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

Monday, March 30, 2009

Lots of stuff

I hate snakes – especially big one’s, and we’ve acquired the biggest nastiest Brown Snake you’ve ever seen in the feed shed. It’s been around all summer, the Cook came face to face with it a couple of weeks ago and it’s been seen hanging around the water trough as well. On Saturday I was organising myself to make the pig feeds for that afternoon. I had arranged the buckets in the normal order and saw a couple of mice run across the floor. I was just about to ladle the first lot of feed into a bucket when a huge snake head struck out at a mouse from between the feed bins. An instant change of pants was in the making and luckily the Cook had installed a diphibulator outside the feed shed as well. I gathered myself together and called out, in a high shrill voice, to the boys to get the camera and the big shovel, but by the time they got there it had escaped under the floor of the feed shed – which is ever so comforting. Of course now nobody wants to go into the feed shed at all – COWARDS!!! Sometimes I seriously consider taking up drinking again.

The Cook spent most of her weekend in the garden. She pulled out tonnes of weeds and built a new compost heap – which truth be known can probably be seen from space it’s that large. I finished her Moo-Poo pit and she spent a lot of time pushing our flat tyred wheel barrow around picking up cow pats. If it wasn’t for old Buzz’s cattle breaking down our fences and crapping all over our paddocks she’d have nothing to compost.

We picked a huge Moon & Stars watermelon – the only one that really grew well. It’s one of the heritage varieties that we grow; you probably wouldn’t see it in a shop. Anyway, I took it inside to weigh and it broke the kitchen scales – and NO I wasn’t holding it and standing on the scales, so we used the bathroom scales. It weighed in at 8.5kg, I have to photograph it tonight so we haven’t opened it yet – but can’t wait until we do.

There are still a lot of tomatoes in the garden and the zucchini grow regardless of what I do. A few onions remain, we picked the last beetroot and a serious number of asparagus and garlic have come up from self seeding. The Cook’s cabbages seem to have survived the wombat attack and are now growing well inside their tree guards. That’s sauerkraut for months – maybe zucchini isn’t that bad after all…

The Cook invoked the third rule and had the kids working in the garden, much to their dislike. They work pretty hard if you supervise them well, but don’t take your eye off of them. We had the usual antics, poo throwing, filling in the others hole whilst hey weren’t watching and the old favourite - worms down the back of the pants. The Cook has made a compost tea in a barrel beside the garden. I was “lucky” enough to there when she took the lid off – smelt like the septic tank from a curry house in Darwin – stinky!!!!!!!!! I suppose I should be careful, the Cook is from South Australia – and those guy’s have a reputation when it comes to Barrels…….

The dog has the best life; she spent yesterday rolling in the grass, catching grass hoppers and eating them, chasing the goats, playing with George, sleeping and taking baths. Every time I fill up the trough beside the house she thinks it’s an invitation to take a bath. She waits until it’s full and she thinks nobody is watching and then she dives in – she just sits there watching the world go by, I probably need to get her a shower cap. Her total displacement, being a fatty, is about half a bath tub. Sop she wastes a lot of water.

Now I said I’d get back to the Marketing side of things this week. There is another couple of ways to sell your pigs which I didn’t cover. Some people I know sell theirs on consignment or contract. Usually this is done to a specific order or requirement. Most people do this on a fixed price as well – which can be beneficial as you are assured of the price and can factor in all the known production costs.

And lastly are the sale yards. Regardless of the type of pigs you have you will get the sale price per kilo live weight for your pig here. From all the reports I’ve heard there is no premium for organic, free range or quality. You will occasionally get people looking for a particular pig and you may get a slightly higher price, however; that’s not something you can count on. The current price at the sales is about $3.80 for a porker and $3.50 for a baconer. Growers, the last time I looked were $200 and weaners $135.

I still want to go back to the ethics of farming at some stage. The question about where are the ethical limits in regards to both production and inputs. The increase in farm monocultures is also worrisome; we don’t even notice it these days because it has become so normal. But why do monocultures survive and thrive – I believe it’s because conformity so much easier to manage. Every body from Government to big business loves vertically integrated commodity markets – it’s easier to govern and manage, it lowers the cost input and improves the share holder return. But conversely, what does it do to the landscape, the environment and the community.

There is also the question of localisation vs Globalisation. Has the pendulum swung? I know the governments of the world are banging on about protectionism and the likes – but at the local level do we really care. Localisation is something that should be encouraged by the small producer, it’s the only leverage against people like the Woolworths and Coles that we have and the best way to bring people back to their senses about what really is ethical, fresh and value for money. I could go on – but!

1 comment:

Lindsay said...

Hissing Sid sounds terrifying!