I guess the big news for us is that Nath finishes full time work on the 19th of this month, and then only has two weeks of part-time work until he is done for good! This is a hugely exciting change for us, as it will free up so much time for us to work together on our goals and family values, work in the garden, produce more of our food from home and enjoy our children growing up. Nath and I will both be studying - Nath will completing his Masters in Mental Health Science, and I will be commencing a new Bachelor course in Sustainability. We will be living on Austudy and Family Tax benefits and making do with what we have. It will be tough, but we have been doing a lot to prepare and we feel we are up to the challenge!
One of the biggest things we have been working on is transforming our backyard from an expanse of resource-thirsty lawn into a landscape capable of producing much of our own food. We have been dipping our toes into the principles of permaculture (and loving the learning around this!) and have created a series of raised, no dig garden beds around mulched garden paths. Most of the materials we used were 'found materials' - horse manure and used straw from a friend's farm, newspaper and cardboard from our local recycling skips, bricks for garden edging from Freecycle, and compost, leaf litter and chicken manure from our own garden. Nath and a good friend built a fence from recycled copper logs, chicken wire and old timber palings from the property's original boundary fence. This fence will (hopefully) keep our free-ranging chickens out of the food producing section of our garden, allowing them access to the orchard and most other parts of the yard.
|Before we began, after killing most of the grass off over summer.|
|Starting the paths with free mulch from the local tip.|
|Two of the beds built up and waiting to compost down.|
|Two gorgeous garden helpers.|
|One side of the garden, done.|
|Mum watering in the mulch on the newest bed.|
|Backyard landscaping complete, ready for planting.|
|Our new fire pit.|
|Nath building the fence with some 'helpers'.|
|So cheap and so rustic!|
We are extending our 'livestock', as I have written about before. This week, I ordered our first swarm of bees and a beehive to house them in. We are all very excited about this, especially Eden, who is now a bee 'expert' after spending a term at kindy learning all about them. Hopefully our buzzy friends will be joining us in November. Our mama goat and her yet-to-be-born baby are due here in September.
In other news, I recently took part in a Button Swap that was held over at lovely Taz's blog Butter and Buntings. My swap partner is not a blogger, so I can't link to her, but she perhaps should be! She is a beautifully creative person, and the sister of a very beautiful friend of mine, and I would like to share with you some of the loveliness she put into my bundle of buttons. (I'm afraid my return parcel wasn't nearly as pretty or creative, so I won't share photos of that!)
|So beautifully packaged.|
|So many buttons! All stitched onto vintage-inspired card.|
|I absolutely love these wooden buttons! So cute!|
|My button collection has never looked so pretty!|
Thanks, Taz, for the fantastic swap, and thanks, Erin for my beautiful buttons!