Much has happened out in the world beyond the confines of the farm of the 2 folk, the dog and the tractor. Plenty has been written about the current Covid-19 affected life we all find ourselves navigating. From us to you, may this little sojourn either break the boredom of your day or go some way to reveal a life that continues on, virus or no. And above all, may it find you and yours well and healthy.
In the last month, we have truly come to appreciate our life where rural distances easily accommodate social distancing measures to the power of 10; the owner-builder / rural life perpetual task list keeps us occupied to the point where boredom is a long lost state; the kitchen garden continues as a space to plant independence and the sheep keep grazing. Yes, we have felt the impact of the lack of certain key household staples. Co-Captain did have a moment of TPP, toilet paper panic. I on the other hand immediately launched into gleeful regaling of toilet paper stories and only stopped when I realised I was the only one giggling. Otherwise, we find our days continue pretty much as normal in this new world. We consider ourselves to be extremely lucky.
So onwards, with persistence and fortitude, and a whole lot of inventiveness and humour. These times may be the catalyst for us to rediscover values more fundamental than consumerism, like kindness to shop staff who still show up to serve us. I for one hope folk re-discover the blessing that is locally grown or home grown fresh produce. Fresh produce is more nutrient-dense so it stands to reason we might all become that little bit healthier. That’s positive! Not sure I can say the same thing about home brewed liquor…how long before grape vines produce a crop?
The kitchen garden is currently producing corn, tomatoes, kale, spinach, rosemary, thyme, sage, bay, chives, tarragon, spring onions, cucumbers, chilies and capsicums (albeit dinky). The seedlings of carrot, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, beetroot and brussel sprouts are planted. All but the broccoli and parsley were home grown from seed.
Jobs to do include planting out seeds of parsnip and broadbeans, harvesting & pulling the tomatoes, corn and cucumber plants to make room for the new plantings, and finding organic ways to keep pests at bay. The focus is to get as much in the ground growing, so dense planting, and established for the next 2 months of autumn. I suspect my next post may well be titled Bug Tales from the Kitchen Garden. I have to thank Phil Dudman from https://www.growyourfood.com.au/ for reminding me leaves of plants such as broccoli, are edible too. Start picking from the bottom of the plant to create light and space for the quick growing crops like beetroot/bok choy.
It is the end of a long couple of days, filled with hard graft, lots of shoveling and nagging concerns of a looming deadline. I am watching with bated breath as Co-captain gingerly navigates the heavily loaded tractor around the piles of building supplies, fenced off tree lots and tranches of protruding rock. All at the same time. He is maneuvering the first of many wicking beds into position on the freshly leveled gravel pad. The new site for the longview adventure that is growing garlic. The new garlic paddock is going to look a whole lot different to the last one.
We have talked about this scenario for many months now, especially as the drought took hold. From an initial conversation starting with ‘I wonder if…’ we have spent many nights researching wicking beds, the various designs, costing up the materials, time and alternatives. Finally, we agreed this could be a solution to our situation that supports our approach to farming and our values. It has taken a long time to find myself standing here watching this key moment. Wryly I realise it will be a long time before I’ve finished watching this process unfold too. It’s a start and that in itself is a joyous and inspiring feeling. 2 down, another 20 odd to go.
Oh it does look lonely. Yes, you would think if I was to self isolate a pile of books would be on my survival list. Sadly most reading has been online guides on how to disinfect ‘hot zones’ in your house, keeping up with online news reports as our worlds are quickly impacted by a highly contagious virus and more telephone conversations than I would normally accommodate.
I managed one novel, and I’m conflicted. Entertaining, well written, and evocative. Clearly written of a time when women were regarded quite differently to now. I still suspect the writer’s views of women were not entirely favourable, either that or the weather drove them all to murder.
Inside the word “emergency” is “emerge”; from an emergency new things come forth. The old certainties are crumbling fast, but danger and possibility are sisters.
Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Dark