Take it or leaf it!
Wednesday, 23 May 2012
By Brian Neben
At long last winter has finally arrived and has, on occasion, made itself felt quite fiercely.
The biggest task at our place is, of course, the annual raking up of leaves. While I tell you about our leaf project every year, it really is a major task especially when we have more than 25 huge London plane trees on the property.
There were more but last year we removed about 10, which had become problematic, so this has saved us quite a bit of work.
However, we still have the problem of dispensing with many tons of huge leaves that make their way to ground. We compost about a third but, unfortunately, they don’t break down like the oak leaves, liquidamber, pinoaks and many other varieties we have on the property.
My two compost bins are rather large being three metres by three metres by 1200mm deep. Yet when we emptied the first bin about 12 months ago and the second one more recently, there were still some leaves from the year before which had not broken down during that long period.
So, for the remainder of the leaves we had no option but to burn them although when I mentioned doing this last year I did receive one or two, “tut-tut” letters pointing out that I was causing pollution. I’m sorry about that but I didn’t have a lot of choice.
We do curse the leaves at this time of year but when spring arrives and they start to bud then form leaves, it makes all the work worthwhile. By mid-summer our driveway looks a picture and is a real delight.
This past summer has been one of the best for lifestylers with enough rainfall to keep the garden growing and the tanks and ponds full.
Although not so great for the veggie garden, the general gardens – trees, shrubs and flowerbeds – benefitted and did look quite spectacular. Now, with winter here the grass has stopped growing and our hens are again going through an anti-laying period.
My brood mare has grown her winter coat and seems to be enjoying the cooler weather.
We are anxiously awaiting her giving birth early in September – I’ll keep you informed of this exciting event
It’s also a good time to think of a week or two somewhere in the Pacific – still working on this idea so, until next month, keep warm! Brian Neben publishes Rural Living, and during the weekends is an avid lifestyle farmer.