Tag Archives: winter

Anticipation

Support for women in small or microbusinesses to help them identify their strenths

Right on the cusp of the Winter Solstice, there is not a lot of sunshine around in the southern most part of Australia. The soft, mist like rain soaking into the ground means that the soil will retain the moisture longer and there is an anticipation of lush new growth.

The spring bulbs have already pushed forth their leaves and a few “early birds” have blossomed. These bulbs have no expectations except to blossom.  The jonquil never expects to become a rose, yet within the core of its bulb it has the knowledge and wisdom of when to begin sprouting from its dormancy.  It doesn’t waste time worrying about the bulb next to it…. whether it is a hyacinth or a tulip or even onion weed… it just gets on with what it has to do and turns its face up to the sunshine when it flowers.

Yet some bulbs do better than others. They have the support of fertile, watered soil, adequate sunshine and good nutrients. Others may find themselves in a crowded position and could do with the support of a gentle gardener to place them in a less crowded place once in a while. Still others may find themselves overshadowed by a stronger shrub or bush and yet they still manage to put forth its leaves, even if this season they haven’t quite got the right conditions to flower.

And so it is, when starting out in your own business…..  There is an anticipation, a feeling of excitement as you begin your journey.  There is a delicate balance between anticipation and anxiety …. anticipation will allow you to let go of some of your expectations whilst anxiety binds you to them.  Wisdom is knowing  which is which.

Choose to be free of self imposed limitations by walking your talk and making wise decisions ……if you are having difficulty doing this look for support….you are not a failure if you ask for support and you will become stronger if you do so. The bulb needs the support of fertile soil, adequate water and sunshine, so too for you!

Are you in a crowded marketplace and need to move to more fertile soil?

Are you overshadowed by doubt or overpowered by others ?

You do have more control over your decisions than the bulb does. Acknowledge your personal power and reflect on your completeness. It may seem like hard work as you tend to your needs but the support of a coach or mentor will most often guide you to the path to your future.  Be open with them, they are not there to judge you, just as the rose does not judge the jonquil.  Check in with your feelings… if you are truly open to accepting support, then you will find that you are not defensive and effective communication will flow just like the winter creeks and rivers.

Take a moment to step out  of your own shadow and walk tall into the sunshine!

Winter plantings

Sub zero morning

A recent bout of the flu slowed down the plans for planting more productive trees and herbs, as well as the cooler weather and the likelihood of losing plants to frost.

However, over the last month a lemon tree has been planted where the “wild area” meets the paddock and seems to be surviving quite happily.I keep meaning to take up some citrus feed for it….and to start looking around for some other citrus varieties such as oranges, mandarin and grapefruit to plant nearby as well.

A passionfruit vine Chilly Winter's morninghas been planted along the fence that marks the paddock boundary and I discovered  that getting organic certification for the property will not be possible – even though most permaculture sites have articles about safely composting everything – including properly composted humanure – and no pesticides or chemically based fertilizers will be used. Its new leaves and tendrils have been a little tinged by the frost, but otherwise seems to be liking where it is.

The plan is to have mini orchards or small groves of productive plants scattered around the property, modelling permaculture principles. For instance, the pomegranates will go on a slope below the labyrinth where the Biddy Bush has been cleared and to the south, on the rockier slope near the wild area, is a site more suitable for a small stand of olives. Both are relatively hardy species and should do well.

Had the government kept the Carbon Tax, I could have planted an area of non fruiting trees for carbon credits, which would have been an appropriate thing to do as we are spending a lot of time travelling back and forth from the city to the retreat. Not to worry, I shall proceed anyway….it’s all in the planning of where the best locations are for various species.

Already the damp winter has taken its toll on the Pinwheel Hakeas – they were originally found in Western Australia – a couple have “turned up their toes” and fallen over. I’ve harvested a few seed pods and they reside for the time being in a paper bag on the dash of the car, where the heater warms them up. Once open, the bag will be held over an open, smoky fire to encourage them to germinate.

An almond tree and the pomegranate trees live in pots back in suburbia for the time being and will travel up to the retreat inFlinders Ranges Wattle the next couple of weeks to acclimatize before planting out. I’m thinking that the almond tree will replace one of the fallen Hakea trees (which means I will have to get a couple more- maybe 3 – for pollination) along the driveway. That will certainly add some colour and if the almonds set, I’m sure that the Cockatoos will be pleased.

? Bent Leaf WattleAt present there are a couple of varieties of wattles in glorious yellow. One of these is a Flinders Ranges Wattle according to a weathered nursery tag at its base. I will have to watch this one and quite possibly won’t be propagating any more from seed- if it sets any. It’s not listed as a weed in Victoria to my knowledge, but is in Western Australia. Over on the north eastern edge of the property is another small stand of wattles, which I think are bent leaf wattles.  Around the cottage and the labyrinth are Mallee Wattles, whilst the wild area has some scattered specimens of Spreading Wattle – which is white and quite prickly and has been happily flowering since mid May. Spreading Wattle

To further attract the bees and to add more riotous colour to the driveway, I would like to put in some Jacaranda trees. They seem to grow quite happily in nearby Tatura and Shepparton, but I need to investigate further to see if they are likely to end up as a weed. Because the retreat is close to the State Forest, I’m happy to include other species of deciduous trees and shrubs if they are productive and contribute to self sufficiency.

Fire Baked PotatoThe labyrinth sage still seems to be quite happy and the kangaroos still have enough feed to ignore it. A couple more weeks to go before I start to grow more from seed to plant out in springtime. A Rosemary cutting has been planted near the fire pit – nice and close to reach for if there is roast lamb cooking in the camp oven! The mallee wood burns well, but it was a little too chilly this weekend to stand outside in the evening to enjoy the fire! Very grateful that it wasn’t raining as well.

With the low temperatures this weekend, there is serious investigation into purchasing a wood heater for the cottage. The small electric heater that is installed is not very efficient at coping with O’ C  and below and extremely power hungry. The challenge now is to find one that is the right size for the current cottage and will also be efficient in heating any planned extension. With plenty of fallen wood on the roadside verge and around the property, this seems to be the most cost effective heating option.

 

Wintry Weather

winter temperatureWinter has definitely set in up at the retreat.

The purpose of the trip was to make sure that there had been no storm damage or trees blown over in the last couple of weeks. We always seem to bring the rain with us – even in summertime – although it was mostly showers, which meant we could get out for walks.

This means mud inside the cottage and the next priority is to pave an area near the door and put a verandah up so that boots can be taken off and left outside.

Not being a huge cottage – it’s 6 metres by 6 metres – there is not a lot of floor space to have to wash, but after this trip I have decided to wash it on arrival instead of on departure;  as I’m wondering if leaving the damp floor to dry in our absence is what is causing the condensation overnight.

Friday night was a chilly 3’C outside and although there is a small wall heater in the cottage and we had a nice fire outside, it was bedtime by 8.15pm  as that was the warmest place! Saturday wasn’t too bad as the rain clouds kept the chill away, but Sunday morning was clear, bright  and brisk. Inside the cottage humidity rose to 90% and we opened up the doors and windows to air out the place…… equilibrium was reached just after midday with the temperature rising to 11.3!!

The pace of this visit was somewhat slower than before as I was finishing with a bout of the flu and the paddocks were too wet to take the tractor into. A little yabbie fishing – only small ones, which were returned – from the bottom dam…. which was surprising, although the neighbour did let us know that  he often saw people jumping the fence and putting nets in there.  A couple of larger  ones from the top dam provided an entree for Saturday night’s dinner. On a side trip to Echuca on Saturday, I saw a resin crocodile head that floats and thought that would make an interesting visual for the bottom dam – especially if it it didn’t float away down the overflow!!

Pinwheel hakeaA Pinwheel Hakea decided to turn up its toes on Saturday afternoon which was a shame as it was a good size tree. I have harvested a few seed pods and we already have 4 seedlings growing as an experiment. Pinwheel Hakea blossom

When it browns off, I will drag it to a small pile where 2 others are and burn it. Apparently the seeds only germinate with bushfire smoke and it will be interesting to see if this creates a small colony of hakea seedlings! Saturday also saw the planting of a passionfruit vine along the home paddock fence. The first of the composting toilet buckets was tipped into a very large hole and the vine duly planted on top. I think we may have to wait a bit longer for the other buckets to be used, although perhaps the holes can be dug for the proposed fruit trees whilst the soil is damp and easier to get through…. I’m also wondering if the composting process wouldn’t be quicker in the ground…..

On Sunday, a few of the wattles lining the driveway had branches broken off, presumably by some over excited kangaroos on their way through … I was fortunate to be standing quite still (I was checking my step tracker app) when 3 large roos bounded past within a metre of me. I don’t know who was more surprised ….!!  A walk around the perimeter of the retreat is about 2500 steps, not accurate as I got sidetracked going back to look at a couple of things and made a small detour here and there.

The main water tank retank leakmains a problem… there are several leaks which seem to be made worse by the increased pressure as it fills….The small tank next to the cottage only holds 500 litres and is filled quite quickly. To prevent damage from the overflow, it is regularly emptied into the big tank which would hold an estimated 40,000 litres when full. At present it is still only half full even though we have had some good rains.

The recent visitors helped to paint on a compound which is supposed to react witTank leakh the water and create crystals in the cracks to seal the leaks, but it is only partially successful so far.

At one stage there was a significant leak and a patch of tractor tube, wood and held in with a fencing post sufficed until underwater cement from mending the pool tiles at home was applied.

Fingers croOrb in labyrinthssed that the repairs can continue successfully – otherwise it will mean a new tank as this is the main water supply for the retreat.

The labyrinth was walked … the sage and the lavender continue to stay green and not nibbled by animals. The wattle trees inside the path are just about to bloom and will add to the ambiance…..

I didn’t have the energy this trip to re-define the pathway. Tiny toadstools

Just to the north of it lies what I call the “wild area”.. fenced off, it has a stand of tall gums, but mostly bush mallee and rocks.  I discovered a mossy “pathway” and thought immediately of faeries and the like….