It's amazing what gets done when you are laid up for nearly 3 months with a broken leg. Suddenly all the boring (annual tax returns) or 'too hard' (website) inside jobs become quite appealing cos let's face it daytime TV is seriously damaging to one's health.
It also makes one look at the outside in a different light. Thankfully the big shelter belt planting job for the year had just been completed. But still, frustration mounted as I sat inside with only the binoculars to keep an eye on stock and grounds. Gemma, my milking cow was loaded onto a horse float and is being milked by Anne B, to be returned only when I am fit. I'd get a bumper crop of hay off the house paddock now, if only it was in areas big enough and flat enough to be mowed.
About 10 years ago at the NZ Organic Conference the keynote speaker was Michael Ableman, a very inspirational man (if you haven't seen his books or video then make sure you do), who said the most important tool is the farmer's power of observation. How true that is. I have watched aphids completely smother the roses and brassicas and then as all the companion plants have started flowering I have watched the ladybirds and hoverflies turn up in force and devour the aphids. So one of my big lessons that required a broken ankle to reinforce is to help nature help itself and everyone benefits. One is not getting any younger and so in putting systems in place that really embrace the permaculture principles then hopefully the physical workload will get easier as time goes by.
Five years ago when we bought this property it was a totally dysfunctional piece of land. Normally one would start at zone 0 ie the house and develop out from that but I have done the opposite - a) because so much needs doing to the house and the immediate surrounds in the way of hard landscaping for which I need to wait for Dean to get to and b) because it was important to get fencing and planting done to be able to integrate livestock into the property as quickly as possible. However last summer I put in a raised bed in front of the 'temporary' deck and got a fantastic crop of tomatoes. Then during winter this year I decided that nothing was going to happen in the immediate future with the house gardens so have started on more 'temporary' raised beds that may yet entirely cover the front lawn. The garlic is almost ready to harvest, the brassicas nearly finished and the summer veg are looking great - I'm even hoping that I may get an eggplant or two seeing as they have got a head start with cloches.