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

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Cold - Rather!

This was the view down the drive at 7am this morning

Frozen thistle - covered in frost
    It's lunchtime and I don't think the Cook is out of bed yet.  No water for showers or shaving so I'm starting the day a little scruffier then usual.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mountain Music

This is something nobody else will care about – but I do,

Where I grew up we had a country music radio station, there’s not one out here, nor can I access one across the internet – and I don’t like the US ones either. So at home we tend to have the AUSSTAR tuned to CMC a lot. My all time favourite country band is Alabama, I grew up listening to them. Theirs was the first tape I bought, the only record I’ve every owned and the first CD I ever purchased and played. It used to be a ritual for me to play the Alabama Christmas album every year, until it mysteriously disappeared.

As a lad I listened to Alabama late at night, as way back as 1980, we listened to Alabama when we made our Friday night trips to the Canungra Pub, or something like the Rathdowney Dance or on bowling trips to the Gold Coast. I could never get the guy who played the music at the local Rodeo’s to play it – his loss (I made him listen to it on the way to work instead). I took my Alabama tapes with me when I joined the Army and listen to them all the way through recruits and Puckapunyal.

I had Alabama playing in the Hilux the first time I took the Cook out , that was in Townsville, and most of the times I took the Cook out. We even managed to go to an Alabama concert when we were in America back in 1993 – it was their last concert for a while and it was in Nashville, Tennessee – I’ll never forget it, I’d wanted see them for as long as I could remember. We even went to their home town of Fort Payne Alabama – people really do drive around with deer tied to the front of their cars.

I often remember their songs whilst I’m doing stuff around the farm – one of the more common ones being ‘I’m in a hurry and don’t know why’ closely followed by ‘Can’t keep a good man down’ – and of course whenever I’m thinking about the Cook it has to be ‘Close enough to perfect’.

Anyway, the other day I had CMC on whilst I helped get the kids ready for school – I was dropping them off. A song came on, I couldn’t see the TV as I was in the kitchen, I said to the kids “that sounds like Alabama – who is it?” We have the smartest 12yr old year 7 kid in Cooma living at our house and he said “Brad Paisley” and I said “are you sure? Sounds like someone else”.

As the song went on I started to recognise rifts and lines from old Alabama songs so I just had to have a look. It was Brad Paisley – he was super imposed onto old Alabama film clips, interesting I thought, then the song followed an old and familiar line and who else but Randy Owens, Teddy Gentry and Jeff Cook singing the chorus from ‘Mountain Music’, they’re looking old, but – I was back in the 80’s, for a second or two.

And the kids nearly missed the bus.

So there you go after 31 years a great band can still make a Bill Board number one hit and bring the memories of those 31 years flooding back like it was only yesterday.

Thanks Guy’s.

(google Old Alabama )

Monday, July 25, 2011

A month later

Fencing has been high on the agenda again lately, and we are finely seeing some results. The horses have a new paddock, we can keep the cows out of the River and we can give the summer horse paddock a rest. Soon we’ll have a third horse paddock and protection for the shelter belt trees. The boys helped out a lot with the fences, Ben was his usual self, and he had a great time cutting wires with the new bolt cutters – seeing just how close he could get to my fingers. I got tired of it after a while, so whilst he was cutting a wire as close as he could to my finger - I screamed a blood curdling, shocking, howling scream and grabbed my hand. He thought he’d cut my finger off, and the look on his face was priceless. Harry was the first to catch on to what I had done – he’s still laughing; boy, Ben is going to get me back big for this one.

We had our annual weed inspection a week back – that was preceded by a few weekends of weed spraying in the conservation area. I really hate spraying, I think it’s the time of year and it always needs to be done when I have a hundred other things to do, continual breakdowns and malfunctions didn’t help either.

Worst of it all is after a good season the weeds are thick in the back of the farm and I’m going to have my work cut out for my getting too them before they start to go to seed – luckily with the spray kit I have I should be able to get on top of them, plus we will be using a helicopter to get the biggest infestations and the hard to access areas.

The Cook and I have been to a couple interesting events lately, we went to a lecture on Holistic Farming at the Fenner Institute at ANU. The lecture was given by Allan Savoury the founder of the Holistic Farming Institute in Zimbabwe. He talks about pasture management in brittle environments, how to use managed grazing to get the best out of your land. Like me, he’s dead set against burning pastures and he’s got the science behind him to show how bad it is for long term management. The Cook and I have signed up to do the Certificate Course at NSW TAFE this semester.

And speaking of TAFE, I’ve been asked to run a field day for the local TAFE on the farm. They want to look at planning conservation work, incorporating NSF activities in a conservation setting. As well as that I’ve been invited to submit an abstract to talk at the 2011 Harald Jensen Lecture run by the NSW Branch of the Australian Society of Soil Science.

There have been a number of NSF days and meetings, more Field Day planning and general stuff. I attended a talk this week about farm biodiversity and food production which focused mainly on biological farming techniques, which are different to biodynamic farming by Maarten Stapper. It was an interesting talk and I was glad I went as it helped me better understand where biological farming fits into the whole picture.

Our friends Ivan and Svdenker processed our large sausage pig the other week. He was huge, we had him for three years and he was the last pig from our very first lot of piglets. They invited me over to their home to try some of the sausage they had made from previous pigs and check out their set up. The air dried hams was delicious, they still had one hanging and it was great to be able to see the process. I tried the sausage and it was good as well, more like a chorizo then pork sausage – the boy’s will be happy when I pick it up.

So the pig was killed on the farm – first time for us. The boys took the left overs up to the sky burial rock on Donkeys Knob, it’s a long way form the house – it’s a long way from anywhere. Anyway last night I took some rubbish out to the bin, it was dark, raining and just horrible out side. I had a torch, and as I went to drop the rubbish in I shone the torch into the top of the bin, all I saw was the shiny little eye’s the big tusks – and I started screaming like a 9 year old girl. It had slipped the Cooks mind to tell me that Shadow had dragged a 15kg pig head home from Donkeys Knob and deposited it on the front lawn. The Cook had come home and discovered it on her way to feed the chooks – in the light. I mentioned to her that it’s not a particularly pretty picture, a huge head staring straight at you out of a wheelie bin on a dark stormy night in the torch light. I think I have to burn those trousers as well. We are also considering installing one of those on the wall defibrillators you see in shops near the bin, just for me.

Sausages drying on wine barrels
I had to drive into town and pickup the pig’s bread in the snow the other morning – not something I normally have to do. It was a pity it was dark, I couldn’t take any photos and it was all gone on my way back. We’ve planted more fruit trees in our food forest and I picked up some black Mulberries last week to plant this weekend. I’m off to fetch another 22 tree’s tonight, these ones are feijoa and peach I think.

And we have a busy time ahead, the boy’s are doing their school snow sports again this year and The Cook is still studying. Just to give you an idea in August we have a weekend where we have the local chapter of the NSF AGM, the South East Permaculture Convergence in Bega, our Holistic Farming Course at Tarago and more.

I called in to visit - nobody was home, but I know what they do when they aren't making gardens!