ain’t easier living. It’s hard work and there are bound to be sore mussles and blisters along the way and there are bound to be mistakes. The only problem doing it solo is that it’s that little bit harder especially when you feel like you just can’t go on anymore and you need a shoulder to lean on… But I’m ok with that. It’s all worth it. So it’s back to work. Building the dream. The good life. There’s no point, need feeling sorry for myself. And I don’t. Things don’t just happen to us and I’m learning to accept that I’ve made some bad decisions in my life, but now I’m ready to start over. I’m grateful for here and now. For my beautiful children. And although through some bad decisions and some other shit in my life I had no control over I feel broken and I could just give up, I’m still here and still care enough to live the best life and give my children the best life I can…

 

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And in the meantime, I’m going to try and control my swearing. Only few sleeps to go till spring 😉

Marta 🙏 xx

P.S.
Scroll down for more pics or visit my insta account @life.at.43degrees.south

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It had to be a garden themed one 💚🌱
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Chasing mice…
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Watching Honey 🐄

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Not giving up on the soap dream. New labels and new website 👍

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New veg patch coming along nicely 💚🌱
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At the Huon Valley Mid Winter Fest with my loves 💙💟💙
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Hello summer. Goodbye summer.

It’s been a while. Life is super busy, but I feel I owe my wonderful followers a little update on what we’ve been up to on the farm. Yep, we’re still here. Still trying to do the best we can and kicking arse daily 💪 And kicking some goals, too. It’s a very slow process as you can imagine with one pair of hands and on a budget, but… I’m not rushing. I’m getting there, slowly. Yes, I’d like to get things sooner, but it’s not going to happen now. And it’s ok. It’ll all happen when the time is right, but for now I’m enjoying the process… ( that’s till I get the shits, overwork myself and I’m over everything again 😉)

Summer definitely kept me on my toes with all it’s abundance. I remember mentioning in my last post I was starting/ was thinking on starting on the new growing area and now it’s full of life. Still a long way to go, but I’m loving it already. I decided to go for no dig/ strawbale beds as I just could not dig anymore. Well, that’s not quite true. There are simply too many benefits of “no dig” gardens to ignore, but yes, my back will thank me for it… I’m running my chook tractor first to get rid of the grass, then cardboard, straw, and whatever manure I have on hand which at this stage is mainly chook pooh. I’m hoping to have all beds laid out soon so worms can do their magic over the wet/ cold winter months and then a quick sowing of broad beans as green manure then digging it in and a couple of months later when spring comes all will be ready to plant into.

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Progress in the new patch
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Foggy morning and some new “no dig” beds in the new patch.
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Summer bounty 🙏

Life is really busy and overwhelming at times, but I’m still determined to make it work. Little steps. I’m constantly trying to work out ways to simplify life on the farm for me. I’ve organised some funds over the summer holidays and got our fences done. We have now four beautifully fenced off, electrified paddocks ready to bring some sheepies in. Our dream was always to ethically raise our own meet and now we’re another step closer to it. My fencing man will be coming back spring time to finish the job and fence off the last area. It’s a big job and I need to organise more funds. But by spring I will have my mandala garden moved, we will be removing the cattle yard and putting a dam at the same time and once all that is done will finish off the last bit of fence which will give me 5 paddock in total ( plus there’s the little block across the road with creek access). I’m very excited about the dam. We’ll be able to gravity feed the water to the gardens. I love the idea of catching/storing water and I’d still like to install some water tanks, but that will have to wait. 💲💲💲

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New fences 👌
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Goats being goats 😊

We welcomed a couple of gorgeous girls to the family. Rosy and Tilly are two beautiful young dairy goats and we are totally in love here. They are super clever, mischievous and always up to something. Just what goats should be 😊 I’m hoping to have them in kid as soon as they’re mature enough so we can enjoy some beautiful raw goats milk.

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Frank and Tilly at only 4 weeks old.

We were originally going to get Tilly and her mum, but mum got really unwell and passed on from mastitis. So, we took poor Tilly and bottle-fed her. Yes, it was another chore I didn’t really need, but it wasn’t too bad and kids loved the new experience and bonding with the girls. We also got Rosy, who was 3 months and already weaned, to keep Tilly company.

I also organised a man to come and slash some of our paddock. The grass was getting out of control and was becoming a bit of a fire and snake hazard.

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We only ended up with 99 bales ( was told originally 150-200 ) but, the good thing was it was all packed away straight away. Just me and my babes 💪

Summer holidays came and went. Kids went back to school. At this stage I have Mr.L home with me though. I have to say, that complicated things a bit and made my life even more busy, but whatever he needs. He’s my priority and I’ll do whatever it takes to make sure he gets the best start in life. We have been struggling with dropping him off at school for a while and this time he simply refused to go. So, I’m finally listening to my gut and heart and having a go at homeschooling. It’s still early days and I’m still working out the approach ( and how to work all the farm/ house chores around it 😕 ), but Leo seems very calm and happy and that’s what’s most important.

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I had a go at running a couple of soap making workshops ( just because life wasn’t busy enough as is 😉 ) and it went really well. I was amazed how quickly they sold out! I’m due to run another one, but things been so busy here with the farm and homeschooling ( spraining my footing being out of action for a couple of weeks) that I decided to leave it for a month or two. But, it’s great to know I can do that and it’s fun and the farm could turn into a regular workshop venue 😊

I’m finding ways to make things easier for me on the farm, but I’ve also met some wonderful people who I know are there for me and are happy to help, if I’m in need. Feeling very grateful. Life is crazy and busy and our wallets are not full, but I’ve got more than enough. I have three wonderful children, we are healthy and as tough and challenging as it is, we are living the dream in the most beautiful spot one could ever wish for. We seek simplicity and beauty in the little things, precious moments. Our hearts are full. My heart is full ( … and so is my camera’s SD card 😉 )

Marta 🙏 xx

P.S.

Scroll down for few extra shots or visit our Instagram feed for even more! 😊

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As featured in the May/ June issue of the Organic Gardener Magazine! 🙏

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Poly tunnel in full swing 🌱💚
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I get distracted so easily…

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The simple things. We are still baking, preserving, fermenting, cooking from scratch…

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life at 43 degrees south: September/October

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Apparently spring is on it’s way…

My goodnes, time is just flying these days. I’m so behind with writing. To be honest with you, I didn’t really feel like writing. I was worried I’d bore you to death … 😕

Not much really happening. There are good days and bad days. Weather has been absolute shit and apart from very few nice days, it’s been crap! 😕 It doesn’t help with moods and there is this “winter ” or ” hurry the f&@$ up spring” depression hanging around. So, I  decided to go away with the kids. Get away from the farm and all the shit that’s been happening. Go somewhere where nobody knew me and recharge batteries ( you can read about our trip to Bicheno here). I was hoping to get back rested, with new ideas, new energy… To be honest with you, that trip was so nice and it was the first time I went away since we got here last year that it all ended up being a bit of a shock to the system. I’ve done a lot of thinking and being away for few days made me realise how hard I’ve been working here for the last 6+ months and all this for what??? Some bulshit idea of a self sufficient, backtobasics, honest to goodness, clean, slow, homegrown, happy ever after etc etc country living??? I guess I’m still mourning the loss of our family unit. We came to do all the self sufficient living as a family and it’s not as much fun doing it on your own…  Loosing all my baby geese to a quoll, turkey to a stupid unnecessary injury and half colapsed due to winds polytunnel weren’t helping… I was ready to sell… It took me a while to get my mojo back. I just saw no point in any of this. But I think I’m ok again…

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This little gosling was a surprise hatched by my muscovy duck 💛

September, I couldn’t get anything  done in the garden. Obviously it’s warm enough for the weeds to grow, but the soil in the patch is absolutely water logged and there’s no way you can get anything done in that soil. So, I just watched the weeds overtake the patch  and get more and more anxcious, because someone would have to pull them out.

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Me in my mandala. Managed to get some work done first time in a looong time…

We had babies in September. We lost babies in October. It’s my job to make my animals safe and I’m really trying, but sometimes quolls win… And EVERY time that happens it’s heartbreaking … 💔

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More cute, fuzzy babies 💛💛💛

I’ve done some work on the cottage garden area and I’m seriously considering putting a veggie patch here as well as the flower garden and getting rid of mandala . Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the idea of the mandala garden, but first of all the area where I’ve put it seems to have worse drainage that the cottage area. It is too cold and bloody windy here in Tassie for the chook domes and it’s just too far. The new growing area will literally be just outside my kitchen door and not only takes a few seconds to pick some greens for dinner, but I can always keep an eye on the kids. Besides, to put the new veg patch closer to the house would make more sense and be closer to permaculture principles and zoning where the kitchen garden is close to the house, it’s intensively cultivated and high yealding. As far as the mandala, I’m considering changing it into an organic berry plot and I probably have enough already to get me started after propagating around 30 mixed berry bushes plus raspberry canes. The plants there will be hardier and require less maintenance than the kitchen garden. It’d grow: all currants, goosberies, jostaberries, blueberries, some strawberries, raspberries,  loganberries, boysenberries, rhubarb etc etc… We should have more than enough fruit for us, preserving for winter and sharing with friends… Well, that’s the plan… 😉

It’s not going to happen overnight and I’ll be still for a while growing in the mandala. At this stage I really feel like I’ve reached my digging quota and I really need to invest in a rotary hoe. There is still a lot of lawn area to get rid of in the new patch and unless I have a rotary hoe it’s going to be a long, painful, near suicidal mission… I am totally and utterly buggered. Every inch of my body hurts on daily basis, but  the reason I keep going is because one day there will be an abundance of organically grown fruits, vegetables and flowers and that is worth every drop of sweat and every sore muscle … 😉

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Molly in the broad bean jungle in the mandala
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I love that my kids like to hang around in the gardens with me. Here, Frank helping himself  to borage flowers 💙
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Mandala in the afternoon light 💚🌱
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The new growing are and the second, half finished herb spiral 🙂

And, last but not least I’m trying to get the soap business off the ground. So much to organise: labels, packaging, website, resellers, etc… The plan is to grow all my botanicals here on the farm, invest in a couple of dairy goats and source some beautiful Tasmanian olive oil 💚🌱

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Pumpkin Spice Tallow Soap made with out own homegrown pumpkin, Huon Valley pasture raised tallow  and warm notes of clove, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, orange and vanilla
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Honey and Milk made with Wellington Apiary beeswax, Tasmanian Leatherwood Honey and Huon Valley pasture raised full cream Jersey milk
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Dandelion and Honey made with Dandelions forged with my little man around our farm and Tasmanian Leatherwood Honey and Tasmanian beeswax

The growing part keeps me busy as it is starting EVERYTHING from scratch and then it’s the making of the soap, selling etc etc. All the thinking I usually leave till after kids are in bed, but it’s proving useless as I normally crash on the couch 5 mins after I finally get to sit down so I need to seriously get my shit together and just do it. My soaps are certainly something I’m super passionate about and I know that that’s what I want to do. Hopefully, it’ll be a bit easier time wise next year as Frank is starting kinder and that will give me bit more extra time for work.

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Frank picking dandelions for my soaps and salves with Molly 💛

And that’s about it. A quick wrap up of the last two months. Life is busy. I have my ups and downs, but less and less with each day and at the end of the day, I’m doing it all for the kids and I’m doing what I love and wouldn’t have it any other way 🙏💚🌱

Marta xx

Bicheno & East Coast

A few weeks ago after a few shitty weeks, a good chat and a cry to my friend and neighbour I decided I needed to go away. Somewhere where nobody knew me, where nothing would remind me of the farm… Kids’ dad kindly agreed to look after the farm so there was nothing stopping us. I always wanted to visit East Coast so off I went onto Airbnb and we were booked to go to Bicheno in a couple of weeks.

I was a bit anxious about the drive by myself, but it all went well. We had to stop few times because someone… 2 someones got bit sick in the car, but apart from that, trip went really well. We stopped at Tribunna to stretch our legs and to have some lunch at the Fish Van.

We were staying in a lovely bush shack just outside of Bicheno, set on 5 acres of land with glimpses of water views. Just amazing! And the value was absolutely amazing for the four of us.

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Our little Airbnb bush shack in Bicheno

The weather Gods were extremely kind and we stayed till late evening just exploring Bicheno and all the gorgeous rock formations.

After all the rock climbing we stopped at the Gulch and had the best fish & chips EVER from Tasmanian Coastal Seafoods. Great little place open every day from 11am – 7:30pm with great water views. This ( The Gulch) was also where we caught our Glass Bottom Boat the next day.

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Bicheno, East Coast, Tasmania
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Bicheno, Tasmania
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Bicheno, Tasmania
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Bicheno, Tasmania
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Bicheno, Tasmania
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The Blowhole, Bicheno, Tasmania
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Bicheno, Tasmania

We just took it easy on Saturday. Explored few more spots in Bicheno and surrounding areas. Kids absolutely loved the Glass bottom boat. We didn’t get to see that many undersea creatures due to the season, but the guide made it really interesting and also took us really close to the Fur seals lazying about on the rocks.

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Waiting to board the Glass bottom boat
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Lazy fur Seals 🙂
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Kids loved spotting all the wildlife
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Looking down from the Whalers Hill lookout
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On top of the lookout, Bicheno
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On top of the Whalers Hill Lookout, Bicheno
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Waubs Beach, Bicheno
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Waubs Beach, Bicheno
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Denison Beach, around 10 km North out of Bicheno
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Denison Beach, Bicheno
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Denison Beach, Bicheno
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Denison Beach, Bicheno
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Denison Beach, Bicheno

Sunday was going home day, but before we were truly heading home we planned to stop at Coles Bay and the Freycinet National Park. Kids were really cranky in the morning and I really wasn’t sure we’d get to see much and honestly, after I was told it was “the worst holiday ever”, I was ready to just drive back home. It’s not easy travelling with kids. They get tired, cranky. They don’t really care about sightseeing, but somehow a quick stop at the bakery and a yummy fruit danish… and a strong coffee later everyone was in better mood 😉
I’m glad we stopped at the Freycinet Park. I’m even happier that we managed to do the steep 1,5 hrs return Wineglass Bay Lookout walk. A little bit of piggy backing was involved, a lot of “Are we there yet??” and rest stops, but that climb was oh so worth it! And I think even kids were chuffed with their climbing skills 🙂

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Angry Seas, Bicheno
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At the Blowhole again 🙂
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Coles Bay Lookout, Freycinet National Park, Tasmania
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Wineglass Bay Lookout, Freycinet National Park, Tasmania
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My little champions!

Weather started getting really feral. We quickly stopped at the breathtaking Cape Tourville Lighthouse. I was still hoping to stop at Coles Bay and Friendly beaches, but as soon as we left Cape Tourville kids crashed in the car, so I just jumped out to take a few snaps of Coles Bay. And the Friendly Beaches?? Well, will have to leave it for when we come back 😉

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Cape Tourville, Tasmania
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Cape Tourville Lighthouse, Tasmania
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Coles Bay, Tasmania

Marta xx

Life @43°South: August

Dear August, I’m glad you’re over. You sucked! Totally and utterly. Period.

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“The last few months have been tough. My hands are covered in calluses and sore numb from being constantly bruised, cut, ripped with barbed wire, burnt and not to mention covered constantly in dirt and animal shit! If I said I do all this by myself, because I love what I do, I wouldn’t be quite honest with myself. It is true to a point, but I also do a lot of this stuff myself because I have no other choice really. Some days it’s just all too much and I’d be nice to have someone to share the load with, someone to say it’s all going to be ok… I guess, it’s just one of THOSE days… 🙏”

I didn’t like August at all. I think it was the worst month since the separation. After a long wet and miserable winter, you get teased with a few nice days and a promise of warmer, longer days and then the shit days are back again …  The exhaustion kicked in and doubt… A lot of doubt… Am I doing the right thing, am I doing things right, am I good enough? ? ? But the worst thing about this was I actually believed I was waste of oxygent. I cried a lot in August. Probably too much… One day after yelling at kids all day for no reason other than being extremely unhappy, overwhelmed, exhausted and not feeling loved, I decided I needed help. I saw my gp next day and after a good chat and a cry I left with a script. Something I never wanted to go with. Look, I have nothing against being medicated, but for me a firm believer of clean and natural living, leaving with that piece of paper was another blow. I AM OFFICIALLY A FAILURE… Funny thing happened,  I woke up next morning a different person. Some kind of cloud lifted and I could see sun again and didn’t feel I need medication. I don’t know, if it was just talking to someone about how I feel that helped. Having someone there to listen and not judge… or was it my period that finally arrived ( bloody hormones)…?? Not sure, but I was back to happy and strong me again. Well, for now…

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Animal and garden front was a bit of a blur. We’ve had extremely wet winter and the patch was just impossible to get into… and seeing all the weeds grow made me even more anxious. I knew, as soon things dry up a bit it will be just me and a helluva weeds to get rid of…

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Getting poly tunnel ready for summer with this girl 🙂

I did manage to find some motivation and energy to do a temporary fence around my new veg patch/ cottage garden area. My post hole digger arrived so will look into fixing it properly soon…

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Progress on the new veg patch/ cottage garden
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Mustards going crazy in my mandala patch

So, August sucked and I wanted to give up many times, but I’m still here. Have I gotten rid of the doubts?? Hell no! Will I ever? Probably not, but I’m learning how to manage better …

Marta xx

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Girls prepping the soil for me in the new patch
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I’m still taking eggs to my friend and he sells to his friends and family for me. He doesn’t expect anything in return so I made him lunch the other week: curried sweet potato and carrot soup and a fresh loaf of spelt sourdough

 

Welcome to “life @43° south”!

I’ve been thinking recently about all the changes that happened here and decided that “the crafty goat farm” doesn’t quite suit us anymore. Also, I wanted a fresh start. So here it is. A brand new blog, but still same me… and my kiddies and our honest-to-goodness life here and finding happiness in big and small things. Cherishing every moment

To all my new followers you can read about our journey so far here. Or, below are some of the blogs and our journey so far:

Marta xx

Life @ 43° South: July

 

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Mandala in a beautiful afternoon sun

Wow, we are almost through winter already! Thank goodness!! I don’t particularly find this winter cold/er than last year, but it has definitely been wetter. I’m sick and tired of soggy days, cabin fever and just all the blah feelings it creates.  It’s wet, cold and miserable out there and I’m officially over it… I just want to get out there, rip the front lawn out and start working on the mandala and cottage garden. Hurry up spring! I’ve got things to plant 😉

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Spring is almost here 💛

Kids’ dad had some annual leave so thought I’d ask him to give me a hand with the kitchen. I had a feeling it would be a shit job and I wasn’t wrong. We attacked the kitchen ceiling and circa 1960s, partially peeling off, probably full of lead paint… At first it was all fun and we were pissing ourselves just looking at each other and all the gear, but after day 4 of scrubbing, sore arms, fumes and shit all over the house I just wanted to throw up ( literally). Just wanted to cry! BUT… we did it. It’s not perfect, but it’s best we could’ve done. Now to paint the whole damn thing…

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Kitchen renos done in style 😉

Kids had two weeks school holidays in July. We didn’t really do much. Weather wasn’t the greatest to be outdoorsy and being on a budget I couldn’t really afford many days out. But that’s ok. Those 2 weeks went by really quickly and we had fun… I think 😉 . I just loved not having to rush to school in the morning and not having to worry about the lunch boxes, dirty school uniforms, muddy shoes and messy hair and lost library books… We just took it easy. We explored our little town, went platypus spotting and got to see one, went bike riding, did plenty of craft projects and to finish it off went to the movies. The movies was great, but then we went to the shopping centre and I was just lost. It was noisy, packed… I just wanted to get back to the farm… Kids are back at school now. Things with Leo settled beautifully, but that’s because people started actually listening to me! He’s able to stay calm now ( with just occasional bad day) and that means he is loving school atm and is absolutely thriving. And that, that makes my heart grow 💞

Garden wise, well, the soil is totally saturated and it’s just impossible to get anything done. My fruit trees order from Woodbridge nursery arrived. We got: Moorpark apricot, Golden Queen peach, Anzac peach, Vrajna quince and Green Gage, Coe’s Drop, Ziegler and Maribelle plums. I managed to plant 4 trees on a rare sunny day, but I have 4 more to go in, but it’s just too wet…

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A busy bee in my mandala garden 🐝 💛

I sort of started on the second/ front mandala and cottage garden. Started off by cutting down all the man ferns. They are lovely ferns, but in the right spot! They are shade loving plants, but here they were exposed to the sun all day! Really, the worst spot to plant them. So, they looked miserable, made the house look … just wrong. So, they had to go. I bought Viburnum oculus ‘Notcutts’  ( Snow ball) to plant along the north facing walls. The east facing front of the house will have Hydrangeas that I propagated last year.

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Cutting down the man ferns…
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A diy cold frame from $10 wondow from the tip and some scrap timber

Chickens keep laying really well to a point that I’ve been taking 5-6 dozen of eggs to my friend’s stall for him to sell for me and he sells out in no time.

Also, we had our first goose egg. At this stage there are about 14 and the girls keep sitting on and off. Ryan is being very protective of his girls right now and super loud… And last, but not least one of my Muscovy girls is sitting on a dozen eggs so spring comes it’s gonna get pretty busy here again 🙂

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Our first goose egg 💛
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Ryan

So, that’s a quick wrap up. Doesn’t sound like much and it might not sound very exciting to some, but I breathe and live off my garden. This is my happy place. I have still so much to do, so many plans. I’ll get there. Bit by bit. I can do this, right? 💪💪

Marta xx

 

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A quick stop for a selfie in Port Huon 💞
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Port Huon, Tasmania

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