February 2017

VegQuick as a flash, February is over!
This month we have put most of our time into planting late Summer/Autumn crops in our veggie garden. The plants are all at various stages, with the greenhouse being  particularly busy at the moment. We are still building more raised beds but, those that are complete, are working hard already! We have enjoyed tomatoes from the Aquaponic system throughout the month and managed to claim some luscious figs – we fight a daily battle with the Knysna Turaco and an increasingly braver Samango monkey. I think they are two creatures worth sharing figs with though!
We have built some shade-cloth covers for our beds to protect the seeds and seedlings in their early days – the chickens helped to prepare the soil by scratching and fertilising the beds but they don’t understand why they now have to stay out of the beds!

We have had wonderful rain over the last few weeks but sadly our tomatoes outside didn’t enjoy it too much…neither did the dirt road! The rains treated us to some beautiful flower displays in the forest and the stream was pumping – our inflow was at such high pressure that it burst a pipe in our gravity fed water system going to the house! The stream at our entrance also overflowed and the delicious parasol mushrooms appeared.

The geese have been doing a remarkable job of mowing the lawn. They have been put into a “tractor” – a mobile fenced off area which is moved daily. Having the geese in a small area means they have to eat what is in that area and can’t pick and choose to only eat the yummy greens. This helps control the weed growth in the lawn and makes sure all the grasses, weeds and other plants within their tractor are kept to the same level so that one doesn’t take over. Once the geese are moved every morning, the chickens rush in and enjoy any bugs exposed in the shorter grass or from under the moist ‘pond’ left by the geese. An example of getting the most use off an area while also giving back to the same area as the geese and chickens fertilise the area, chickens aerate the ground through scratching and the area is then rested for a moon cycle.

We unfortunately lost one hen last week during the night but it is a sign of predators – perhaps jackal or caracal – in the area which we have to see as a positive sign of a healthy and balanced eco system. Luckily another hen hatched 5 more chicks this week! This has been one busy mommy – she hatched our first ever clutch of 2 in November and now a second clutch within the same season! It is beautiful to watch how Nature makes the most of the seasons!

If you enjoy reading our posts and would like to come and see all the goings on first hand, come and stay a night or two and enjoy the sights and sounds of the country – the owls are a particular treat at night at the moment and we are just about finished renovating one of the bathrooms in the Manor House…come and take a look!

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