Monday, 8 July 2013

Give me a home among the gumtrees

June was an incredibly busy month.  Long hours at work coupled with moving one weekend then  helping my sister move the next as well as no internet connection for well over a week has meant no access to the Blog and last ditch efforts at an internet connection at the local library and visiting our old place.  At the end of all the kerfuffle, we are happy to announce Colliwat Farm is now semi-rural on a 2.5 acre block about 30 mins south of Brisbane.  The chooks and cat survived the move intact and were surprisingly not too stressed.  The new chook pen is not all that secure; however, and I'm greeted each day at the front door by a cheeky Hopscotch looking at me endearingly.  It seems she's now taught the others her escape route too as I found three of them out and about scratching around in the garden on several occasions. Luckily there's nothing too precious in the gardens at this stage that I'm worried about losing to beak or claw.

It's been continuously raining for the last 4 or 5 days (the washing is still on the line!) which has meant not much can be done outside.  We've been disappointed to find the downpipes are not delivering the rainwater to the water tanks with only a very marginal increase in the level despite half an inch of rain in the last 24 hours.  We've devised a new route which will involve some replumbing of downpipes but will hopefully mean more rain in the tank so we don't have to rely on trickle feed.

Another water issue has been the pump in one of the grey water tanks.  It trips the power for the entire house when we attempt to switch it on.  Hubby persevered and managed to get it working intermittently and long enough to eventually drain most of the tank.  The pump it still not working properly and looks like we'll need a new one.

On the bright side the dam is full and we were able to check out the overflow pipe in action one afternoon.  It was nice to listen to the chuckle of running water under and over rocks not far from our front door.  We were excited before moving in at the prospect of swamp hens living in the dam.  After the move we've found we got much more than we were expecting: not only are there swamp hens but ducks that ski across the surface daily and a resident turtle!

I've been itching to get out in the garden and have been thinking and making plans with all the wet weather forcing restraint and a patient approach.  The garden is currently a sparse higgeldy-piggeldy mess of vaguely matching plants.  Fortunately the garden beds themselves are laid out well without much need for redesigning.  I've been mulling over which plants to keep, which to dig up and feed to the compost and pondering over the overall theme for the garden.  In the meantime we have to be content with our left produce from our old place - carrots, pumpkins and soon some peas.

The neighbours have dedicated the rear of their block (next to our house) to land for wildlife so a more native approach to the garden seems appropriate.  It's also something I've been wanting to experiment with for a while in terms of aesthetics and edibles.  Some edging for the dam is certainly in order to keep the toads out and the frogs in.

Next on the list is to choose a site for the orchard and vegie patch.  It's likely the current chicken pen will become the vegie patch once it's been turned over by their little feet; that's if we can get them to stay put!  It's a gently sloping, cleared section of soil near the dam that gets a decent amount of sunlight during the day.  The soil here is a sticky clay and is fairly water repellent.  Before I groaned, I reassured myself that at least it's something I'm familiar with and it can be worked into a beautiful loam with patience and the right materials.  Time to get out there and start the compost heap!  

I'll try to post some photos as soon as we have an internet connection again.


  1. Gosh, you have been busy! It all sounds so exciting - no wonder you can't wait outside and started on the garden. I look forward to hearing how you get along with your project - it sounds very similar to what we are trying to do here, although we live in such a different climate from you. Wishing you lots of happy times and massive success with this new project (and here's hoping you get your internet connection very soon!)

    1. Thank you! We do finally have internet again which was worth the wait considering it's much faster now. We've got our mushroom compost and I've started constructing the veggie beds and a new compost heap.

      I hope you find a way to control your nibblers. The patchwork garden would look amazing.


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