Posted on February 27th, 2013
Rain in summer is always welcome, especially when there’s been a dry spell, of which we’ve endured for the last few months. When I say we, I’m really referring to the vegetables, at times they’ve struggled. No matter how much bore water goes on a plant it still won’t grow as well as it will after a good soak from above, it’s like they know. We can’t trick nature, she’s onto us.
The clouds emptied last night just as the light dropped over the western skyline. The sound of rain on the tin roof no doubt helping the kids drift off to sleep, well it sure helps me doze off. The morning sky was all low cloud, humid as hell, like the tropics had arrived. As I drove into town visibility was poor in parts, but it sure makes the daily forest drive just that much more spectacular, and that smell of the bush after a good drop from Huey. You just have to be there to experience it. I finished my errands in town and headed out to the new place we’ll be calling home in a few months time. It’s been on my mind to get that fence up for the new veg patch, to keep both the sheep and the rabbits out, the latter seems to be in plague proportions up at the new place. I guess I’ll have plenty of meat for the pot and the dogs dinner.
As the old jeep rattled up the drive, the wipers clearing away the thick mist I felt the autumnal weather sneak in as the door opened. I opened the old doors to the shed (which happens to be loaded with old farming treasure) and grabbed all the fencing gear I’d dropped of earlier in the week.
I set to work wiring up one side of the enclosure, the finishing work after the fencing contractor had installed the posts and gates. It’s been a few years since I used to do this fencing work as part of my daily job, many years ago in fact. It didn’t take long to get back in the swing of things, and after a few hours I had the beginnings of a fence, and a few wire cuts to remind me that I’m far from a pro.
In the next few weeks I’ll get the remaining wire up, next will be the galvanised chicken wire to keep the furry beasts away from my vegetables. With the fence finally up and hopefully vermin proof I’ll get behind a large hoe and turn the rich chocolate soil over and make my beds. Then finally I get to plant some winter veg. It’s one of the challenges of living off the food you grow in your backyard. You can’t muck around, you need to be aware of the impending seasons. Before long autumn will have come and gone, and if I don’t get the veg in now and give it a chance to establish then I’ve no hope of things growing during our desperately cold winter.
Winter gardens are just as important as the highly productive summer garden. Sure the variety is not as good, but it’s not just the food that grows in the garden over winter thats important. More importantly is to grow green much and nitrogen fixing legumes to prepare the soil for the warm season. It’s part of the annual cycle.
Kate took the jeep back home, so when I’d finished my fencing work I walked home. Over the hills, covered in mist. The normal vista blocked by low cloud reminiscent of a winters day, but I didn’t mind it set a nice mood. At the top of the hill I noticed something sitting in the middle of the road. As I drew near it was clear it was a beautifully crafted birds next, most likely blown out of the tree from last nights strong winds. I picked it up and examined the craft. What a clever bird to have made this home for it’s family, of such fine construction from an animal that can only use it’s beak to build. As I continued home I thought of my own recent efforts working on the fence. Which is really just my nest, my families nest. It’s just bits of things formed in some sort of order that provide us with shelter and food. We are just animals, but unlike the clever bird we rely on more unnatural things for ours nests. One day I’d like to build a nest thats as in tune with nature and purpose built as that humble pile of weaved sticks.