The first fire of the season has been lit in the fire place.

You only have to take one look about outside this evening to know it’s going to be a cold one.  There is very little cloud about and the moon is already out, trying to outshine the sun and it’s not even 5:00 yet.  The weather forecasters say it will only get as low as 6°C but that’s the lowest it’s been so far this autumn, so it’s cold to us.

It's going to be a cold night!
It's going to be a cold night!

Today, the sum total of time spent in the garden has been to go out and open the greenhouse to make sure it doesn’t overheat during the day and then go back out this evening and shut it up again so it doesn’t get too cold overnight.  Although on the evening trip today I took the camera as an excuse to prolong the time I am able to spend in the garden.  I have been spending my gardening time doing an equally exciting project; however it robs me of my gardening time.  It shouldn’t be for much longer and when the project is over I shall miss it just as much as I’m missing the gardening now.

The garden is looking ok for a late season, partially neglected patch.  There are still goodies to be had and the cool season crops are loving the cooler weather.

The last traces of summer
The last traces of summer

The capsicums are probably the last of the summer plants to give up their goods.  They look healthy and lush, but it is a little sad to think any flower stretching itself wide open for the sun and the bees isn’t going to fulfil its destiny and become a bright red capsicum.  The cape gooseberries will also suffer the same fate, yet the bush is so green and full of life.

Fresh peas are now coming in thick and fast
Fresh peas are now coming in thick and fast

The peas are doing great and I harvested a large bowl yesterday and sat around the table shelling peas with Tim the Helper and the Joeyosaurus.  Shelling peas is one of those things all kids should do at some stage in their lives.  I’m sure I would have ended up with more to cook with if I’d done it alone, but kids need memories like these.

Peas of the future
Peas of the future

I’ve also planted a load of new peas to ensure a continuous supply.  We are so blessed to live where the winters are mild enough and through the right choice of pea variety we can grow them all year long!

Due to my limited time available for gardening I have done a bit of lazy weeding.  In previous years I set a garden bed aside for the kids, who strangely were only really interested in it when it came to eating the stuff they grew, so it basically fell down to me to maintain it and keep it weed free.  It started out as a lovely garden, but the kids neglected it and then I neglected it and eventually it became such a weedy mess that we stopped neglecting it and began ignoring it.

I have now decided if the kids don’t want it, then I’ll use it to grow the stuff that wasn’t on the carefully laid out plan.  You know the stuff:  a “must have” picked up at a garden centre;  a seedling given by a friend who “grew too many”;   a vegetable that had been overlooked as a possibility, but now the garden wouldn’t be complete without;  and then of course there are the ones that all the experts and celebrity gardeners say are the new seasons “hottest thing!”

Better than pulling weeds...
Better than pulling weeds...

So I grabbed a load of cardboard boxes and just covered the whole mess up.  I disturbed a few mice who jumped up and ran off into the strawberries.  I thought “that can’t be good” but I’ll have to worry about it later.

No more unauthorised chicken field trips
No more unauthorised chicken field trips

And the last thing I managed to do to protect my crops was to launch a sneak attack on the chickens.  The foul-feathered creatures have been jumping the fence and hanging out near the veggie garden – too near for my liking.  So last night, under the cover of darkness, Hubby the Un-Gardener and I went outside, armed with my best dress making scissors and we clipped some chicken wings!  We found waking them from their slumber is the best time to do it.  It eliminates the need for all that chasing and try to catch business.  You just work your way along the roost picking up chickens and wing clipping, one chicken at a time.  But you can’t put them back on the roost as they are so drowsy that they fall off.  Even the rooster isn’t terrifying to do this way.  It seems to have worked as the only chicken to escape today was Brandy, but nothing can keep that girl contained!

Come again soon – I don’t think any project – no matter how exciting can keep me from my garden!

Sarah the Gardener  :  o )

15 thoughts on “The first fire of the season has been lit in the fire place.

  1. Its the same here, I’ve lit the fire for the first time now, outdoor temperature has been dropping rapidly and its now 2 degree C! A sure sign is to see that mice are coming indoors, I’ve already trapped 3 and just saw another life one! and I must say your garden looks awesome with all the individual raised beds!

    1. Hi Justin. I’ve really started to notice the mice. There is one that keeps coming into the green house, a family living in the compost pile, a couple that regularly visit the chickens and one ran out from the long grass in front of me as I was mowing! I haven’t managed to catch any yet! Cheers Sarah : o )

  2. The lazy cardboard weed control was the best thing I did last fall. I covered a huge area of my yard. When I removed the cardboard I had zero weeds and very rich happy soil full of worms. I was able to turn most of the cardboard into the ground this spring and used the rest as compost fodder. Enjoy your peas! Some of my best memories are doing “chores” in the garden – It’s so cool that you are consciously creating memories for your kids!

    1. Hi Cathy, I love the kids helping out in the garden, but they really only want to be involved if it means eating stuff! I explained all the herbs to them the other day and now I don’t think I will have any stevia leaves (sugar plant) left to dry for winter use! If you don’t take the time to create specific memories, then the year can disappear in a blur of busyness that no-one will be able to remember what happened! Cheers Sarah : o )

  3. Lovely to take a wander around your veggie garden at this time of year. I know the cardboard doesn’t look great but it really does work as a weed smotherer!

    1. Hi there, I always struggle with the concept of mulch… it’s either too ugly, too expensive, steals goodies from the garden, or adds lumps and chunks to the carefully prepared soil. I am still looking for the right solution, so in the meantime I just have to put up with ugly! Cheers Sarah : o )

    1. Hi there. The chickens are so hilarious if you wake them from their sleep! It is more about keeping my garden safe from them as there aren’t too many dangers for them here! Cheers Sarah : o )

  4. Odd that i don’t know this, living on a chicken farm and all–but wouldn’t chickens eat the bugs in the garden? (Our chickens have to stay confined.)

    1. Hi there. We discovered it purely by accident when we left the wing clipping too late in the day so had to do it in the evening. They are so funny, its like they have drugged in some way, they are so drowsy. It get the job done quickly and easily! As much as the chickens would eat the bugs in the garden, they are also partial to tend plants and also while looking for bugs they don’t seem to care that there are plants in the garden to and just scratch them away to oblivion! So the damage out weighs the help they can be. Cheers Sarah : o )

  5. Busy times in your garden! I’ve just moved house and am itching to get the new garden started but have a few more urgent priorities to sort out first (like fixing the wood heater, since here in Hobart, Tasmania, it’s already getting down to 3oC and there’s been snow on the mountain).

    I’ve picked all the green tomatoes from my plants at the old place and am looking forward to making up chutney one cold evening. 🙂

    1. Hi There, Its probably the best time for you to have a new garden to start as you can spend a bit of time planning it, instead of rushing in, in mid-spring, bunging plants anywhere to catch up on the season, Enjoy your chutney! Cheers Sarah : o )

  6. Our fire hasn’t gone out for over 2 weeks now. We don’t have any rats or mice but we DO have 7 feral cats that we have to deal with (wonder if the 2 could be intrinsically linked? ;)) and I totally envy you your delightful garden. We are maiming our 4 acres of neglected property that I inherited when my dad died and are trying to use our horticultural skills to create an edible food forest as well as a water wicked series of permaculture garden beds to feed ourselves and to share around. Be very VERY careful with those roosters… we started out completely ignorant of hen ways and bought 8 hens… one suddenly started to show lesbian tendencies and crowed. We now have 40+ chickens, 12 of them feral (well 11…we dispatched the oldest feral rooster tonight) and are being left bewildered in their persistent desire to scratch EVERYTHING to kingdom come…I will be watching your blog with fascination as well as delight in the coming months. If you want any more chooks…I will smuggle you some! 😉

    1. Hi there. My garden may not be perfect (good enough to grace the cover of a home and garden magazine) but we cobbled it together slowly and surely and it works well. Gardening isn’t something that happens overnight. I reminded Hubby the Un-Gardener this morning that we need to get rid of the extra roosters sooner rather than later or there will be a bit of trouble brewing in the coop. Having said that … the chicken life cycle may be about to begin again as Brandy the escape artist chicken has gone off somewhere. I’ll let you know in three weeks if we need smuggled chickens or not! Cheers Sarah : o )

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