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Photos from the garden

posted on: Thursday, 15 September 2011 @ 4:50pm in

[minor pseudonymising edits during Drupal to hugo migration for all the good that will do now]

A friend introduced the kids to the My Little Pony remake some time ago and with the starting of this blog post this song stuck in my brain (had no help whatsoever from the kids watching it a few times ;).

So I’m a bit late for “tomorrow spring is here”, we’re about halfway through the first month of spring as humans like to count it. I think spring came a bit earlier than September. As far as I’m concerned it’s spring when the weather and the flowers say it’s spring.

Speaking of flowers, our plum tree is looking rather pretty.

Plum flower

Flowers on the plum tree

With the increasing amount of flowers, we’ve stopped wondering how our bees were doing. The warmer weather didn’t bring them out and we were worried they hadn’t stockpiled enough food over the winter and the lot of them might have died. I saw a couple early last month flying in and out, and then they increased to five, six including one that appeared to be standing guard at the door. Now there’s quite a few of them around the place, not nearly as much as before they went into hibernation, but apparently the colony size reduces in number over the winter anyway.

bee on a broccoli flower

Bee on a broccoli flower

bee in jasmin flowers

Bee in the jasmine flowers

The cauliflower and broccoli in our back vege patch has flowered. We’re going to let it go to seed. It was very useful finding out that broccoli grows its head again after it’s been cut off.

flowering food garden

Back vege patch

I think there’s tomatoes in there, possibly capsicum, pumpkin, cabbage and a couple of onions that got thrown in there because they sprouted. Not sure what else is in there. The tyres at the back (there are two of them, the other one is off-frame) have potatoes in them (assuming the chickens haven’t eaten them).

The patch down the side has more rocket than we know what to do with. We’re going to leave a patch of rocket to go to seed and clear the rest out and plant something else there. We have a very happy strawberry plant and an onion somewhere in there too. Apparently we’re going to harvest the sunflower seeds.

flowering food garden

Mulberry tree, side vege patch, apple tree, compost bin, nectarine tree, rosemary

We have fruit trees sprinkled around the front yard mostly up near the fence as the two huge trees keep most of the front yard in perpetual shade. There’s light enough for vegetables though, so we’ve been planning for a while to have a raised bed or three out there once we had the money. Now that I’m working part time, saving is faster. We grabbed a tonne (okay…21…but together they probably did weigh a tonne) of railway sleepers from Mountain Movers and made one with two compartments.

railway sleeper raised garden bed

Toddler playing on the new raised bed

Of course by “we” I mean “JJ”, all I did was pay for the things. JJ lugged them in from the verge and piled them up in that shape.

Each sleeper is a bit over 2m long so makes for a decent sized vege patch.

JJ is going to knock in some star pickets to keep the outside ones in place. The divider will be fine once there’s stuff in the compartments. We may have to string some chicken wire to keep the chickens out of it at least in the seedling stage. Might be able to let it go a bit once there’s bigger plants around to hide smaller ones.

The chickens. The chickens are brooding.

Broody Pekin bantams

Tempest (Pekin bantam hen) on the left, Powderpuff (Pekin bantam x Leghorn pullet) on the right

Well Powderpuff, the white one, definitely is. Her eggs should hatch on Monday or a few days later. I’m not sure if Tempest is brooding or whether she just happened to be sitting there laying an egg, and whether she stole Billie’s nest. All I know is, Billie is off the eggs she was brooding and Tempest is sitting on her nest.

Powderpuff’s mother Chess was our first hen to go broody, and Powderpuff is the sole survivor of her clutch and the first generation of Wannabe hatched chicks. Chess made an awesome mother, so hoping to propogate those genes. Also hoping for a slightly lower mortality rate this time round, especially if Powderpuff has any eggs in either clutch that were fertile.

Guessing the parentage of the chicks is always a fun game. We’re predicting mostly if not entirely Scraggly chicks. Rhaegar has been jumping everything that moves like a chicken so I may end up with some keepers.

Black naked neck cross rooster, brown/red Japanese bantam cross cockerel, blue Pekin bantam hen

Scraggly (naked neck cross rooster), Rhaegar (Japanese bantam cross cockerel), Nimbus (Pekin bantam hen)

We went and got this chicken coop to use as a brooding box and chick raiser, but of course the chickens prefer brooding in the prime real estate of the nesting box inside the main coop. The intended brooder now gets used as laying space. Recently, our drier carked it. For the amount needed to repair it, we could put an extra $100 on top to get a brand new one, so we did. The dead drier had its door and power cable removed and got turned into more laying space.

Old broken drier converted to a nesting box

We find eggs in there on occasion but they’re not so sure about it yet.

Getting more into the “naturalist” side of things, I’m vaguely contemplating hitting up Murdoch again to finish (restart more like, seeing as it’s been ages) the Biological Science degree I started. What initially started out being wondering if I could get away with doing all the core units of Molecular Biology (has heavy genetics which is what I’m interested in) as “postgrad” seeing as I already have a degree (completely unrelated) ended up being me throwing together a plan for 5 years part time (max of two units per semester except for the last semester where it’s three as the first semester has one) which will end in a double major in Molecular Biology and Biological Science with a minor in Animal Biology.

I would have to do that as a full course though, and they are all “core” units to get that particular overqualification.

Whether I actually do that or not is going to depend entirely on how business is going closer to the proposed start date (mid next year at the absolute earliest, which is about when the huge project I’m working on at the moment is supposed to wrap up), and how life is going as well. As much as this background stuff will really help with AR, I’m not spending nearly enough time working on AR as is, nor am I doing a bunch of other stuff I really want to do. I think I’m going to have to do another round of working out what I really really want and where it’s all going to fit in.