Saturday, February 27, 2010

wise words

A wise man once said ( well, it was Max the old bloke at the tennis club yesterday )

'Worry is like a rocking chair- takes a Hell of a lot of effort and gets you nowhere.'

Very philosophical, the Aussies

Monday, February 22, 2010

melon harvest

You have got to love a country where you can grow these.

From Protea Farm 1

....tastes delicious too...

From Protea Farm 1

Saturday, February 20, 2010

snakes in the grass

It was an ambitious project, but we managed to get all the rooms apart from one bedroom painted, a new toilet installed and all 80's pelmets dismantled and replaced with sleeker poles. Just the rest of the woodwork and 1 bedroom to go before the next booking at the weekend.

From Protea Farm 1

It all looks cleaner and fresher, and all ready for guests to trash.

From Protea Farm 1

From Protea Farm 1

The vegetables are thriving, and Ness is selling weekly veg boxes to The Farmer's Pantry and rather ambitiously taking orders from a local chef catering for a wedding next month. I can see her eying up any raised bed and border containing ornamental plants preparing for a cull in order to accommodate more profitable planting.

The disadvantage of experiencing such an unusually green and lush summer is the need for regular lawn mowing, long grass being an ideal habitat for the fully warmed up snake population. Obviously killing a brown snake in NSW is against the law and hefty fines apply, so when Ness found a brown snake in the storage shed we did not don sturdy boots and arm ourselves with shovels and other garden hardware, and I did not stand a safe distance from the shed in the middle of the field quaking like a girl and shouting words of encouragement to Ness who did not chop it to pieces with an axe. So that is OK.

The new website is coming along well, and will hopefully be launched soon. Could do with a professional photographer for the pics, but the budget is running low and the only one we know has selfishly chosen the live in the UK, so for now we will make do with our snaps.

From website pics

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

protea farm cottages relaunch

It had to happen sooner or later- attention has moved away from the garden and towards redecoration of the cottage next door while we are guestless. We have less than a week to repaint a whole 3 bedroom house, slightly daunting as we discovered yesterday that a minimum of 3 coats will be required to cover the beige with a hint of filth that currently covers the walls.
From Protea Farm 1

We have invested in some new furniture, and we are also working in conjunction with the lovely Cletis to redesign and relaunch the website.

So, come and join the Protea Farm Cottages Mudgee group on Facebook and look out for the changes.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

the grape vine moth

You have to accept in Australia that the native wildlife will be more venomous, more stingy and bitey, and more scary than anywhere else in the world, and generally best avoided whenever possible. After today we are also beginning to realise that if the native creatures cannot kill with a single bite then overwhelming in groups of hundreds of thousands will suffice.

So, what can turn this.......

From Protea Farm 1 this, in a matter of hours?

From Protea Farm 1

Answer- several battalions of these fat juicy grape vine caterpillars.

From Protea Farm 1

So now we know what those pretty black and white butterfly/moth things have been up to for the last few days. It is impossible to describe the numbers-maybe the fact that Ness spotted the linear mountain range of caterpillar poo on the ground before she spotted the denuded grape vine may give you a clue.

We used the small amount of pymethrum spray we had (which was as effective as pissing in the wind) before admitting defeat and cutting back the vines which had not yet been totally stripped and giving the prunings to the chooks who are still happily scrapping over fat, juicy ( and hopefully non-venomous ) caterpillars.

Those which did drop off and die were pounced upon by a platoon of our least favourite garden pest the purple ant.

From Protea Farm 1

Ness has been banned from going near the cottage until the purple ants have gone because she has alarming allergic reactions when bitten by one.

What a fun day.

Australia Day

It appears to be February already. A quiet time at Protea Farm with only sporadic guests, so time for more reorganising of grounds and minor repairs to the cottages. Ness is digging up the over large roundabout type arrangement at the top of the driveway in preparation for the ( as not yet designed ) replacement.
From Protea Farm 1

From Protea Farm 1

Australia Day was a January highlight, with the obligatory barbecue and beer drinking with friends, made more fun by the arrival of Jules & Vanessa for a break from Sydney....seen here enjoying pear cosmopolitan cocktails ( of which too many were imbibed).
From Protea Farm 1
The girls helped us with our annual vaccination of the sheep and alpacas-a very interesting project with 4 small animal specialists attempting to round up and catch unfamiliar species. How many feline medicine professors does it take to vaccinate an alpaca? ( answer, surprisingly only two).

Garden produce in abundance, so veg boxes are now being provided to the Farmer's Pantry as well as being used at home.

Below the girls proudly displaying the harvest before cooking a splendid ratatouille to complement Ormiston pork belly- an exceptionally low food miles meal.
From Protea Farm 1
The post Christmas tennis competition started this week, and I have been promoted into the ladies' Division 1 ( probably due to heart attacks and hip replacements rather than merit). These women can play the game with terrifying speed and accuracy, leaving me flapping about waving my racket at a ball that has long since zipped past. I can see relegation on the horizon already!