Archive for March, 2008

February Frost

March 20, 2008

I thought I should report on the sad story of our vege gardens.  We had been building some hot house domes to put over some of the plots for when the weather got colder and we had one almost done when we were surprised by a frost at the end of February which promptly wiped out my pigeon peas, beans, tomatoes, corn, pumpkin and cucumber and upset the potatoes somewhat too.  It was very disheartening at the time.  My biggest concern was the pigeon peas which were planned to be a permanent bush in each plot giving chook fodder, but if they die in frost they wont be much good for that purpose!  I left the largest of the tomatoes on our poor dead looking plants and they have since ripened anyway which is good.

Next what should happen but the piglets decided that our gardens looked so good that it was worth getting a zap from the fence to get through to them.  They really liked the cabbage, brocolli, silverbeet and grazed the spelt a bit too.  Once they decided the fence was not a deterrent we had to find an alternative way of restraining them.  We co-opted Lydia’s half made big chook dome that she was making to house her breeding chooks and used it as a portable pig dome for a few days while we researched fences some more.  The pig dome worked so long as we moved it every day so that the little beggars were able to root up fresh ground all the time.  Just the other day we set up a separate electric fenced area and bought a much bigger fence energizer, over $1000 thank you very much, which has been successful so far.  It is 50 times more powerful than the other one – I don’t want to feel it myself!

I went and replaced the brocolli, cabbage and silverbeet seedlings only to see them completely eaten by grasshoppers in two days.  😦  Even the newly sprouted ones in my seed raising area have now been eaten.  I was so annoyed by the number of grasshoppers in the garden that I let the hens out to free range yesterday and greatly enjoyed the sight of them chasing down the hungry hoppers.  I figured it was worth the slight damage the chooks caused to the peas and parsley in the process.  My poor garden is suffering somewhat, but we figure we will learn from the process so we’ll persevere.  I think I’ll miss the balmy frost free Albany winters though, where I could grow potatoes all year around.  🙂  The grass is always greener…….

We can’t be too depressed though as we have been given so much corn, tomatoes, beans and cucumbers from a friend in Chudleigh (a town next to Mole Creek) who has a huge garden, complete with a tractor.  I think he supplies veges to half the neighbourhood.  They didn’t get the frost down there.  It has also been a bumper year for fruit in Mole Creek and we have been swamped with apples, berries, plums and nectarines.  I have had fun bottling again.  There are apples lying all over the ground under the trees alongside the roads, and the pigs are enjoying them.

Anyway, I best be off.  Josiah’s schooling awaits.

Bat

March 20, 2008

I just had to show you some photos that Caleb took last night.  He headed up to bed at “the manor” and found the resident bat was up and about.  So grabbing his new digital camera (that he was rather surprised to win after doing a survey at TAFE last year) he managed to get a couple of nice close shots of “Batty” as they affectionately call him.  They usually don’t see him much but they hear him sometimes swooping around in the dead of the night.

From the photos we have been able to identify him as a Lesser Long-eared Bat.  He is all of about 5cm long.  The boys figure that having a bat around is probably better than using fly spray so they are quite happy to have him there.