Not the most glamorous of titles for this week’s blog but poo is a very important part of life in the garden and indeed the country. Being surrounded by a dairy farm as we are it is even more important. The downside is that in the summer if the cows are in an adjacent paddock to our house we tend to have an increase in the amount of flies (I have an ever lengthening list of how to get rid of them “naturally”) but the upside is that the farmer is happy to deliver a scoop (a tractor load to the uninitiated) of rotted down cow manure to our veggie patch ready for us to use.

2015-07-08 10.21.29 Compost or lunch??

Peter our guru gardener has managed to get me some asparagus crowns which, once planted, apparently last a lifetime – producing beautiful fresh asparagus in season and then dying down in winter so it was important to prepare our bed properly as you don’t want to interfere with the roots once they are established. A trench is dug and then filled with our beautifully rotted manure, before planting and mulching. As this is the bed that runs adjacent to the chicken run it is also the favoured place for one small chocolate dog to sit in the sun and check out the chooks. Not too sure how good that is going to be for any potential asparagus to be honest…..

In recent days I had become convinced that a local rabbit or hare was getting into my patch as the lettuce was being systematically eaten and leaves strewn across the garden, however when I was looking for Bailey the other day I found her in the veggie patch tucking into and eating an entire lettuce!!! I think I have a vegetarian dog – she LOVES tomatoes, cabbage and lettuce leaves, oranges and grapes (preferably seedless) so unfortunately for now I have had to lock her out of the patch in the hope it breaks the habit. Of course the aroma of the newly installed manure is enticing her all the more to venture over there and have a bit of an exploratory dig! We have built all the beds up and constructed a compost bin so it is all going to be used asap to avoid any further temptation for you-know-who.

I ‘m not sure if we will end up eating any of our crops at the moment as we have a flock of 2-300 corellas that regularly patrol our lane looking for delicacies. You can hear them coming 5 minutes away as they screech their way over the fields. I’m not sure if they are looking for anything in particular or are just hoping to come across something yummy. The guru gardener says it’s a good idea to pick all the lemons, oranges and limes from the top of our trees (which the birds can spy whilst flying) and just keep the lower part of the tree laden with fruit until the last minute as they ripen and sweeten far better on the tree than in your fruit bowl…

2015-07-09 08.13.04 Pesky visitors

The other day when we were having a shower an ominous gurgling was heard in the drain in our beautiful new ensuite. It didn’t go away and the plumber was duly called. A blocked pipe was the suggestion and he asked when we had last had our septic pumped. An interesting question for this city girl as I have never had anything other than the usual mains sewer to contend with. Our house here has an Enviromax which is an environmentally friendly sewage system and needs to be pumped out every 3-5 years and apparently this needed to be done now. So about 50 metres away from the cow poo being delivered ours was being pumped into a truck. What a job – no wonder it cost $400. No-one ever says “when I grow up I want to be the poo pumper guy” but I am grateful that some do and the plumber can now get on with the business of fixing the blockage. The joys of living off the grid….!!

We have had a quiet week as the little chocolate dog had to go to the vets and get desexed. For girl dogs that involves a hysterectomy and removal of the ovaries which is quite major surgery and she was in the vets all day. When they examined her they also found that her baby canine teeth had not come out and were impacted in her gums causing irritation and potential infection. The roots are 2 inches long and quite hard to extract so I was very glad she was out cold for the whole procedure. They gave her everything else at the same time – heart worm injection, pedicure, worm and tick meds and she left there with an “Elizabethan collar” to stop her pulling at the stitches. She has to keep it on for 2 weeks and at this stage she isn’t particularly impressed with it – she keeps bumping into the doorways and furniture and can’t quite seem to find a comfortable sleeping position. I am sure she will get used to it but she woke us up every 2 hours last night as the pain killers wore off and things weren’t quite right in her world but this morning she seems as bright as a button and is mainly just desperate to eat anything and everything after having fasted for 24 hours – a situation no self respecting Labrador would ever want to find themselves in.

2015-07-10 08.38.03

Anthony from the “Village Vets” (new series starts July 30th on Lifestyle) with Bailey waving goodbye to us just prior to the big chop….They are so lovely at The Berry Vet Clinic, they spend loads of time with you and your pet going through everything. Really nice guys and a great practice.

2015-07-10 17.06.20

Bailey looking decidedly unimpressed post surgery………

Now that I am working in town and joining lots of different organisations I am in the pleasurable situation of bumping into people I know in Berry now as I walk down the street. I am starting to get a sense of belonging and being part of it all which is what I had hoped for before we moved but wasn’t sure I would get for quite a while. In the meantime my Sydney friends all seem to make regular trips down to the South Coast and as we are so accessible from the highway (the ONLY good thing about having it so close ) is that they pop in and say hi or like Annie did yesterday call me to say she and a few girlfriends were having lunch in Berry and would I like to join them! It was lovely to catch up with her and after a delicious lunch I felt like I had known all her friends for ages! Such a great thing about being this age is that we all have similar stories with our kids and our lives and can have a sense of ‘belonging’ quite quickly. A lovely bunch of girls and I’m pretty sure they would have had a great time at Hyams Beach this weekend.

2015-07-10 13.31.15 Lovely to see you Annie!!

The days have been decidedly CRISP lately. The whole of the east coast has been subjected to a polar blast and in our lovely old weatherboard it definitely feels that way. If we have all the fires pumping it is cosy but that feels a little extravagant mid week and I basically just heat the kitchen, lounge and pop my electric blanket on 15 minutes before sliding into the sheets but at the weekend we have the combustion stove going too which makes a big difference. There is talk about insulation going UNDER the house floor – a blanket against the cold rising from the ground and apparently it makes a huge difference. Another thing on the list…..

In the meantime the skies are mostly blue with sunshine and clear cold nights produce some amazing morning mists. It looks so pretty even if I risk frostbite getting the photos……..

2015-07-09 07.21.39

A blanket of mist hugs the fields in the morning

2015-07-08 10.32.57

Beautiful blue skies along with the cold daytime temperatures

2015-07-09 07.22.39

Our garden is turning into a artist’s palette of colours…….






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