The chicken coop is spongy underfoot. Any place we walk regularly in the garden is starting to chop up. And where the cows stand at the gate twice a day (and more if they see me out in the barnyard) is slush. Lucky I’m not recovering from a sprained ankle.
Still, can’t complain. If you’re not looking down, the hilltops look gorgeous with smoky coloured clouds nudging up against them. The rain has been mostly light, so it’s actually really nice to be out in it if you’ve chores to do. And I can run the bath as much as I feel like and still hear the water tank overflowing the next morning. What’s more, the east of the state is having its fourth floods of the year. I have minor inconvenience, others have disaster.
All this rain may cause the garlic to rot. I hope not. We may not know for sure until the harvest, in November or December. The garden lies relatively fallow. Even this year’s brussels sprouts haven’t thrived like we had hoped, but most nights there’s something green from the vegie patch. My favourite, this week at least, is broccoli. Not big, fat wedges like you get in shops, but the shoots that come out laterally once the big flower head has been eaten. These mini broccoli make tremendous eating, simply tossed with garlic and olive oil or quickly blanched.
We’ve started propagating pea seeds in the sunroom. The next round of planting out happens in mid-September; though, for us, winter isn’t over until late in the month, despite what the official season says. Now is a time for preparing the beds, for spreading poo, for working out which seeds and seedlings to plant where. As ever, the garden is too small for our needs. It’s no bigger than a domestic vegetable garden, with no chance of growth thanks to those pesky possums. Unless I net another area, we have to work with what we’ve got. I even saw a rabbit in the house block for the first time the other morning, so there’s another pest that we need to keep an eye out for.
There’s been some really good news for the Huon. The abattoir has been saved, by an enthusiastic new owner who sees his role not as a killing factory, but as being part of the community. It wasn’t until the abattoir nearly closed that many in the valley suddenly realised its value beyond that of the most obvious. Smallholders who want to sell their meat rely on it. As do many of the larger farms that have livestock, along with the butchers in the region, and a couple of us who sell at markets outside the valley. We’re blessed to have an abattoir close to home, with an attitude that smallholders do count in the big scheme of things.