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

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Winter is here

It’s official – if there were four of me I’d still be to busy to scratch. I mean, I can’t even sit down for a cuppa tea without something or somebody needing some attention. It’s been a awhile, so I’ll probably miss a few things out – but I better not forget to say thanks to my Mum for coming down from Queensland and paying us a visit, doing ALL our washing and being nice to the cat. And that seems so long ago now.

We had a field day out here a couple of weeks back and built some ditch and berm swales for the Cooks Food Forest. It’s all small steps, but we now have a couple of pears and plums planted. Unfortunately I managed to pull out an apple tree I thought was dead much to the horror of the Cook – for which I am unreservedly sorry darling.

Of course I’m still fencing, and last weekend saw me finish the first phase of the river boundary fence project. I still need to put in the gate, but once that has been done the horses and cattle have a new paddock for winter. I then need to extend the new fencing past the front of the house to keep the cattle on the river – on the river and not the Cooks garden.

Our Solar Array is up and running and we are taking energy from the sun and feeding it into the grid. We’ve already passed 100kwh feed back into the grid. We’re not to happy with the NSW governments decision to retrospectively reduce our tariff, luckily our local member only won his seat by the skin of his teeth – if it goes through parliament he won’t be getting our vote next election.

The Cook and I attended a Natural Resource Management Forum a couple of weeks ago, managed to meet up with some of our friends from the local NRM Groups including the local Catchment Management Authority. The forum was very interesting for the most part – the Cook kept passing me notes about the speakers as the day progressed, we’ve never been able to go anything like this together before, and it’s nice being able to compare notes instead of having to try and remember everything during a kitchen debrief – hopefully we organise the time to do things like this more often in the future.

I’ve finally planted (well, a month ago now) the Stone Pine trees that the Duckherder gifted us - I started to plant them whilst I was on my permaculture course and the Cook and the boys finished putting them in for me. If you’re out there Mrs D we need more, we are using them in our shelter belt along the western side of the farm. The plan is to plant them with other leguminous trees and some others probably nuts – possibly pecans, but oaks go well with conifers as well.

I finished my Permaculture Design Certificate over the Easter break. I met a lot of really nice people and learnt a lot as well. The course covered a lot of theory, but due to it not being a live in course there was not a lot of hands on. The Cook mocks me now because I tell her things she has been trying to tell me for years – I know – she’s always right, I should listen to her more – I’m a bad, bad man.

I wanted to catch up with Mrs D but the days were too long and I needed to get home to get things done for the next day, sorry about that Mrs D – I’ll catch up with you soon hopefully.

So we’ve had our first permaculture day, we built some swale or ditch and berm works for our new food forest. Starting small we’ve planted four new trees to compliment the three other fruit trees in the food forest area. I need to do more fencing – no really – I do, so that we can keep the infernal goats out before spring.
There are a swag of piglets running around at the moment and this weekend we’re moving some of them into the vegi garden for our winter clean out.

Last weekend we had a moment of confusion when Harry came in and told me we had a wild pig in the pig pens. I went out to look and low and behold a young boar had managed to force his way in with the sows. He was a very handsome young fellow, black and white – he looked like a Bentheim Black Pied, a rare native German pig which is crossed with the Berkshire in Europe, the only reason I say this is because I saw an add for one the other day (look them up on google).

I have done a little research and found that nobody has a record of these pigs ever coming to Australia – but somebody has one advertised for sale 100km from our place – in the same catchment. I’m pretty sure he was wild, but he did seem rather at home with the sows – anyway, I had no choice but to dispatch him. The Bottle Tree Creek/Rock Wallaby guys had a pig incident the other day as well I read – I wonder if they got that one?

I’m not a big reader – but since my course I’ve got dozens of permaculture ebooks to read. Somehow I’ve got to find the time, there is one I’m downloading at this very moment titled ‘Trees on the Treeless Plains ‘ by David Holmgren and is a revegetation manual that provides a design system approach and principles applicable everywhere to assist in the development of local strategies and design solutions. I reckon I’ll find this very helpful for our place and for a lot of the places we visit doing NSF work. I might even do a review.
It’s busy going forward as well, weeds to kill before an inspection in July, Kimberley from up at Jerangle is coming down to look at pigs this weekend, more field days to organise – not here thank goodness, and a long weekend of fencing – somewhere in this lot I’m going to have to get more pig food as well.

Jeez! I nearly forgot about one of the most pleasant days we’ve had out on the farm all year. Back a couple of weeks ago the Cook organised with another family or tow to have an apple crushing day – her hope was that somebody would be able to work out how our fruit crush works so we could make some apple cider.

So anyway we had a yard full of people, some copping, some mashing and some crushing, there were kids and dogs and by the end of it we had more juice then any of us knew what to do with. We’ve still got apple juice in ice cream containers in the freezer. So we now know how to crush the apples next is making the cider – Mrs D any ideas, you’re the alcohol specialist?????


The Duck Herder said...

Dear Cook and Mr BVVF

1) more pine nuts - I'm onto it! I have plenty of seeds from those excellent trees - so can give you some to grow yourselves if you like - you need to inoculate them with some healthy soil from under some very healthy pines...and lean towards a sandy potting mix in the tubes.

2) Apples - happy to turn some into cider/cyser here or to lend you some demijohns or carboys to do it at yours. Please advise!

Love the duck. xxxx

Valley View said...

Hi Mrs D.

We could grow some ourselves - thanks, I will have to talk to you about the cider, I'm not a drinker so I'm not sure what needs to happen.