Everyone is sick, but still smiling… well kinda

So the entire household is sick, started with Kobe-Li, then Ava-Li, then Tano-Li, then Hayley and now me… We all share the love in this family, Hayley hasn’t been able to talk for the last week and a half and the kids all have developed a secondary cough. They are getting better, but it is slow and steady at the moment.

With everyone being a bit yuck, it was great to see the weather turn it on for the weekend. It has been an awesome couple of days, with the sun out and a little – tiny – bit of warmth in the air. I had the Saturday morning rituals, cleaning and baking and then an amazing lunch with Ava-Li outside in the sunshine. Everyone came out and we made up for our winter’s dose of vitamin D in one afternoon! It was great to see the sun again after a gloomy, wet, windy and cold winter. While Ava-Li and Hayley were having a nap, the boys and I went out and checked on the apple orchard. 3 out of the 40 were too far gone to recover – rabbits got to the bark before I could get tree guards on – so out, 2 of them came. I grafted another apple – a mystery one from the Principal of the school I work at, it is meant to be the biggest growing apple tree ever, but not sure the name. Both the boys had a great time walking around checking the trees, learning a heck of a lot about apples, grafting and sap flow!

Today was spent preparing the market garden for the coming season. The weeds had taken over and as much as I would have preferred to hand weed, the job was much too big to do in our current state… so out came Lemon with the rotary hoe attachment and I turned all the weeds into the beds. I will be broad forking these beds when my energy levels are back up, to break-up the soil below the beds and help to bond the two levels together. The beds will get a good dose of animal manure, which along with the weeds and straw mulch, will add a huge amount of minerals and organic matter for the worms to munch on. Speaking of worms, they are everywhere! Hopefully the soil turning does not disturb them too much!

For the past 5 weeks I have been adding one 5mx1m no-dig potato bed to the market garden in preparation for an enormous potato harvest this year. They are growing well (I had a little peak) and by the end of the season, the no-dig manures and mulch would have decomposed right down to a rich, fertile compost/soil to plant the next crop. The first harvest of potatoes should be ready by the end of October, very early November, with a regular supply maturing through the summer and into the autumn. Below are photos of the market garden and the no-dig style potato beds, plenty of straw left over from when the cows were munching (full of earthworms!), potatoes on top, dry straw next and then a good layer of composted horse manure from next door. Once they pop through, more straw and another layer of cow, chicken, sheep and alpaca manure! A great mix!

This is a view of the market garden area with the no-dig potato beds in the foreground.

Decomposed hay and cow manure along with tons of earthworms act as a bed for the seed potatoes to sleep on šŸ™‚

Next layer of well aged straw.

And the next layer for now is the final layer. Well aged horse manure. I will sprinkle rock dust on this layer tomorrow night as well as ash from the fire for a potassium injection.

So at the end of the day, I’m stuffed, the family is feeling slightly better, and yes, still smiling šŸ™‚

Tano-Li flying a kite today in the blustery wind just before lunch.

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