23May/14
garden cage

How to Make Your Garden Critter-proof

After replanting my garden FIVE times in the past year due to my garden being eaten by an array of critters – goats, possums, rats, mice, birds, etc – I was bound and determined to do something to make gardening feasible.

A fortified fence kept the goats out but even basic cages wouldn’t keep the rats, possums, and mice at bay.

So Bear and I went off to the hardware store and found a big roll of snake and mouse-proof wire with tiny squares that would keep everything out. Yay!!!

garden cagesWe went to the thrift store and found old table frames and other metal frames that would be excellent frames for our critter-proof cages.

garden cageBear built solid wood bases for each cage, then we got out our drills and rolls of wire and folded, twisted, and bolted the cages into shape.

a garden cageAs they were completed I shifted them into my garden, using them to house tender seedlings and keep them safe.

They’ve worked brilliantly!!! It is such a thrill to go out to my garden each day and see tiny green sprouts thriving knowing that within a couple of months – barring any other disasters – we will be eating cabbages, kale, Brussels sprouts, turnips, parsnips, radishes, broccoli, celeriac, and other deliciousness.

seedling cageIt was downright discouraging to have my garden eaten to the ground so many times, but it is so exciting now to know that we’ve fixed the problem. :-)

hollyhocks in the rainHave you ever faced gardening disasters? How did you deal with them? xo

22May/14
kalahari red billy goat

Goats in Autumn Sunshine

We’ve had stunningly beautiful Autumn weather this week. Warm and sunny with soothing golden light that makes you happy to be alive.

To give our winter pastures time to restore before the cold weather hits, Bear and I have been taking our goats for daily treks into the bush to feast on brambles and weeds.

herding kalahari goats

They love it out there! They amble happily from one bramble patch the next, their coats covered in prickles and stickers as they nosh on their favorite bushes.

After their feast in the woods, we bring them back to the damn yard to wander over the hills and nibble at newly sprouted weeds and leafy trees.

goats in a valley

Most of the time we let them in and go up to the house, but sometimes I like to sit on the hillside and watch them, marveling at their personalities and quirks, admiring their glossy coats that positively gleam in the setting sunlight.

kalahari billy goat

I feel very lucky to get to raise these gorgeous animals and see them thrive. Sometimes they drive me batty when they bust through fences or make a banquet out of my garden, but mostly they are delightful.

kalahari red billy goat

What are some of your favorite moments on your homestead? xo

20May/14
DSCN7725-2

Homemade Pear Juice

This Autumn weather has been exquisite! Cool mornings and evenings with marvelously warm and sunny afternoons. We’ve been getting heaps of work done: fencing, gardening, and cooking.

My big project over the weekend was juicing this box of very, very ripe pears. The whole kitchen smelled of pears and it was delicious.

I often like to mix my pear juice with fresh ginger or fresh mint, but this time I did it plain.

The first step was washing and cutting the woody stems off. Then it was simply a matter of pressing the pears through our hard core juicer one after the other. As the juice filled the container I poured it through cloth-lined sieves to remove any pulp. I was left with gorgeously rich brown juice that tasted like a little bit of heaven.

box of pearsLiving on a farm, almost nothing goes to waste. I saved all the stem cuttings and pear pulp and threw it outside for the barnyard birds.

pear scraps for chickensThe Muscovy ducks were the first to arrive, fluttering in from around the farm and tucking in to the fruity piles.

ducks feedingThe chooks weren’t far behind, elbowing in to make sure they didn’t miss out.

ducks and chickens feedingBear and I kept the pear juice for ourselves, mixing it with soda water for a deliciously refreshing drink on our breaks from work.

DSCN7725-2My next project is homemade apple cider vinegar…IF we can manage not to devour the amazingly crisp, juicy, and flavorful apples I got from the market. :-)

What projects have you been working on this week? xo

05May/14
red wellies in the grass

A Cloudy Day with Goats, Dogs, and Kangaroos

We’ve had some crazy weather around here lately. One moment it’s pouring rain, the next sunny and hot, and five minutes later so cold you hastily unpack every winter garment you own.

I find every change of weather interesting, but when I need a quiet sort of day, cloudy ones are my favorite.

Sometimes life on the farm gets so busy tackling fencing jobs, gardening, and caring for animals that you don’t get a chance to really enjoy what you’re working towards. So I’ve been trying to make time to enjoy our life here, time to sit in the grass and take it all in.

red wellies in the grassOne afternoon last week while out on my walk, I stopped to take a breather and enjoy the view. Much to my astonishment five kangaroos hopped by in front of me! I only managed to capture two of them with my camera (they’re fast little buggers!), but how I love that little Joey. :-)

kangaroos in a fieldOur goats are doing so well with full bellies and glossy fur, some of them already wearing their winter coats.

Boer Kalahari goats for saleThe little ones aren’t so little anymore, but they’re still cute and frisky climbing everything in sight (including our cars!). We check every day for new babies, but no kids yet.

Kalahari goats for saleOur four dogs – Apollo, Solar, Freja, and Luna – are outgrowing their puppy stages and turning into lovely, obedient, and affectionate dogs.

Apollo is our biggest Maremma, and he gets along so well with Luna, our little cattle-dog mix. I love watching them together.

Maremma dog playingThey have the best time racing around the paddock together each day when Luna and I return from our walk in the bush.

Maremma dog runningI like cloudy days not just for the peace and quiet they bring, but also for the spectacular skies they make as the sun begins to set.

windmill sunsetWhat things in your life do you like to take time to slow down and enjoy?

19Apr/14
hot cross buns

Autumn Light and Hot Cross Buns

We’re thoroughly enjoying the last days of the Autumn holiday. The weather has been exquisite with warm, sunshiny days and cool, cozy nights.

grass in setting sunThe light in the afternoon is magical, glimmering softly through the trees.

sun setting through treesIt makes even plain old grass look positively wondrous. :-)

sun setting through grassAnd I love this color, so rich and wonderful.

sun setting over fieldBear requested Hot Cross Buns for Easter – something I’ve never made before. I was a bit nervous, but after reading the recipe realized it wasn’t so difficult after all. They are simple spiced buns studded with raisins or currants and candied citrus peel. The crosses on top are made with a simple paste of flour and water, squeezed through a piping bag. They turned out beautifully and Bear pronounced them good. Phew. :-)

hot cross bunsNow it’s time to get comfy for movies and some utter relaxation.

What are you looking forward to this weekend?