So, the last few weeks have been fairly jam packed with activities, and we have totally failed to keep the blog updated.
Two weeks ago (Saturday the 8th) was the Tawa town day. Once again we brought alpaca along for the day, but as we had Kerey with us this year we could haul 3 camelids into town. In the end we took Oak and Hyouki (who went last year) as well as Jim. Having both a llama and an alpaca is very useful for comparison purposes. As you would expect, we were mobbed by kids. It also brought home just how little stock-sense most “townies” have, both parents and children. Generally it is not a very good idea to come up directly behind an unfamiliar animal and grab its crotch. That can be rather surprising and startling. A jump or kick would not be unexpected in such a circumstance. We ended up maneuvering the camelids around so their hindquarters were against a car, so we could keep people clear. When you see mothers trying to park her stroller directly behind large unfamiliar creatures, you realize all they know of animals they learned from Disney films.
The following weekend (the 15th) we attended a most excellent Mad Science-themed party. It was surprisingly hard to come up with good inspriation for the party. A great theme, but what to wear? In the end Tam came as a Victorian Aetherologist, Kerry came as a mental patient (with hospital gown made from a sacrificed bed sheet that was just the right tinge of hospital green), and I came as “Dr Crankshaft”. When Emily sent us the photo of my costume Tam’s first reaction was “you have a new photo to go with your c.v!”
This last weekend (the 22nd) we had another event in Tawa, to which we (well, more specifically our cute fluffy animals) had been invited. This time it was the official opening of the Tawa community center. We brought just Jim and Hyouki this time, even though once again Kerry was along and we had 3 wranglers. In the end I am glad we did, as I had to stand guard behind Hyouki, who was prone to kick at the kids charging up behind him and grabbing him. I got kicked twice, but no kids got kicked. And yes, we are working on training him to kick less! The volunteer firefighters really liked the camelids, especially one blonde woman from the rescue service who I think would have taken Hyouki home with her if we had not kept a firm hold on the lead.
Afterwards we came back home and planted the veggie garden. This has me very excited, as it is the best veggie garden we have had yet. In the 3 previous years we have had various lame gardens. They invariably get overrun with weeds, and nasty weeds at that as the soil in the area is chock full of gorse and thistle seeds. This time I built 4 large raised beds (2.6 x 0.8 meters, 0.45 meters high) which I filled 3/4 full of “organic matter” (horse poo, green waste, dirt) and topped off with wonderful high-quality composted soil from the greenwaste recycling center. I may build more boxes later, but the 4 we have this year gives us the biggest veggie garen yet. Now to wait 3 months for the tasty treats to start appearing!
It is really nice that the farm is now sufficently “under control” that I can start working on projects within the curtliage (the 1/2 acre of land around the house). When we started the rest of the farm was a wreck and I had to ignore the curtilage for nearly 4 years, but now we are starting to get a pleasant surround for the house, and with better care hopefully I can get the fruit trees I planted a few years ago to start thriving.