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September 30, 2016

And the Reality Is…

By Market GardenNo Comments

Most people enjoy honesty. Maybe they’re even relieved by it. So many blogs especially, will highlight the high points of someones life, achievements or whatever. But what’s going on behind the scenes?

Well, sit back, relax and have a glimpse at what this week at Birdsong Market Garden was like…

School holidays are here, we homeschool and so the children are with me all the time anyway. But it’s sweet to have a break from lessons. Contrary to what so many people seem to think about there being a lack of socialising for homeschoolers, we’re inundated with people at times. School holidays especially. Sleepovers, visits and the like…it’s all happening. So on top of our 6 little farmlings, we had my niece 2-3 days a week while my sister works in town. Then there were friends having sleepovers and friends visiting from out of town and friends coming for dinner. Friends are a blessing, don’t get me wrong, but it’s busy! About 2 days ago I just crashed. All I’d wanted these school holidays was a day off, but instead it’s been lots of extra work, and I’d broken out in a very itchy rash, had to avoid dairy…blah blah blah. Anyway, that morning I just dropped on the couch and let the family fend for themselves for a while. I was pooped!

We also had neighbours dropping in to give us surplus mulberries, and another more distant neighbour coming in search of fertile light sussex chicken eggs. Animals bring people together, I can tell you that! I was able to give her some fertile eggs, though couldn’t guarantee their light sussex purity as we have 4 very effective roosters on the farm, and only one of them is a light sussex. She noticed our lone duck (his mate was eaten by a fox ages ago) and so came back several days later to say she knew a guy who wanted to pass on his 4 ducks, who were making too much of a mess of his yard. He wanted chooks instead. So I contacted him and we did a trade. His 4 ducks (one of whom is sitting on eggs) for 4 of our hens. We’ve got loads of hens, and two of them are sitting on eggs, so there’ll be even more soon!

Rick has been building the propagation house…our seedling nursery. This will be a huge help in freeing up ground space during the seasons. Instead of a plant needing say, 12 weeks in the ground, it can spend the first 6-8 weeks of it’s life protected in the propagation house, and then move into the paddock. While it’s in the nursery, something else can be occupying that space in the paddock…maximising crop varieties and yields. Building this poly-tunnel has been a big job. Primarily because it’s huge and often needs an extra set of hands. We’ve been so blessed to have a friend of Rick’s offer to help now and then in exchange for some produce. Big help. But he has his own life and own children, so most of the time when Rick needs help, he calls on me. And having 6 children, loads of animals and homeschooling etc, I’m not often just sitting around looking for something to do. So there I’ll be, cooking lunch or something, and Rick will call me to come and give him a hand with the propagation house, or hold some steel while he cuts it. It’s incredible how much Rick has been able to do alone, but sometimes he needs help.

Technology, ah, technology. We live in just the right location to miss out on luxuries like NBN and even ADSL. And mobile networks other than Telstra. So for the three years we’ve lived here, we put up with little reception and VERY slow internet speeds. Then came the business and Rick wisely said we need some reliable service. So a good portion of the holidays was spent sorting that out. It should have been simple, but porting a mobile number turns out to be very messy when you’ve forgotten that the old account was in your husbands name and not your own. I spent days on and  off the phone between our old and new providers trying to get it sorted. But now I can actually receive calls and hear the person on the other end properly. And use internet that loads pages at a reasonable speed. One day I got a photo of our 6 year old asleep at the computer. She’d literally dropped off while waiting for her Reading Eggs page to load! That’s how bad our internet used to be.

Every day more equipment for the market garden arrives. It’s all coming together slowly. We’d been all geared up to get a shade net over the whole plot to filter the hot summer sun and make working in summer that little bit more bearable. Then we got the quote back. Gulp. It was about $20k more than we expected! So Rick the DIY king, now plans to order the materials and do it himself. He’ll try just about anything!

That’s a bit of recent life at Birdsong for you. Today is Rick’s birthday, and he’s spent it working on the farm, with the exception of a quick trip to the Meringandan Pub with me for lunch.