and I have a full school term until Fealy Bub No 4 arrives – I am really hoping to dedicate some time to blogging (and I guess I really should get our nursery and some things ready for Bub No 4!). I’m even thinking about signing up for an online blogging course – I need to make a decision on that today, but decided to do an actual blog post first before I spent any money on a course!!
So, I’m starting with a bit of a summary of what life has been like as farmers for the last few months. It is soooooo hard to believe that we have been here at Blue Sky Produce for five months now. We are currently three quarters of the way through our first mango season, the Kensington Pride and R2E2 varieties have all been picked and packed and we are now just waiting for the Keitts and Brooks mangoes to ripen (who knew there were so many varieties of mangoes!). We are not far off from commencing our first avocado season and we have 17 workers living on site. These last few months have been the most enormous learning curve ever for us all, but especially Matt! He has gone from googling You Tube videos on ‘how to drive a tractor’ on the way here from our trip, to driving tractors, forklifts, operating mulching, spraying and fertilising machines, fixing all sorts of things from pumps to chainsaws and learning about all kinds of orchard insects, diseases and soils!!!
The first quarter on the farm was spent trying to do half a year’s worth of ‘off season’ orchard work in three months! With the help of our full time farm hand Charlie (and his dog Captain!), 4 German Backpackers – Sarah, Malte, Sebastian and Julian, we pruned avocado trees, mulched avocado trees, commenced a spraying and fertigation program for the whole orchard, as well as a whole lot of slashing, weed and pest control work!
The kids have taken to farm life like ducks to water!
They love going out on the four wheeler with Matt before school to turn the irrigation on, or after school on the tractor if Matt is not too busy. It is amazing how much they have learnt about orchard farming already just from the bits and pieces Matt has told them or they overhear us talking about! All three are pro’s at fixing sprinklers and spotting the different varieties of trees around the orchard.
It hasn’t just been all hard work. We did have a few afternoons of quiet family walks around the farm and even squeezed in a lunch with all the workers for the Melbourne Cup in November – we were most disgusted that the electrician who was here working that day cleaned out our inaugural Blue Sky Melbourne Cup sweep!
Oh and nearly forgot! We also planted 210 new lime trees during this time and did some pretty rigorous disease control on the avocado trees! Matt is particularly proud of how straight our lime tree lines are – a little obsessive compulsive for a farmer I say!
So that was our first 3-ish months of farm life. Not too bad at all. I have been enjoying just being a stay at home mum, making breakfasts, lunches and dinners, baking and doing a bit of office work. Matt does take me out with him from time to time to learn a little about the pump and how all the taps in the orchard work, but with a big pregnant belly growing I am not terribly useful for much more than that at present! The next post on farm life will be all about Mango Madness 2013/2014 with lots of details of what our first mango season was like – it has been full on that is for sure!!