Spring is finally here at White Stone Farm. Hooray! Winter was frosty and we got a good dose of rain. Our water channeling system successfully harvested rainwater throughout winter, with our drainage channels filling and slowly but surely moving the water across the block, collecting in small pools along the way. Our main dam is nearly full now! Double Hooray!
These pools are now a fantastic habitat for the many wild ducks as they come in their pairs during Spring to stake a claim over one of the many hollows in the River Red Gums and frolic on their newly made ponds.
The landscape has also appreciated the watery gifts from Mother Nature, with grass growing in abundance where there was only bare, baked earth a couple of months ago. It never ceases to amaze me how grass and other plant seeds can lay dormant over those perishing, dry months and create a resurgence of greenery when the rains finally appear.
The chickens LOVE the greenery, turning into grazing herds in these springtime months and the warmer mornings and longer days kick-start their egg laying once more. It was pretty ugly times over winter with our Misfits (our ex-cage layers who already have some physical appearance disadvantages!) going through their molt. Why Mother Nature’s colder weather inspires their little chicken bodies to shed their feathers is still a mystery to me!
Our A-frame chickens are growing fast, with a number of stunning roosters in the mix. They are now urgently seeking homes (let us know if you are keen!), otherwise they will sadly end up in the pot.
The llamas are appreciating the fresh green grass and are busily mowing some areas for us! They always look so miserable in the cold and wet, so it’s nice to see them enjoy the warmer days in the sunshine.
Our greenhouse carefully protected a number of more fragile plants from frost over winter and we now have lots of lovely seed to collect, dry and replant for next season. One of my favourites was the gorgeous purple basil – a stunning colour and super tasty!
Winter was a great time for creating in the kitchen. Our Autumn harvest was turned into soups, stews and chutneys. With a long history of European farming settlement out here, there is also an abundance of European trees – many now classified as weeds, that are both tasty and incredibly good for you! The humble Hawthorn berry makes a wonderful chutney – and goes particularly well with kangaroo! Yuum!
Inspired by some recent workshops with the Ballarat Permaculture Guild, Tread Lightly Permaculture and the Hepburn Relocalisation Network, I’ve been fermenting lots of foods. In a world where everything store-bought is highly processed, pasteurised, neutralised and homogenised, little goodness remains. Fermentation helps to naturally increase the longevity of foods, but also does wonders to your intestinal bacteria and overall health. Sauerkraut, Sourdough bread, Keffir, Kombucha (right) and Miso have all been made and enjoyed and will keep us well fed and nourished over the months to come!
And a recent change in my working life – with a sudden loss of my desk-based job has created new opportunities to be on the farm full time. It’s exciting to be able to turn much more of my time, energy and attention to White Stone Farm and all the projects we have on the go…as well as lots more in the pipeline!
After all, it’s not a bad office to spend your days, is it…?