Farm Update - Dec 2012

Dec 03 2012 0 Comments Tags: update

In November it finally rained again properly.  First 30mL and then another 70mL the next week.  We now have a full dam and tanks at Eight Acres and dams topped up at Cheslyn Rise.  More importantly, everything is GREEN and growing.

full dam, didn't think to take "before photo", marked before line in red
At Cheslyn Rise we have 6 little baby calves.  We knew some of the cows were pregnant, but were not sure when they were due, so that was a lovely surprise.  We are going to get them a bull in December or January.  By total coincidence it turned out that an acquaintance also kept Brafords and has just got himself a new bull, so is happy to sell us the old one.  According to Joel Salatin, buying an old bull is perfectly good (he's only 6 yrs old, but not 18 months like a new one from a stud sale) as he'll be more mature and settled and still do the same job.  He only has 26 girls to "service" so its not like we have hundreds of cows and need to make sure we have keen young bulls to do the job.  Anyway, the new mums are doing a great job, and we've only been able to catch one baby to put an insecticidal ear tag in.  It would be nice to catch the others, but I'm just happy to see that the cows are doing a good job of looking after their babies, I was a bit worried after we had those two orphans.

The chickens are still laying well.  I've had to spray a few with neem oil for lice.  I occasionally pick up a chicken or two and if they have lice I spray them, and try to catch the rest from that cage, best done when I re-fill their feeder.  Below is "deck chicken", she keep "forgetting how to get home" and wants to live on the deck.  Cute at first, but getting a bit silly now!

Roosting on the outdoor furniture

Hanging out with the dogs
In other chicken news, I failed to completely chicken-proof the area outside the main garden where I planted the second round of curcubits and the chickens destroyed them again!  So I planted more seeds (I think I still have enough time) and re-built the fence.  

Pete tidied up my hoard of toilet rolls, so I tried planting in newspaper instead

My seed-raising greenhouse has been useful when we have
10 degC temperature swings from one day to the next!

corn, various bush beans and soy beans (want to make soy sauce)

My herb garden, from the top - yarrow, tarragon, sage, peppermint, oregano, rosemary, thyme, mint, an eggplant (I know, not a herb) and two pots of strawberries which fruit infrequently but deliciously!
more herbs - back up comfrey (in case the rest gets eaten, which
has happened several times, Bella, and the now the chickens, love it),
two lemon grass options and soapwort.

found these under the pot of chillies, some kind of giant slug, not good....

the radishes and carrot, with onion in between the rows, taking FOREVER to grow, have been harvesting a few radishes though, the seem to grow long and spindly roots first, think our soil gets too dry and hot when they are young

cucumber and trombocino, waiting for the
latter to start climbing the fence

Beans planted in the shelter of the calendula to protect from
marauding chickens who will peck ANYTHING through the fence

Capsicum that I nursed through winter in the greenhouse and turns
out to not be a mini capsicum, don't know where you came from, but thanks for volunteering!
Tomatoes, trying really really hard this year to get a decent harvest,
also planted with basil and coriander, and a giant beet in the background
that seems to be all leaves and no root, but the chickens like the leaves, so I
let it stay there.... also bucket on the stake because the shade cloth drips there
and it hurts the tomato leaves, see I'm trying!

arrowroot in bloom, I should really try making flour aye....
one half of the garden....

the other half
the potato bag - sprayed the leaves with neem oil to deter the potato leave eating beetle,
think the cure was worse than the problem, they are bouncing back though, lucky it rained!

One of our beautiful old gums, partially burnt from an old fire,
which saved it from being used as fence posts

the view from our verandah (no wonder deck chicken wants to sit up here)
This is getting too long - all the other cattle are doing well.  We chased and tackled poor Benny and Romeo as it was time to put bands on their balls before they got too big, also eartags (compulsory national livestock identification system tags).  Turned out that Benny had already been cut, so he didn't need a band (must have been tiny at the time, poor thing), but Romeo got one.  He is huge and strong, so its lucky we could still catch him and didn't leave it any longer.

The dogs are hot but happy.  Pete has been working 6 days/wk 12 hr shifts for the last 7 wks, so it will be very nice to have him back to normal hours very soon and the reason I keep saying "I" instead of "we".  And I bought a new slow cooker because I can't live without one now.  And I've been making one cheese a week after weekly milking.

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