Bredbo Valley View farm - providing quality education in Permaculture and sustainable living practices.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Seed Balling

Water is becoming an issue for us again. Although we have enough to keep us going for the immediate future but once summer kicks in we are going to really struggle. To date we have had less then 140mm of rain, down from 260mm for the same period last year and way below the 330mm on average for this time of year.

So we’ve decided to reduce our pig numbers down to about 12 pigs – we figure that at this point we need to plan for the worst case. I think we can support our twenty odd sheep without too much problems. So now comes the job of picking the ones we’ll keep. Don’t worry – Fatso and Floppsy are safe and Tiberius our Boar will stay as well – that leaves nine choices.

We hatched a mob of chickens last week as well, the Cook has the incubator turned up high and has been collecting eggs from across the district for hatching. I’m hoping I can get some off of Mrs Duck Herder and see if we can hatch some handsome ducks like hers.

We had a Field Day on Saturday in partnership with Greening Australia, Landcare and K2C. We spent the early afternoon making seed balls, which are balls of clay about the size of a marble containing various sees and a little fertilizer – basically seeds inside a womb. The idea is to throw these balls into areas were you couldn’t easily plant but want to grow tress and shrubs. There is a long history attached to this method, but natural farmer Masanobu Fukuoka is recognised as the more recent advocate of the system. He is famous for never ploughing and just using seed balls for all his planting – vegetables, cereals and trees.

It was nice to get out in the open and spread some of these balls around the farm. We had about twenty people helping and seeded the area along a rocky ridge. It was made even more exciting by the discovery of an echidna by some of the children. We’d seen a disturbed ants nest further down the hill, but to find the actual culprit was fantastic. People where also able to see some of the threatened and endangered plants and trees we have also.

Of course George had to be a participant as well and chased the cars along the track out to the ridge; I think he was in the middle of the convoy by the time we got there. Once we had stopped he mingled with the crowd and managed to get his picture taken with Graham from Greening Australia for one of the local newsletters.
Before the Field Day the Head Teacher from teh Albury TAFE dropped in to pick up a couple of pigs. The TAFE's eco farm is diversifying into the free range pig business and chose us to source their pigs from. Unfortunately they arrived in a vehicle much higher then our loading ramp. This wasn't a problem for the two smaller sows they wanted - we just lifted them into the truck - after a short carry. It was the Boar they weree opicking up for the another person that was going to be difficult. In the end we used a bale of straw and some bread to lure the boar into the vehicle. We were both surprised at how easily he went up in the end. The Boar that went was Boris he's not the prettiest boar, but he was the toughest of the three young Boars we had, he also was a bit of a fancier of the ear scratch. Hopefully he'll enjoy his new home.

We are getting hammered by cold fronts at the moment as well. Last night we had 100kmph winds and Sunday afternoon was terrible. The worst part is we only receive very small rain falls which dry up immediately with the wind. All the pig humpies have been blown down near the river so another job to add to the list for the weekend.

At one point last night the three little pigs decided they’d rather sleep with the dogs’ then out in their shelter. They kicked poor old Archer off of his mat and set up home happily grunting and snorting. Unfortunately for them Archer got a little upset by about 9:30pm and decided that enough was enough – and he turffed them out into the night.


Lynettes blogs said...

HI guys, looks like a windmill would be the deal. Have you given it any thought.?
Its going to be dry over here in the near future farmers up north getting concerned
Best wishes Lyn

The Duck Herder said...

But of course Mr BVVF - I would love to provide you with some duck eggs. Consult with The Cook and let me know when you want them for and how many. Amelia is laying every day and should be up untill she goes clucky in early summer - so anytime from now is good.

BTW, not sure if you saw the front page of the Saturday Canberra Times last week (or was it the week before) with the picture of Bronwyn Richards from Braidwood with a story about her CSA business - they were decendants of MY ducks frollicking in the swiming pool as well. So you will be buying into a very FAMOUS line of kahki campbells!