Thursday, June 3, 2010

Progress Report....

Dear All,

Sorry we have been incommunicado for the past month almost, but things have become very hectic, what with juggling work and Willowbrook. Over the past month we have been working hard to fence the farm properly. All the temporary fencing has been removed, and the 10 acre farm block has been divided into 7 paddocks, all fully fenced, with lovely 12 foot wooden gates; and a post and rail cattle yard for rounding up the stock and inspecting them / drenching, etc. We have done all the work ourselves, which although time-consuming, and physically draining, has given us a great sense of pride and satisfaction.

Then in the middle of that [fencing] mission, one of our Dorset Horned Ewes got a facial wound (however, following minor surgery and some tender ministrations twice daily, she is now bleating and leaping like before). Then our prize Suffolk Ram, Mr Darcy, came down with an infection in his stifle. I had to carry him over my shoulders the full length of the farm in the pelting rain to the barn, where he too, after a week of TLC, made a full recovery and has been released into the rest of the flock for the first time to 'do his thing'.

I mentioned the rain. My Word, it has not rained as hard or as long as it has for the past 2 weeks for years. Never mind, it has been great for the plants.

Meanwhile Peter, along with our friends Darin and Richard, has been making all the raised potager beds (36 beds, all 1 foot high, 10 feet long and 5 feet wide). He is due to finish those next week, so we can get them filled with the top soil and compost. Some of our plants for the potager have already arrived. They include medicinal herbs for our natural remedy range, and herbs for making natural cosmetics and hand and body creams. There are also many culinary herbs and seeds, including 10 Camelia sinensis trees (used to make Chinese black tea). Others include:

Aloysia triphylla (Lemon Verbena)
Anethum graveolens (Dill)
Apium celeriac (Celeriac)
Arnica mantana (Arnica - good as a natural bruise remedy)
Asparagus officinalis (Asparagus)
Chamaemelum nobile (Roman Chamomile - a relaxing infusion)
Crocus sativus (Saffron)
Echinacea purpurea (Echinacea - a natural immune booster)
Foeniculum vulgare dulce (Florence Fennel)
Helianthus tuberosus (Jerusalem Artichoke)
Juniperus comunis (Juniper for the berries - for making our own Gin!)
Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree - for medicinal oil, and the wood shavings are great for smoking trout and salmon)
Melissa officinalis (Lemon Balm - for teas and ointments)
Mentha citrata (Eau de Cologne Mint - for tea)
Mentha x pip. citrata basil (Basil flavoured Mint)
Mentha x piperita (Peppermint - for tea and ointments)
Manarda Cambridge scarlet (Bergamot, hot pink)
Manarda didyma (Bergamot - red)
Manarda didyma fistulosa (Wild Bergamot - Purple)
Nicotiana tabacum (Tobacco - useful as a natural insecticide)
Ocimum basililcum (Sweet Basil)
Ocimum tenuiflorum (Sacred Basil - perfumes)
Oenothera biennis (Evening Primrose - medicinal oil)
Origanum vulgare (Marjoram)
Pelargonium capitatum (Rose scented Geranium)
Pelargonium chocolate (Cocoa scented Geranium)
Pelargonium nervosum (Lime scented Geranium)
Pelargonium Rober's rose (The finest Rose scented Geranium)
Physalis alkekengi (Chinese Lanterns - ornamental pods for arrangements)
Physalis peruviana (Cape Gooseberry)
Polianthes tuberosa (Tuberose - used in perfumes)
Rosmarinus off Blue Lagoon (Blue Rosemary)
Rosmarinus off Remembrance (Pink Rosemary)
Rosmarinus off Tuscan Blue (Light Blue Rosemary)
Salvia off Pink form (Pink Sage)
Salvia off. Purpurascens (Purple Sage)
Salvia officinalis. (Sage - for culinary use)
Satureja montana (Winter Savoury)
Tanacetum parthenium (Feverfew - natural migraine remedy)
Thymus 'lemonspreader' (Lemon Thyme)
Thymus vulgaris (Common Thyme - for culinary use)
Thymus Westmoreland (Turkish Thyme - strongly flavoured)
Valeriana officinalis (Valerian - used as a relaxant)

We have also planted up our citrus grove, in the middle of the orchard, leaving enough room in the middle of it for the Orangery.

This coming week I am placing all the water troughs in the paddocks and finishing the stock yard. I am then moving on to making the jetty for the lake. The lake liner was finally finished last week and shipped down from Auckland. I have to get the jetty built in the next fortnight so that the liner can be installed around it (with large rubber 'boots' welded around each of the jetty posts, into one continuous form with the rest of the liner).

Last week I also drove to Wellington and back (a 16 hour trip!) to collect a boat which we had bought for the lake. It is a traditional styled row boat, which I am going to restore with lovely brass fittings, and varnished wooden seats. We are going to call her "The Lady of The Lake".

That should take us up to the great planting weekend of July 10-11, when a group of friends are gathering for the weekend to help us plant nearly 3000 trees around the park. I need to start putting in markers and border-lines, so that everything is ready to go on the big day.

So, there will be lots of before and after photos and progress pictures to share in the coming weeks. Once all that is done, order and sanity may once again prevail, and I may be able to return to the gentile art of blogging more regularly.

Till next time,


  1. You do have a lot "on the go" don't you! Sorry to hear about the rain but think about the up-side ie lush green pastures and no water restrictions, (here in QLD we have to wash the cars using only a bucket, argh).
    Great to hear things are moving along and I'm looking forward to those photos.

  2. Lovely to read this post David - I've missed your delightful musings from WP. Gosh you've been busy, but with so much achieved you must be feeling elated. MOTH & I would love to join in on the Great Planting weekend, if only we were a little closer!
    Millie ^_^

  3. My goodness, you have been and will be busy. Good luck and God speed! Reggie

  4. This place sounds like heaven on earth and the perfect place for a wedding. Are you open to the public yet?? If not, when??

  5. We are hoping to be open for Christmas 2011. This is such a big adventure, and we are taking great pains to get everything just so. Stay tuned... David :-)


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