Kittens!

We decided that it had been too long since we had new animals and there are only so many pigs and chickens you can have (well, I still think we need more chickens!) So next on the list was A KITTEN!!

We went to Paws 4 Life, a charitable organisation run by an amazing lady who takes in unwanted cats & dogs and takes great care of them until they can be adopted. Our intentions really were to pick one kitten and take it home with us…really! But after a lot of deliberation we ended up pre-adopting (they were still too little to take home) the cutest little brother and sister pair – it just would have been so mean to split them up right?!

A week later we picked up and took home Shifty and Simba.

Shifty

Shifty

Simba

Simba

They took a few minutes when we first got home to sniff around and scope the place out and after that it was play time! It was suggested to us that we try to limit their exercise to ensure that they grew fast…good luck with that! I’m sure you can imagine that trying to stop two 8 week old kittens from playing is about as easy as finding a needle in a haystack with a blindfold on! At least after about an hour of play they were zonked out.

Yep...they sleep like this!

Yep…they sleep like this!

We’ve had the kittens for a couple of weeks now and we LOVE them! They are gorgeous and if I’d had any doubts about getting 2 kittens I don’t anymore. They still love snuggling up with us but they are the best of friends and do a lot of serious rough and tumble! They are great at keeping each other (and us) entertained and so far, out of trouble!

And Simba just being cute

And Simba just being cute

Shifty being really helpful!

Shifty being really helpful!

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The polytunnel

A huge part of being self-sufficient is growing our own veges. We are really lucky in New Zealand to have an extremely mild climate, however we do still get a few frosty mornings during winter. I’m still doing a lot of learning about vege gardening but we had a pretty successful summer garden and I caught the gardening bug…bad!

Last summer we planted punnets of veges which was great, but of course the next step was always going to be planting from seed. I bought some propagators, a bag of seedling mix and a few packets of seeds and gave it a go – and it worked! I ended up with all sorts of seedlings that I ambitiously planted in the garden in May. It would have gone ok albeit rather slowly if the pigs hadn’t decided that they were lunch.

Josh and I had decided a couple of months earlier that we really wanted to be able to grow veges all year round, so after a bit of research we purchased a polytunnel. I didn’t even know these existed but once I had seen one, I knew that was what we needed. A polytunnel is similar to a greenhouse, but as the name suggests it is a tunnel shape and covered in polythene, giving you a large space to garden that maintains a much warmer temperature than outdoors. Ours is 6m long, 3m wide and 2m tall – even Josh can stand up in it!

The assembly was reasonably straightforward…

Doesn't look like much yet!

Doesn’t look like much yet

Getting there!

Getting there…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's up!

It’s up!

…and while I thought we would opt for just digging up the ground Josh had other ideas and I came home from work to find this beautiful construction!

Huge raised garden beds!

Huge raised garden beds!

It only took 5 of us to move it into the tunnel (no big deal!) and once it was in, about 50 wheelbarrow loads of topsoil to fill the beds. All in a days work! We put weedmat down under the soil – I’m ever hopeful that I won’t have to weed the garden but I think I’m dreaming – and Josh also put a layer of grass clippings and leaves down for a bit of a reverse composting. On top of the soil we put a few bags of compost (store bought…terrible I know, but our compost pile is still a work in progress!)

Hot work!

Hot work!

A few of the seedlings that I had planted a couple of weeks earlier were ready to be transplanted so I put them in and the polytunnel was starting to look pretty good. A few paving stones, some gravel and 9 strawberry plants taken from last years crop in and we were ready to go. I’m hoping that we will have a bumper crop and that we may even be able to get a head start on tomatoes and capsicums given that on a sunny day in July it felt like summer in there!

Beautiful!

Beautiful!

There is still plenty more room in the garden beds (although I don’t think I’ll struggle to fill it) and with the arrival of the new Kings Seeds catalogue I’ve got a busy few weeks ahead of me!