Farming is fun!

Gallery

This gallery contains 6 photos.

Hi all, Just finished a great day at TAFE – getting our hands dirty, planting more veggies in our patch and doing our first round of weeding. It’s just so satisfying, it can’t even be explained! When we got home … Continue reading

Off to school we go!!

G Block, where the learning begins...

19 July 2011 Today we started TAFE. If you haven’t been following our posts so far (where have you been?), we have enrolled in a Certificate 4 in Agriculture (Organic Farming) at Wollongbar TAFE. That’s right! Now, Rachel was planning to go to Griffith University next year and do a Clinical Psychology Doctorate, but as as the enrolment date drew closer she couldn’t hide her lack of enthusiasm from herself or anyone else. I am already a Psychologist, (have been one for 20 years) and whilst I love what I do I am keen to take things in a new direction, like somehow combining psychology with my love of growing food and being in nature. Continue Reading

Week 5: learning that farmers have their own lingo

Well, its official: we are off to TAFE to study Organic Farming one day a week and Rachel is going to forget about Clinical Psychology Masters. Woo Hoo 🙂 It feels exciting to be following our dream at last!!

July 6

On the farm today: It was a big social day at the farm. Pete who does accounts was present all day (we met Pete in week 1 or 2 and he has been there a couple of times on a Wednesday when we go, helping run the office side of things), Rod and Tania and their kids, and Aiden. Just after we arrived for morning tea, Aiden’s wife and two young kids visited and brought scones. Steve (another farm-hand) was also there all day (he’d been off sick for a few weeks), and of course the two of us (I almost stayed home as I felt unwell, but decided the farm would be good medicine).

Our first job for the morning was to put in some flat leaf parsley seedlings. Rachel and I worked together on this job, while Tania did some weeding in another section. There are so many growing beds with such a huge variety of stuff growing. I haven’t seen them all yet, but so amazing. Rod was saying yesterday that he would lay down between 5 and 8 new beds every week! Phenomenal. Here is a picture of the row we planted still empty…

Planting flat leaf parsley

Our next task was to plant beetroot seeds straight into the growing beds. The beds are about 50-70 metres in length and have 3-4 furrows in which we planted these cool looking seeds. We learnt that beetroot doesn’t transplant very well as seedlings so its best to just pop ’em straight in the soil and let them grow.

rachel showing off her technique at planting beetroot

However, we were very excited to see the beetroot plants we had thinned out in our first week (giving them more room to grow) were doing REALLY well! We had both been so nervous that we would stuff it up on our first day – but nope, they looked fantastic! Here’s a pic of them now (at about 15-20 cms)

We did a good job, yay!!

After this job was done, Aiden could lay down some watering hose and we got back to some weeding, this time amongst the shallots. A tricky and delicate job, as the shallots are easy to slice and then the whole plant is gone! Michelle has a special tool, of which she is very fond which did the job well – only one loss! And then it was time for lunch… What a productive morning.

I love the talks we have around the lunch table at the farm. As Rod said a few weeks back, “if we get onto a good topic, we will just keep talking, and don’t really keep strictly to time, so some lunches are longer than others”. Well this was definitely one of those days. Good food, good conversation, especially after a strenuous morning in the fields, feels deeply nourishing. Both of us have said that we feel like we enjoy our food so much more on farming days (and we both like our food pretty good anyway). Somehow we got onto the topic of vulnerability (and if you haven’t seen Brene Brown’s talk about this topic, check it out here)

Finally, the conversation came to a natural close and we headed back up the hill, and the kids came too! In the afternoon we focused on weeding. Rachel started out between the kale and learnt some new farming lingo ‘dutch hoe the guts’ which basically means get between the rows with the dutch hoe and kill those weeds. Here she is doing just that….

Dutch Hoe the guts...

The we got into the coriander, which has to be some of the most fiddly weeding there is to do. Its really hard to discern weed from herb, and because coriander is so delicate and the weeds nest in really close. Tania explained that coriander grows and gets harvested quickly, so the weeding has to happen at the right time in order to get the best growth. We cleared those rows so those gorgeous plants could breathe and drink in the sun. The afternoon seemed to slip by so quick too, and before we knew it the sun was dipping behind the mountain ranges to the North-West and it was time to pack up and head home to Byron Bay.

Observe Tania's delicate approach to the coriander weeding...

today’s harvest: broccoli, shallots, tomatoes, kale, mint, snowpeas, bok choy, flat leaf parsley, radish, ginger, lettuce, sweet potato, carrots, coriander and spinach… Thanks Tania and Rod 🙂