Farm update - November 2015

Nov 02 2015 0 Comments Tags: udpate

The weather is really starting to warm up now, but with all this talk of el nino and dire predictions of drought, we somehow got 50 mm of rain in the last week of the month, which has really cheered us up.  The paddocks at Eight Acres were turning into what is known locally as "bull dust" which is where the grass is almost completely dry, dead and gone, and all you're left with is a dusty yard, which is not nice at all.  We have more grass cover at Cheslyn Rise, but were trying to figure out how long we could keep the beef steers, trying to judge the beef cattle market at the moment is very difficult, I think we will sell soon.

Food and cooking
I think the best part about homekill meat is that you get everything, including all the offal and weird cuts that you would never normally buy.  I have tried really hard to eat the liver and kidneys because organ meat is supposed to be so nutritious but I can't stomach it, I even hate the smell of it cooking, so we give that to the dog, along with heart and tongue.  Taz won't eat it raw either, she prefers her food cooked!  However, I do you the beef cheeks and ox tail, I made a lovely casserole in the slow cooker with four beef cheeks and a packet of ox tail bones, its very tasty and tender if cooked long enough.  I encourage you to try these cuts as they are very cheap from the butcher (or if you homekill you will end up with them anyway).

Land and farming

As usual I feel like we are living on a wildlife reserve!  We certainly have plenty of permaculture zone 5 (wild), Pete spotted these two galahs eating termites from a nest.

We have also been spending time checking on our bees, which seem to be finding plenty of nectar and pollen and expanding their numbers.  We have also been going on lots of walks and drives around the property to see what is flowering and scope out other spots to put more hives as the first hive stand is starting to fill up.  Pete has built a stand and fixed up our secondhand honey extractor so we are getting ready to harvest when the bees have any to spare.


A friend is downsizing before going overseas and needed a new home for her chickens,  I offered to help, mainly because these two bantams came as part of the flock, aren't they sweet!?  As soon as they go broody we will give them some eggs to hatch.

Cows and cattle

With the dry grass at the moment we've been giving the cattle on both properties plenty of minerals.  We put them out in dishes so they can eat as much as they need.  The herd of 28 beef cattle clean up a 20kg bag in a week or so, which means they are not getting enough from the grass at the moment.


This month I have had to convert the garden into a chicken-proof fortress as we have had repeated break-ins, even with all the shade cloth, they seem determined to get in there and scuff up all my mulch.  This has resulted in casualties and I have to try not to get too upset about lost seedlings.  At least we will have tomatoes this year!  I have given up on tomatoes in the garden and we have the hydroponics running, with added worm wee the tomatoes are doing great.


We have been sanding the kitchen, but trying not to overdo it as full days of sanding really do ruin the weekend (and make you glad to be back at work for a rest!).  We have also ordered Pete's shed, and when the shed company said it will be delivered in November we panicked and had to get to work cleaning up the area where it will be built.  Its going to be to the left and behind the house in the picture below.  I persuaded Pete that we should get a building company to put it up for us, as its going to be 12m by 15m and 4m high, I really didn't think we needed that challenge!

Permaculture - Use and value renewable resources

When I see the words renewable resources its tempting to just list all the ways that we use solar panels around our farm (electric fences, bore pump...) this chapter really made me think more broadly about renewable resources and to value what we have on our property.  We have a lot of trees and we take for granted all the services that they provide us, firewood, building material, habitat, shade, nutrients, water (through transpiration), honeybee food!  Also in designing our house site we considered the position of the house to make use of shade, natural light and breeze.

Here's what I wrote last time about renewable resources.

Its nearly the end of knitting weather, but a friend gave me this wonderful hank of 100% NZ wool and I couldn't resist rolling it into balls and dreaming of what I would knit with it (probably next winter).  I'm thinking thick warm socks and long arm warmers for cold nights.  I also finished my crochet rug, which I'll share in a post soon.

Support me
I got my peppermint shaving soap organised and advertised on Etsy.  I also put some neem oil soap on there, which I'm going to have to post about to explain why you would want to use it!  I'm working on some neem cream also.  In the meantime, this is a bit about neem oil.

Here's a couple of blogs that I discovered this month, I thought you might like them too...

Jembella Farm

Country City Cindy

Thanks for dropping in!  How was your October?  What are your plans for November?

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