Blessing, bunnies, and blissful days together.

Hello every bunny!
Hope you had an Easter as good as ours! Ours was filled with friends and fun. The bunny came and hid chocolate chicks in our backyard, and the girls giggled and ran about looking for them in their pjamas and gumboots.
Ben baked hot cross buns, and we had woodfired pizzas with friends on easter night. The girls got home thoroughly sticky and over excited, but having had a brilliant day! 
We’ve managed to cram alot of activities into Katies first school holidays: Family trips to the pool and Eureka Skydeck. There was a Pop Up Park outside the local library, with facepainting and games, we saw the Shaun the Sheep movie, and we went op-shopping. 
But undoubtedy the best thing about these holidays was Ben’s CT results coming back clear of cancer. 
That was the very best day. 
His hair is starting to grow back, he’s starting to regain some of his old energy and health, and we just feel so so blessed everyday.

 There were quieter days, where we stayed at the farm. Days we collected firewood, baked, removed some dangerous tree branches, pottered in the garden.
One blissful day, the girls and I headed down the back paddock with a blanket and our teddies for a Teddy Bear’s Picnic, while the weather is still warm!

And also I knitted some slippers, attempted my first cabling on a beanie for Tara, and am now attempting my very first pair of socks with some beautiful wool from Morris and Sons.

Back to school Monday. The house is going to feel so quiet!

What are you knitting?


Storm warnings, gale force winds, big trees and fences don’t mix.

Kate and I have just trudged round every fence line after our first really windy night at Hill Shadow. The weather here under the mountain is truly wild, and though I LOVE a good storm, the wild winds do make a bit of a mess of the place!

Especially when you need good solid, safe electric fences for our horsey-charges! We always do a fence/tree/pony check after a windy night, just to make sure everyone’s still got a fence and 4 legs!

Fortunately everyone is fine and fences are still standing! Just one medium sized tree down, but in the creek, away from any fences and buildings. Phew!

Someone who definitely wasn’t affected by the weather (in a negative way) was Henry the orange mongrel, who spent all night in sleeping infront of the fire.

And so, to finish off this post – here’s a joke:

Why did the chicken cross the road? ;D

Proof the Hill Shadow Farm hens have nothing to fear! Our hens have free rein of the property all day, so they often pop up in the yard or at the window to visit us during the day. They have absolutely no fear of people, our dogs, or our children! Why would they?!

Peg Sorting: Tara’s favourite activity at present. I do wish she wouldn’t post them all down the holes in the brickwork though! Fun for her, but annoying for me to retrieve for the washing! X(

Any Spring ‘storm-age’ in your area?
Storms: Love em or hate em?
Do your animals make themselves at home like ours do?

Check your fences!

This post is brought to you by ignorance.

I’ve just finished reading Jackie French’s ‘ Year in The Valley’  and something pretty weird just struck me. You might think it’s odd that this just struck me, when I have dreamed of being on land for so long, but here it is:

I have NO IDEA how to grow stuff.

I mean seriously: Beyond ‘stick the rooty-end in the ground, leaves pointing up, and water it’, I am completely ignorant. I have no idea what plants to grow where. I have no idea how to plan a garden. Previous attempts on my part have resulted in disaster.

Like the time I planted 6 snow pea seedlings, which promptly were dug-up and eaten within 2 days by birds. I planted carrots. They grew into all leafy top, no carrot bottom. I planted broccoli, it went immediately to seed without any broccoli. I planted cabbage. The slugs loved me for it.

Any success I have ever had growing ANYTHING was an accident. A mystery vine grew in our backyard. I let it. It grew and produced what turned out to be 4 decent sized but very tasteless pumpkins! Hurrah! I grew lemons. No let me rephrase that. Someone planted a lemon tree on the block YEARS before and it absolutely DROWNED us in lemons each year, through no effort of mine. One year we had a bumper crop of beans. Yeah: That was weird. I tried tomatoes. Since my grandmother supplemented her husband’s income by farming tomatoes around her 7 children, and my step dad grows OUTSTANDING tomatoes, I though maybe – just maybe – I had a genetic ‘tomato-growing’ advantage… The tomatoes grew GIANT. Well the plants did. Too bad they didn’t produce a single fruit.

Yep, if it were up to my gardening skills, my family would starve. But possibly the local insects and birds would be extremely well-fed.

I have a lot to learn.

What struck me reading Jackie French’s book, is that she lives in a very similar environment to that which we will be residing in on Hill Shadow Farm. A bushland valley, alive with wildlife. And the question that kept coming into my head again and again is “How the HELL does she do it?” How does she harvest veritable gluts of food for her family, while her garden is constantly under siege – by her own admission – from wombats, cockatoos and lyrebirds! Why don’t grubs eat all her spinach before she gets to pick any? Why don’t the weeds – which she admits to never pulling out – swamp her seedlings and take over the garden? Why aren’t her cucumbers furry and moldy? Why aren’t fruit fly attacking her peaches? What the hell is the secret?!?!

Oh man.

I have ALOT to learn.

6 weeks!

We’re on the countdown!!! Yippee!

We’ve been told the current mountain house residents move out on the 1st August – which means moving day is getting closer!

As it’s such a blustery, windy, squall-y day out today, I’ve been inside with the biggest pot of tea you’ve ever seen, my Grass Roots magazines, homesteading books & blogs, and my imagination. Here’s some things I’d like to do in the new place:

  • Honey

I’ve been told a swarm of bees regularly returns to the old shed. I don’t know if they’re native or feral. I know NOTHING about bee keeping. But the whole idea has my imagination going wild!

  • Vegetables & Fruit

We’ve got visions of using recycled windows to make mini green houses, upcycled brick pallets as fences and to grow herbs and strawberries in. There’s already established mandarins, oranges, lemon, lime, grape fruit, pumpkins and tomatoes. Im having visions of berries, zucchinis, beans, peas, spinach, beetroot, caulis…. *oh my*

  • Chickens

There’s already 8 Isa Brown hens and a very handsome rooster of unknown breeding in residence, and whom we will inherit upon moving in. Free range eggs!!! Baby chicks! Meat…???? (Don’t know if I could bring myself to… you know…)

  • Yabbies

Already in residence in the dam!

  • Goat

Firstly for weed control. But maybe milk? Meat? (Again…. *cringe*)

  • Rabbits

Already in residence, and kept in check by fox family (Also already in residence!). Wouldn’t want to mess with the population too much as it might encourage Mr & Mrs Fox to look further afield to feed their babies (ie, our chickens!). However, maybe we can trap(?)/shoot(?)/lure humanely into a pot(?) one every now and again…?

  • Interior decorating

Think open wood fire, patchwork quilts, crochet throws, eclectic recycled furniture, bunting, vintage greens, miss-matched tea cups and dinnerware, huge plaited rugs, and the smell of freshly baked bread. Mmmmmm….

  • An outdoorsy life style for my kids

Digging, swinging, treehouses, sunflower tepee, bonfires, damper, bushwalks, worm farms, strawberry binges, picnics, ponies….