Off The Grid
Winter is definitely here now. We’ve had a few frosts and very little sunshine. The lack of sun is not good news for our lifestyle off the grid. Small amount of sunshine = small amount of power. We have the generator as back up, so have been running it more than usual to top up the batteries. While we’re in the depths of winter, we’re trying not to use the microwave, or any other high energy appliances. I’m aware that many people don’t iron now, but I can’t bring myself to not do it. Anyway, I enjoy ironing, so don’t consider it a chore. During winter, when ironing, and using the hair dryer, the generator needs to be running. I try to do both at the same time. It’s just a matter of being organised, so not really an issue.
We’ve had to spend time topping up the wood supply for the wood stove. We have wood lying around our property which we can use, but just to get us started this winter, we bought a load of wood in. Our stove has two purposes. It’s our main source of heating and I use it for cooking in winter. I have a lovely new gas stove, but I love cooking on the wood stove in winter. It also makes sense, as the stove is fired up anyway to heat the house.
Winter in the garden for me, is a busy time. I’m a firm believer that work done in the garden on those cold days in winter, when you’d rather be inside, pays off in spring and summer, so I’m usually out there, busy, busy, like a crazy person. My plan is to be self sufficient by the time I retire. There is a fair bit of work to do towards that, but we’re making progress.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve spent many hours pulling out weeds that have come up in the recent rain, and laying straw as mulch. We have a large country garden, so this is a huge job, but well worth it for the benefits it gives to the soil. Also by the time spring and summer arrive, the mulch will have settled in and be a source of cooling for the plants.
The winter vege garden has now been planted. We have new plants of cauliflower, cabbage, brocollini, silverbeet, and seeds of onions, carrots and parsnips and peas. The potatoes planted a while ago are going well. At the moment, we are harvesting silverbeet, bok choy, lettuce and beetroot, while we wait for the winter veg to be ready. There is a separate vege garden where we grow food for the chooks and have this week planted their favourites, silverbeet, lettuce and Bok Choy.
During the month, I’ve been browsing the rose catalogues, and have planted three new bush roses and one of my favourite climbing roses Pierre de Ronsard, which I’m hoping to be able to train over a standard rose ring.
Chris built a huge new day time yard for the chooks, which means that they can free range safely during the day and take themselves back into their coop at night if I’m not home in time to put them to bed. This gives extra protection from foxes and other predators. Before we had this yard the chooks would have to stay in their coop during the day, if I was expecting to be late home from work. So now everyone is happy. The chooks are loving their new yard and I’m loving not having to stress over them, when not at home.
It’s now citrus season, so I’ve been planning what to do with the excess oranges and lemons. For a start, I made Marmalade. We also have an abundance of pumpkins, so there have been a few pots of pumpkin soup bubbling away on the stove. The lemon treee is very heavy with lemons but they are not quite ready yet.
Molly and Oscar spent a day at the groomers, this week, being pampered and made to look beautiful
This month there have been some changes to both blogs. This blog has added two new fortnightly series – Rail Trail Series and Foodie Friday along with this monthly series of Our Life On A Dirt Road and Off The Grid
I’m quite excited about a new project on my other blog, Tracking Down The Family, called Writing Memoir. I’d love you to check it out and let me know what you think. There will be another new series coming soon to Tracking Down The Family, but more news on that next month:?
Out and About
We both took a week off work during June and had a couple of short trips away. Firstly, we went to Port Fair for three days, where we shared a house with friends and had a lovely time. Later in the week we went to Sorrento. Again we had a lovely time even though I was cold, and we look forward to going back later in the year. We did a lot of walking and quite a bit of relaxing on both trips so both trips were perfect, and just what we both needed. Because of our animals, it’s difficult to get away for more than a short break. We are hoping to find a house sitter, so that we can have more extended holidays.
Meet our visitor
We have a magpie who loves to visit most days in time for breakfast. Breakfast is usually cheese or bread. She then comes back later in the day and tries the steal the chicken necks from the dogs.
Our dam is very dry at the moment. We have just had small amounts of rain over the autumn and winter so far. Not near enough to fill the dam. Usually these steps are well covered, so you can see how dry it is just now. The dam provides water for the garden. At times like this, when it is very low, I recycle water from the washing machine to the garden also. We have two large dams, so with both systems in place, we have plenty of water for the garden and vege garden