Greetings from El Noor gardens, here we are in full swing of moving into Summer, and the days are averaging about 34 degrees celsius. Roses are still blooming, but they are starting to turn, perhaps a second flush, but who knows? The weather has been unpredictable.
A few days ago we experienced a maddening wind storm. The mercury rose up to 40 degrees, whilst Mother Earth gave us winds of up to 70km/hr. Everything copped a beating--even my greenhouse, which to me, is a miracle it even survived the wind. There were a couple of times where I thought it was all over, as the wind had the plastic almost sailing away over to Tortuga.
The mess left behind was not nice. And surprisingly, only one rose bush had a big snap in it, everything else was fine--but just a bit burnt, and flustered.
I knew the Summer would have me busy. I mean, I am always busy, but now I have begun the weekly watering of my date palms and some of the peach cuttings. I am out there 3 x per week in the paddock, and water a half section one night, the other section the next night, and all the other little plants the 3rd night.
All the date palms are looking healthy and vibrant, particularly the smaller ones. I would estimate that 75-80% have survived their first year and a half very well, but regarding the peach cuttings, it is hit and miss. Perhaps only 30%. A couple of hot days have just knocked them. Other little fruit trees I have planted are not coping either.
Trouble is, I left planting them out in the paddock too late. And in hindsight, I should have potted them first and had them in part shade for the remainder of the year but this is what experimentation is all about. I do see about 10 peach cuttings that are alive with leaves, and so I am happy with that. To have a replica of the most delicious peaches is a wonderful thing! I actually had peach jam & butter on toast for breakfast... And this peach jam has been opened since last year and not had any mould or expiration to it whatsoever.
Im not actually sure how this is preserving so well but it is. All my homemade jams have persevered exceptionally well.
Talking about surprises, I got the biggest one last night. Many of you know for months & months I have had a fox at El Noor Gardens--Mrs Fox. Mrs Fox has been here even before Winter, sitting at the back gate as I let the chickens out, looking like she wanted to play!
I have heard her squealing at night looking for a boyfriend, whilst having me jump out of my bones with fright (ever a heard a vixen on heat????) And I have chased her out the paddock time and time again, with the help of the crows. She even made a bed under my roses bushes down in my paddock and I even frightened her a couple of times as she slept.
I have heard someone lapping up the chickens food at night many times, and so this time I went to have a look, thinking it was the neighbours cat...
But last night, well, this was our first late night encounter. And boy, was she brave (or tamed maybe??!)
I can't help but feel how comfortable she is here at El Noor. She clearly knows me better than I know her. For her courage to be with me for several minutes (even before this video was captured) was indicative of this, and very strange. She sat there looking at me and wow, does she have red eyes! I didn't even realise foxes could have red eyes, (perhaps a mix of amber) and foxes by nature are very timid. Altogether, this was weird, yet fascinating encounter. Clearly it took a lot of courage on her behalf to do this!
The first thing anyone would do in this area is shoot, poison or try their best to get rid of a fox. I understand better than anyone the wrath that they can unleash (RIP Aziza & Amina) but I also have to admit I am much more relaxed about foxes now. I used to harbour a fear of having foxes eat my chickens all the time. And of course, putting that energy out into the ethers can only be returned...and it happened. But now, implementing more safety in the yard when I go out to run errands, I feel assured my chickens are safe. I lock them in the workshop, and turn the ABC radio on for them and they can groom to their hearts content for a couple of hours, which they do.
Farm life isn't an easy one, and animals are at the mercy of others. This is the cycle of nature and Mrs Fox is only doing what she knows best. And believe me, getting rid of her won't do anything. There is always a hundred more foxes to come. I say learn to coexist, and put in preventative measures to avoid any chaos.
Another surprise I found this Spring is the flower that is the ultimate ladybug attractor. Stock flower!
Who would've thought?? I planted stock from seed in the Winter, and lo and behold, I was out in my garden watering it, and found a swarm of ladybugs on all the stock. Have you ever smelled stock? It is heady in a big way.
Stock has an amazing strong scent and I wonder if it is this that is attracting the ladybugs? Sometimes it could be the texture of the plant, it could be many things. I have an idea to grow some more stock next year and interweave it next to my roses in the garden. Some of you know that I purchased ladybugs about a month ago online, and they stayed on my roses for a whole 10 seconds and then flew off! Never to be seen again.
I am already seeing an abundance of seed growing on the stock, so I hope to have an ample seed supply come next Winter.
The front garden is finally looking alive for the first time since I moved to El Noor. The previous owners decided to line the entire front yard with black plastic and then pile pebbles on top. It was hideous. How anyone couldn't be interested in planting a garden is beyond me. It was a challenge to remove it all but I did eventually.
I also had my dad use his tractor to dump a fair load of moderately good topsoil there.
And I have spent a great deal of time, planting and nursing the plants that you see in there now. Everything is still small, but I think everything is going to survive. I have 4 olive trees, a couple of date palms, an apricot tree, and of course stock, sweet pea and geranium. I have some hollyhock that I will plant in with it next year.
Since it has been getting hot, I have been hiding down in my big cellar. The temp drops 15-20 degrees inside there and I love nothing more than to hide out. It really feels like another world. This is where I hid out during that big wind storm and I barely hear a sound. I also have a huge job of removing all the dirt from the floor because beneath it, I found seams of rock that to me, feels like its breathing.
I am reluctant to even put a seal over this rock floor as I do not want to compromise the energy coming from it. I have always planned to have my altar/sacred space in the cellar, and all my ritual work is done barefoot, so I wouldn't want to compromise the body-to-Earth connection. Maybe I could put a natural wax or something- I'll have to look into it. If anyone knows about this or has suggestion, pls comment below!
Slowly, everyday, I carefully remove the dirt, bucket by bucket, and then cart it upstairs to tip out. Eventually all the dirt will be gone and it will be less dusty down there. I hope to finish the entire cementing/repointing of the cellar walls this Summer. I only have a little bit remaining.
I have also tried my hand at making my own rose water. I have made a rose hydrosol which smells amazing. I also did a rosemary hyrdrosol and it was so strong it made my eyes water, had me sneezing and I had to wear a mask.
It is a very long process and one that has to be carefully watched for the entirety, but I think with proper equipment it will probably be less strenuous. You also need a copious amount of plant matter-as in rose petals or rosemary sprigs. To make 1 Litre of pure rose oil, it takes about 1 tonne of roses. Thats a lot of roses!
I plan to use these hydrosols in my skin care products- soap (Soap of Pasargadae) and my new rose night cream that is in the works. This should be available for purchase in the near future, but right now busily getting everything just perfect...
Whatever you are doing on Planet Earth, make it count and do only what gives you joy, love and happiness in your life. Make the most of any situation, and live in harmony with the ways of Planet Earth. Life is but a blink of an eye here. I hope this blog inspires you to plant a garden, no matter how small or big. Life Creation is one of the most heart-warming things to do.
For now, the chickens and I will be heading off down into the cellar, for the noon sun, will be soon peaking and it will be more of this again:
From your farm friend,