Sunday morning, and the alarm is demanding to be attended to. The time is 7.40am and I'm never at my finest in the mornings. One of my favourite authors, Jack Vance, wrote a scene in a pulp fiction book from 1973, which had three characters interacting in the early morning. Two of the characters were squabbling, whilst the third character dryly observed, that it was too early for squabbling as his mind was not yet clear. I like that sentiment and have pinched that witty line for use on many occasions.
Still, the alarm could not be blithely ignored. The editor poked me in the ribs, and informed me that it was time to get up. I sorted the alarm by using my top secret, Commodore 64 users trick (if you know what I'm talking about, you just know) of pushing any and all buttons in the hope that something happens. Fortunately the trick has mostly paid off with complicated technologies like alarms, and the machine lapsed into silence.
I have to admit that I was feeling a bit more blurry than usual on that fine sunny summers morning. The previous day, the editor and I had been mowing the farm (the editor on the mower and me on the brush cutter) in the hot summers sun. Then because we hadn't worked enough, we decided to get out the stump grinder (a truly dangerous and awesome piece of equipment) and grind up some old tree stumps in the afternoon sun. There are always tree stumps here that need grinding out because of the simple fact that the area has been logged since the 1860's and no reasonable eucalyptus stump ever wants to degrade into soil. And the loggers were clearly busy with the more profitable dropping, cutting and hauling trees business and had no time to remove the dead tree stumps.
|Approximately 80% of the farm has now been mowed|
After all that work in the hot summer sun on the previous day, by the time 9.30pm rolled around, I had just enough time to reply to comments on the blog, because the editor and I then crashed out and were ready for bed. We sure know how to party like rock stars here at Fernglade Farm!
I woke up with a mild headache which was most likely due to dehydration and heat issues, but possibly could also be remedied by a hit of coffee. The editor and I headed out to visit the local General Store and enjoyed a breakfast of large coffees and scrambled eggs on toast, all served on washable porcelain and consumed with proper knives and forks. The General Store is a delightful business and they also host the local post office. I was able to purchase the newspaper and check on my mail. In my pre-coffee state, I was thrilled to discover several large bills. For some reason, bills tend to arrive at Christmas time. How does that work: "Merry Christmas, and oh and by the way, here are some bills"?
On the way back from the General Store, we were now in a more alert caffeine fueled state and so we picked up some more fuel at the local petrol station. As well as the little dirt mouse Suzuki, we also filled up a jerrycan of fuel which we use to provide energy for the chainsaw, mower and stump grinder. It was fortunate that I did get up early because about half an hour after I left the petrol station, an unfortunate push bike rider was killed in an apparent encounter with a motor vehicle just near to that petrol station.
When we did get back to the farm, the unfed canines were clamouring for their breakfast meals. The dogs were lucky that I had now enjoyed a (large) coffee, as I was able to easily deal with their breakfast issues with aplomb!
After the dogs were fed, the editor and I decided to enjoy a stroll through the farm to observe what work we had completed the previous day. We also patted each other on the back and remarked upon a job well done. Part of the walk was along the road, and so (spare a thought for the hard done by and usually well behaved) Scritchy the boss dog, who was taken on a lead.
A neighbour also just happened to be passing by promenading along the road with his dog, and as such things go in the country, we stopped to have a chat (and the dogs to have a sniff). The neighbour expressed interest in the most recent project (the strawberry terrace) which is visible from the road, and so we all enjoyed a minor tour and enjoyed a general neighbourly yik-yak.
The canines aren't the only animals demanding to be fed on the farm. The chickens had to be fed their greens and grains, the worms were also fed any kitchen scraps that the dogs and chickens would not eat. Whilst I was on my rounds attending to the various animals living here, all of the garden beds had to be watered. It is summer after all, and minor watering does tend to make plants thrive!
Back into the kitchen and two loaves of bread had to be made. After many years of buying supplies direct from the grumpy-bakery-products-ladies, who suddenly closed up shop one day a few years back, I now have a really excellent supplier of bakery products. They send me whatever I need in the mail. Spare a thought for the poor folks at the Post Office who have to deal with the large boxes of flour and other bakery goodies that I regularly order! Whilst my bakery hat was on, I also baked in the electric (and solar powered) oven, a batch of home made dog biscuits for the dogs future dinners. The dog biscuits are very good, and occasionally I enjoy a few of them myself as a snack.
Scrambled eggs on toast and a large coffee is not enough to feed me for breakfast, so I stopped working at that point and enjoyed a small mug of home made muesli mixed with home made yoghurt (it is good). The yoghurt is a Bavarian and Greek yoghurt mix. I also read and posted any comments that had been placed on this blog.
Dog biscuits do not make themselves, and neither does the very tasty dog breakfast mix. I spent about forty five minutes making up this coming weeks batch of dog food. I keep both of those items in the refrigerator, and every couple of days, I bake another batch of dog biscuits. The fluffy collective have told me in no uncertain terms that they will only consume freshly baked dog biscuits. Who am I to argue with those canines?
|Freshly baked loaves, dog breakfast food, dog biscuit mix, and lemon booze all await!|
|Picking lemons for lemon wine (and freezing for future cooking projects)|
|The manual fruit press turns lemons into lemon juice|
We grow a few different varieties of lemon trees here and the difference in the amount of juice recovered from the same volume of different species was quite interesting:
|The juice from an equivalent volume of lemons. Left Eureka Lemons; and Right Meyer Lemons|
Lunch was then enjoyed. Fortunately, I had already baked a loaf of fresh bread, and so we enjoyed the loaf with a soup of curried pumpkin mixed with fresh garden greens. It was very tasty, and the fresh bread was enjoyed slathered with home made jams and peanut butter. Yum! I felt sad when lunch had been fully consumed....... still, dinner is never far away!
Immediately after lunch we stewed up a small batch of pears which are to be consumed with muesli over the course of the week. Stewed pears are a very tasty fruit, and I look at the fruit trees in the orchard and think to myself, I must not count the multitude of pears before they are harvested!
Unfortunately, with the joys of lunch behind me, I had no choice but to perform about an hour and half of accounting work. Phooey!
As the editor and I had learned the previous day, it is not wise to work outside in the hot afternoon summers sun, so I spent another hour writing out Christmas cards (the Twelve Strays of Christmas cards, purchased from the Lost Dogs Home charity) to send in the post the following day. I am very old school in some respects and the last thing that I want to receive is an e-Christmas card that may possibly have been sent by a robot. You could say that this is my attempt to keep it real, one Christmas card at a time!
A few days before, I had removed a huge number of sugar beets (which contain 20% sugar) and a single lovage plant from a raised garden bed. The beets are so hardy and prolific that they do not require the extra attention that they receive in a raised garden bed. I replanted all of the beets and lovage into a new permanent and much larger garden bed.
The previous night in my heat addled state, I spotted a fox lurking near to the impenetrable chicken fortress. Alas, I was talking rubbish because the field mice recently burrowed a new tunnel under the extensive steel and concrete foundations and managed to break into the apparently rodent proof chicken enclosure. I admit defeat as the mice are clearly more resourceful and intelligent than I! Anyway, I mixed up a batch of concrete and poured it into the tunnels that the naughty rodents had created. That should stop them for a couple of weeks at least...
The editor and I then enjoyed a coffee and a couple of home made Anzac biscuits in the late afternoon sun.
And that was my day off (phew)!
Earlier in the week we managed to harvest a few strawberries.
|Earlier in the week we managed to harvest a few strawberries|
|A quantity of steel was purchased to form a roof frame over the strawberry enclosure in coming weeks|
|A very fat looking skink enjoys the hot summer afternoon sun|
|Another two weeks in the hot sun and these apricots should be ready to harvest|
|The almonds have reached full size and now, and I only have to wait until the fuzzy green skins split open|
|This quince is months away from being ready, but it is getting bigger|
|As are the apples!|
|Anzac peaches need only a few more weeks in the sun to ripen|
|This raspberry is ripe, right now!|
|We pick the various currants and other assorted berries and make mixed berry wine which is a favourite!|
Summer flower update:
|Olives are flowering and up close they smell like a combination of daphne mixed with citrus. Note the bee!|
|Bush roses are so beautiful|
|Pyrethrum is going feral as can be seen in this garden bed|
|The local shiny cassinia is in full flower|
|This is the flower from a tall fringe lily|
|The dandelions are spectacular and the bees are enjoying them this season|
|The usually unpleasant prickly tea tree produces copious flowers|