Sunday, 3 August 2014

Making a start on our orchard.

It's a  lovely time of year here on the coast, the winter is on it's way out, although we are still getting a few windy cold nasty days, overall though  it's not too bad.
We have had regular visits from  a family of magpies , singing and chorkling loudly and beautifully  for the small  bits of minced meat that I throw out to them. they have become so cheeky they even come inside the house if I leave the back sliding door open for too long.
Someone else has just discovered what I am actually throwing to the magpies and now demands her little tidbits  as well, she doesn't chase the birds so I  alternate treats now between her and them.
As I was so happy with the final result of the last batch of laundry gel that I made up at the farm, I decided to make another batch here to use on the coast as well, and this time I also made fabric softener as well.
Hubby returned home from his normal  work away with his  bags full  of dirty work clothes, so I put it to the test.

I was quite pleased with the final results, all the  clothes were clean and smelt wonderful, much better than they usually do. Hubby was very pleased with them as well. He has often complained about the strong detergent smell his clothes  had when he had worked in them all day as he got hot, but now there is none of that.
We paid a visit to Bunnings to select some fruit trees for our soon to be new orchard up at the farm .
We had decided we had to make a start this winter as we would lose another full season if we didn't.
So, went to Bunnings, our outdoor/garden/everything store and made a selection of 8 bare rooted  fruit trees ready to plant out immediately.We had originally decided that we were only going to plant dwarf trees for ease of covering for protection from the parrots  and pruning and picking. But once there I  made the  executive decision to go with the standard  sized trees( I hope I have made the right decision.)

This is what we selected. Most were self fertile, requiring only  the one tree of that variety and some were dual grafted  for self fertilization also.
We will probably add more  to this later as well.
We already have a mature apricot,2 apples,a ruby grapefruit,a lemon, a mulberry ,2 new figs and a new grapevine,and a dwarf pomegranate.We have also purchased a standard size pomegranate since as well.
On the way to the farm  , just a short distance from out gate, we spotted this fellow crossing the road, but by the time we stopped and got out with the camera, he was already burying himself deep into the ground. We have seen a few echidnas up there  now.

We transported the fruit trees  up to the farm carefully and without injury to them  and Brian got busy with the old blue tractor and ripper and started ripping rows to break up the ground to make it easier to dig holes to plant the trees.

 After digging nice deep,wide holes and a little prep work to the soil we planted the fruit trees  the distance apart that we had decided upon.(8 ft).
That night, we did a bit more research and  most of the  information    indicated  to us that we had indeed planted our trees a little too close together.
So the next morning we did a little rearranging of  them into an alternating grid pattern, so that they now became roughly  16 ft apart. We think this will work much better.

We then erected a temporary  fence around them just to keep the sheep away from them until we can return and build a higher , heavier duty fence which will also do double duty as our winter chicken yard, after we put up a small  enclosed coop. The chickens hopefully will help with weed and pest control.
While we were there Brian also  managed to put the  door onto the large chicken run,we were given a good metal mesh  security door by some friends who were renovating their house here on the coast, and as it didn't fit any where on the house we decided it would make an excellent chicken run door.
Mr fox will really have to work hard to get in there now !
My very handy man also  unpacked and finished   off my new laundry tub that will   be up in my new laundry up the back. The plan for the next visit is too do the plumbing and electrics up there so it is up and running and we can begin to  gut the old laundry and turn it into my new walk in  canning pantry.

While we were at the farm,  it  was the 38th  anniversary  of my father's death so I rounded up a few flowers from the garden, added some wattle that I found flowering along the road to to town  and took them out to the cemetery to his grave.

On our return  from the cemetery, Brian  stopped off at our neighbours property where he had noticed a tree across the fence  along the main road, and released it off the fence with the chainsaw. He had spotted  it earlier when he went for a walk to check the neighbours property as he is away at the moment.
We only had a few short days at the farm, but accomplished quite a bit.
After returning to the coast, we were surprised to see how much our two raised beds full of potatoes had grown, they are just  growing  in leaps and bounds. I just hope that they are producing as well under the ground as they are above it.
Now that the  prospect of my new walk in pantry is starting to come to fruition, We went back to Bunnings last week and purchased 5 sets of metal shelving to line the pantry. They are 1200 mm long, 470 mm deep and 2010 mm high, each shelf has a weight capacity of 150 Kgs.
I am really looking forward to having a fully  dedicated canning pantry. I have never had a proper pantry and  already planning in my head how wonderful it will look when all the shelves are full of  my  many jars of canned goods., t will be great to also have space to keep all the empties and other canning equipment which is currently squirelled away all over the house and shed.
It may be many weeks before we get back to the farm as we have some very important things happening here over the next month or so. Brian will be turning 60 and we are expecting a  new grandchild  in the next few weeks also.
So until we meet up again,
Take care,


  1. Wow Jane, you have been busy. I can see all your fruit off your trees sitting in jars in your walk in pantry! I think you will be glad you put the trees a little further apart. It's so much easier to net. Take care:)

  2. Thanks Mel,
    I agree, I don't think we will be sorry we moved them further apart. as for netting, the plan is to put a row of very high posts in a line up the middle of the two rows of trees, run a wire along and net the whole yard as one. (That's the plan, but time will tell.)
    Take care,