Friday, 12 September 2014

Acquiring Seaweed

I've been bottling my nettle tea, which has been sitting festering away for the past six months, and wanted to extend my natural fertiliser selection by adding seaweed. So I headed down to the beach out from Winchester (the east coast), and gathered seaweed. Walking half a kilometre each way, I gathered two ute loads, which are either soaking or have already been bottled.

The south view down the beach. There's a dead seal there somewhere, so don't look too hard. Hopefully you can't see it in the photo.

Winchester Beach - 2014-08-14 - 01

The beach entry point.

Winchester Beach - 2014-08-14 - 02

The north view down the beach.

Winchester Beach - 2014-08-14 - 03

Unfortunately, I've been too lazy to take a photo of the bottled seaweed tea. Or the pile of seaweed which is in the backyard. Or the citrus I poured it over which have become damaged, likely from the salt. But I've fertilised the garlic, beans, peas, cauliflower, chickpeas and so forth, and they've started coming away nicely.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Chicken Fencing Required

It's reaching the point where I really need to fence in the chickens. They get into the back porch and sit on the bench by the door, leaving muddy footprints and dirt. They get into the garden edges and scratch the bark chips out onto the lawn. They knock over containers with plants inside. They scratch up my new hugelkultur garden beds, moving all the dirt off the buried wood. And so on.

And of course, they get on the window sills outside. Sometimes even pecking at the window to get a response!

Here at the lounge window:

Chickens - 2014-09-02 - 01 - Lounge

And at the bedroom window. You can see my budget window insulation, done using bubble wrap.

Chickens - 2014-08-29 - 01 - Bedroom Window

And back in the lounge again.

Chickens - 2014-08-10 - 01 - Lounge Window

At the moment, the chickens would have to be the most free range I know of. They never get locked in anywhere, or shut in at night. They just come and go as they please, including around the house. The garden edges (ignoring shifted bark and dirt) have never looked better. The weeds under the hedges have been scratched out, and are now clean and tidy (again ignoring dirt shifted to places like the driveway).

But still, I think a large fenced area around the orchard is where they are going to end up.. They get in everywhere, eating or damaging everything that isn't covered with netting eventually.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Brogue v1.7.4

There's no public repository for Brogue, which means I maintain my own where I merge in each source release, which comes as part of each binary Brogue release.

Today I merged in v1.7.4.  It was a pretty straightforward merge, so should be an easy BrogueX release.

The only problem is that my BrogueX repositories are broken because of bad merging, where things have been merged in the wrong direction and I have no idea how to fix it besides throwing all my local repositories away and starting again.  It's strange how I keep doing this.

More Hugelkultur Garden Beds

In an ideal world, all my garden beds would have been prepped last Autumn. But it was cold and wet, and.. it never happened. So at the start of Spring, I've been digging out and clearing some more hugelkultur beds where my corn patches used to be.

This is the paddock hugelkultur bed #2. Most of the soil here was taken out, mixed with a ute load of purchased compost, and put in a raised bed by the house. Filling with wood and then covering with soil followed this photo.

Garden Bed Preparation - Field - 2014-08-13

A later photo, showing newly dug and filled paddock hugelkultur beds #2 and #3, and beyond that fenced #1. The bordering with cardboard was intended to catch dirt while working, and is not a good approach long term in my opinion. The grass grows around it and pushes it up. You can also see clearing in preparation for subsequent beds closer to the camera.

Garden Bed Preparation - Field - 2014-09-02 - 05

Three ute loads of wood from the neighbours "burn piles", ready for digging #4. You can see borage growing in the back right corner of the pile, this is one of the few things that I can identify as having grown from the Koanga herbal ley seeds I scattered last year (and never saw any sign of).

Garden Bed Preparation - Field - 2014-09-05 - 01

The easy part of #4 dug out, where it overlaps the past year's corn patch. The intention is to make it longer where I have the space. #3 has a plum or quince tree planted beyond the corn patch area, which is why it ends up shorter.

Garden Bed Preparation - Field - 2014-09-05 - 02

#4 filled in with wood, and with a partial dirt covering. It by this point was dug out to an extended length.

Garden Bed Preparation - Field - 2014-09-05 - 03

And finally the finished #4 bed. Note that #3 still has an excess of soil from where wood in #4 displaced it, this will be shared between all the beds.

Garden Bed Preparation - Field - 2014-09-05 - 04

It takes maybe three hours to do this, but most of the work is already done because the soil in the past year's corn patches has been previously dug up. Parts like the extended area have never been dug, and are hard and contain stones making them much more work.

Chilling out in China

I stumbled across this old photo I took of two chinese guys relaxing together on a bench in a park, in Shanghai.  Most likely students relaxing after a harrowing amount of study.  You wouldn't find two european guys relaxing in this fashion, at least not willingly..