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

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Hey Mrs D

Somebody is advertisng a Khaki Campbell Drake for sale - it's only $10 and it's really close to you - hey, look, the lady has the same name as well - and phone number - that's strange?????

Did I tell you all about the time the Cook locked her keys in the car?? I was close by, in uniform, so She aked me if I could help - with out a second thought I immediately ripped off my pants and rubbed them against the door - it opened like magic. She asked me how I did it? I just said "they are my khaki's"........... The rest is history... Haha....

I shouldn't blog when I'm really tired.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Birds and Bees

Autumn is ‘the’ time of year here – lovely misty mornings, warm sunny days and cool quite nights. It would be nice if the whole year was like this.

I bet the bird watchers we had out on Sunday were wishing it wasn’t foggy. Bush Heritage and Greening Australia are doing a bird survey across the K2C area, they came out on Sunday to do the first autumn survey – unfortunately they came at 8am and the fog didn’t clear until past 11am. But, being true professionals they were able to identify a number of birds by call alone, it’ll be interesting to get the species list and have a look.

Fatso has been watching Hogan’s Heroes’ again – swear she could escape from Alcatraz that girl. I watched her on Sunday; she pushed the water trough against the wire, to short out the fence, then she squeezed out of a gap in the wire. She walked strait up to me and lied on her back for a belly scratch – absolutely no shame.

I headed into Cooma to start the April Acorn Hunt. My trees have a lovely crop this year, but the late rain has delayed the harvest a couple of weeks looking at the trees. I haven’t been around my other secret trees yet – give me something to do this week.

Anybody want a rooster?? We’ve got a couple of spare ones.

I went over an paid Mrs D a visit the other day and had a look at what her girls had bee’ n up too. She showed me her crazy hive frames – very interesting. I’d like to follow as natural bee keeping system as I can, and make as much as I can myself as far as hive boxes go. Mrs D has done a good job so far and I’ve offered to be an apprentice come spring so I can learn enough to confidently start our own bee hives.

I was supposed to muster the sheep on Sunday – I drove across the property and all I could find was Sheepie, Beryl and Mildred. Don’t know where the others have gone too. I walked up hill and down dale following the buggers for two hours before I lost them in a fold in the ground. They managed to sneak around behind me using dead ground – the damned things are so short in the long grass I just couldn’t see what they were up to. And I wasn’t walking up anymore hills that late in the afternoon. So, looks like I’m going back for another look next weekend.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Changing or renewal?

You know, the biggest teacher in life is experience, and with enough experience a person gains wisdom. It’s the wise man who knows how to divorce emotion from necessity and make decisions based on evidence and facts, not idealism and greed. What has this got to do with the farm – a lot, nothing, everything? All will become clear in the months ahead.

Not really impressed with the bacon we did recently. Way too much fat – I’ve never seen so much fat on our pigs before, I’m wondering if it has something to do with being summer pigs – most the others we’ve butchered have been winter pigs.

It’s possible I’ve got the carbo/protein balance all wrong in the pig ration - so it’s back to the drawing board. I think I’ll up the protein until the days are getting colder and see what happens. Also, I don’t think the butcher did as good a job as previously, the low nitrate brine may be an issue as well.

We’ve had our first frosts for the year. Two mornings so far – and one morning was below 0 degrees. The Cook is already complaining and a load of fire wood isn’t far off. Of course the first frost killed off the tomatoes, pumpkin and watermelon vines and all the other things in the garden that aren’t frost tolerant (like the Cook).

The Poplars have just started to turn yellow and soon I’ll be off collecting acorns again. I’ll have to go check out my favourite spots this weekend.

We had a very windy day on Sunday and spent a lot of the day in shelter. At one pint the chook dome (or humpy) was blown over and the chooks escaped into the garden – it took three of us to catch one rooster whom refused to go back in.

I suffered a another three in a row with flat tyres. This morning I had to change a tyre on the Jeep – like every year when the temp drops I have a series of fence issues with wires breaking and such as well – this morning was no different. So there I was trying to change a tyre, with a dozen pigs trying to help. Of course Fatso was the leader, she supervised everything I did and conducted a quality control test at the end – just to make sure. I ended up having to get the kids up to feed the buggers and fix the fence so I could finish changing the tyre.

We had the traditional School holiday sleep over with a bunch of young lads camping in the shearing shed. Glad it wasn’t me – much too cold to be sleeping outside. They had a ball, cooking dinner in a camp oven, roasting potatoes on an open fire and making damper. The Cook spent the time cooking cakes and biscuits and making hot milos.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Reaping what we have sown

Where the hell are you??? Well I’m back again, this time I’ve actually been away. I spent a few days up at Mudgee learning a few things and participating in a bit of a farm workshop. I travelled up to Mudgee with a guy from Bega who has just finished building his own straw bale house. It took us a day to get there and small place called Toene Valley to the East of Mudgee. It was a great place a lovely valley surrounded by limestone cliffs and eucalypt forests.

The farm I visited was only about 125 acres; they farmed Boer Goats Wiltshire Sheep and Galloway/Murray Grey Cattle. They used the Poly Farm model of stock rotation and cell grazing to manage their stock. It was very interesting to see the set up in action and I learnt a lot over the days I was there. They also ran everything on the farm off solar energy and had just installed a composting toilet the day we arrived. I like checking this stuff out – there’s nothing around here so there is nowhere to get ideas from or see how stuff works.

The other reason I was there was to learn how to use and maintain an Austrian Scythe. I’ve always been interested in learning all the old skills and teaching the kids as well. I didn’t expect it to be so hard, but like I say – if it isn’t hard it isn’t worth doing. And those words have bitten me on the backside a couple of times as you could imagine. Anyways, we did a couple of days of scything, cooked in camp ovens and drank billy tea. Food was good – they had an amazing ham ;) and killed a kid and lamb on the first day which we ate later. I haven’t camped like that for a very long time and it was nice reminisces of a long forgotten past.
We visited a hay bale sound recording studio close by, it was a beautiful building. The inside had been left with the bales exposed to assist with the acoustics; it would be interesting to see the structure in ten years time to see how well the bare bales have dealt with aging.

Did I manage to master the Austrian Scythe?? I don’t think so, but I’m practicing every day. It’s a very relaxing tool to use and I’ve managed to clear a fair amount of grass so far but my technique needs improving.

Our tomato harvest has started in earnest, the Cook was busy today making chutney’s, sauces and bolognaise. She was busy all afternoon. This afternoon I’d also brought home a load of hams and bacon from the butcher – when I walked in after feeding tonight the whole house smelt like real farm house.

On my way up the drive on the way back from town I spotted a long neck turtle wandering (how many times have spelt that wrong??) up the farm track, I pulled over and had a quick look at him to make sure he was okay – he seemed fine so I let him get on his way. The Grebe in the Grebe in the dam has hatched another two chicks and she is now swimming around the dam with three kids on her back.

The fellow I went to Mudgee with left a grain mill for the Cook to try out. She’s always wanted one and was keen to have a go. Between her and the kids they milled enough flour to make a couple of loaves of bread and a couple of morning’s worth of pancakes – looks like I can add one of these to the gift register.

Well it’s off to await the Easter Bunny, I wonder if he’ll end up beating the turtle up the drive??