Covid-19 – its the word on everyones lips, and consuming so much of the collective thoughts of the World.
Who would have ever imagined a few short months ago, that our lives would change so very very much.
That we would be separated from our Families, our Friends, from our jobs, and from our very day-to-day lives as we knew it!
As has everyone else, we’re regularly checking in with one another to see how each of us is travelling through this time and of course it varies from day to day – sometimes from hour to hour (!!) – but we are fortunate in that for the most part we are dealing with our own part of this world-wide crisis fairly well on the whole…
When we first became aware of the potential for this virus to change the way we were living – in the very very early stages of issues being seen overseas, we had a lot of discussions about the ‘what ifs’ and decided to up the ante a bit on how we already live our life at home; so that if the scenario that we anticipated came to fruition, we would be as prepared as we could be.
For us, that scenario meant being in lock-down on our Farm for six weeks at the very minimum, with no option to leave.
With that in mind, each time we went shopping we bought extras of things that we could store easily.
This was waaay before the panic buying on toilet paper (and eventually other groceries) came into being.
We bought top-ups of things like: dog biscuits, rice, chook food, flour, yeast, dried beans, pasta, lentils and other grains, powdered milk, sugar, coffee, oil, butter, etc.
We also got a few extra kilos of various meats.
We have our chooks which until winter comes, provide a steady stream of eggs.
Usually we give away or sell a lot of our surplus, but instead we kept the eggs and preserved what we had, incase they became hard to get.
We ramped up the amount of food that we have planted in our vegetable gardens, so that we would have more surplus than usual, and a greater range.
We made sure that all our gas bottles were full, and that we had excess clean water stored.
We discussed with our neighbour whom are both essential workers, if we could help them out by planting an extra food-source in their raised garden beds; to which they agreed – and we have done that.
And then – as Australia finally woke up to the fact that this shit was getting serious – we had the difficult discussion about walking-the-walk and not just talking-the-talk – and it was time for #StayTheFuckAtHome
February 26th was the last time that the short Mumma was out and about doing the usual stuff of daily life like going to the pool, grocery shopping, having coffee with friends, and going to Bunnings.
From that time on – all out-of-house requirements have fallen solely on the tall Mumma, whilst getting on with the in-house and garden preparations, has been mostly the domain of the short Mumma.
The tall Mumma has continued to work throughout the weeks – however it’s been a very modified version.
Back on 3rd April the Office closed, and for around three weeks she worked from home with only the occasional in-person inspection being done.
Inspections could only be one-on-one, and of course appropriate distancing needs to be adhered to, as well as other infection control measures. (gloves, sanitizer, non-contact etc)
Also – using the wonders of modern technology has facilitated the implementation and capacity to give clients virtual tours prior to the clients deciding whether or not they wish to move ahead to an actual tour.
This week the office has reopened to Staff, but not to clients – so its back to days in the Office. #HappyDance
We think that this Covi-Chaos will change the way a lot of us do a lot of things, so learning to alter the way we conduct our work and personal lives is going to become key to navigating the “new normal” in many cases…
Now – on to more fun things – like what we’ve got done around the Farm in the last couple of months!
The old hoop-house has now been pulled down, and is slowly but surely being repurposed into a new smaller hoop-house that will house the ride-on mower and some of the garden tools.
All around the Big Veggie beds has been cleaned up, a path started, and an archway put up near the tap.
Lots of veggies have been planted and are growing well.
We did have a mega grasshopper and caterpillar invasion earlier in the year, which did quite a bit of damage to some of the plants, but we seem to have got through the thick of that now, and there are only a few stragglers left.
As with many other places, the upside of the caterpillar invasion is that this year has seen a vast increase in the number of butterflies that we have had around.
And they’re of the most vibrant colours.
Lots of Ulysses butterflies amongst them!
We spent weeks keeping an eye on and ‘helping’ to raise two Hercules moth caterpillars on our bleeding heart tree, but have only managed to find the cocoon of one of them, and think that the other might have been taken by a bird when it was in the process of building its cocoon.
Apparently they can take anywhere from months to years before they hatch back out! ?
As some of you may recall – our neighbours M&M regularly supply us with the most delicious honey – which we love to eat, but what makes it even more special – is knowing that we have been contributing to the bees industrious honey-making, by growing loads of flowers for them to dip in to.
Welllll – about a month ago we noticed that things were a bit quiet around the garden.
There seemed to be less noticeable buzzing – but it should also be noted that we were coming out of the horrendous ‘plague period’, and in truth there wasn’t a lot of flowers for them to visit other than on the comfrey….
Alas, when we finally caught up with our neighbours a few weeks back, we learnt that beetles had invaded their hive and that there was now no stable colony remaining.
He (and we!!) are hoping to get it back up and running in the future – so we have our fingers crossed.
As much as we love having the bees around (and the fresh honey!) bee-keeping is not in our foreseeable future, as we feel like we already have enough on our plates without adding another obligation about which we have very little knowledge – but we do love to have them in our orbit ?
Having topped up and put in some new garden beds, we needed to have another loads of soil delivered.
Thankfully we’ve still got quite a lot of it left and we’re in the midst of adding new beds out the front to our roundabout garden – so it too will be used up very soon no doubt!
We’ve put in new merino beds at the big veg garden, and also where we’ve decided that the orchard is being moved to – and all but one have already been planted out.
Citrus and lychees in the ones down at the orchard so far; and lots of brassicas in the big veg one.
During the wet season, we invested in one of the battery ryobi mowers, so that when it is too wet to mow in the house yard on the ride-on, we can still get it under control with the ryobi.
Those who have known us for many a year, will know that rip-cord mowers do not like either of us.
Its not the getting-them-started that is the issue – it’s the fact that they just don’t like us and refuse to run for more than a few months.
And yes – we do know that they need to be refuelled etc [!!] – so we decided that as we’ve had such a good run with all our other ryobi goods, we’d throw a mower into the mix well.
Its working out great!
And as it turns out – it is the perfect size to do in between the beds in the Big Veg garden too!
As you’ve probably seen on Fb, we’ve been raising loads of seeds, and to date have planted most of them out.
We’re thinking of raising more to sell, along with some perennial veg – but haven’t decided on that for sure just yet.
Having cleaned up around the big veg beds, the beds themselves have also had a refresh – and have been topped up with soil, had compost added, and we’ve even managed to get some mulch laid down ready for the winter as well.
With new hoops installed ready to add some netting to for the winter veg that are susceptible to bugs, the garden is looking pretty damn fiiiiine right now, and we love to spend our time down there, pottering about.
The food forest extension that we had been adding to bit by bit, is now pretty much complete.
It meanders along the edge of the water-drain, weaving a visual distraction from the fence-line.
Only one end is for the actual food – as we decided to make the rest of it purely for long-term pretty stuff’.
[not that food isn’t pretty!!]
The new planting of a half-dozen trees has been completed over on the eastern fence line, and has been given the name of ‘LilliGrove’.
We’ve both found that its much easier for us to keep track of where we are talking about if we give various areas of the Farm a name.
And last but definitely not least – last night our daughter-in-law came for dinner – whom we haven’t seen for many many months.
Sadly our son is isolated at work in Adelaide at present, so we didn’t get the joy of seeing him too… ?
On the eve of ten weeks since we first entered lockdown [and remembering that apart from a drive, the short Mumma still is!] it was a pretty major event for our little household.
There might have been a tear – maybe…
**please note that there are a lot of food photos this time around, as much of our early Covi-Chaos prep (as explained above) – was ensuring that we were as prepared as we could be.
Home grown okra
This lil fella, who ate solidly ’til he was about the size of the average hand, will turn into a Hercules moth.
Sliced banana goes into the freezer for an hour or so on trays, and then gets bagged up and put back in the freezer, ready to be used as one of the many fruits that go into our breakfast smoothies.
Another slithery nope-rope visitor who was looking for our resident green frog, who lived within the door channel.
He did find it, and did consume it, and then disappeared off into the bushes.
It was pretty gross tho, being able to hear the frog croaking from inside his belly, prior to him heading off!?
A new cluster of bananas waiting for us to decide where they are going to be planted.
They’re currently in pots in a kids clamshell pool. lol
A special little loaf for a special Wifeys dinner
Mabi checking out the flash new hoops, and the fresh mulch in the revitalised Big Veg beds.
Home-grown beans ready for canning.
Cutting up and peeling apples ready for canning
New archway, and the makings of a pathway.
You can also see the new merino that has brassicas in it.
Leftovers of the old hoop-house, with the start of the new smaller one in the background.
The old hoop-house is gone, and the new one is taking shape!
Guerilla-gardening in the neighbours garden bed!
There are two of these beds and they’re huuuuge!
Homegrown onions, regular capsicum, banana peppers and super hot bell-chillis being prepped for storage.
Seedling poking their lil heads out.
Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar about to be bottled.
We got 16 litres decanted, and have the next brew laid down already.
The other merino bed in the Big Veg garden.
Homegrown carrots that went straight into the dinner-pot.
This is an example of some of the caterpillars we’ve had.
This lot are ‘spit-fires’.
More peppers – yes, we’ve had a LOT of ’em!
Peanut butter tree freshly planted out down near Cluck Manor.
Supervisor Mabi doing quality control…
Another day, another load of caps!
Rockmelon, about to go into the freezer, prior to being bagged up once frozen.
Another smoothie addition.
We’ve also been dehydrating a pile of herbs of late.
Yep, you’re right. Freeze em and bag em!
Laying out for the placement of ‘LilliGrove’
Cos apparently baking is a “thing” for people during lockdown these days!
Ginger added to the food forest.
– our latest clump-planting project on the eastern fence-line, which will thicken up nice and quickly
the extension to the food-forest has lovely gentle curves
[food-forest at the far end]