Saturday, 29 December 2012

It's a couple of weeks since the last post and nothing has changed with the weather. We have had a tiny 4 mm of rain and day after day of heat and wind. We have eight weeks left of house water and the vege garden tank ran out yesterday. We have to decide whether to allocate water from stock and house use or let the garden go for this year.

Trees that previously survived ten years of drought are dying this year. Kurrajongs (which are normally drought fodder because they keep their leaves well after everything else is dead) have dropped all their leaves and pods. We've lost all the nectarines and apricots, the olive trees are even dying. The cactus plants have gone yellow. It's been really hard and it's not even January yet...

I am feeding the chickens wholegrain bread soaked in whey twice a day, as there is no green pick and no insects to forage. At least the whey adds some protein, calcium and fats to their diet. Though the scratch mix is supposed to be a complete feed, it does contain mainly carbs.

The sheep are all up in the house paddock. They are essentially being drylotted. The house paddock is a small area to sacrifice while attempting to keep some ground cover on the rest of the farm to hold the soil down. They have a round bale and some supplements and I am essentially hand feeding them now. We need to cut the numbers, sell the ewe lambs etc.


The neighbour's paddock, that should have carried the cattle all year round with any kind of rain at all, will be exhausted in about a month. Then I'll have to dry lot the cattle too. Other than the cost, it would be an awful lot more convenient to just walk out the back door to milk.


This is my current milking "parlour". I have to pasteurise anything that I use for cheese because there is so much dust, carrying all sorts of wild yeast and bacteria. DH bought me some hair nets. At about $5.00 per hundred they are a cheap and easy way to keep some of the flying dust and debris out of the milk. I soak them in sanitiser first and then they just fit over the top of the bucket, kept in place by the elastic.


This is the most recent equipment investment and I think it's really been worth the money. This little trailer hitches on behind Methusela as if it were made to match. It carries 300 kg and has a tip function as well. The sides can drop down for carrying bigger stuff, but in this configuration will fit more than a full bale of hay.

I use it every second or third day to carry hay or mixed feed down to the cattle. It will also come in handy for collecting firewood and carrying fencing supplies or water.


The rooster that showed up (photo on the last blog entry) has been found a new home with a flock of hens that had no patriarch. He is very full of himself now, but did think he'd been snatched by a fox when we grabbed him late at night to relocate him. Oh, the noise !!

A sheep walked in the front gate the next day and stayed for a couple of days. No-one nearby had lost any, and she had no eartag. Eventually we sent her next door (the other side to the cattle pasture) with that neighbour's consent, to join her little flock of ewes. She seems quite happy now.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Just posting a few catchup photos and notes.

Frank & Pippi, the light sussex chicks, are reaching teenagehood. I can't wait until they are too big to sneak through the house yard fence and I can rehabilitate my herb garden !

This galah is one of many species of birds that find our birdbath a good place to visit on a hot day. In the peak of summer we can have up to nine different species and fifty individuals all waiting their turn in the "pecking order" for a go at the water.

We've finished the sun break for the central bed, just in time. It cuts down both water usage and leaf burn. The beans in the bed to the left are burning off even though they have shade from 1pm onwards. I may plant some more in this bed.

Jack is now wearing a fly mask too. I didn't think he'd accept something on his face because he's partly blind, but he stands quietly to have it put on and taken off so he's now got fly protection too.

This young rooster showed up from nowhere. He seems to be a crossbred, barred plymouth being one part from the striping he has. The rest is anybody's guess. He has been following the hens around, much to Shadow and Bruce's annoyance, but has yet to have been in a fight. I think we might need to find him a home soon though.

This is Ziggy with his weaning ring. It slides in past the septum and sits like a clip on earring, not piercing the nose. When he tries to nurse the spikes poke mum and she kicks him off. It seems mean, but it lets the calf stay with the cow and she can still mother and lick him. Otherwise you'd have to seperate them, much more traumatic. He's now about nine months old and she'd be weaning him soon anyway.


Flora went into heat on Thursday morning. There was much reciprocal  mounting and our hard-working vet came out and AI'd her with semen from the jersey bull Hawthorne Grove Zeus at 8.30 pm. He said she was pretty ready so fingers crossed !!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

It's been a while since I've had a chance to update, but I've been getting to bed after midnight every night so it's just had to wait.

All is well with the animals. Boof has had his course of four shots of pentosan for his arthritis and we are now waiting to see what difference it makes. I have just bought seven round bales for the sheep, there is very little on the ground already and summer is just starting. I think I will have to sell more ewes and try to keep just the core of the flock.


I am now milking Big Moo again, having put a weaning ring in Ziggy's nose. It took a few days to get back into the routine, but she's doing well. I get about five litres a day, so I have been making either fresh cheese or mozarella, or yoghurt, every day. One of the reasons I've been getting to bed late. The other is having to water everything because we seem to be back in drought.


A lovely lady in the US made some cow-shaped fly veils and sent them over for my herd. Here are the ones I've fitted so far. I put them on in the morning and take them off in the afternoon.

 Big Moo


Ziggy & Flora

Jack is partially blind and I haven't tried one on him yet. I am waiting for a quiet afternoon in case it worries him.


The vege garden is now under review. I am pulling out anything that is not producing, is suffering from insect attack or is unlikely to survive the heat. We don't have the water to carry all that is planted now, so I'm just going to go with the things that grow best. This year it seems to be potatoes, pumpkins and tomatoes. The borlotti beans are potentially big producers, but seem to be struggling with direct sun. I may plant some more in a shady bed. We do have some jerusalem artichokes that appear healthy, last year was too wet for them. I need a root cellar to store all this !

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Just a quick roundup on what's been happening in the background here.

The geese won't go back to the dam, they won't even go for a swim unless I stand on the bank and make them stay in. When I walk away they are hot on my heels. I can't figure out why, unless it's because they are moulting ? The stableyard looks like an explosion in a doona factory. They are so keen on sticking to the stableyard that they didn't even want to come into the house yard to graze, normally a real treat.

Burke nearly killed himself the other day. He was attacking the chain that closes the stableyard gate and managed to get his beak stuck in the carabeena. He was dangling there when we went out to feed them breakfast. I don't know how long he had been there but he was very subdued as we lifted him up and freed his beak. Luckily he didn't do it while we were at work !


The chickens are all fine. The sussex chicks, Frank and Pippi, are starting to mingle with the flock, but are still small enough to get back into the house yard so they aren't being as quicky integrated as I'd like. I suspect the guineafowl are laying under the shipping container but can't see into their excavation to look for eggs. We might have to fence that off before one starts sitting under there.


The cattle still have plenty to eat on the new pasture. It's time to put a weaning ring in Ziggy's nose, but that will be a two person job and will have to wait until DH gets home before dark one day this week. That means I'll be milking again, fresh milk at last !


The sheep are well. Emmaline and Cleo (and Medea because she was very itchy from grass seeds) were shorn and feel much better. We vaccinated all the lambs and put an ear tag in Flash's left ear. We are leaving the tagging until they are almost grown so we can judge the fit to the ear better. Boof had his feet trimmed and got a shot of Pentosan, an anti-inflammatory arthritis drug. The course is 1ml once a week for four weeks, and hopefully it will make a difference to his comfort.




Finally some news at work. I have been appointed to a position at the same grade and at the same location. It's not the one I would have picked, but there may be some scope for a sideways move before the shuffling finishes. Either way, I have a job. Would have preferred a redundancy, but you can't get all your wishes.

Now I suppose I'd better start making some arrangements for Christmas .... I'd been pretending it wasn't happening up until now, but it's coming, ready or not !

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Had a bit of a scare today, I was planting zucchini in the vege garden and heard the sheep stampeding. Now, a sheepalanch occurs when they run for feed, and they get a very good pace up too, but this sounded different. It didn't sound excited and happy, it sounded panicky. I don't know how to explain that running hooves can sound different even when going the same speed, but they did.

So... I headed round to see what was wrong and saw two dogs running along the fenceline. A cattledog and a black hairy thing twice the height of the cattledog. Sound the alarms !!! I called the sheep into the lambing pen, designed to be safe from dogs, threw them some grain and got DH to ring the neighbours. One also has sheep and she headed out to see if she could cut the dogs off. All that time training the sheep to come immediately when called paid off ...

While I was locking up the sheep three kangaroos came bounding out of the forest away from the dogs, followed a few seconds lated by a fourth, who took a shortcut almost within arms reach of me in his hurry to catch up with his friends !

We went up our fenceline and came across a beekeeper tending his hives over the back boundary. He'd seen the dogs come out under our fence and run off to the northeast. DH jumped in the car and paid a visit to the one house in that direction and lo & behold the dogs belonged to them. He read them the riot act and hopefully the dogs won't be back. These dogs are chained all the time and bolted when let off accidentally. Can't blame them, but having careless and neglectful owners won't save the dogs if they attack someone's livestock. The dogs will pay for their owner's errors.

Here is a shot of the pawprints of the bigger dog, next to my not-so-small foot.


Meanwhile, back at the house, the crows were entertaining themselves. We recycle plastic takeaway bowls for feeding scraps to the chickens. This one had been emptied and was sitting on the ground waiting to be taken back inside. The crows picked it up and carried it to the birdbath and were playing boats with it. They keep suprising me with their intelligence !

Here are a couple of shots of the wildlife. I hope to get a better one of the kangaroos soon. The one facing the camera has a joey in her pouch. You can enlarge the photos by clicking on them.

These are straw necked ibis, a waterbird. For some reason these guys have suddenly started to hang out in my very unswampy paddocks.

This is the bumpout that we've made so the cattle can be fed and groomed easily. The rented paddock is at the back on the right and the little corner is fenced with electric fence, making me a little corral so I can catch them for doctoring or putting a halter on etc.

Here are the boys in the bumpout getting supper. Ziggy on the left, Jack at the back and Edo in the centre.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

It's been a long week. Still no resolution of the work situation. It's been made worse by repeated promises that information would be coming "this week". In some cases it's been "this week" for nearly two months.


The chicks are growing fast, we now know there is a rooster and a hen. See if you can pick which is which ...


So, for a roundup. There have been no new fox losses, and the dual occupancy of Chookmahal continues without incident.The sheep are scheduled for shearing (well, Emmaline and Cleo) and then vaccinating. The cattle are shedding out their winter coats and getting glossy. It's about time Ziggy got his new weaning ring and I got some milk ! The geese refuse to stay down at the dam for more than ten minutes while the fox is still around (can't blame them), but are very noisy and pushy neighbours.

The vege garden is still producing, though the heat and dry has some plants bolting to seed. We found shoots on three kurrajong seedlings we thought had died, but also realised that rabbits can get into the saltbush yard where they are planted and we need to get that fixed before the seedlings get nibbled ! We have finally had some rain, 5 1/2 mm yesterday and 5 mm today and still falling. This is VERY welcome.

Speaking of welcome, we had visitors from Canberra on the weekend, an old friend and her family. It was a lovely visit and a pleasure to have them :-)

Monday, 29 October 2012

Since we've moved everyone into Chookmahal we haven't lost another hen to the fox. The system of locking Brewster and his girls into their hoochie (the half tank at the back) gives Shadow and his flock a go at the feeder first. Once Shadow's flock are let out and Brewster's door opened he and his girls get their chance to eat. It's eliminated the morning scramble where Brewster (being the dominant rooster) drives Shadow's flock away from the food.

It' won't be long before Mamma Chickie and the two light sussex chicks can join the flock. They are spending their initial week with the door of their cage open and free range of the house yard. Next week the cage will be moved down next to Chookmahal and they will be free to come and go with the flocks.


The geese are now off the nest and hogging the stableyard. I'll continue walking them down to the dam as often as possible until they decide to stay. At least the quick bath they take down there before coming back to the stable yard has made a difference to disreputable Burke.


We are wondering what to do with Charlie. An ex racehorse formerly known as Alluvial Lass (seven starts, seven losses), Charlie is DH's girl. Unfortunately she has a permanent injury and can't be ridden, and is being agisted because she has no manners with the cattle and sheep.

With virtually no rain since autumn it's not going to be long until the agistment place runs out of grass and we have to find her somewhere else, or a new home.

DH & Charlie

Thursday, 25 October 2012

I strongly believe that we are responsible for minimising the suffering and improving the life of the animals we as a society eat or use.

I don't believe we can't do better than factory farming. Even if you don't have a farm or know someone who does, we can all eat a little less meat or support grass-fed, free range and other humane production systems. We can insist that intensive livestock systems be designed and run with the animal in mind as a living being and not a product. We can keep chickens for eggs in our own backyard, choose to buy free range and buy from farms that raise their livestock ethically. Vote with your wallet, it's what you buy that determines what they sell.

The Make It Possible campaign seeks to change the future for chickens and pigs, check it out and think about your next shopping trip. If you can't find humane alternatives ask for them. If enough people ask they will start stocking them.

Monday, 22 October 2012

It has been a terrible week. Either the fox that we have peacefully co-existed with for three years has had a change of heart or a new one has moved in. We lost six chooks over the course of the week, plus one died of old age. A little irony there. I had been beating myself up over getting casual about locking the lambing pen where Shadow's flock had their residence in a pepper tree. Then we lost more after we locked the gate and it turns out that the fox is either climbing through the mesh or climbing over.

While climbing into a pen full of angry ewes to attempt a lamb is probably still too much for a fox, the chooks asleep in the tree were an easy target. What is left of Shadow's flock are now refugees in Brewster's run. Once Brewster and his crew have gone to bed in their coop I shut the door on that (so he won't emerge at dawn and attack the refugees) and let Shadow and his lot into the pen around the coop. They are used to being in a tree so we've fixed up a few branches for them to perch on.

This pen has a hotwire along the top and the mesh is only two inch holes. There have been no losses since we started this. Since all surviving the first night Shadow and his hens put themselves to bed in the pen without urging. They seem to have figured out it's safer.


No news on the goose front. We are going to start taking one egg at a time, hopefully she won't really notice and get too upset. The eventual aim is to have her give up voluntarily. 

 Burke - looking very unkempt

 Wills on her nest


Little Edo was castrated and weighed on Friday. He was 130kg, up from 80kg when he came here a couple of weeks ago. He and the other cattle are delighted with their new pasture. Bringing them up to the fence for a brush and check over is like dragging boulders. They are about the same shape too.

Flora ... 

This should be bloat if you go by the obvious signs. Since she jogged across the paddock to get a snack I think it is merely the most full rumen I have ever laid eyes on.


The two light sussex chicks are growing like weeds. They are starting to lose fluff and gain feathers and are in the"vulture stage".


All the sheep have been drenched, the early rain and warmth bringing the barber's pole worm on quickly. The only good thing about hot & dry weather is that there is less of a worm burden on the pasture. Now that Cleo has finally lambed there are three more sheep husbandry operations for the lambing season. Vaccinate all the lambs, dock Ben and shear Cleo and Emmaline. Emmaline in particular needs it. She only has six months of fleece on her but looks like an old english sheepdog. I'll save her fleece and see if it can be spun.


The vege garden is racing along with the warmth, while I can keep the water up to it. The spinach needs harvesting every couple of days and I steam and freeze slabs of it for later when it's gone to seed. The peas are also yielding beautifully, none of the pods make it to the kitchen. The peas end up in the gardener and the shells end up in the sheep tub.

Aside from all the leafy greens, butter and green beans and borlotti beans are making a good start and onions and pumpkins are well away. As yet to get the tomato seedlings in, I've been holding out for the goose nursery to plant them in. We are now three weeks over the expected due date and I'll have to plant the tomatoes elsewhere or evict the geese soon.


This is a shingleback lizard. Also known as a bogeye or pinecone lizard. They are slow moving and while they gape and hiss at you, you'd have to be really clumsy to get bitten. Related to the bluetongue lizard, I think they are part of the skink family. Whenever I find one I relocate it further from the house so it won't get stepped on. This isn't the biggest I have moved, it was only about a foot long. They do get just a bit bigger.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Burke and Wills are still sitting. Burke is so bored he now spends his day trying to keep the sheep away from the water trough. We thought about moving Wils off the nest, but when we lifted her (at great risk to life and limb) we discovered she had three more eggs than we knew about ... and we don't know how old they are. They could very well be still good. A quandary has been entered.

The final lamb for the season has arrived. Cleo, a first time mum, went into labour on Saturday morning and after an hour it became clear she was in trouble. All the first timers this year have had single lambs and the risk with a single lamb is that it has plenty of nutrition and room to grow. It would be better to have little, slippery, pointy headed twins.

Ben wasn't. So I straightened his front legs out and eased his non-pointy big head out and he entered the world at a great rate of knots. He was also covered in merconium, so his first experience of the outside world was a warm bath while his mother murmered sweet lamby nothings at him out of the corner of her mouth while stuffing it with sheep mix. Dorpers and dorper crosses subscribe to the "Newcastle Song" * school of nutrition.

Thankfully, he's a solid, energetic young fellow who wasted no time finding the udder and Cleo has proved to be a gentle and protective mum. A pleasing end to the lambing season.

*For the non Aussies. the chorus of the Newcastle Song goes "Don't you ever let a chance go by, oh lord, don't you ever let a chance go by"

Cleo and Ben


The fence on the next door pasture has been patched and re-strained and we're about ready to put the cattle in. They all have collars and tags in case the unexpected happens. The paddock is about 20 acres, more grazing area than in my entire farm !

 Looking south from the wall between our two dams

 Taken from the same point as above, looking north

DH & youngest son organising a watering point for the new pasture


In other happenings, we still have two chickies, who have doubled in size. I am still supplementing one and a half of the triplets, the vege garden is going gangbusters, the crows are taking between two and four eggs a day (grrrr) and I resisted the urge to get some ducklings while I was buying sheep nuts on Saturday morning. They were sooooooooooo cute !!

Monday, 8 October 2012

I think the chances of goslings are virtually nil, but Wills is still sitting and turning the eggs. She's very dedicated, I hope they don't start exploding under her. Burke has given up bathing and looks very disreputable. I might march him down to the dam regardless just to make him wash up.

We have lost two more chicks, down to two now. One slipped out an improperly latched door, but I have no idea how the other one was taken, and so no idea how to prevent it. I am having dark thoughts about the crows.

Ziggy is now six months old, and it's time to think about when to wean him. I wish there was better pasture. The farm next door have said yes they are interested in renting us some pasture so that might make a real difference. We might have to set up a hot wire and a watering point, but it will be cheaper than a round bale a week.

Still no action from Cleo, I think she'll go in the next fortnight. It's time to do fecal sampling, to see what the worm burdens are. If they are not too high I can go without drenching as these dry conditions mean there won't be too many worm larvae on the pasture.


Here are some shots from the vege garden.

 Looking west from the centre of the garden (the goose area is behind the fence with the green shadecloth). On the left, the closer bed has spinach, silverbeet, cabbage and onions. The further one is comfrey and a green striped tomato. At the very end are young nectarine and apricot trees.The shadecloth along the fence rolls out over the frame to cover the plants on the hottest summer days.

 Same stretch of garden, slightly different angle. In the bed under the grapevine are green beans, butter beans, leeks, onions and asparagus.

 Facing northwest behind the grapevine in some weird sort of greenhouse is lucerne and two butternut pumpkins. The pumpkins are barely visible green blobs at the base of two poles. This area has been heavily mulched with waste hay and manure and should get some shade as the grapevine leafs up.

 Looking north down towards the centre of the garden, the point from where the previous photos were taken is just in front of the water tank. In the bed to the left are strawberries (in the cage), borlotti beans, onions and areas about to be dug in which will have zucchini.

Same point as above. In the centre bed are spinach, silverbeet, beetroot, onion, leeks, peas and a heap of different lettuce varieties. This bed gets alot of summer sun, the shadecloth on the ground will be a curtain on the frame that can be drawn over the bed if the day is going to be over about 38C.

The white sacks down the edge of the bed are potato bags, containing King Edward, Kestral and Sebago varieties. In the two double tyres along the fence are golden nugget pumpkins. Over the fence to the right are olive trees.

Still to go in are capsicums and tomatoes. I need to find somewhere that can be bird netted. Possibly the goose area once Burke and Wills give up.

Monday, 1 October 2012

It's been a couple of weeks since the last update, so I'll give a run-down of the happenings.

The geese are still sitting on six eggs. I think Burke is geting bored. This weekend was the expected due date, only a guess really. I'll wait for Wills to give up before I move them on. There's always the possibility that she didn't start really sitting until later than I thought.


The cattle are all fat as butter and swanning around like royalty. Ziggy stirred things up last Friday by crawling under a boundary fence and forgetting to come back. There was much bellowing and galloping up and down fencelines, and in the end we had to cut the fence to get him back inside.

In the process I noticed just how much grass the neighbours have, and I might approach them about renting some pasture for a bit.

Ziggy and Edo had leading practice on Saturday. Both survived the awful indignity. Ziggy even discovered that a good scratch under the chin could be had if one stood still long enough. Jack has also finally given in, but his sweet spot is, oddly enough, the underside of his tail. I pick his tail up and brush the underside of it and he starts weaving his head back and forwards with delight. It takes all sorts. Normally the tail is just a burr haven and they'd rather twitch it right out of your hands.

 Big Moo & Flora at the hay ring


The sheep have been doing fine. I am still supplementing the triplets a litte three times a day, just to make sure all grow well. Min is looking a little underweight and I think I'll sneak her a little extra food to help offset the demands of those three ruffians.

We castrated the ram lambs on Sunday. Not one of DH's favourite activities, but these little guys get going so young the alternative is to wean them at four months.

Cleo is still holding out. She had about half way made up in the udder but doesn't yet have that "over it" look the ewes get when they are about ready. Once her lamb or lambs are born everyone can be vaccinated.


The roosters, Brewster & Shadow, have started sparring, I think the spring weather has brought it on. They are very earnest about the fighting, so we have tipped both their spurs to limit the damage. The apostle birds love to dive bomb the fighting pair and they find it very hard to maintain the rage with little round grey birds swooping and jumping at them.

I brought home five light sussex chicks on Friday. We'd set Mama Chickie up in the chick run with some fake eggs the night before as she was broody and would try and return to her chosen spot unless we locked her in and got her sitting in the right nest.

When I came in with the chicks I set the carrier underneath the nest box so the peeping noises came from underneath her. Then after about ten minutes of her peering around and lifting up to look at the fake eggs I put her in the outside section of the run, stole the eggs and put the chicks in their place. She spent five minutes sitting at the top of the ramp crooning before I let her in and she took the chicks right under her wings immediately. Mission accomplished.

She's doing a sterling job, even saved four of the five from a crow attack when they got caught out in the open. She would have successfully defended all five, but just as the cavalry (DH) reached the beleaguered family one chick darted in the wrong direction and the crow snatched in and flew off at great speed. I'd been tolerating the crows stealing eggs up until now, but that one crossed a line. I think we need to take some action as they are becoming too bold.

Mama Chickie and the four remaining chicks


The cats are all busy finding the best napping spots in the warmest ray of sun. They look so content I am very tempted to join them.

Tenchi scored the jackpot with the catnip I bought to plant for them.


DH replaced the five tape gate in the forest paddock with a real gate. This should save a fair bit of time as the cattle are let out in the morning and in at night, and this meant undoing and doing up five individual electric fence handles.

In other news, we finally had some rain, 31mm. Another inch in about five days time would be really useful. The vege garden is going really well, this will be the subject of my next post.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

I finally have some photos of the lambs born last Monday. So, without further ado I would like to introduce :

All five lambs and their mums

Medea & Harriet

Medea's ram lamb Zeke

Lilly, Tiger & Abigail with Min

I am milking the ewes twice a day and taking about a litre each time, to mix with the formula. Medea's lambs are drinking entirely from her and Min's lambs are getting about 50% of their needs from her. Once they can get their mouths around the second bigger teat I won't need to milk her or feed them.

Not that it takes long, about ten minutes to milk each ewe and about three minutes for the lambs to demolish their four feeds a day. They are very efficient :-) They are having alot of fun as a group and specialise in chasing chickens.


Burke, the male goose, finally had a meltdown today. All his frustrations at having a farmyard happening around his nest finally broke loose and he attacked and demolished a plastic bucket. He bit it, and threw it, and beat it up with his wings and even jumped up and down on it with his big webbed feet. He pulled the handle off and knocked the bottom out of it and when it stopped fighting back he threw back his wings and trumpeted his glory to Wills. I hope she appreciates his bravery.


DH and his son have been mowing more of the pastures. They have finished the first ring of the paddocks close to the house and are now down in the forest paddock doing the meadows above and below the dams. They came across the shed skin of a six foot brown snake so are watching carefully for the owner.

We also spent the afternoon direceting car parking at the caravan and camping show in town. The fire brigade does it and the show society donates a fee to the brigade, which is then used to purchase things for the trucks and fire shed.


While the boys were mowing I spent a day juicing oranges and freezing the juice (from the little tree in the goose yard which has borne quite heavily) and steaming and freezing flat packs of spinach, and freezing big rounds of surplus sheeps milk for making cheese later. We have three freezers and they are all full. I think I need to plan some meals to empty them out a bit.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Was going to do an update last night, but I've been way busy !

Yesterday we had five lambs born, to two ewes. Medea had twins, a boy and a girl. Min had triplets ! Two girls and a boy.

Medea's pair are big and sassy and the only problem there was that they both wanted the same teat. So I milked out the other teat until one figured out there was dual service. My beautiful Medea let me milk either eating or just standing. She is so tolerant :-)

All that colostrum came in very handy as Min's three are teeny tiny and can't get their mouths around her big teats yet. Her bag is huge and it needed milking too so we don't get a repeat of last time's mastitis. Between the two ewes and the cow colostrum I froze from Big Moo I had enough to give all three lambs four feeds of colostrum. That has to be a big help.

Both the girls have switched to making just milk now, so there have been two feeds of straight ewe milk and now I am shandying 2/3 ewe milk to 1/3 formula. I'll go to 50/50, and then when the lambs start to take the milk themselves I'll just supplement the smallest lamb.

I'll try and get pictures tomorrow. Medea's two are Harriet and Zeke and Medea's are Abby, Lilly and Tiger.


DH got a look at the goose nest last night while Wills was having a bath. She is now sitting on six eggs. This knowledge cost him a goose-bite on the leg, from Burke of all things. Maybe he just likes me more than DH.


DH finally fixed the ride-on mower. I've been asking for two years, but he was worried the tyres would spread cathead burrs. I think mowing the first half of the inner paddock ring for a fire break with the push mower weakened his resolve.

The mower is named "Methuselah" because it's as old as. But it goes like the clappers and really chews up the dense tussock grass. It does not have anything remotely approaching suspension so the trick isn't so much steering as staying on. I had to learn to brace with my feet and not my hands on the steering wheel or I'd have had horrifically sore arms and shoulders.

This mowing has three advantages. 1. It's a much needed fire break between the tree line and the house. 2. It will bring the green shoots on really well IF it ever rains again. 3. It will discourage snakes from coming up to the house.

I spotted and relocated three shingleback lizards and let a blue-belly black snake relocate itself.