Thursday, March 21, 2013

The boy next door

From time to time we're allowed to mind Maxx - the (canine) boy next door.  He's small, cute and well behaved (except with the chooks over the road - he thinks they are fair game).  Putting him in the orchard while we're working there gives him space to roam and still be with "his" humans.
Our boys tend to be suspicious of foreign objects in the orchard - but after spending the past two years chatting through the netting, they're quite happy to have Maxx visit.
Boys grazing together?? L-R Maxx, Engelbird, Angelo
Maxx doing a bored pose.
Angelo and Engelbird tend to do everything together, and at times appear to be joined at the hip. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Renewal


This was an avenue of tall(ish) sheoaks and blackwood - they overtopped the very high netting.  Because we live in a fire-prone region and because power companies are currently fighting litigation over fatal fires, the local power supply company decreed the trees had to be reduced in height to keep them away from the powerline.  Instead, we opted to have them removed altogether - this is the end result - rather sad.  But we will replant because that is the south side of the property which is subject to cold winds, and hopefully we'll keep better control over the new windbreak - whatever it is.  Interestingly,  the extremely tall eucalypts growing only metres away on the other side of the road weren't considered a danger!

Now that the summer fruit season is over, we have time to put into preparing the planting beds for autumn.  The corn failed miserably - first lack of water on v hot days, then tiny grey bugs (aphids?) bedded down in every nook and cranny.  Ugh.  The five or six heads we managed to harvest before the damage occurred were amazingly delicious.
To get some value out of the corn these will be kept as pea stalks - peas will shortly be planted at the base of each "trunk".

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Around the farm

Blueberry season has officially ended and the farmgate closed.  But one of us is determined to exceed last year's pick before declaring seasonal submission - and the temp each and every day for the past week has been over 30C+.  Needless to say, it's not me who's out in the heat being silly.

Apples and pears are coming up to ripening.

Plums - golden coe, prune ziegler,  prune splendour and damson are ripening and falling from the trees at a great rate.  They taste super scrumptious, so juicy and sweet.
Golden coe

Damson

I've dried some of the prunes - still delish.

The stupice tomatoes finally came good and we've picked around 20kg.  Some went to the tomato sauce maker, and some allowed us to play at being Italian yesterday - we (me and the neighbours) made passata.
Roberto squooshing tomatoes into paste
Before

After

The coolroom is still full of nectarines. Pruned the trees the other day - better late than never?  Some of the damage was quite extreme.

Corn a waste of space - not enough water and way too much heat.  Aubergines coming along nicely, only I picked some before they were fully ripe.  Gardening sins are getting a great workout this year!

And the beautiful boys are still cheeping and squawking.  Guinea fowl are highly recommended for pest controlling, live nature "documentary" watching and all round amusement.  They are becoming slightly - ever so slightly - closer; maybe in about 10 years we'll be able to sit together and chat about the day's doings.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Wow - we're in the export market!

Three kilos of blueberries left for Singapore yesterday.  Right at the end of the season, so there's no future in that.

Last year we (= the farm manager) picked 570kg blueberries - over half a tonne sounds so much more exciting.

So far he's up to 541kg - so of course he's aiming to beat last year's record.  Possibly not likely - first rain and then wind.  For the first time ever the b/b showed signs of splitting after the heavy rainfall.

We've kept a growing diary since first arriving at the farm. It's interesting seeing how the seasons change, production varies and our knowledge increases.