Chook Garden

I have started to establish our food gardens on the farm, mostly in raised beds. But I found myself with a small stretch of soil which was right next to the new chook yard which was just begging to be planted up. I edged it with some left over bricks donated by a friend of mine for just such a purpose, piled it with pea straw and left it alone for several weeks to allow the bugs and worms to inhabit the safe haven under the mulch and begin to turn the soil.

Only recently did I plant the bed after we’d had a good couple of rainfall events – with herbs and chicken-friendly plantings that will benefit them if they peck at them through the wire – which I fully expect that they will – the plants will also attract bees and other beneficial insects to the garden.

I’ve planted two varieties of sage – green and purple, geranium – mainly because I had it, it’s hardy and it will flower and feed the bees, fennel which is great for chooks – it supports their reproductive health and lets face it – it’s all about the eggs for me! I also planted tansy which keeps blow flies at bay (they are attracted to all that chicken poo), thyme which promotes respiratory health,  acts as an antioxidant, has antibacterial properties, and helps control parasites. I also planted perlagonium because it smells really nice and will hopefully help to mask any chicken poo smells which might arise. I also inter-planted a few iris bulbs, simply because I have plenty, gifted to me from my mother-in-law and they will provide spots of colour and delight in spring.

Of course I was duly supervised by the beneficiaries of my gardening efforts – the chickens …

It always an act of hope and faith, planting a new garden, not only for the benefit of the humans that pass by and through it, but for the chickens on the other side of the wire.

Finally we can begin!

The shed I wrote about here is finally nearing completion and we are currently using it as our main accommodation while we prepare to build our house. It is a year since I blogged – I can’t believe its been that long – and a lot has happened in that year. In that time we had our house on and off the market for 15 months and finally someone came along who loved it and bought it – we hope they will be as happy there as we were. It was a great house and we loved bringing her back to life, but it was time for “Clara’s Cottage” to go to someone else who would enjoy the fruits of our labour.

“Clara’s Cottage”

We also needed to get our efforts focused on one thing – the farm and living the life we set out to create when we started on this journey back in 2009 (I think it was around then, but when you have a life changing epiphany you don’t stop to think to mark the date – or at least I didn’t).

We made the decision to move into the shed once it was nearing completion, before we had sold the house – it’s amazing how once you make a decision, things seem to fall into place. Within 3 months of that decision we’d sold our house and were living on the farm again.

It is so nice to wake up to the sound of birds not trucks, to walk to the dam not the shops, to be surrounded by scrub and wildlife instead of houses and footpaths. It is so nice to be living “off the grid” using mostly only the sun for our power needs.

Those six black panels and the sun run our fridge, washing machine, laptops, the tv (not that we make much time for watching tv these days – too much fun to be had outside), charge phones and provide light to us once the sun goes down. It is nice to know that my footprint just got smaller and recently I paid my last ever power bill for the old house. It was an amazing feeling when I rang the power company and told them we were moving out and they asked if we wanted to connect at our new residence. When I responded that we were going off-grid, the girl on the other end of the phone really didn’t have anything in her script for that one!

So I finally feel that we are now beginning to live the life that we have dreamed about, talked about and planned for, for so long. At times when our house wasn’t selling and there was not much progress on the completing the shed, I wondered if we would ever get here. But we did – my husband did an amazing job building this shed and fitting it out – I will blog more on that another day. We got here – and when people hear we are living in a shed they sort of look at us as if to say “and that makes you happy??” – darn right it does – we are on the farm, we are building our food systems, we are living among nature and we are doing it! I am getting my gardening mojo back in full swing!

We still have so much to do, but at least we can now begin!