11 September 2008

Vegetable gardening - another season starts

I've been resting these past couple of days and, impatient as I am to be well again, I think I'm almost there. The pain is gone from the back of my leg, moved to my hip and has now settled in my knee. It's very strange. I've never had anything like this before but the worst of it seems to be over and that makes me very happy. I am not one to rush off to a doctor as I tend to think my body will heal itself. Let's see if that proves to be true. Thank you all, friends, for the sweet get well cards, emails and all those lovely comments.

Activity has been at a minimum here but I have done a few things around the house. Cranberry and walnut biscuits were made for morning teas and I've also been tending the worm farm, knitting and writing. Now that the warmer weather is here the worm numbers have started to explode. I put some food in the farm yesterday afternoon and noticed a wriggling mass of baby worms. I'll take a photo of them later today so you too can see their squirming loveliness.

This is what awaited me when I walked outside yesterday afternoon. Hanno was sitting on the stump of a tree, with Alice, watching the chooks. We have to watch them when they free range now because we're growing lettuces and tomatoes in the yard unprotected from their scratching feet and ever hungry beaks.

I'm beginning to think that Big Bertha (above) is a rooster. Yesterday I think I saw the beginnings of spurs on those long, long legs. I'm not sure how I feel about that yet. One part of me loves the idea of being able to raise our own chicks, the other half knows that as soon as the crowing starts, so will the neighbours complaints. We'll just have to wait and see what happens - whatever will be, will be.

This rest of the chooks are happy to wander about each day, looking for grubs and the occasional stray grasshopper. About half of them are laying now so we're selling eggs and putting that money towards their food and general care.

Just out of sight in the above photo is our, still uncovered, peach tree. The nectarines stood up well to the heavy rain we had a week ago but it looks untidy and ugly and I really don't like having the entire tree wrapped.

Hanno works every day in the garden and it really pays off. Above is a variety of vegies like leeks, beetroot, lettuce and tomatoes. Further over, just out of view is the potato patch we're half way through harvesting. If you've never eaten a fresh potato, let me tell you that is a treat you won't forget in a hurry. This crop is dutch creams, aka Nicola; we have Kiplfers growing out in the front garden. We are almost ready to do another planting for summer and as the prediction is for another hot one this year, we're thinking of putting up one shade tunnel for the green leafy vegetables. That will be behind the garden bed you see above. Beside it, where we are now growing potatoes, there will be mixed vegetables like capsicums, carrots, radishes and lettuce. The new potato crop will go in the old kale bed and we'll plant luffas on the new lattice. You can see it below with a few tomatoes growing well up against the lattice wall.

It is truly a wonderful time of year here. The nights are cool, the days warm and there is a feeling of expectation and reward in the air. It looks to be another good season of backyard growing coming up and I am thankful that we are able to get the best from the small parcel of land we have. We see complete life cycles here, one season comes to and end while a new one begins. Winter vegetables start flowering and seeding while summers vegetables grow quickly to their full potential. The hens start laying every day and the finer details of their feathers develop as the season progresses. The complexity and genuine beauty of the natural world always amazes me, I will never get tired of seeing bees flying from flower to flower or watching the day-by-day unfolding of a sunflower head.

Life is good in a productive backyard. Nature's gifts to us for our table are abundant and sweet. We never say to each other that we are living the good life, but we both know it deep down to our bones.



  1. "Squirming loveliness"???!! WHAT is wrong with you, Rhonda?! LOL

    So glad that you are feeling better today. Now, Big Ber(nie) is a perfect example of how chickens will change sex on you. An old man told me that once and I believe he's right!

  2. Rhonda, I discovered your blog about two months ago, and now it's a daily visit for me! The cranberry and walnut biscuits sound wonderful...could you possible post a recipe? I'm so glad you're over the worst of your pain. :)

  3. Hi Rhonda
    Glad you are all on the mend now.
    Someone once told me that you should have a higher perch to stop a cockerel from crowing. If they cant stretch up then they dont do it (well maybe, or maybe its an old wives tale). Worth a try maybe
    Best wishes

  4. Rhonda Jean, I love your blog! Your garden is gorgeous...

    Thanks for making a comment at my blog.

    Lisa in Minnesota, USA

  5. Try adding espom salt to your bath, the magnesium will help you heal faster.


  6. Missy, our old fence-flying, nest-hiding Brown Leghorn hen, has spurs that have wrapped into complete circles. Coach, our Buff Cochin bantam rooster, is the littlest bird in the coop. Hard to tell sometimes, until somebody starts to crow.

  7. I, too, am learning to live in each season as it comes. Autumn is arriving here in Colorado in all its splendor--cooler temperatures, leaves coloring, the garden vegetables & squash ripening. It is a wonderful thing, especially for a city girl raised in a desert who has never paid much attention to such things. I am now learning to enjoy each part of my simple life.

  8. Hi Rhonda, I just wanted to let you know that I have been struggling with my sciatica for many years now (it had me out of circulationg for four months earlier this year)and recently found a great way to treat it, thanks to an awesome physiotherapist.

    First, you start by laying on your stomach on your bed. If you have the strength, you push your upper body up onto a pillow and rest there for a while, read or what have you. As you grow stronger with each passing day, you start to push yourself up to straight arms (up to ten times in a row). It feels almost like you're bending backwards at the waist. This will be pushing the disk back into alignment with your spine.

    It's called the McKenzie Method, developed by Australian doctor Robin McKenzie, and I can vouch for it. It's the only reason I'm walking these days.

    Best of luck with the healing.

  9. Your garden is so lovely Rhonda!

    We had a sex-change chicken once too -- a white one which appeared to be a female for the longest time, then gradually became...male! We were living in town and I regret to admit that the chooster did not meet a good end. Good luck. LOL.

  10. Rhonda,
    I have a rooster that looks just like your Big Bertha. He was a very late crower and his tail grew in late but now he is beautiful and crows like a champ.
    He was originally my nieces' hen, she gave him to me so I could have one more egg layer, but it turned out as he settled into his new home he was a rooster.

  11. My worms are loving the warmer weather too.

    Rhonda if you get any seed from the Kale could you please send me some. I'll send a stamped envelope to you for it, I'm just having so much trouble trying to source seeds in NSW.


  12. Hello there,Yes the body does heal itself but it also compensates for itself. Often when we think something is fixed it is because other parts of the body have come into play in carrying the load and by ignoring the situation we allowed parts of our body to become unused and lay the foundation for future problems. I am not sure what your problems have been because I am away on holidays and haven't been keeping up but I would like to suggest remedial therapy such as say a bowen therapist or someone like that can give. These types of therapies allow the body to bring itself back into alignment without causing strain on other areas. All the best with whatever you do though. On another point, I always think it is sad when people object to roosters crowing. What happier sounds can you get than of happy farm life and that is from someone who loves to sleep in. If there was a rooster near me I should cherish his happy crowing just as I do the variety of birds we have in our region and the frogs with their incessant calls. Cheers! Cherrie

  13. Dear Rhonda, have not been able to read your blog the past days am sorry that you have had such problems but am very happy that things are looking better.
    I too would love to have the recipe for the cranberry & walnut biscuits.
    I enjoy your blog so much hate to miss it. Thank you for sharing with us all

  14. I wish I had my garden as organized as yours. I am working on it though! Our rain barrels were just delivered today and our fall garden was planted last weekend. I've knitted my first dish cloth as well.
    I started several months ago to do more cooking from scratch and save money on food and it just keeps evolving into more and more. And my friends tease me constantly for being so old fashioned (I'm 31) but I truly find joy in hanging clothes out on the line, knitting something we can truly use, cooking a delicious meal without a box or a mix and creating a wonderful home for my husband. It's a very good feeling.
    Thanks for the ideas and inspirations along the way!

  15. lovely post. you are growing a variety of potatoes called nicola? that is my name, and where i live, a very unique one!

  16. Oh yeah, I want to see worms! LOL! I guess there is beauty in everything, just takes a little change in our perceptions.
    So Big Bertha may be Big Bert?!? Oh my! You reminded me of a time when my youngest daughter (the little trickster) talked someone out of their "Chicken" because she knew I liked that kind. (The white ones with the fuzzy heads like a hat) I was thrilled until it woke me and half my neighbors up at 5 AM. Needless to say it had to be returned.
    I am glad to know that you are on the mend. I get very frustrated when I am forced to slow down to almost a stop. My mind whirls with all the things I need to get to. I think it is a good thing to remember to slow down though, when I get hurt or my arthritis acts up it is my reminder that I need to do just that.
    Love your garden as usual. I am a little jealous, but am also working toward my own little paradise!
    Thanks to you for all the good tips and advice.

  17. Your entire yard just looks so well planned and organized. Makes me jealous. We are beginning to turn cooler here in TX, US but there's a whopping hurricane headed for us so I don't know if the cooler weather is such a blessing right now. lol

  18. I suffer with back problems and have had chiropractic care every two weeks for two years. I must say for all the back pain I had lived with this care was the best thing for me. I was going to relay basically same information as commenter willy wag tail. This is information I have learned in these two years of Chiropractic care

  19. Hello Rhonda

    Received my parcel containing your lovely stitchery!
    With grateful thanks,


  20. If I had those biscuits you made, I would never buy store bought biscuits again! They looked gorgeous!


  21. Hi I love your website you have inspired me in many ways and I look forward each day to see what is new with you.
    I don't want to alarm you but your symptoms concern me. If the back of your knee is hot as well as sore then please see the doctor as this is how deep vein thrombosis present (DVT - blood clot). Doesn't hurt to see the Dr so he can eliminate that as a problem.
    As for the recommended back exercises they are good but only if appropriate to the problem. Some back problems are worsened by extension and do better with flexion. So once again always good to get a diagnosis first and then work out your treatment from there. I would hate for you to suffer from further problems by using inappropriate treatment. :-)

    I am looking forward to your book when it is published.

    Take good care of yourself.

  22. I think Big Bertha definately looks like a rooster to me. We have both hens and rooster in this breed and the hens just don't look like Big Bertha, so maybe it is Big Bert????
    Love your vege pictures.
    Bec xxx

  23. Glad you're feeling better, Rhonda.
    The garden looks abundant and beautiful! That picture of Hanno, Alice and your chickens is wonderful.


  24. Rhonda, glad your starting to feel better! When I had hip and knee problems it was due to my feet! I needed arch supports - just something to consider.

    The garden looks lovely - mine is a mess. It' been so hot and then so rainy it's been hard to keep up with the weeds.

    I grow potatoes every year and you are right there's nothing like eating a homegrown one! I grew Red La Soda's early on and my second crop is Yukon Gold.

    Those Cranberry biscuits look really delicious!


  25. I've been wondering what dutch creams were. Thanks for sorting that out. I grew some myself this year (under the code name nicola).

    Spring is the most wonderful season for gardening. All hope, motivation and aspirations. I'm having trouble getting my inside work done these days I'm enjoying being outside so much after a cold Melbourne winter.

  26. Rhonda,
    Wishing you a wonderful growing season for your garden.
    LOVE the picture of Hanno and Alice...precious.
    I'll continue to pray for you to feel all the way better.

  27. Did you ever read "We Took to the Woods" by Helen and Scott Nearing? It was written many, many years ago and your blog posts remind me somewhat of their life.

  28. Sorry, Rhonda...I had my books mixed up:

    Living the Good Life, by Helen and Scott Nearing

    We Took to the Woods, by Louise D Rich

    Both are excellent and written long, long ago.

  29. I'm delighted to see that you are feeling better and love your photos. The garden and chickens look lovely!

    How wonderful that the hens are earning their keep with eggs! Isn't it wonderful to collect the eggs and share them with others knowing that you are handing them eggs from chickens who actually got be real chickens -- the kind that see sunlight, scratch the dirt, and eat grass and bugs?

    As always, I feel so full of joy and warm fuzzies upon reading your posts.



    P.S. Do enter to win the book I'm giving away on my blog, Rhonda. You would love it!

  30. Glad you are feeling better, though, as others have said, it might be a good idea to get checked by the doc. as it is different from what you've had before with the sciatica. Lovely to see the happy veggies and chickens in your neat garden. Heading into Autumn here in the UK we've had a lot of grey, gloomy and cool weather lately but yesterday was just lovely with some warm sun, blue skies and that special, slightly damp and golden September feel.

  31. I love your blog, Rhonda. Glad to read you are beginning to feel better. I love your garden pictures - the more the better. They inspire me! =)

  32. Hi Rhonda Jean,
    So glad to hear you're on the mend!
    Your garden is so Lovely.Nothing like fresh veggies!
    I'm working on Christmas gifts have several other items to make if you'd like to take a look I posted some pics.
    Hope you have a great wk.


Blogger Template by pipdig