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??