Sunday, March 08, 2015

Extending the Kingdom

The chicken kingdom has finally been extended and bets can currently be placed as to how many minutes/hours/days it will take for the chickens to find a way out of it!  The other question is whether they will dig under or fly over the fence first.  And if they don't do either of those, whether it will be a ferret or a cat which has a snack first..... 
The fence is all a bit rough, but I am just happy that they will be able to move around a little more and eat all my weeds - saving me both weeding time and money for feed. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Holy Cow!

Today on the way home from picking up my son I thought there was a fire in the mountains... and then we looked a little closer and realised that it was actually the cedar trees letting off a bit of steam... or pollen in huge quantities.  I have been sneezing a bit lately and thought that the pollen season must be almost upon us... today's spectacle confirmed it.  The tissue companies must love this season!!!!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The chickens are back!

After far too long without chickens they are now back!  We picked up 20 80-day old chickens this morning and they are quickly settling into their new abode.  The punk rocker at the bottom has already established herself as the Queen of the brood and enjoys taking pride of place on the warm concrete steps up to the chicken house.  Hopefully they will grow fast and we will be collecting eggs for breakfast in the very near future!

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Back garden day 1


The thing I am looking forward to most about my son starting junior high school in April is not having to go and get him from school at 3:30 every day.  Because we chose to take the kids to a school that is not within walking distance of our house I have spent the last 8 years getting frustrated every afternoon when I start to do something in the garden, but realise I have to stop soon to go and get the kids from school.  Half the time I figure I only have an hour or so and therefore there is no point in actually starting.  Lately I have been trying to change that attitude though and looking at it from the point of view that I have a whole hour to spend in the garden so what can I get done?

Today I started working on the back garden area that has always been a bit of a mess.  I find this area hard as it has never really been a "garden", but is probably supposed to be a Japanese style garden as it is outside our tatami room.  Although I spent a bit more than an hour,  I ended up  pulling out all the weeds, making an edge for the area, piling up all the remaining big rocks that I couldn't smash for the front garden and then smashing up some roof tiles to make another layer of rocks in front of them.  Hopefully I will get around to getting some shitake log mulch in the next week or so for the front area and maybe plant a few grasses or something there.  Anything has to be better than weeds!

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Front garden update

As the 5 o'clock siren went off tonight the last of the rocks for the front garden were smashed and a little birdie moved in to look after the area in case some moles decide to come tunneling in.  Not perfect, but an improvement on what was there before.  

Hopefully the carpet and the rocks will keep the weeds away long enough for me to start concentrating on the next problem area on the other side of this room.  There are no more rocks left to smash so I'm thinking I may have to move on to rotting shitake logs to keep the weeds away.... but that would involve a trip to the mountains to collect them.... maybe next week... maybe not...

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

House within a house

This year the garden is lacking any winter vegetables.... because just as the autumn planting season arrived I was hospitalised and therefore didn't have a chance to plant anything.  The neighbours are very kind and often bring armloads of spring onions or Chinese cabbage, but it is always nice to be able to go into your own garden and harvest your own vegetables.  
Last year I had good success in the tunnel house from about now on, but this year our tunnel house is looking a little worse for wear - with holes in many places, and one door that has basically fallen off.  The new plastic has arrived to re-cover the entire house, but finding time to actually do it is going to be a bit of a problem.  In the meantime I have created a house within a house and have managed to get a few radish seeds to sprout.  Hopefully the spinach and lettuce seeds will also follow soon, but I'm guessing the huge temperature range that they experience each day may not make for a highly successful experiment.  Roll on spring...

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Lack of planning

I'm back... actually I've been back home for well over a month now, but I am finally back in this blog spot.  The hospital experience is hopefully all behind me and although I am still struggling a bit with the medication I have to take I am slowly getting back to "normal" life.  I have bi-weekly visits to the hospital where they drain a bit more blood and check that all is okay before deciding whether to reduce my medication a little more or not.  I'm hoping that eventually I will be down to zero, but only time will tell.

One thing that was reinforced for me during my hospital stay was that planning too carefully only leaves you disappointed.....  In 2013 I made big plans to start my cookie/jam business and my mother-in-law died turning everything upside down.  In 2014 I made big plans to start my cafe-style English conversation classes and I got sick and ended up in the hospital for close to 2 months with some still unknown auto-immune disease.  So my big plan for 2015 is to not make any plans!  The only plan I have is to do zero teaching until at least April... and probably not again after that too.  I plan to take each day as it comes and hopefully the direction I really want to head in will become clear.  

This afternoon I decided to spend some time in the garden following my "no plan" idealism.  Unfortunately my muscles may not thank me tomorrow for the direction my no planning took!  First I decided to trim the trees in front of our house as I was sick of them hitting our bedroom window in the middle of the night and waking me up thinking a mass murderer was trying to break into our house.  I forgot to take a before photo, but I gave them a huge haircut, which of course then made the weeds under them a little more noticeable.. which meant I felt the need to remove the weeds.  

And then when I went to throw the weeds in the weed pile I had to walk past the big pile of rubble that we had removed from our old bbq spot and saw the old carpet that was sitting on top of it and thought that perhaps I could kill two birds with one stone by using the carpet to keep the weeds away and piling rubble on top of the carpet to make it look pretty.  And of course cleaning up the big pile of rubble at the same time.  

The main problem with this is that the rubble needs to be smashed into small pieces before it can be put under the trees... and smashing rubble with a hammer takes a long time... and a lot of energy....  Fortunately Emily came to help for an hour and between the two of us we may have completed about a fifth of the area under the trees.  I'm hoping a few more family members have no plans tomorrow and we can make some more progress - otherwise I guess I may need to plan to have a lot of hot baths ready to soak my aching muscles over the next few weeks!

If anyone has any ideas about hiding the septic tank covers please let me know... unfortunately they still need to be accessible as the poo truck always comes unannounced!

Rubble pile