Tag Archives: feral goats

…when the bough breaks

There is always something that needs doing around the property.

The remains of the pump house down by the main dam!

The remains of the pump house down by the main dam!

This little project has been waiting for a while, but really needs to be sorted out, sooner rather than later, to protect the pump that makes sure the garden water tank is always full.

In the background is the large tree that fell on it, another ‘little project’ that we are still working on clearing up.

There is some nice wood in the old tree, so we aren’t too keen on relegating it directly to firewood.  Matt thinks he can do some rough planks to make a bench and possible picnic table if we can be patient enough to let it dry out properly.

In the meantime, the tarpaulin that we threw over the top of the old pump house to keep the weather out keeps getting blown off, and when I went out to measure the concrete pad it sits on this morning, I really couldn’t be sure what might be lurking amongst the alluring blue folds.

I maintain a healthy respect for some of the more slithery brands of wildlife that we share our home with.  The tarpaulin has to go.

We haven’t been able to source a replacement shed of the same size at a reasonable price, but Matt found some fairly cheap prefab sheds at the local hardware store.  The one he snapped up looks like it might be too small to fit the pump and all its bits and pieces inside, as well the power point, but, it’s okay, he already has alternative plans for that shed and has his eye on another ‘bargain’ in a slightly larger size.

While the original pump house was just tall enough to fit the pump, the new shed will be able to house some tools as well so that we can leave a few things down near the dam.  We have plans to build a garden on the north facing slope that runs down to the water – maybe a small orchard or some grape vines , or possibly even an extended veggie patch.

Whatever we decide on, the first job will be to erect some kind of enclosure to keep ‘the wallaby’ out.  He doesn’t just eat the fruit, he eats the entire plant, as we have found to our detriment with a cherry tree, an apple, a green gage, and our pear tree (which was doing so well) in our back garden.  I chased him off the peach tree the other day, but some of the lower branches are looking a bit sad.

The impromptu chicken wire fences around the existing garden beds have done their job at keeping young Wally, the possum(s), and the goats at bay, but, sadly, were unable to repel the late frosts that killed off our tomato plants and seriously stunted everything else, or the hot, dry days over summer that took their toll on our veggies.

I’d like to spend more time in the garden, bringing on more edibles by preference, but when school is in, time is regrettably short, so the garden just isn’t looking all that bright at the moment

If nothing else, there’s a lot of weeding to get done.  Not Matt’s favourite job, so it generally comes down to me.  That, and putting up scrappy looking chicken wire fences (that sag, so the possums don’t feel confident climbing over them).  Still, the roses are starting to recover inside their wire-y prison, so I can’t complain too much.

a couple of brave roses putting on a show...

a couple of brave roses putting on a show…

I’ll let you know how the shed project goes.

Spring is in the Air…

...view up the hill towards the house from the bottom dam... our plans are to clear this area of shrubs and grasses and 'lift' the trees to create a park like area where the 'roos can graze... one day... soon...

The view up the hill towards the house as shown in my earlier post…

Earlier in the year I wrote about our project to clear the slope down to the lower dam behind the house, and I have to say, that even though we slid backwards a bit on this over the colder winter months, the project is back on track and Matt is doing an amazing job.

The work in progress… looking a bit sad at the moment, but once we have it cleared we can start greening it up a bit.

 

 

 

In the long term, we are hoping to encourage some pasture or lawn grass to grow there instead of the long, tussocky poa grass, and then the challenge will be to entice the ‘roos to come and graze and keep it nice and short.  We don’t think this will be too much of a challenge, however, as our ‘lawn’ (as we euphemistically call the grass surrounding the house)  is maintained quite nicely by them.  For now, though, we will just be happy to have extended our buffer zone around the house block.

 

 

I, of course, should be helping, but I managed to twist my knee earlier in the school break, and am finding balancing on the rocky, uneven slope a bit awkward.  Excuses aside, there is plenty to keep me occupied, anyway.

I’ve been working on getting our veggie patch up and running again.  After our fiasco with the possum who ate all our veggies last year (except for one, small head of broccoli that I’m not even sure he hadn’t nibbled on), as well as our roses, I’ve been working hard to find a cheap and easy way to possum-proof the beds.  They also need to be swamp-wallaby-proof.  And feral-goat-proof.  As I discovered one day last week when we had all been out and came back to find a small herd of goats absolutely feasting on anything they could get their teeth into!

Our veggie patch, as viewed from the hill above the house.

Our veggie patch, as viewed from the hill above the house.

Enter the chicken wire.  Which is surrounding the beds as we get them planted up.  Not nice taut, chicken wire, stretched between pretty posts, but slightly floppy – because, apparently, possums don’t like climbing it when it is – and tall enough to dissuade wallabies and goats.  We hope.  Although, I suppose that will depend on their determination and just how tempting our crop will be.

At the moment we are re-using some rolls of ex-fencing wire that we have found left lying around the property, but we’re being a bit careful.  Matt saw a brown snake running (sliding) for cover under one such roll, late last summer.

So far, I have weeded one-and-a-half beds and transplanted our asparagus and some tomatoes and celery into one of them.  The toms are under glass as we are still having some frosts, and the asparagus is pretty much hidden under the mulch of poa grass we are experimenting with.

Our permanent bed for the asparagus, alongside the rhubarb that i tried unsuccessfully to move last year.

Our permanent bed for the asparagus, alongside the rhubarb that I tried (unsuccessfully) to move last year.  Note the extremely attractive fencing.

The next bed along is our strawberry patch, which I was going to thin out until I saw all the tiny flowers.  I didn’t take much persuading to move on to the next bed and leave the strawberries in peace.

I’m half way through getting this one free of weeds.  I’ve pulled out about three different kinds of oxalis, various grasses, and something that is possibly santolina.  Another experiment has been to chop up and turn over the clover as a sort of ‘green manure’.  I’ll be interested to see whether it just grows back or not.  I’ve got quite a lot of things planned for this bed, so hopefully by planting heavily I’ll keep it weed free.

If you compare the two sides you can see how overgrown the bed had become.  I'm going to try out some companion planting in here, including some potatoes and a variety of brassicas, bush beans and an onion or two!

If you compare the two sides you can see how overgrown the bed had become. I’m going to try out some companion planting in here, including some potatoes and a variety of brassicas, bush beans, and an onion or two!

Two more beds to go after that, including one that will be challenging to possum-proof, and then a herb bed to tidy up.

Just one or two things to keep me going for a while.