Do Rabbits Dream of Long-Eared Sheep?

Late Afternoon From My Backdoor

Late Afternoon From My Backdoor

I try to structure my week into bits where I work and bits where I don’t do so much. It gives me time to breathe, think and enjoy. And it’s a really good thing for my creativity. It means that I don’t earn as much as I probably could, but the payoff to my health and wellbeing is incalculable.

Having said that, my “day off” is full of activity and little work-related tasks, sadly necessary to meet current deadlines. And of course, there’s the daily blog promise to uphold throughout November. Yes, this is another NaBloPoMo post!

At the moment, I’m in the middle of a preparatory course for going back to formal study. (This is bound to be the subject of a blog post later in NaBloPoMo!) So, this morning I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading for an assignment due at the end of this week. It’s fun, I’m learning about learning again and thinking about thinking! And it’s a lot more inspiring than I first thought it would be.

Next, is some time out in the secret garden. I live in a wonderful area, 25 minutes casual walk into the city of Hobart and yet I have an urban farm. You’d never think it from looking at the front of my place! I manage to grow most vegetable needs for this household and the excess gets spread out amongst family and friends. I also have the “timewasters” out there – my lovely hens, who are laying so many eggs at the moment, and my beautiful pet rabbits – the buck, Barabas Beefcake, and two does – Bella and Boudica. I eat meat and want to take some responsibility for at least part of my diet, so their offspring will be food for me and mine. But these three characters are absolutely pets!

Barabas Beefcake

Barabas Beefcake

At present, it’s mid-Spring in the southern hemisphere but the weather has been so very strange (we had snow on Mt Wellington a few weeks ago) right across Australia. So it’s only been the last few days that it’s finally felt like the busiest time of the gardening year!

Today, I’ve been weeding the rhubarb patch, getting ready to plant more corn seedlings, which also involves a lot of talking to the hens, feeding them weeds and collecting eggs. They live in a hutch built mostly out of scrap, so it’s not the prettiest structure but it’s safe and secure for my precious girls. We call it either “Frankenhutch” or “Cluckingham Palace” but it provides a one-stop shop for eggs and chicken poo enriched mulch for the vegetable garden. All chickens are quite silly things but I have one, Henrietta who is utterly mad. Everytime I look at her I can see the link back to the dinosaurs. Nevertheless, she eats out of my hand, loves cabbage and kale leaves, and is becoming quite tame.

Henrietta of the Mad Eyes

Henrietta of the Mad Eyes

Another of today’s jobs was potting up Basil (my favourite summer herb) in the greenhouse. When I first moved here a few years ago, the greenhouse was a badly neglected shed with a young cherry tree trying to grow inside it! Now, it’s clad in clear polycarbonate roofing plastic and is where I grow chillies, basil, tomatillos, cucumber and eggplant as well as raise my vegetable seeds.

The Start of the Basil Crop

The Start of the Basil Crop

At lunchtime, there was a coffe break with friends under the chesnut tree, which will be a mass of bees in a week or two when the flowers come. Here, rabbits were cosseted, fed little treats of chickory leaves and generally loved. In recent months, I’ve been putting a cane lounge out when the weather’s been good, and it’s become one of my favourite places to take a break, read a book, listen to music with the bunnies or just think about nothing at all.

Because we’ve had so much rain the last few months, there are more weeds than vegetables at present, but there’s still enough to provide me and mine with all our salad needs and green vegetables for steaming and stir frys. It’s wonderful, keeps me healthy and keeps me connected to the earth πŸ˜€

Bella & Boudica

Bella & Boudica

11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. JaimeLovesStuff.com
    Nov 07, 2013 @ 00:37:03

    What a lovely homestead! I adore urban farming and am going to start growing a few things here and there.

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  2. DougDoesLife
    Nov 07, 2013 @ 04:25:44

    I love the twist on the Philip K. Dick title! I have eight chickens, and they’re all crazy…

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    • Debra Manskey
      Nov 07, 2013 @ 06:45:34

      Hi Doug, yeah tiny chicken brains – you can almost see the single cog turning! Nevertheless, I love my five girls dearly.
      Thanks for your comment on the title too. Philip K Dick is a favourite in this house. Take care, Debra

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  3. Di
    Nov 07, 2013 @ 06:26:12

    Had to smile, somehow missed the fact you were in Australia first time I read you. Spring … I’m trying to ignore kiwi friends and family, as we head into the completely horrid Belgian autumn. Your place, it looks like bliss … but I guess you know it anyway.

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    • Debra Manskey
      Nov 07, 2013 @ 06:50:07

      Hey Di, it is bliss – but hard work too. A constant battle against weather and weeds at present.
      I haven’t experienced a Belgian autumn but having Aussie friends in Holland, I think I can imagine!
      Stay warm!

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      • Di
        Nov 07, 2013 @ 06:53:03

        I always think of snakes and spiders in Oz. Crazy, isn’t it. I was over visiting my brother in Perth once and realised I was scared just walking along the paths there in the city. His friends laughed when they realised, I had no clue about snakes and etc. Anyway I can imagine the hard work. We have a tiny pocket-sized garden here and the Belgian bloke just tucked it all up, ready for winter. That alone took an age. Holland yes … oh the misery πŸ™‚

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      • Debra Manskey
        Nov 07, 2013 @ 07:12:14

        Ooooh, I think I was bitten by a spider yesterday – random mark/swelling on my forearm but it seems okay this morning. If I lived 5kms further out, I’d have to snake-proof everything around the animals. And there are only 3 types of snakes in Tasmania – sadly, all venomous.

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      • Di
        Nov 07, 2013 @ 07:25:31

        πŸ™‚ you’re meant to write, ‘don’t be silly, Di’. Instead you confirm my worst fears. But seriously, I’m glad it’s okay this morning.

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  4. windsortaz
    Nov 07, 2013 @ 11:05:27

    It was great to hear about all of your animals! I love farm animals and have rabbits, chickens, etc too! I would love to expand my farm if I could!

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