It was snowing!

We had snow on Saturday, from that cold front that flooded parts of Victoria.

It snowed for several hours, but it didn’t stay on the ground.  Then we had wild winds for the rest of the weekend.

Allison and I went to a farm clearing sale on Saturday during the snow.  The prices were for the most part reasonable — many people stayed away because of the weather.

We picked up some plastic oars for $2 (for the future raft on the dam) and about 6 metres of railway track for $40 — makes good anvils for making armour.  Allison picked up some useful sewing odds and ends for $5, and a few cooking items at similar prices.  There were two hat blocks (wooden forms for making felt hats) but they went for $160.  A smallish anvil went for $180, probably not bad value but more than I want to spend at present.

Otherwise, we pretty much stayed inside for the weekend.  Better weather promised this week.

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Richard (Allison’s dad) asked how our vegie and tree plantings are going.  He gave us a good shove along on these at his last visit, and wants to see that we have carried through.

Our tree plantings have gone well.  They were planted expertly by our wwoofer team, and watered every day for a while.  Now we have regular showers, so they should be OK from here.  A few were planted not quite where I expected, but English has a word “serendipity” which means that some of those will turn out to be wonderful where they are now.

Our wwoofer Rachel has been brilliant at looking after the vegie seedlings in the greenhouse, and she has been planting them out progressively as they are big enough.

We made some big new rectangular vegetable beds, 1.2 metres wide so that they are easy to access from the side.  Some were built using the classic “no dig” method: layers of newspaper with compost and straw on top.  Another one was built by assembling a raw compost heap on top, and waiting for it to break down.  Some were recycled from last year’s potato beds.

All seem to be working OK, and have good soil.  The compost heap bed is doing the best.

We are still getting frosts here, so we put some polypipe hoops across the beds.  I tried to buy some “floating row cover” to provide protection, but my intended supplier is not answering email.  So I bought a roll of “frost blanket” from the Goulburn irrigation supply shop, half the price.

The problem is that “floating row cover” is meant to be permeable to rain, whereas “frost blanket” doesn’t seem to be.  Despite all our recent rain, the beds are drier than they should be.

So that we can water the beds, we’ve slung soaker hose (hose with little holes in it) under the hoops.  In theory, we can connect these up to our irrigation system and water them from the dam.  However the pump isn’t getting the water up to the high tank.  Shane our neighbour is going to check it for me this week.  It could be a problem with the priming, or there could be something blocking the pipe up the hill.

We’re also suffering a bit from the wind, which has been at gale force.  Even so, only one of the frost covers blew (mostly) off.  They are held on with home-made clips cut from polypipe.

However, we’re losing some of our seedling plants.  I’ll put some slug traps out (skins of a juiced orange) and see what turns up.  Or maybe the guineafowl are sneaking in under the sides.  They are meant to eat insects, but perhaps tasty seedlings are worth a nibble.

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