It’s been something of a summer of pretending we don’t have a farm. After we were thrown off course by a series of roadside grief bombs, we then chose to invest in friends, food and music for a while. This was a good decision (personally, if not financially) but thanks to a little planning, it didn’t mean that nothing was happening at Glen Mist. We have plenty to do in terms of renovating and landscaping that are beyond our (admittedly limited) skillset and machinery set – things like shelves and wardrobes, and retaining walls and earthworks.
When the quotes came in almost dollar for dollar the same for the interior works and the exterior works, we decided that the most life changing work would be to get rid of the ‘steps’ at the front of the house (aka deathslide) and install a proper retaining wall (instead of the weed infested rock fall that was there), and also to flatten out a proper area for the cars, instead of having to drive off a cliff to get the cars off the driveway. Many a time we’ve struggled with child, grocery bags, car doors and keys, in work shoes and in the dark, while also negotiating a slippery hill back up to the house. We were so spoiled at Wilandra with the automatic doors and lighting, plus the gorgeous paved paths that meant your shoes never had to touch the actual earth that we really noticed this lack at the new place. It also made a huge difference to how easy it is to keep the house clean, when you’re forever tracking dirt into the house. Shoes off at the door is part of it, but when you’re traipsing through wet grass and gravel puddles and the cuffs of your pants are also implicated – getting undressed on the verandah is a step too far.
So we went with the earth works and found a fantastic local ‘guy with a tractor’ who got the vision straight away and had plenty of wise suggestions all of his own – including moving the shipping container back further in line with the house, which was so simple and made such a difference that we didn’t even realise what an eyesore it had been.
Knowing that nothing makes sense in our houses, and that there is little method in the mad way that everything has been strung together, we explained to him that we don’t know where any of the pipes are, or even electrical wires, so it was some miracle that we only hit one. We discovered that the hard way when one of the holes filled with water while I was running the washing machine.
Thankfully it was easily rectified by rerouting the drain to its original outlet…and now we know where the pipes are. #dialbeforeyoudig #nothingmakessensehere
Farmers small and large spent most of the month or so that the works took staring enviously at the zippy little Bobcat. Eventually the hint was taken and I received this selfie. Nothing was broken when got home, so I’m assuming he didn’t actually get the keys.
To say we’re chuffed with the end result is understating it slightly. The turning circle! The carpark! The journey to the car with dry feet (and pant cuffs!) The steps! (Which take you to the laundry door, which doubles as our front door…I mean who doesn’t enjoy welcoming everyone through the room usually used to store lint and dirty clothes?) #ourhouseisbackwards
Our guy and his trusty Bobcat even flattened out a spot for the small one’s playground that is definitely going to be a hit at his next birthday party (once we move Hugo out!)
After that, it was a simple and effortless matter of shovelling seven cubic metres of mulch into the beds by hand. Yes that sounds like a job for a tractor, but it’s having a little rest. (#itsnotdeaditssleeping) If the Gourmet Farmer thing doesn’t work out, there is serious potential with the farm camp/ boot camp mixed business (although I feel we should be skinnier already after all that shovelling…)
The plan is to replant the roses in the lower side, and some bright groundcover in between. The higher garden bed will be our kitchen garden…it already has some hardy rhubarb, which survived cheekily despite being run over repeatedly by the aforementioned Bobcat (The Borrowed Farmer assures me he was not at the controls). Suggestions welcome for filling these amazing beds.
In other news, the horses have been doing what horses do best … apart from providing plenty of fertiliser for the garden beds they’ve also been burning dollars as well as hay. Bell has been diagnosed with Cushings (a disease that affects the pituitary gland), which caused a snap bout of founder…hoof xrays, blood tests and what is effectively a diabetic diet, and she is sound again and hopefully ready start work.
Sunny meanwhile continues to prove that Clydesdales are not large horses at all, but are actually giant pony/Labrador hybrids. She gave us a nasty fright the other night when she attacked her dinner with such gusto (a tiny pity feed she gets to distract her from Bell’s three course dinner) that she started to choke. Heimlich for a horse that size is not really an option, so the after hours vet was summoned to help. Thankfully she was ok, she coughed up some delightful green goop, and was sedated and had her gullet flushed out and once the drugs wore off (an hilariously small amount had her swaying and snoring in the Borrowed Farmer’s arms) she was snuffling for more food.
So one horse has the diabetic menu, the other has the antibiotics in soaked pensioner porridge to stop her inhaling it…and Hugo…well poor Hugo would be happy with any of that but alas he has the fat camp diet of dirt paddock and hay rations.
Our one revenue avenue on the place is selling excess hay to keep the fencing supplies coming. The Borrowed Farmer saved a step in process of spending money on the place by immediately throwing a $50 note away into the paddock after we sold some, so we’re hoping it shows up as one hundred dollars in spring, if we fertilise right.
It’s sometime hard to write these posts as there isn’t always a coherent story to update with… It’s more an ongoing stream of consciousness as things happen and overlap and are delayed and aren’t photo worthy or are just plain boring. But that’s all part of the journey, so if little snippets and vignettes are what keep this blog more active, then so be it. Also it’s a good excuse to share some cute Hugo and small farmer pics 🙂