Grafting Cherries

Tonight I picked up 28 MM101 cherry rootstock and 20 MM101 pear rootstock, along with 28 cherry and well over 50 pear scion, ready for grafting! I managed 12 tonight and will bring along a few to work to do a mini workshop on grafting and aim to have all the cherries finished by tomorrow night! Hopefully they take well and I haven’t stuffed them up… a couple of my cuts were a little to small, but I think they will be fine, only time will tell. Within the next few weeks, the buds will burst and I will know for sure if they have taken or not, until then, a lot of TLC, water and sunshine!

12 grafts completed! 3 of each of Napoleon (yellow), Ron’s Seedling, Blackboy and Regal Ranier.

Spring into Sustainability.

(Picture of wicking beds at old house)

Spring is less than a week away, well at least according to the international meteorological definition of the seasons, Spring is in 5 days. However, according to tilt of the Earth and the Sun, the Spring Equinox in the Southern Hemisphere is not until September 22nd. This gives us plenty of time (not) to get prepared for the next season…

The greenhouse has gone on hold while other more pressing matters are tended to, such as the new potato patch and prepping the current market garden for the next season. Tomorrow (Monday) I will be getting 48 dwarfing rootstock for cherries and pears as well as a variety of scion (buds), all of which are heritage varieties. My grafting skills will really be tested here as will my time management. Spring is definitely on it’s way and the buds need to be grafted before buds explode and late winter to very early spring is the time for this. 48 grafts all done at night as well as potting out…. hmmmm may be pushing it a little  but bring it on!

A few years back, I was lucky enough to visit an art gallery to view works by a friend of mine from work (Lou Callow). At this exhibition, Lou introduced me to a friend of hers Tor Roxborough (the gallery owner) and we got talking about life and sustainable living. At the time, we were living at our old house which had been maxed out with productive gardens, aquaponics, fruit trees and a  section of native and indigenous plants. I spoke to her about our life and what we were trying to achieve and enjoyed Lou’s amazing art work. 3 years on and she has contacted me to find out where I am at in life and to ask me to do a talk on food production and sustainable living! The presentation will be on Saturday 6th October between 1:30-3:30pm at the Bacchus Marsh library. The group holding it is called BaccChat, a new group in the Bacchus Marsh area who are organising readings and talks on a variety of topics, the first of which is about food and agricultural production as well as touching on issues of refugees.

I have to say I am honoured to be asked to do this talk and although somewhat nervous about it all, am very excited at the same time!

The link to the first page of my old blog is http://namhaquachinatoraquaponics.blogspot.com.au/2009/10/what-is-aquaponics-i-hear-you-ask-well.html It is pretty long, but if you have a spare moment or three, have a read and make a comment here 🙂

(Picture of the AP system at old house early not long after cycling)

A Heavy Heavy Heart: This Is For You Coolie.

We love you Coolie and will miss you immensely.

14 and 1/2 years ago, Hayley and I were lucky enough to meet a beautiful 10mth old dog at the Burwood RSPCA. Now this gorgeous dog had been at the RSPCA for almost 6weeks and no-one had decided to adopt her. The staff at the RSPCA couldn’t bring themselves to put her to sleep so they held out in hope that someone would rescue her. Along came Hayley and I and as soon as we saw her, we knew she was the one for us. We were to learn latter that she if not rescued by the end of the week, then her time would be up – so lucky we saw her when we did. She was an amazing red merle Coolie dog and being very original, we named her “Coolie”

For 14 1/2 years she has been our beautiful loyal companion, going with us pretty much everywhere. They say that dogs take on their parents traits and Coolie was no exception. Her two most significant traits were 1) OCD (Obsessiveness Compulsive Disorder) and 2) Extreme independence and determination. I won’t tell you which trait belongs to Hayley and which one belongs to me, those who know us will quickly work it out 🙂

For the past 18 months, Coolie definitely showed signs of slowing down and she was happy to retire on our little slice of heaven. She would often wander the paddocks with me and go for a quick dip in the dam. Unfortunately her hearing had pretty much gone and we could not allow her the freedom to roam in fear that she would wander and disappear. In fact she did disappear a couple of times. The first, we searched for hours, only to find her trotting up from the dam, she had camouflaged herself in the long grass… The second time, she managed to get out the gate without us knowing and ended up at our neighbours house a couple of kilometres down the road – a great way to meet the neighbours with them driving down the road to bring her home!

Over the last couple of months, her health had begun to deteriorate. She fought long and hard to stay with us, but her time had come. Both Hayley and I had silently hoped for a couple of weeks, that she would slip away peacefully in the night but to no avail (did I mention she was extremely independent and determined?). Before Coolie started to get into too much pain, Hayley and I made the decision to put Coolie to sleep.

It has been a pleasure and privilege to have spent the last 14 1/2 years with our beautiful Coolie and I am so glad that she got to spend the last 18months of her life here on the farm. She is now peacefully sleeping watching over us and keeping a close eye on the farm.

RIP Coolie – April 1997 – 21st August 2012

Wet and Wild Weekend

The title says it all. Yesterday wasn’t too bad, plenty of sun, but also plenty of wind. Today started off pretty good, but man did things change! Wind, rain and biting cold, perfect weather for impending lambing… Ma is looking like she is ready to pop, so I moved our flock closer to the house.

Ma is looking mighty pregnant. We are hoping for twins!

I also spent the weekend cleaning out the chook house, making hot compost, prepping our market garden for the coming season, pulling out a ridiculous amount of horrible capeweed, starting the first of our no-dig potato beds and giving the lawns a much needed mow.

Also baked these:

These are 100% organic true sourdough loaves!

As the days start to get longer, you can almost see the pasture grow….almost…