upping stakes

So we've made some mistakes.

One day, when in the majority our mistakes are far enough back to be anecdotal only, I'm going to write a book called Fiasco Farming. Detailing the debacle. That's if I haven't erased the first two years from my mind with therapy or gin.

This is it. We're now officially in our third year (just.) And therefore far enough in to have committed to some of our mistakes. Stuck them out for months. 

Like the orchard. 


When we began, there were only a couple things I knew. I wanted to try and grow apple trees, and I deperately wanted Indian Runner ducks. So far, the ducks have eluded me but I DO have a significant birthday coming up at the end of the year and I'm really hoping my farm manager slash handsome husband who diligently reads this blog will crack on with figuring out how to include ducks in the ever increasing rotational grazing animals we have here. 

He bought me apple trees though. He dug them in, watered them by hand and composted and mulched them. We put them in on a level front paddock in front of the house that the family has always called the Tennis Court. It was leveled in about 1950 I think, to host a court, which never eventuated. It lost a lot of topsoil in the process. Dad has said on occasion, of all the places on the farm…? I wanted to sit on the front verandah and look at the apple trees. That's why. 



We thought they'd do OK. They didn't. As the end of this winter approaches, we knew we had to do something with them now or probably lose them. 

So today Adam carefully dug them out, and replanted them in the beautiful soil along the edge of the market garden. They're ideally placed to not throw shade on the garden, get good sun, they're close to water and they're protected from the wind which they weren't previously. We have high hopes for their survival.


(Hello, Avocado. Please don't die.)


When we visited our friends Nick and Kirsten at Milkwood in Mudgee for the first time, Nick showed us the "failed dam". It was impressive. They had the guts to ultimately abandon it and repurposed it as a structure in which to grow trees in shelter and warmth. One day hopefully bananas. Clever. And I realised that along this road you can come a cropper. But with some lateral thinking it might end in bananas.

So instead of looking at the Tennis Court and feeling like we failed, I'm hoping the trees with thrive in their new environment (one sanctioned by my Dad) and I reckon that Tennis Court would be an awesome spot for a flock of Indian Runners. Don't ya think, babe?


4 Comments on “upping stakes

Just Joyful
August 21, 2013 at 9:53 am

I just love that attitude of learning by your mistakes. This is my first year of having a ‘real’ veggie patch (as opposed to a couple of tomatoes and strawberries in an otherwise purely decorative garden). I’m terrified of it not working. But I’m going to try really hard to think of it as educational, instead of a failure.

Good luck with the ducks! I’m having enough trouble convincing my husband that a couple of chooks is a good idea 🙂

August 23, 2013 at 12:14 pm

Fingers crossed for the apples, your Indian runners will lOve gobbling up the windfalls. We have just acquired a pair of female Indian runners (Sparkles and Rosie), who came all the way from Heritage Hatchings in QLD as ducklings. We now eagerly await eggs for cakes!!!!

August 23, 2013 at 1:31 pm

Hi Charley! I know of Heritage Hatchlings but didnt know they shipped was it overnight courier? In a perforated box?

August 26, 2013 at 7:00 am

Heritage don’t ship to Sydney but I found a mob called Anitrans who transport all manner of creatures (mostly poultry) all around Australia. You have to meet him at designated pick up posts but he plans his general route around his orders. For us that involved taking the kids to a hardcore truck stop in Campbelltown for chip butties while waited for the truck!

My ducklings actually got to sit in a basket with a blanket wrapped round it in the cab of the truck overnight to make sure they didn’t get cold when the truck broke down. I think they actually have heat pads in the truck too.

Sparkles and Rosie ate definitely runners but are a little less slender than I hoped so they perhaps have a bit of something else which surprised me from HH , having said that it could just be a teenager thing.

Good luck!


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