Thursday, 24 March 2016

Officially Spring

What a long, wet miserable winter this has turned out to be.  Not particularly cold, but really, really wet.

We have had flooding around the village and at times wondered if we would be cut off by the water.  A few times it rained so heavily and with such strong winds, that the water was forced around the windows and doors and into the house.  Miserable.

It would have been better to have had a good snow for a few days or a heavy frost for a few days.  This kills off the bacteria in the soil and the pests that overwinter in the soil, and leaves it clean and ready for the next years plantings.  I am hoping we do not get over run by doryphors and other nasty veg eating bugs as a result.

One good thing with all the rain is that it has refilled all the lakes and rivers and our well has more than enough water.  Last summer was so dry and hot that the river dried up, and the lake was down to almost no water.  Everyone's wells also dried up (except ours, which I think is the deepest in the village) and irrigation of crops was difficult due to lack of water.

I had taken some incredible photographs of the flooding, as well as all the spring bulbs flowering in the orchard..... unfortunately, becuase I now run windows 10, all my photos are unable to be downloaded from my camera, and so are unusable.  I also cannot save documents or change anything in my documents.  A message telling me that I do not have the authority to save/change etc comes up any time I try and do anything.

This problem has been happening since I "upgraded" to windows 10.  

I really regret ever deciding to download it and wish I had my old windows back.

Wayne has been trying to fix the problem, but every "fix" that someone suggests on the message boards does not work.

So I now have a very expensive piece of equipment sitting on my desk that is useless to me.  Cannot do my work on it and can only use it for emailing and browsing internet.

Thank you windows 10 for ruining my computer.

Moving on to nicer things.... I have redesigned the potager and am in the process of grassing over half of it.  Will be planting more closely and using other techniques picked up over last year to see if it makes a difference. 

Planting the rows of veg more closely means they can be mulched more efficiantly and there is less water loss through evaporation.  Also less space for weeds to sprout, and hence less labour in keeping "clean".  Labour = time, and time saved in potager is time available to do other work.

So far I have planted another few dozen strawberry plants, 29 asparagus plants and nearly a dozen red cabbage.  It is too cold to start anything else yet, so will hold off on other veg for another month.  I do have heaps of flowering/ornamental plants to put in though, so will be working on them over next week or so.

Over winter I purchased two Daphne plants.  One the classic odura and the other a pink variety that I had never seen before.  They really should have been put into the ground by now, but have kept them in pots near back door so I can smell them as I go in and out of the house.  The pink one has just about finished flowering and has a sweeter perfume, whereas the odura is still flowering strongly and has the lovely lemony tang to its perfume.

For my birthday and our wedding anniversary I received iris rhizomes.  I love irises and peonies, so it was a perfect gift.  They are planted up, and have started sprouting now.  Cannot wait to see the blooms.  They are germanica and siberica irises, so are showy and lush.  I have blacks, white with blue edging and a purple/pink in one spot, and have planted some blues and creams and pinks in another spot.

My project in early winter was planting out some saplings along the stone wall which borders our land.  They are well established now and looking good.  I put in a mulberry, cherry, eucalyptus, buddleia, eglantine and a few other ornamental shrubs.  In between I places bulbs, Japanese anenomes, hostas, and a whole heap of different coloured rudebekkias.  Over the next few weeks I will put in some dahlias and other tubers to fill in the gaps and give a show of colour and flowers all year round.

The chickens are laying well due to the mild weather.  I have more than enough eggs for us and all our friends.  At some times I have had up to 3 dozen eggs in the fridge!  Am hoping that my dwarf hen Apricot waits till we have reconfigured the inside of the hen house before going broody.  I have designed a brood box that will be in place permanantly, and can be used to isolate chickens at other times if need be.  Apricot tends to brood two or three clutches each season, so it will see a lot of use each year.

This years crop of kittens has already started.  A litter has been born nearby, so we are waiting to see how many wind up here when they are weaned.  They will be going  straight to the cat shelter as we cannot have any more cats, and it is better if they find homes early before they go wild and untouchable.

Sorry, no photos.  As soon as I can find a solution I will post more frequently and have plenty of images to share.