Yesterday was a fine day so I planted out our strawberries - with a little help from a four year old and some of our feathered friends. Pekins are the perfect breed to have if you have a lot of vegetable gardens and don't want to have fences around every one of them. Their feathered feet prevent them from scratching too far into the dirt and they are so small and lightweight that they barely make a dent on your garden. Two of the young boys even had a mock fight amongst the young Silverbeet plants and even after landing on a few, they caused no damage at all. They looked like little moving garden ornaments, picking their way delicately between the plants and scratching and eating up bugs. They didn't even bother to touch the vegies. I'm not completely fooled though. I know that once the fruit starts appearing in the garden I will have every bird in the nearby vicinity stopping in for a midday feast. I am going to start investing in a lot of bird netting so I can be prepared for hungry birds and chooks who can't resist the juicy red strawberries.

The plan today was to collect pine needles from around the property to place around the plants as a mulch but it seems that yesterdays sunshine was just a teaser. It is a very cold, gloomy day today. A sure sign that winter is creeping closer. The chooks seem to be feeling the difference in temperature too, they are all hunched up and some are sitting on our deck staring wistfully in through the glass doors wishing they were the ones curled up in a warm living room instead. Unfortunately, I won't be enjoying the warmth for long. I will have to make a trip down to the coop at the bottom of our paddock to collect the days eggs otherwise they will be claimed by our current broody hen who has learnt the trick of going into each of the nesting boxes and picking the eggs up under her chin and carrying them all back to her box one at a time. I was a bit amazed when I witnessed her doing this. I couldn't figure out how all of the eggs were ending up in her box when the other hens will usually go out of their way to avoid a nesting box with a loud screeching pecking broody hen in it. So, I will make the most of my walk and collect some pine needles at the same time. I may need to make a few trips to collect enough pine needles as I ended up with about 40-50 plants once they were all separated, but the best part was that they didn't cost a thing.

I also received an email from a lovely lady who I had met through a FB farming page. I had mentioned that I was having trouble with getting my Lemon Balm seeds to germinate as it is my first time growing this plant. She had put together a package of herb plants for me and is sending them in the mail along with a few Lemon Balm cuttings which I thought was a very kind gesture. I offered to pay for the postage cost but she asked that I write a thank you card instead for her 6 year old daughter who actually grew the plants and even sells them at their gate and makes her own money. I was very impressed by this and am looking forward to getting my two girls involved in growing vegies and making their own pocket money from selling them as well.

But todays project, after I have collected the eggs and the Pine needles, is making a thank you card for a very clever 6 year old girl who made a very lovely gesture and helped us out immensely :-)

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