We have survived a very wet winter. Thanks to arctic ice-melt March was the rainest since 1944, February the second rainest February on historical record and January the rainiest January in one hundred years.
We still have a few streams flowing into our house, and thanks to our new drainage system, right back out again, but it will take quite a while for us, our clothes, sheets and yurts to completely dry out. When our toilet room became too damp for use we hauled the toilet bench out into the living room. There are reasons we’re not set up for winter guests. However, having lived with a composting toilet in our living room for a full winter we can definitely say that they are clean and don’t smell bad at all.
Now that spring is here the toilet is back in the toilet room and we have visitors lining up once again . This will be the first year that we’ve started out with a decent sized garden and will manage to get seeds and plants into the ground roughly when they should be! In addition to the large number of fruit bushes (blueberries, blackberries, red currants, black currants, gooseberries (red and white) white currants, raspberries (yellow and red), loganberries and tayberries) we’ve planted we’re adding lots of new plants to the garden this year, some of the most exciting ones are peanuts, chick-peas, giant bulgarian leeks and banana squashes. We’ve also transformed our long high beds into banks teeming with strawberry plants.
Our flock of chickens are all growing up and laying eggs now! We are trying a totally free range system. The chickens have plenty of forest and hill to scavenge for bugs and greens. We scatter some grains around fruit trees so that the chickens will scratch away the competitive grass and leave soft poo fertiliser. The system almost works. The flaw is our dog Unnarr who patiently follows them around hoovering up all the poo. Another unintended consequence of free-range chickens relates to doing yoga and meditating on the roof. That’s a great one for practicing mindfulness in meditation, ‘short breath in’, ‘short breath out’, ‘short breath in’ ‘a chicken perches on my knee’.
Perhaps the most exciting thing to come to the farm at the end of winter is our lovely new puppy, Ulmeira! For anyone who’s suffered the distance and indignation of Unnarr’s less than warm welcome we now have an extremely affectionate little pup that insists on being the centre of attention. Ulmeira was rescued from a pound where she was going to be put down.
This year will be full and intense. We’re planning on building a house on top of our house. Having just survived this wet winter we’ve decided a proper roof over our heads pushed itself up the priority list. Whilst building a roof one might as well build a few floors as well. So we’re going to be building a traditional roundwood timber framed house on top of the concrete roof of our stone cottage. Once the roof is on and the floors above are weather proofed we’ll puncture the concrete roof and put in some stairs so the house will be whole.
We look forward to all of the visitors that are planning to come this year and send our love out to all who can’t make it.