On Sunday the clouds opened up and let the sun shine through for the first time in weeks. It has been raining cats and dogs this year and the sunshine was welcomed to thaw s out – even if only for a day.

It was quickly evident that whilst the sun was shining, we were potentially too ambitious with the Italian beauty (tractor) slipping down hills causing even my (too) brave husband to buckle up.

With spring approaching, our war on the weeds has been declared. We have great intentions that once the paddocks are planted out to crops we will use minimal spray if not aspire to be organic, however we have 40 years of neglect to get a jump start on, so regretfully spray is needed at this point. We have used a gentle spray, which is not residual and will breakdown in the soil quite quickly.

Our main enemy in these paddocks are the thistles. Many know them as scotch thistle or artichoke thistle. Call it what you like – all I know is that it has horrible spikes on it that leave transparent splinters in you when you fall over in them!

We sprayed the entire front paddock in one day. We expect to start seeing results in the coming week. Once spring hits, we will work through these paddocks with the rotary hoe and plant out pasture seed and faba beans to compete with the weeds and halt their return. The faba beans will add nitrogen and nutrients back into this deprived soil and hopefully be a great magnet to keep the sheep close and continue our domestication of them.

Now it’s time for the fun stuff – drawing out our paddock plan and planning our future crops in here.

Thistle snapshot Spraying thistle4 Spraying thistle3 Spraying thistles

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