In the Veg Patch on a Dark Winter’s Day

calendula plant

The clouds have been promising rain, but so far we haven’t had a drop. I am enjoying this dark, cozy day though. It’s wonderfully quiet.

The last couple of days have been full on as Bear and I tackled the next phase of building our chook palace. We moved an entire shed from one side of the farm to the other via tractor and trolley and ropes and brute strength, complete with much hilarity and almost dropping and almost tripping and shouts of STOP and OK, GO and getting stuck on a tree and in a gate and beside a dog house, but we made it!! Soon we’ll fill it with feed bins, incubator, worming kits, and gardening tools for the orchard we’ve planted and the garden we will plant.

calendula plant

We also hauled trimmed tree branches into wood piles to be either burned for campfires or cut into usable shapes for my wood-burning projects.

This morning was a bit of Spring Cleaning in the middle of Winter, and it feels so good to look around the house and see bare surfaces and organized desks where once there were stacks and tottering piles.

After all that work it is good to rest this afternoon, to wrap up in a sweater and wander the gardens to see how they’re doing.

The artichoke bed has recovered from transplanting and is thriving under its thick bed of mulch.

artichoke plant

The red cabbages and red Brussels sprouts are coming along beautifully, and I can’t wait to see the heads begin to form.

red cabbage plants

The new fennel bed is also doing well, tiny seedlings growing into sturdy stalks with fragrant, delicate fronds.

fennel plants

The root veggies are coming along as well: beet roots, radishes, turnips, and hopefully carrots soon.

beetroot seedlings

Now it’s definitely time for a cuppa and a piece of shortbread, and perhaps an episode of Rosemary and Thyme before I start designing another set of cutting boards for my Etsy shoppe.

What is your garden up to in your part of the world? XO

Growing for Animals

capsicums for chooks

It’s a dark and blustery day on our farm, and Bear and I just came in from drenching our herd of Kalahari Goats, trimming the hooves of those who needed it. Now they’re out feasting in fields, staying close to the fence line to block the wind. Goats don’t like the wind because it inhibits their hearing and enables predators to sneak up on them unawares. That’s why we have our lovely Maremma dogs guarding them. Not even high winds keep them from being vigilant.

I’ve been working hard in my gardens in recent months. Tearing out all the detritus from the Summer and Autumn gardens, building up the soil with goat manure, and putting in all those lovely Winter things: greens, root veggies, and herbs that thrive well in the cold Winter air.

My kitchen garden is where I nurture the not-so-hardy things I love, like bougainvillea and lilly pilly. They make me smile with their brilliant blossoms and bright berries.


In addition to planting for me and Bear, I also plant for our animals.

Chilies and capsicums are perfect for our chooks, keeping them laying well into the Winter. That’s a great tip I learned from my gardening friend, Kathy, and it’s worked a treat.

capsicums for chooks

I also grow massive bushes of wormwood for our goats. Goats, sheep, cattle, they all get worms as they graze and need to be drenched (medicated) regularly. But by feeding them wormwood, a natural de-wormer, we only have to drench once or twice a year.

wormwood for goats

The clever thing about goats is that they know if they need wormwood or not. If they don’t have worms, they don’t give the wormwood more than a cursory sniff. But if they do have them, they chow down like it’s Christmas dinner.

goats eating wormwood

Now it’s time to go check on our baby goats. They get so busy eating that they don’t notice when the herd moves on without them and bleat plaintively when they discover they’ve been abandoned. A nudge in the right direction soon puts them to rights. 🙂

Do you grow anything special for your animals? I’d love to hear about it. 🙂 xo