Hello from Fairy Wren Cottage.

It definitely feels like I am chasing my tail at the moment and playing catch up. Projects get parked, then picked up again, and while the world is not going to stop if they aren’t complete yet it would be nice to have them wrapped up as the calendar year comes to an end. But as I type this, I remind myself that a date on a calendar really isn’t the most realistic nor only way to decided if something should be finished or not. It really can make for unrealistic expectations this time of year can’t it? Gently moving forward one step in front of the other, talking softly to myself and letting go of any pressures I’m putting on myself will definelty serve everyone better, me included! We all do it in some way shape or form, getting swept up in the end of year rush don’t we?! It is definitely part of the cultural norm and marketing strategies don’t help. Mental note to self…be mindful of not getting sucked into that do, do, do, busy, busy, busy mentality.

The garden is grounding me. Listening to the bird song, observing what needs doing next. Pottering about. Focusing on what I can do. Even if it is only picking a bucket of weeds and herbs for Snowbell and her chicks. Refilling the bird baths. Collecting a bunch of herbs to dry for herbal teas. There is something about walking outside carrying a basket with a lovely tea towel or doily placed in the bottom of it, gathering flowers, herbs, fruit or vegetables. For me it soothes the soul.

Snowbell’s chicks are now about half her size. I have been caring for hens for over twenty years and it still always surprises me how fast chicks grow, their feathers changing colour and developing almost overnight. At this age and stage we usually see chicks being more independent, the Mama hen relaxing, somewhat relieved and resting more after the intense time of being so attentive raising her chicks. But Snowbell runs a tight ship and is keeping her chicks close by. They are sweet natured chicks, happy to potter and unlike some chicks we have had in the past (thank the chicken gods for that!) these chicks aren’t big jumpers or destructive or eating us out of house and home. Don’t get me started on the Polish pullets who literally razored the veggie garden when they jumped the 1.6metre fence, or the Marans who could jump a fair height at just a couple of months old.

Some of the Spring crops are already out. The wetter then usual Spring has meant that the potatoes need to be lifted earlier than usual. They were starting to show the early signs of being water logged. You know that watery looking blister type pattern that appears on potatoes when they have been left in the ground too long and have continued to be watered? That.

I’ll pick the last row of broad beans for dinner tonight. Like the rest of the broad bean plants that have been harvested weeks ago, we will cut these plants off at ground level. Broad beans enrich the soil with nitrogen. Careful not to disrupt the soil and mycelium too much, as the broad bean roots die off they will help to aerate the soil.The rest of the bed has already had a layer of compost added, another layer of mulch applied and six golden nugget pumpkin seedlings planted. The goal is to have as little bare soil as possible and not leave beds empty for weeks during the peak growing time that we are now in.

It is lovely to have enough and more some when it comes to eggs and flowers at the moment. Each week we drop off eggs carefully placed in a brown paper bag and a bunch of flowers to our friend who has down sized her garden and doesn’t keep hens. We were very grateful to receive her rose bushes some years back and now when those rose bushes bloom we send the flowers back to her. In the photo are her prized pink and white Hannah Gordon roses, plus some soft pink Eglantyne roses we planted this year.

I mentioned the Mentoring Sessions that I have created and am looking forward to starting them early next year.

If you would like a simple Christmas wrapping alternative I have created a very very easy tutorial for you. Both these tea towels are from IKEA, the top one is linen and from memory was in a pack of 2 for under $10. The bottom tea towel is cotton and only a couple of dollars at the most. The cloth tape was from packaging that we washed and repurposed. The hand embroidered linen doily was a couple of dollars at an op shop (thrift shop). The link for the tutorial is HERE

Apologies to family members who now read my blog, I may have been over zealous in my campaign to rid single use Christmas paper all those years ago! If only I had thought of making these bags then!

Hope this finds you well. Take precious care, Jude x

Sweetpeas & Roses.

December 13, 2021



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