Nothing like a conversation with real farmers to remind you of how unrealistic your best intentions were… Ok, on re-reading that first sentence it sounds like these farmers are being awful. They aren’t. They are wonderful. It’s just that they completely understand the monumental amount of work we’ve taken on (because they live this life and are doing these jobs every day) so they know that we’re trying to do too much in too little time. They see us disheartened and want us to understand that we’re trying to rush things and do the impossible. We need to be kind to ourselves. Take our time and enjoy the journey. The children are only young for such a short period of time.
In my mind, we’d have had our potager kitchen garden, our farm animals and be quite set up by now. I’d be spending my weekends making cakes and jam while watching our cows graze in the paddock and the ducks fly over our dam. Of course this jam would’ve been made from the over abundance of fruit growing in our orchard – because not only would our orchard be in such great health that it would be producing enough fruit for us to eat, but there’d be buckets of left over fruit for me to make jam with. Isn’t that how tree changes are supposed to go? Apparently not.
So there I was at church on Easter Sunday, feeling rather awful that we hadn’t been to church in… oh… maybe six months?? But instead of thinking we were awful, our congregation (all fifteen or so people) thought we were being too harsh on ourselves. They just seemed pleased we could make it at all! Instead of going to church, we’d spent almost every weekend trying to get our house and farm sorted. Fences. Oh my goodness. Fences! Just when you think you’re done, there are more fences that need to be put up. And we are only on 23 acres! Imagine the fencing on the 250+ acre farms that surround us! It’s the enormity of absolutely every task. When we bought the property, I’d imagined the border trees we’d plant along the road side. Beautiful, tall, deep green Leighton’s Green Conifers. I failed to imagine the several days it would take to plant those 120 trees. I also failed to imagine what it would be like to lose 60 of those trees in an unsually hot Summer… or what it’s going to be like to re-plant those 60 trees again this winter. Not to mention that those trees seemed cheap at $6 each – that is until you factor in we’re buying 120 of them. And then buying another 60 to replace the trees we lost. So that’s money we can’t spend on other things.
But it’s not all disheartening news. There are always silver linings to be found. The fencing has been done. Not all of it, but enough to get animals in the paddock. While we won’t be investing in large livestock just yet, our neighbour will bring his sheep across. So the children (and the dog no doubt) will have fun watching them just over the backyard. Added excitement will be when they lamb in three weeks!
While we haven’t let our orchard produce fruit this year, instead opting to let the trees develop more (their second year in the ground), we have had the satisfaction of seeing them develop incredibly solid looking trunks. Out of the thirty trees we planted in the orchard, we only lost one apricot and one pear. One of the figs isn’t growing as we’d hoped – but the other is incredible!
The grass we planted last year has gone great guns. Largely due to the complex watering system my husband engineered and installed. He has used a combination of sprinklers and an underground system. Actually this irrigation system would also be responsible for the orchard’s success too. On the orchard we use a combination of drip irrigation at the roots, and a sprinkler system above them.
Perhaps the biggest success to date has been the dam. With the clear skies we get the most amazing reflections in the still water. Much to the delight of the children, quite a few yabbies have taken up residence. Recently we’ve had a massive flock of wild ducks take up residence. Watching them fly over the paddock and skim across the dam is amazing. Better than tv!
Our next project, over the winter period, will be constructing a fort for the children. Cubby houses provide a safe haven for snakes – so we’re going with a fort (no walls, just a multi-levelled floor with a roof). And then hopefully, finally, I will get my potager garden and chook coop!
Our walk around the property reminded us that while it can be fun to plan for all we’d like to do… it can make it stressful when we don’t achieve our goals in our (unrealistic) intended time frame. So sometimes it’s good to just take time out and marvel at how beautiful our little slice of rural paradise is. Watch the ducks, follow the echidnas, hunt for yabbies, chase the rabbits, and watch the sun set with a beer in hand. That’s what we moved here for.