Our sixth day of the new year had been put aside for veggie gardening.
For days we had known that today would be the day for pulling stuff out, putting new stuff in, tying things up, weeding and planting and neatening. All week when I walked past the tomatoes and saw that they needed tying up I thought about Wednesday, when I saw that the rocket had gone to seed I thought about Wednesday, when I discovered that a whole lot of my seedlings had outgrown their plastic pots I thought about Wednesday, when I saw that the carrots needed weeding - yep, you guessed it, I thought about Wednesday.
And then when the sixth day dawned, so did the realisations that I hadn't done any laundry for a while and everyone had run out of undies, our farmer boy's birthday is on the seventh and we needed to go shopping to buy ingredients, Miss Indi is going away for a while and needed help packing and general encouragement, Miss Pepper slammed her hand in a door and needed round the clock loving, Miss Jazzy needed help with dealing with Miss Pepper and then after all those distractions from the veggie garden - we discovered that if we didn't net the front two rows of the orchard the birds would leave us with no apples.
Luckily we'd netted a lot of the other rows in the weeks around Christmas and New Year, so we could get back into it quickly and finish it fast, but still not much gardening happened today. Maybe Friday.
After a few weeks on the nets we're a pretty well oiled machine. We each have a role and we do it well (and over and over and over).
Miss Indi drives the tractor.
Farmer Bren and my Dad are in charge of loading the rolls onto the machine, feeding the netting through and pulling it over the rows of trees to protect our apples from birds and hail.
My farmer boy keeps us all in-line on the walkie-talkie.
My Mum and I trail behind the tractor tying the nets to the trees using cable-ties.
Jazzy and Pepper sometimes come down to inspect our work and help with the cable-ties. There's a rule that anyone who stays at home has to clean up so mostly they're pretty keen to hang around.
Over the 15 seasons we've been here we've tried a gas gun, Cd's strung from the trees, some sort of reflective tape that made a noise in the wind, an electronic scarecrow, dogs in the orchard, disco balls, fake hawk kites and big eye balloons but none of it worked. Then we got a quote for $100,000 to permanently net the entire orchard but that wasn't feasible.
We started using this method of netting last year in desperation after losing so many crops to the birds. So far we couldn't be happier.
To be honest I always feel a bit torn when the netting goes on. On the one hand I feel relieved but on the other hand I much prefer the look of an orchard filled with glossy apples than one filled with veiled brides. But farming is not all about looks, is it.
Miss Pepper inspector is pretty happy too.
We had to come in a bit earlier than we'd planned because the blustery winds started trying to rain but that's not such a bad thing because we've got cards to write and a cake to bake for our almost birthday boy.
Did you have a plan for today?
Did you stick to it?
See you tomorrow lovely ones.
Love Kate xx