Today marks six weeks since we arrived back in Tasmania-we had originally planned to do a month long visit, renovate our house, whack some new tenants in and put it on the market, then take off in search of our dream farm.
However, then we got here and realised that it could actually be quite fun to stay here for a while. So we are. It’s not our dream farm, but it is half an acre in a rural town, and you can do a lot with half an acre of rich volcanic soil. And after renting other people’s houses for two years it’s lovely to be somewhere that’s all ours, and fully relax into where we are.
So, dragging me from my business, in no particular order, has been-
1. Studying. I returned to full-time study recently. As the mega-geek that I am, i’m adoring it. I used to spend my quiet time (showering/falling asleep/running) cogitating on new sewing projects and mulling over potential pattern/fabric/design improvements. Now I find myself reciting the 12 pairs of cranial nerves instead. So there’s 25-30 hours a week gone to the books.
2. Animal wrangling. I’ve tapped into our local lunatic farmer network ( I LOVE passionate crazy people) and procured us 13 Rhode Island Reds for eggs, and possibly breeding, if the rooster proves himself worthy. He’s being wimpy, and any rooster than runs from a threat leaving his hens to face it does not deserve to pass on his genes.
We’ve also bought five sheep for meat-as strict vegetarians of four years, this is interesting! But we always said we’d eat it when we could raise it, and I am dreaming of souvlakia and garlic-studded roast lamb. This has also necessitated the building of 100m or so of fences so we can experiment with rotational grazing*. Being Tasmania, and because we bought the sheep before we finished the fencing, we got to do half of that in the rain. Biggest bonus? We don’t have to mow, at all. Instead, we get all that indigestible cellulose turned into high-quality protein for us. I smile when I hear the mowers along the road whirring away for hours on end-while my mowers are chomping away with no input from me at all.
I’ve got my fingers crossed for goslings being ready in the next few weeks, we’ve been given Cochins we need to build a house for, pigs are in the planning and hopefully I can pick up a milking ewe next month. Fresh raw milk and cheese may be on their way!
3. Digging-I have been chanting ‘Dig! Dig! Dig! And your muscles will grow big!’ And my muscles are growing big, as we peel off the sod and dig over a massive vegie patch ready for the summer growing season. Not to mention planting dozens of heritage fruit trees and berries, over 50 strawberries, artichokes of all kinds, asparagus……….mmmmm. We may not be here to harvest all of it, but if we are we’ll be drowning in good food. And if not the person who buys it will be, and i’ll be happy knowing they’re a little bit more self-sufficient because of us.
4. Renovating-in six weeks, we’ve painted the entire inside of a four bedroom house (OK, i’m yet to do the kitchen cupboards. But that’s all!). And as anyone who has painted before knows, that also includes cleaning, prepping, sanding, gap filling, moving furniture etc. This is the sixth entire house we’ve painted together in nine years so we’re pretty quick at it now. Then there’s the dozens of small fix-it jobs to do after it being rented for four years, varying from realigning doors to replacing floorboards.
There’s also the small matter of five children, and their 24/7 care and education. Luckily, education can be achieved in many ways, and if there was a digging test, or chicken catching test, I think they’d ace it.
And they’re my excuses for not starting up business again straight away. I’m still musing on how I can throw it in with everything else and not go insane, but now most of the most work-intensive stuff is done I should hopefully start seeing more time in my day. I’m developing a plan that seems promising, so once I get it refined i’ll set it up, and fingers crossed it works!
*Yes, you can rotational graze on less than half an acre here (about 1400sq/m is in paddocks) in springtime. You can virtually watch the grass grow, and you get nine months of growth in three. This soil makes growing easy!