Sunday, 18 June 2017

The Shearing Shed Lives

Click on the photos to enlarge if you'd like to see more detail.

The shearing shed had seen better years. The old clear sections of roof had perished and let the rain in, and the floor was rotting out. Even sections of the wall framing and roof structure were starting to rot. Once the skylights were replaced with new laserlite and the remaining tin screwed back down, we could start on the insides. Leigh Farrell did the heavy lifting on this stage.


The floor was too dangerous to walk on and the support beams were crumbling away.


First job was to remove all the old floor and beams. This was accomplished with the use of a chainsaw ! We cut the floor slats between the beams to about a foot long (and provided Trina with a years worth of seasoned hardwood kindling) and removed all the old wood structure.


A happy find was that under the foot of dirt the shed base had originally been concreted, sloped with a drain. We shoveled out all the "compost" and filled garden beds with it, and cleaned the underfloor right up so the drainage could work.


A second happy find was that the bearers were railway iron. A little rusted but still plenty of the core remaining so that we could just place new beams across them. The rotted roof supports and wall framing were also replaced.


New hardwood slats were then nailed across the beams. The gaps are to allow waste to drop down between them when the sheep are held here for shearing. It can then be hosed out using the drain to take it out the back of the shed.


We were able to use if for shearing in November. There are still a couple of tweaks for optimum usefulness. We need a big sheet of heavy duty lino for the shearer to work on, as wool catches on new hardwood slats when you try to turn them. It will take a few years for them to wear smooth. And we need to set up the new catching pens. It's easier on everyone not to have to chase them round a big area.


During the process the old louvers were taken out because they had a habit of vibrating out of the frames in windy weather and shattering on the ground. Matt Cassidy made new laserlite hopper windows that let in light, keep out the wind and can be opened when needed for ventilation.


He also fixed the little loading door, allowing a ute to be backed up to the shed and sheep loaded directly into the shed if we choose to host other people's sheep for a shearing day. That way off-site sheep never need set hoof on our pastures.




Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Goose Days

It turns out that two of the geese are female. I was told that geese don't have a great hatch rate so I left the majority of the eggs with them. As a result they proved everyone wrong and hatched 19 goslings ! Two died in the first day, the rest have made it to full feathering.

As goslings they were adorable fuzzballs that wee-wee'd their way around the farm under the watchful eyes of their parents.


Geese are grass eaters, like sheep. I feed the flock a couple of cups of soaked grain each evening to help them stay warm in cooler weather. In the meantime the goslings grazed with their parents and grew like the proverbial weeds.


As crossbreds it's impossible to know for sure what the gender of each goose is until they start laying eggs and sitting on the nest. The aim is to have two or three pairs. I'm going to keep the original three adults and another three young ones. We could end up with any combination, but hopefully at least enough of each gender to form a stable flock.


Monday, 29 May 2017

Cowmahal

Here's the progress shots of that building in the paddock.  It's 12m by 8m, and hubby joked that in some countries it would contain three families and a shop.

Roof on. It looks like it slopes this way, but it's actually just below me on the hill. The roll is to the right of the photo, add a gutter and a trough and we have a rainwater supply.


We used new corrugated iron and laserlite for the roof, hopefully it will last me out.

 
The three panels of laserlite across the back will stop the walled in section being a dark cave.


This is how the translucent section looks with the walls on. The big beams at about three feet high are the "bump bars", to stop cattle rear ends denting the walls. Mineral feeders can also be hung from those, and if a section is being used for a stall, water and food tubs as well.


The completed shelter, with walls made from second hand Scottsdale red roof iron. I haven't decided yet whether to paint it the same red just to tidy it up, or country grass green to make it blend in.



Wednesday, 24 May 2017

It's Been a While ...

Where to start ? I think I'll try to get a few posts done over the next week or so to catch up.

First, the next stage of the logging.

The machines started work during a period of high bushfire risk. The logging guys have a threshold of wind/heat/drought index conditions and have to take measurements during the day. If the number hits the threshold they have to stop immediately and have to leave a fire crew on site.

It was still fairly nerve wracking, a fire roaring up through the plantation had the potential to spread onto our very dry pastures. The smoke from nearby fires was so heavy that not only the distant mountains were gone, the other side of the valley was invisible.
 

The first trees to go were on the line of the road they wanted to put in for the log trucks. There are tracks among the trees and there were tracks on the pastures before the trees, but this road had strict criteria for grade and bendiness. It will go down to a flat platform that apparently had a hay shed on it in a previous life. The logs were gathered at that point and loaded onto the trucks.


You can see the sort of debris that is left behind, imagine the whole block this deep in slash.


The start of the road, white road base carted in and formed to level out the drop from the Sledge Track into the paddock.


And suddenly the vistas open up. They worked so fast that by the time I felt they were clear enough of the road edges to go down and take photos (about a week after the road was done, they are waving whole trees around, who wants to get too close !) they had made big inroads into the upper end of the plantation.


There were many weeks of work yet to come, they had just started on one end of the trees, but the potential of the views became clear. It was also the first chance we had to get an idea of the actual lay of the land. Prior to this the trees cloaked all the folds and rolls.





Monday, 15 August 2016

From the Ground Up

For some time this pile of corrugated iron and timber has been sitting in the paddock. The lambs have been using it as a playground, but it has a higher purpose.


Yesterday three blokes (Hubby, Mark Humphries and Matt Cassidy from Matt's Maintenance) used all the timber from the pile and the game is now afoot.

This is where the action is all happening, Alvin has assured himself that all the ute tyres have been "addressed" and is heading back for a nap.


Getting the posts in :


Admiring the posts :


All the framing done, from the other side of the building :


The framing from the inside :


The corrugated iron will go on the roof on Thursday, weather permitting, and then I will start sorting the second hand tin for the walls.

The finished result will be a 12m by 8m cattle shelter, with room for a stall. The westerly half will be walled in, with its back to the prevailing wind, and the easterly half will be a verandah providing shade and keeping the rain out of the walled part.

And I think a small lamb playground made from pallets and a good rough and solid scratching post might be the next projects.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Another Winter Arrival

About a year ago Big Moo had a back injury and an operation for a displaced abomasum (essentially a twisted stomach). She lost the calf she was carrying at the time, and we had been weighing up whether to AI her or give her another year on the back injury. Young Erg, the lowline bull calf, took matters out of our hands and settled Big Moo just days before he went to his new home.

This is Big Moo a week ago, her operation site is about half way down her side, just behind the ribs. It has healed without a scar, excellent work from her vet, Sam.


She gave birth to a little heifer calf without much fuss or fanfare. This is her third calf, so she knows what's what. The little girl is doing well, cheeky and confident as befits the herd queen's baby. She gets the best of everything... I am sharing the milk with her to the tune of 2 litres a day, but it won't take long before she can take it all and I'll have to wait til until she's weaned.


Ngaire (pronounced Ny-ree) is a dexter x lowline. Her big brother, Ziggy, is taller than Big Moo (same cross) so it will be interesting to see if Ngaire ends up tall or wide.




Thursday, 30 June 2016

Meet Tino

Another winter baby ! Having good shelter makes year round lambing safer, though lambs born in warm weather probably find the outside world less of a shock...


Shaila is quite a small sheep, Tino would be lucky to weigh a kilo. The upside of a tiny lamb is an easy birth for a first time mum. She is attentive and stands well for him, inheriting her mothering temperament from Molly. The little guy is a livewire, bouncing around on his new legs and exploring everything he can reach. He and his mum will get a couple of days on their own so that he is strong on his feet before getting among the hippos at feeding time. She will also get supplementary feeding to kickstart her milk production in the cold weather.
 

A few photos from the last week

Drying the washing up under a sunny window creates some temptation for Hoot ...


Big Moo is now less than a fortnight from calving. This is the side she was operated on, as you can see she healed beautifully.


A photobomb from Scully, she's a curious and smart one year old now and it might be time to teach her some tricks.


An afternoon shot from the driveway, over the cattle yards and down the valley revealed by the logging of the plantation. You can click on the photo to see a bigger version.


Sunday, 26 June 2016

Big Machines

These are the machines that worked on the logging. The yellow ones build roads and stacking areas.



This one takes down the trees. It has a bit on the arm that clamps around the tree and then the whole operation from sawing through the tree, taking the branches and bark off and then stacking the log is done with the one machine by that head.


This is the head, the tree fits right in between the two wheels.


Friday, 17 June 2016

Baby of the Rains

In the middle of the recent flooding in Tassie a new lamb was born to our flock. The sheep were tucked deep in the hayshed, warm and dry, and she was a complete surprise.

Daughter of Nefertiti (and granddaughter of Cleo), Jemima picked up her grandma's caramel colouring and her Dad's  (Shiney) spotted pattern.


This is a family shot, Mum Nef at the back, big brother Tut in the middle and Jemima at front.


Copying Aunty Snip. One advantage of a family flock with all ages together is that lambs are quite quickly confident hanging out with sheep other than mum. This is at three days old, and she's out grazing with the teenagers.



Some more of the kids waiting for supper, left to right : Tut, Sunny, Shaila and Morgan. Not a great composition, but I liked the light.


Remember George ? His mum only had one teat so he was hand raised by a friend. Here he is on the day he was born.


And here he is at his new home where he will be a flock ram, with his new friend Gordon the Goat.


The most recent lamb born here was Callie, shown here with her mum Bella.


And now, with Bella on the left.