After almost a year without posting from home, (busy busy), I have finally run out of excuses. Being confined to the premises from early spring with little else to do would seem ideal under any other circumstances, but we’re making the most of it regardless.
We were lucky that our first full week of isolation coincided with a spell of gorgeous weather. With no excuse not to be out in the garden, the weeding got off to a strong start. In my head we were poised to start our own veg box scheme and open the place to the public.
Things have slowed down since then, with reality and colder weather biting at once. However, seeds have been planted: cabbage and parsnips outside, and peas, broccoli, tomatoes, courgette and cucumber inside.
We’ve even transformed a rampant patch of weeds into a comfortable bed for a mix of potatoes. After last year’s input of cow manure the earth is teeming with worms and a lovely crumbly tilth, unlike the solid, sticky clay found elsewhere in the garden.
After a worrying week of no eggs, the hens’ days looked to be numbered. They are pretty old birds, so perhaps they’d reached henopause? Luckily all this extra time on our hands means decluttering is finally starting, and we discovered they had been stockpiling eggs in a shed behind the greenhouse. Plans for curry have been shelved and we’re enjoying omelettes instead.
When the sheep started tearing the bark off an apple tree, we conceded it might be time for some fresh grass, so they have moved to new pasture while their field recovers. We’ve learned a lot about holistic and regenerative farming in Australia, and regularly moving the sheep should prevent the need for worming, too. We’re not averse to saving money on petrol or time spent mowing, so their first stop was the lawn.
In the meantime we are developing plans to turn a corner of their paddock into a food forest. This is partly inspired by our travels earlier this year. We may not have the Keralan climate required to grow vanilla and pineapples under our coconut palms but we can probably manage some raspberries and blackcurrants under the fruit trees. Watch this space!