I'm starting to do some planning for 2018, but before I get too far into it, I made a list of tasks I want, or
need (!) to get done before the end of the year. I can't remember now where I saw it but last year someone did a list of 17 things they wanted to get done before 2017, so I've decided to run with that theme, and here's 18 things I want to get done before 2018!
- Get seeds started in the glass house
Actually I have already started this, with tomatoes, capsicums, pumpkins, cucumbers and sunflowers - but I also need to zucchinis and sweet corn - this weekend hopefully.
- Mark Calves
Hopefully either this weekend, or next weekend we will mark the calves, eartag and number them as well as give them their first vaccination
- Crutching and shearing of our sheep
Crutching is usually done in the last week of October, and then shearing in the last week of November - two jobs that are always great to get out of the way
- Plant out the vegie garden
Similarly I have also started this - I have beetroot, beans, onions, spring onions in, but as soon as the glasshouse seedlings are big enough, they will need to be planted out.
- Weed ornamental gardens
My flower beds and other ornamental garden areas are totally overgrown with weeds at the moment and it is a massive job to do, but I know once it is done, then it will be much easier to keep them weed free. I have started with the garden directly under my office window, as I was always looking at it, and it was annoying me.
- Cart away weeds and prunings
A couple of weekends ago I pruned all my roses and geraniums, and also pulled out a lot of geraniums that had popped up voluntarily where I didn't really want them. Unfortunately though I just left the piles lying around. I need to come along with the old farm ute, and load it up and cart it to a burn pile on the farm somewhere. I think it is too stalky to put in the compost bin - it would take ages to break down.
- Spread mulch
We have such long hot dry summers that if I don't mulch all the garden beds they dry out so quickly - I have learnt that the hard way! It also cuts down on the amount of water I use on the garden, and does wonders for the soil. Worms looooove the mulch as it starts to break down in the autumn and do a great job of incorporating it through the earth, and really improving the soil organic matter.
- Hatch some chickens
So I already have put plenty of eggs in the incubator, and now I just need to remember to be turning them twice a day. I have 5 different breeds in there, 48 eggs in total. They won't all hatch, I'll candle them in the next few days, and dispose of any that aren't growing into chickens. Also, probably over half will be roosters, so I always have to compensate for that. We sell any spares.
- Weed under the fruit trees
We try and keep the weeds down under the fruit trees, as it helps to stop creeping insects like earwigs from getting up to the fruit, and also means that that the trees get all the moisture and nutrients, not the weeds. Even though the trees are espaliered it is quite difficult to mow right up underneath the trees, so it also looks much neater when its weeded.
- Fertilise the orchard
Both the fruit trees and the berries that are in the orchard will benefit from a good dose of fertiliser in spring time. They are growing quite vigorously at the moment.
- Net the orchard
Already the cockies and galahs are attacking the young almonds, so I really need to get onto this pretty soon.
- Get back into horse riding again.
I haven't been riding now for about 4 months, and I do love it. It will definitely be easier as the weather gets better, which it should do from now on. The poor horses really don't see much of us during the colder months.
- Get better at exercising the dogs
Our dogs are kept in quite a big yard, so they are able to run about a little bit, but they so love getting out and about. Again, it will be much easier as the days get longer and warmer - I'll be more inclined to go for walks.
- Stocktake whats left of the preserved food from last summer
This is not an urgent job, but as we get closer to the harvest of the next year's fruit and vegie crops I like to take stock of what I have left, to make sure I am using it all up, and won't have heaps left when I'm ready to start on the new batches.
- Tidy pantry and storeroom
Continuing on from the stocktaking task above, I really need to give my pantry and storeroom and overall. These are the two areas where I store most of the preserved food, and by this time of the year they are really starting to get a bit out of control. Everyone in the family is pretty hopeless at putting things back neatly or in the same place that they found them. Particularly in the storeroom, if we don't keep it tidy, it gets very hard to find what you are looking for, and being unorganised seems to lead to less storage space!
- Clean out the chook shed
I try and clean out the chook pen just prior to summer each year. I scrape out all the manure from under their perches, replace all the bedding in the laying boxes, and give the walls and perches a rough (very rough) wipe down. The main reason I like to do it in spring is if I leave it much longer it can get a bit smelly on hot days. Also, I love adding all that fantastic old straw and manure to this year's compost heap. Having the poultry muck in the bottom of the compost heap makes it easy to mix through with what ever I'm adding to it, and I find it really helps to break it down. I can't use that compost for 12 months, as the poultry manure is very strong in nutrients and can burn the plants if used straight away, but I'm always 12 months ahead in my compost bins because I rotate between 2 from year to year, but by then it will be beautiful rich compost to add to next year's plantings.
- Start making cheese again
Because we haven't had a milking cow for a couple of years I'm feeling a bit out of practice with cheese making - and it definitely takes practice!! I have just started two blocks, and they are currently curing. I am loving having our own milk again, and can't wait to make some cheese and yoghurt again.
- Pretty up the studio garden
On either side of the entry into my studio is garden beds. They have previously been just a tangled mess of old stalky geraniums, particularly the one outside the office window, which I look on everyday. So last weekend I really hacked back the geraniums, just leaving a couple of the younger lusher looking ones. But now it is quite bare, and I know if I leave it the geraniums will be back, so I need to look at planting something more interesting in there, and mulching it really well. I do need a nice outlook when I'm working in the office, and it will look much more appealing for when clients come to the studio!
So there you have it, by 18 jobs I want to achieve before 2018! I'm sure more will pop up over the next couple of months, but if I can tick all these off, I'll be very happy.