As I sit here, pondering what to include in the content of this post, I am sorting calendula seeds from the chaff (the rest of the flower head that isn't seed). Once these are sorted I'll replant a new batch of calendula, so that I can continue to grow myself a nearly year round stock of calendula petals to dry for my hand made soaps. I've already done this process with broad beans and wheat grains, and have started sorting the chive and cat mint seed as well. It's that time of the year here you see; all of these seeds will be going towards next years garden.
Now, before I get too belated with it: Happy New Year, everyone. I know it's way late, but I've been busy and since it's still January, I think it still counts!
It's already been a tough year for some of our favorite actors and band members, but how about that weather, eh? Unseasonably warm winters in the Northern Hemisphere, except in the places where winter has finally decided that it's going to be winter all at once in the same weekend. Locally, Tasmania is seeing an extremely dry summer, and as a result we've got 80 or so bush fires burning all over the state, many still uncontrolled, with a thick haze of smoke lying over us all. We have had so little rainfall that these fires are now threatening our precious ancient rain forests; they've even flown in inter state fire crews to help. We are in no danger, where we are but, for the first time in my 5-going-on-6 years living here, Launceston has put in place a stage 1 water restriction.
That's not very severe at all; it basically means certain watering systems water between certain times, and anyone with a hose and a trigger nozzle can water whenever they want, but it got me thinking that I was very glad I'd spent as much time building up my raised beds as I had. Also those layers of dried leaves, corn and tomato stalks, veggie scraps, wheat straw, worm castings, sheep and horse manure have been paying off. I not only have raised beds that are drought resistant, thus requiring much less watering, I have raised beds that are living ecosystems too. It's like having very large worm beds; they are alive with red wrigglers who are happily turning the plant matter and manure into healthy soil rich with nutrients.
Which is good as my actual worm bin suffered a catastrophic die off. Oops!
Ah well. Live and learn is my motto (usually), and why I started this blog. So my main concern for 2016 is to not only continue this blog (by posting at least once a month; I know, I'm such a slacker) but also by going out and trying to live and learn as much as I can this year, so that I'll actually have something to share with you here. I have lots of goals to reach, and many things to explore, including but not limited to building a cold smoker, setting up a rain catchment system, designing a grey water filtration system, and even getting my drivers license.
There will be plenty of that and more where they came from in the coming months. Right now, I've been expanding the house garden into a proper veggie patch by putting in new no dig garden beds, working on drought resistant growing methods as I mentioned above, and by expanding my container garden in order to grow bramble berries and bulb flowers. I'm seeking new, free sources of food for my chickens by collecting live snails from the gardens, by growing seed grain, as well as collecting vegetable scraps from the kitchen for their consumption. I aim to gather fruit and nuts from foraged sources to begin my second season of Chookie Block production, and am discovering which herbs I can cut and dry to help keep their coop fresh and pest free- or at the very least, pest resistant.
So with all those things in mind, I'm going to sign off, and wish everyone a great evening. I look forward to all the great things that can be accomplished. Happy living, happy learning, happy loving to you all.