What’s going on?

Another summer draws to a close, and it’s been wet and mild and of course, presenting a whole lot of wonderful, life changing experiences! Here’s another pictorial look at what has kept us busy over the last couple of months…

Warming conversation.

Warming conversation – preparing for bush fire season.

Lambs arrival.

John Walker delivers our new sheep and lambs…..

Our first batch of meat chicks arrive.

Our first batch of meat chicks settle in…..

Ginger joins the family....

Ginger joins the family….

Flooding rains.

Flooding rains…..

Little boys enjoying the swollen river after rain...

After school swims in the swollen river…….

An excursion to Goat Hill Farm hazelnuts...

An excursion to Goat Hill Farm hazelnuts…

Lunches with special people...

Lunches with special people

The building of, and .....

The building of, and …..

....planting of the new kitchen garden at the local school...

….planting of the new kitchen garden at the local school…

Sweet Home Cobargo moves up the hill to a lovely new premises....

Sweet Home Cobargo moves up the hill to a lovely new premises….

Meat chicks growing happily....

Meat chicks growing happily….

A new workshop space....finally!.......

A new workshop space….finally!…….

Abundant growth.....

Abundant growth…..

and spectacular skies.

and spectacular skies.

One glorious summer, and so many wonderful blessings. The first lot of veggies are ready for harvest, so stay tuned. đŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

Tim and Thea’s dream

Tim and Thea moved to the Bega Valley almost 2 years ago. As Tim is originally from the NSW North Coast, and Thea from Melbourne, they spent some time researching different ares before they chose to set up their dream farm on 25 acres just North of Cobargo.

Tim in the first 'patch'

Tim in the first ‘patch’

With a landscape management and conservation background, Tim also has 10 years experience working in bush regeneration, but his and Thea’s dream is to grow food. Good food and lots of it.

Young celeries

Young celeries

Once they chose their ideal property, they set about choosing the best sites for vegetable plantings, and setting up irrigation from the property’s 3 dams.

A live-in helping hand

A live-in helping hand

Their friend Jeremy has recently joined them in their venture, and gutted and refitted a sustainable home for himself out of an old caravan parked near the house.

Insect attractants...

Insect attractants…

Tubs of worms

Tubs of worms

Passionate about permiculture principles and growing organically, the pair employ every trick they can to maximise the productivity of their farm, including worm farms and compost that they create from piles of wood chip and fish waste that they pick up from the wharves at Bermagui.

Tigerella tomatoes

Tigerella tomatoes

They raise all their own seedlings from seed they collect in Thea’s very impressive collection which lines the shelves of a dark hallway in one wing of the house.

Seedlings

Seedlings

They have chooks and goats, including a kid that Thea has been given to hand raise, destined for the table down the track.

Thea and the kids

Thea and the kids

Both Thea and Tim work a few days per week off the farm, but their next commercial plot is being prepared now to increase their growing capacity, and they aim to become certified organic growers, at which point they will have to decide on a name for the venture – which dinner conversations have narrowed down to three possibilities….still ‘hush hush’.

A very cultured Thea

A very cultured Thea

Extremely resourceful and abundantly enthusiastic, Thea makes her own sour dough bread, kombucha tea and delicious flavoured kefir – which I can vouch for on several occasions now. No doubt helped by her Greek background, her baklava is renowned in Sweet Home Cobargo, a local cafe where she helps out in the kitchen.

The orphan kid

The orphan kid

It’s early days, but they are delivering produce to several local customers, and the ideas and passions for their project are endless. Watch this dream come true.

After the rain….at last.

Welcome rain has filled the dam at Foxground this week.  Very much a relief after the longest, hottest dry spell in memory apparently.

Zucchini, capsicum and eggplant at Foxground

Zucchini, eggplant and capsicum.

Temperatures nearing 50C and way below average rainfall has caused all sorts of problems for farmers along the South Coast. There has been a feed crisis for our dairy farmers which places enormous strain on herds, farmers, their budgets and families. Still $1/L for milk?….seriously?!

Mid summer heat stress

Heat stress – shedding leaves mid summer.

This good soaking 180mm over 3 days will really help, and you can see the paddocks greening up almost immediately. Good follow up rain over the next few weeks and months is obviously critical to really make a difference.

Pigs in mud

Soaking it up – piggies love the mud!

There’s not much you can do when the soil is as wet as it is at the moment, but it is just so lovely to be in the garden, and see everything flourishing.

IMG_2202_opt (2)

The little creek, once again flowing past the vegies

My most favourite thing is the new sounds. Wet sounds. The creek ‘babbling’, the frogs chorus. I just wish there was a picture to express how amazing sounds ‘look’.

Frog on the reeds

Tiny blue-black frog on the reeds, by the dam

I guess on a blog, this will have to do….   đŸ™‚

Ham and Salad…

We have been running our Jamberoo Pub Feast Markets for a couple of months now, and some weeks Tass from Jamberoo Valley Farm brings down an assortment of her gorgeous heirloom variety seedlings. She has loads of beautiful varieties of salad greens, some very unusual such as delicate ‘bucks horn’ and ‘lamb’s lettuce’. Interesting tomato varieties too; and ‘casper eggplant’!

Tass and the Jamberoo Valley Farm seedlings

I have of course been unable to resist purchasing many of them, and they have been planted in Warwick Park’s garden.  Interested in having a look, P1 escaped from his comfortable enclosure last night, and when I arrived in the garden this morning he was having a lovely time taste testing the fresh garden offerings!

Ham and salad…

They say ‘happy as a pig in mud’, but let me tell you, a pig in a veggie garden is pretty chuffed too! He is led by his stomach though, and when offered his very favourite treat of creamy South Coast Dairy milk, he trotted happily back into his enclosure.

How to ruin a paddock.

I have been watching this paddock over the last year or so, as I pass by a couple of days a week. It looked to me like a fairly normal sort of pasture, complete with a few grazing horses. But then one day the horses were gone, and it was all black. It had been burnt completely, releasing all that stored carbon into the atmosphere, and destroying all those grass roots so effectively stabilising the soil.

Fireweed is a highly invasive and opportunistic weed native to south eastern Africa. It quickly colonises overgrazed pastures and disturbed areas.

It was then left for months and months, so that rain after rain could remove any topsoil, and leave 10-20 cm deep erosion channels in the sand, running the length of the paddock. The natural progression for this distressed ground was of course for the fireweed to move in. Declared a noxious Weed of National Significance, fireweed has now taken over, flowering beautifully to ensure it continues to spread and flourish all over the South Coast. I presume a herbicide will be sprayed next? This will ensure the soil becomes more acidic, and hostile to the microbes trying to heal it. Sigh.

Can anyone explain why this poor management of the land is allowed to occur? Next week…my neighbour who has Astro Turfed his “nature strip”. Again…sigh.

Like a pig in…

The dream is a tractor. A red one. And a trailer with all the custom tools and bed forming attachments. A motor that hums along perfectly aligned rows of rich, black soil. Effortlessly nurturing and manicuring my productive, organic Feast Farm. There’s going to have to be a lot of veggies sold before that day though, and in the meantime, these guys are going to give me a hand.


What a bit of fun! The little sounds these 7 week old boys make are sooooo cute! They seem to love their new, cosy little home, which will be moved across the paddock as they finish digging under the grass and snuffling through the surface of the soil. Piggy tractors. I could stand and watch them for hours. Like a pig in mud.

Enjoying the new little entertainers…

The link between Lake Bathurst and no eggs…

Driving over to Bungendore on the weekend, I was reminded that there is very little visually to indicate the change of seasons on the coast in Gerringong. I wonder if this makes it slightly more difficult to connect some of the more subtle seasonal variances that occur. Every year at about this time, the hens stop laying. The days are becoming shorter, and this signals to them that it’s time for a break. So why then, every year are we so surprised that the egg supply temporarily dries up. Highland towns and villages with their beautiful autumnal leaf displays declare so clearly that the season for reduced egg supplies, and other normal, healthy seasonal variances, is upon us. Perhaps if the leaves are falling all around you, it is reassurance that declining egg numbers are just another normal, natural hiccup in our lives.

The bustling main street of Lake Bathurst

 

David in the autumn leaves at Mullloon Creek