FInally, winter is over. It has been long, cold, frosty and hard to bear this year. From now, we will start to get a few hours of sunshine most days, which will enable us to top up the solar batteries, and also gives us hope that the cold weather is disappearing. We use the generator more than we’d like to in winter, due to lack of sunshine. Before long, with the warmer and sunnier weather coming, we will use it rarely.
Being off the grid can have it’s disadvantages. They are very few and we consider them to be lifestyle choices, so try to work around them. One of those disadvantages is that our house is quite cold in winter. So, most nights during the cold months, we head off to bed fairly early with the hot water bottle. Remember those? Our solar system can’t support an electric blanket so we have brought back the hot water bottle. I love it! Our house is beautiful and cool in summer which gives us the offsetting advantage.
The past month in the garden, has seen me continuing to create the no dig garden beds to enrich the soil and reduce the amount of weeding necessary. It’s been lovely to walk around the garden in the past week, and see it starting to come alive after the dormancy of winter. The lavendar are blooming and spring flowering annuals are starting to show their vibrant colours. We have daffodils under the lemon tree, which are flowering and looking beautiful. The wattle trees are in full bloom. Daffodils and wattle are always a welcome sight to me, at the end of winter, as their flowering signify that winter is almost over.
The end of winter is a busy planting season for seeds and seedlings. I have a tiny hot house which is full with small pots of tomatoes, lettuce and many herbs. We planted a large crop of potatoes in the new vege garden that we developed last month. The word of the month for the garden is weeds! The weeds are going gangbusters with the rain and are taking a bit of keeping up with. When I get frustrated I cast my mind back to the summer when there wasn’t a weed in the garden due to the dry weather. Unfortunately that also meant that I had to spend hours watering. I’m just trying to enjoy the weeds and not get frustrated by them.
We have had quite a good rainfall during August, with the water tanks overflowing at one stage. When that happened Chris made a temporary drain down, to the dam so the water wasn’t wasted. Total rainfall for August was 58mls.
There is quite a bit of produce in the vege garden that is ready for harvesting. In the last week of August, there were potatoes, silverbeet, lettuce, brocollini, and lemons. Herbs being picked are mint, basil, thyme,lemon thyme, chives, parsley and rosemary.
Now we are getting a few hours of sunshine the chooks are starting to lay again. They don’t lay much during winter as theyneed full sunny days to develop their eggs. We have been getting enough eggs during winter, for our needs, but other than winter, we usually get enough eggs to give them away to family and friends. Our chooks range free and the eggs are very nice to eat. Much nicer than eggs bought commercially.
Out and about
During August I went to Coolangatta in Queensland for a reunion with a group of twenty special girlfriends from all over Australia and New Zealand We met online ten years ago and have maintained that friendship, meeting up a few times over those years. I had a wonderful time due to the great company and also the opportunity to get away from the winter for a few days. The temperature was 23-25C. . I was out walking every day for hours as I couldn’t get enough of the sunshine.
The following weekend was The Bendigo Writers Festival. This event is in my diary every year. I wouldn’t miss it. I had a fantastic three days listening to authors and seeing the latest book releases. My bedside table ‘to read’ pile is much higher after the weekend.