Tuesday, 28 March 2017

What we did with the camel poo and the supermarket table

The onward movement of the camel poo:
First the camel poo had to be made, and this was done with enthusiasm by the camels down the lane at Sarah's place.
Then the camel poo laid on the floor of the camel barn for months on end, becoming compacted into an earthen floor by the camels, the feet of which are very big and do a grand job of bringing the poo into a hardened mass.
So it came to be a day in late November when the barn needed to be emptied of the poo because otherwise the camels would lose head height room what with the poo flattened floor now being quite deep.
So we were asked if Lester would help clear the barn out, his 'reward' being the keeping of the poo.
"Yes", we said, although in truth I did little to help ... it was Lester and Paul (Sarah's husband) who dug out the poo,  wheelbarrowed it into the trailer, drove the car and trailor up the lane to our place, then deposited the poo in a heap in our courtyard.
The work took several days.
But a heap got made.
Then it got covered over.
Then Lester made the raised beds.
Time for the poo to be moved again, this time to its final resting place, which was in the raised beds.
This work again took several days, bless him.
Meanwhile, he had made a hat for one of the raised beds....
...here is the frame made out of old metal poles

.... and then made removable panels to put on it.
This is our first greenhouse. It might be tiny, but it is a start!
Now all that needs to be done is for weed control membrane to be put on the ground in between the raised beds, and then we are going to put stones down, which are to be 'harvested' from our river beach. This might take a while.  
It remains to be seen whether or not the camel poo will be adequate enough to support the growth of plants, but Sarah grows all her vegetables in the poo, and does well. The crown of rhubarb we planted in camel poo is also romping away, so hopefully we shall get a good harvest out of those beds.
Now you might have noticed the table with a green umbrella over the top of it, and here is how it came to be here....
Since we came here I have wanted an outside table and chairs, but the courtyard was always full of building stuff, and then the chickens came to live here, taking over any flat surface to roost on, which would have included a table and chairs.
But nevertheless I kept looking for a table and chairs when out shopping, with frequent discussions (often quite heated) about what sort of table it would be, with Lester preferring wood, but myself preferring plastic, mainly because they were at least half the price of the wooden ones.
Anyway, time rolled on, the building work became finished, then the chickens were rehomed, and the courtyard space became ours to do with as we pleased.
Originally I had thought of a Victorian type garden, maybe with a fountain  birdbath, a gazebo with trailing vines over the top, maybe a 'proper' BBQ (Lester's idea), a small lawn, some curving paths, an ornamental patio in front of the door. What a lovely vision!
So out shopping in our local supermarket last summer (2016) and on display were outdoor tables and chairs.  Idling along the display...... and ten minutes later we had bought a set, plus an umbrella. And it was a plastic set, but we were in joint agreement. Back home the boxed table and chairs were put upstairs. We still had the chickens. We did not want them to claim the table and chairs as their new roosting spot, which they most surely would.
Our plan was to put the table and chairs in front of the house, and that we would entertain people around it. That the courtyard would be a pretty garden, as in the 'vision' I had mentioned. I planned to make some pretty tablecloths, the umbrella would shelter us from the sun, and oohh la la, how swanky we would be.
Then all change. The Market Garden Project had arrived, and poof! out of the window went the 'vision'. But I am not disappointed about losing it, because it has been replaced by something better, something prettier, and something which better suits Labartere.
It came to be late morning of yesterday, there was a light drizzle in the air, the day was dull as a result, but it became time to get the table and chairs unboxed.
It took a while. Pictorial representation of the instructions to assemble the table still seemed complicated, but it got done in the end.
And wow, what a surprise....the table was huge, too huge to go in front of the house, so here it went, by the raised beds, and it will be shaded by the fig tree to the left, and the elder to the right.
As for that green umbrella.....well, we thought we ought to see if went up alright. It did. But then it was boxed up again. I doubt we shall be using it much. It looks a bit too 'bling' for Labartere. But a thought...... it might be useful to shade plants  under during the summer, so perhaps it will have a use.
As for our new 'dining out' set, it is unlikely that we shall be fulfilling that vision I had of using it as a social gathering hub, because the table is to be used as a potting table, and will probably always have plants on it, with a small area down one end at which we can sit and have a sandwich.
And you know what?! This is a better use of the table!
And it already feels like a quiet, meditative corner.
Just to mention, that I have also, finally, bought myself a sunbed. Just a cheepo one, plastic, nothing special, ....it is not intended for roasting myself to a brown frizzle, but I do love lying under a tree and watching the sunlight playing with the leaves of the canopy overhead. It is an occupation I could indulge myself in for hours on end, and is very soothing to the mind.
It is a sunny day today.
The sunbed is still boxed, which is probably a good thing because I have tons of things to do,
but I shall be definitely be sitting at the table,
probably potting some seeds, maybe drinking coffee, possibly doing some knitting / crochet / patchwork, but definitely enjoying this new outside space even though it is still in its infancy.
And here is another photo of our new mini greenhouse, but without the frames on it.
There is still a lot of the courtyard which has to be left empty of plants and garden things, because the tractor and car has to have their turning round room, but the ground is greening up now that the chickens are no longer scratching at the soil and making the place look like desert.
Ho hum.... need to go and make friends with that table and chairs.
Cup of tea / coffee anyone?


coffeeontheporchwithme said...

Fantastic raised beds! That is the direction I want to go, hopefully fewer weeds and less back ache! I love your little green house, too. -Jenn

Diane S said...

Wow so lucky getting all the camel poo. We make our own compost from left overs and leaves but it is never enough and we have to buy which is expensive.
Love your raised beds, much better than just being a veggie garden as our is as it is mighty difficult to keep it weed free. We wish you well with your market garden project.
Have a great week Diane

Kev Alviti said...

Love your mini greenhouse, I've made mine up this week as well - I'll put them on the blog later this week. Looking forward to this market gardening project as I'm trying to do the same on a very small scale. Got lots of veg started but not much planted out yet.

Cro Magnon said...

Is that PURE Camel poo in the raised beds? Be prepared for GIANT vegs!

The Broad said...

This post is just amazing for the breadth of vision(s) of dreams and of reality! From camel poo to sun beds -- dare I say it -- only at Labartere!!!

Denise said...

Tea, please! Maybe a smidgeon of cake??

Vera said...

COFFEEONTHEPORCHWITHME, hi Jen, this is our first time growing in raised beds, but they are easier, that's for sure! But we still have three large veg paddocks to look after as well!

DIANE, we also have cow poo, and the sheep barn needs clearing out as well, but getting the camel poo did help to get the raised beds filled up. I like the raised beds, and I am looking forward to getting them planted out.

KEV, we are starting off small as well as we don't know what will sell and what will not. But everything needs to be organised as if you are running a business, so that you know what produces what and when. Lester has handed this task over to me, as I am the better organiser of the two of us.
Selling direct is what we hope to do, although we might have to go to the local market to get known. Finding a niche market for your area, that is always useful. We are going in for micro greens, baby veg, and cut and come again lettuce.
I shall keep any info I learn posted up on the blog. It would be good to see you also become a market gardener!

CRO MAGNON, it is indeed pure camel poo, so hopefully we shall get good sized veg!

THE BROAD, bless you, you made me quite tearful with your comment. Thanks. x

DENISE, can provide cake today, or perhaps a scone although they are not 'high rise' scones, but flattened pancake type ones! They still taste the same though!

DUTA said...

The raised beds look good!!
Apropo plastic, I've become very appreciative of plastic items both outdoors and indoors.
Plastic is easy to clean, easy to move, comes in a variety of colors. At a certain stage in life one has to be practical and prefer plastic to wood and other materials.

Vera said...

DUTA, I absolutely agree about everything you say about plastic, it just took Lester time to agree with us!

Horst in Edmonton said...

Fantastic on getting all that Camel poo, and your raised beds look real good full. Wow, it's nice to have a table and chairs next to the garden beds that way you can have a rest when needed. also it is so nice to be outside when having tea or lunch or even a BBQ. Good on you, have a great time in the garden.

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

The raised beds are beautiful and the greenhouse looks so professional. I will be interested to hear how the camel poo growing goes. I would imagine quite well. I cut up potatoes to dry and plant this week so hopefully I will work in some garden time in the next couple of days.

Vera said...

HORST, I have so missed having outside space, even though we have thirteen acres to walk round! But I have missed having a garden and only realised how much when we had our first sit down at the new table and chairs. Hope you are keeping well, and that winter is leaving your part of the world.

LISA, you are such a busy lady that you must find it hard to find time to keep your garden going as well as looking after those gorgeous boys of yours.

rusty duck said...

Great start. I hope the camel poo works its wonders. Wondering where I can get a camel and thinking I may need to make do with poo from the horse stables up the road!

Vera said...

JESSICA, I think horse poo would do very well....but how about a cow...their manure is supposed to be as good as camel poo (or so Lester says), and you can have milk, butter and cheese as a by product to that poo!

local alien said...

I missed out on something. Why are there camels on a farm in France? And how many?
Another interesting post!

Mama Pea said...

Looks as though you're making great progress! The raised beds look so good. What have you laid on the ground under the filled beds?

Husband and I have gone round and round about what we could/should put on the paths between all our raised beds. Right now it's grass that has to be mowed and weed whipped. A real pain in the patoot. We've thought of laying "something" down first to kill the weeds and then covering with wood shavings but I know our awful, terrible quack grass would come right up through it all. I don't want to use gravel or rocks or pebbles because I kneel by my beds so much and that would be painful on my knees. Guess I'd better just get out the lawn mower again this summer. Sigh.

Vera said...

LOCAL ALIEN, Sarah down the lane runs a children's animal park, which includes llamas, pigs, geese, goats, etc...., plus three camels who were rescued from somewhere but I don't remember where, and they are the providers of the poo. They do make a lot of it!

MAMA PEA, it was Lester's idea to put stones down between the beds, but I would have preferred grass. I don't think I shall be kneeling down though because I wouldn't be able to get up again, which is why I did not get into a debate with him about the stones! First year with raised beds though, ..... I now find myself with a lot of space to fill with veggies!

Horst in Edmonton said...

Hi this is for those that are using Horse Poo, Horse poo should be well composted as the weed seeds are not rotted enough to be killed.

Vera said...

HORST, thanks for the info, although it is camel poo that we are using!

Kerry said...

Love the raised beds, I need one for asparagus which some bright spark had planted under raspberries. No outlet for camel poo here but we can get a trailer load for 3€, so not bad at all.

Leon Sims said...

Need to do the same - raised veggie gardens is one of the many projects for us soon Vera.

Vera said...

KERRY, we have no luck with growing raspberries here...I think it is too hot for them, if not, then we have not yet learnt the knack of growing them!

LEON, you have such a lot to do in your new home and garden, but I am sure it will look as lovely as your new home looks.