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

Thursday, July 30, 2009

What's Fatso doing?

Fatso is the closer pig

What’s Fatso doing today? She is busy as usual, rummaging through the grass looking for more food. Yesterday she decided she wanted to come into town with me and it took ages to convince her she wasn’t getting into the car. Finally I had to cut her up an apple from one of the barrels to get her attention away from the car. By late morning I was rescuing her from certain damnation whilst hunting through the Cooks onion patch.

As lunchtime arrived, Fatso was tired and took a nice nap in the sun out side the pig house, she likes it in the sun and can often be found resting her eye’s when it’s high. By two O’clock she was out on the ploughed field getting stuck into some fresh delicious grass. When I drove out to pick up the boys her and Floppsy galloped back to the trailer and took up positions whilst they await the boys return – because the boys fill up the bread baskets in the afternoon and Fastso gets to sit in the trailer and eat anything she wants.

The boys spoil her a bit. Once the bread is done and the feeds are out, Fatso – so full she would surely burst finds a nice warm spot between two of the mothers and cuddles up for a nice sleep, ready to go again in the morning. She’s always the first one up and she is always comes running out squealing away to greet me in the morning.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Brand new pigs

new piggies

We all had a very busy day today, picking up feed, fencing, playing and unloading feed. Poor old Cook got attacked by pigs bringing in the shopping after a night duty. One of the pigs managed to break open her apple bag and spill apples all over the paddock. She came running in looking for some help - but as always the pigs won in the end.

We went out to feed tonight, one of the pigs was looking pretty big this morning - yes it was one eating apples, anyway she had eight piglets at 5pm and mum and piglets are doing well. Luckily I'd put a new wall on the pigs house, it started to rain jsut after she had finished.

Anyway - tomorrows Monday, start of a brand new week.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Picture to follow

The big black Wild Boar came back yesterday. The first time Harry frightened it by bellowing out to his mother. It headed off for the river and everybody thought it had gone.

Unfortunately it came back later when the sun was going down. The Cook chased it down the river – then went in looking for it…..???? Anyway, she was hunting through the reeds when she spotted a big black shape coming towards her, she froze and it picked up speed. I still don’t know what she was thinking, but she picked up a big stick and was about to bludgeon it to death when – luckily, she realised, in the murky light of dusk - that it was the dog not the Wild Boar.

Lucky dog. Luckier Wild Boar, I’ve been on the wrong end of a walloping form the Cook a few times now and I’ve never won. It would appear that the rain brings the Boar down out of the hills, the first time we saw him was after some rain.

Well, it was rain of a sort, about 4mm all up – not much, but enough to keep the feed growing. Today is beautiful; the Cook has taken both the boys off for hair cuts and long pants before the new term starts. Unfortunately I’m working off farm today and can’t make the most of it – but there is always tomorrow.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Another good read ....well,

Another article from the ABC Rural site

Capitalism traps intensive farmers

By Kim Honan
Thursday, 23/07/2009

A visiting animal philosopher says capitalism has trapped intensive farmers.Jes Harfeld from Aarhus University in Denmark also says that free market systems means animals get treated as objects.He says farm animals need to be treated as individuals, and not as units or commodities."

An un or under-regulated free market capitalism will give us a framework where the animals can only be objects," he says.He says unlike animals humans are subjects and individuals and believes animals should also be given this right. "We are subjects that have a mental life, can feel pain, sorrow, happiness and through ethology we have learnt that animals aren't that far from us in that respect," he says. "They should be somehow regulated in a way that they do no become objects, not even in the system of capitalism."

He believes farming with free range give animals more of an possibility of expressing its normal positive behaviours. "These are behaviours that will show you that they are subjects, individuals with a mental life," he says."If you're a sow in a sow stall or a chicken in a little cage it would be very difficult for you to show any of these behaviours and you will easily become an object."Mr Harfeld says getting rid of factory farming is the answer but the responsibility doesn't entirely lie with the farmer. "It's important to notice that these farmers are trapped in a system, they are trapped in a system of free market capitalism," he says."Many of these people would not be able to do farming if they did not do intensive farming."Mr Harfeld comes from a farming background in Denmark and sympathises with farmers. "I feel very much for the farmers because they are under attack from so many sides," he says."There are the animal welfare people, the government and the systems, they get new rules all the time." "And because they are caught in this market system as well, I feel for the farmers but they are part of the solution as well."The young animal philosopher, unlike Peter Singer, does eat meat. "I look at this way: I work with farmers all the time and I have seen farms and I've seen places where the animals lead extraordinarily good lives," says Mr Harfeld. "The animals would certainly not be living these lives if there were no such thing as agriculture and if we create welfare enough within the system - enrichment, possibility of positive natural behaviour and all that - I think agriculture can ethically exist."

In this report: Jes Harfeld, PHD fellow, Aarhus University, Denmark.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Slow down..............

I had the chance to talk to Daryl Deuschers near Stanwell yesterday – he’s an interesting fellow. He has a rare breed turkey farm where he grows and processes both common and rare breed birds for commercial sale. He was talking to me about his concerns because people don’t understand what the value is in free range or rare/heritage breed. He has an awful time getting people to even buy them from him for the table regardless of how good they are. So, I’m going to get some turkeys off of Daryl – just need to work out how?

A Lot of people don’t know that Turkeys were being farmed by the Native Americans before Columbus. It’s sad to see that the viability of a species like this, and there are more than one, rests on the single issue of wether or not people would eat it. I suppose it like fashion and music there is no such thing as personal taste or styles anymore its all about commonality and trends.

Biodiversity doesn’t have to only concern native species, I know in Australia there is a hang up about native verses introduced species. People get flustered about ferals and weeds and don’t understand that domesticated stock is part of our food or agricultural biodiversity.

Personally I still have problems understanding people’s belief that intensively farming animals is justifiable and proper. The only obvious reason it is necessary is because of mans over-urbanisation and overpopulation; and it’s only going to get worse – in both instances. I could go on about the things but I would just upset the Cook – and now my Dad (Hi..!!!) reads this I have to be extra careful.

The article I posted yesterday goes some way to explain how entrenched the ideas that food assembly lines or factories are the answer and that animal welfare isn’t a consideration when people are food shopping. I know the sample size was small, but it is sad to think people can be so unconcerned about the single most important thing in their life.

In contrast, I had lunch with a group from PNG today; they were very entertaining and friendly. But, when you talk to them about their priorities, it’s not a plasma TV or new car or even a mobile phone, it’s about food. Either, having enough and being able to share with family and friends or having good food, fresh from the garden and straight into the table. I really enjoyed talking to them and hearing their stories about how they prepared and enjoyed their pigs. I’d be a rich man in Moresby; they told me I would easily get 900 Kina for a good grower pig. (hmmm…900 Kina x 60 x $AUS = $$$$$$$$$) But, it’s more then just the money.

If you jump over to the Duck Herder’s Blog you’ll see a brilliant example of how someone can regain that connection with the realities of food and the seasons. The world needs more Duck Herders, Dave’s and Hughes and Cooks. I must print off Mrs Duck Herder’s recipe and get the Cook to chase up some nettles – I’m sure I saw some in the pig paddocks on the weekend and I think she has been busting to try them.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Heads Up.

This is from the ABC Rural website and is very concerning when it comes to animal well being and slow food - the last few lines speakj volumes about peoples ability to adapt and change. More about this tomorrow.

Study finds little awareness of factory farming

Tuesday, 21/07/2009
Preliminary findings from a study to be released next month on attitudes towards farm animals and factory farming have surprised researchers.
Forty-eight people from both regional and metropolitan Australia were involved in surveys and focus groups as part of the RMIT University study.
Research fellow Dr Iris Bergmann, from the University's Global Cities Research Institute, says it didn't expect the extent of the lack of public awareness about factory farming.
"One of the most amazing findings was the little knowledge that there is amongst the general population about what actually happens to farm animals in factory farm situations, as to the welfare of farm animals," she says.
"But also the impacts, the complexity of the impacts of factory farming, is little known."
Dr Bergmann says the study was designed to intially find a broad range of views, but researchers plan to develop a large-scale survey that establishes data for the general population.
She says the two farmers who participated in the study did not oppose factory farming.
"In this case, the two farmers would not consider free-range situations," Dr Bergmann says.
"They thought factory farming situations for animals were the best for the environment, and in particularly for the economy and to run a sustainable business.
"One farmer specifically said he believes animals are bred for that purpose."


I was going to tell you about what happened last night – but then I got these and I just had to share them with you all. Or maybe just one of them, this is the pig that went for the drive in the Masarati - which is a good reminder to never get into a car with somebody you don't know. Thanks to Carolyn for the picture.

Monday, July 20, 2009


The jury is in and the wood fired roast pig gets full marks. Hopefully I’ll have some pictures of the results for tomorrow’s Blog – there are heaps of left over’s, none for me however….!!!!!

The pigs spent a quite Sunday grazing over the river flat, with the goats and George of course. George raced the car down the drive when he saw the Cook return from her truffle lunch – and he beat her up the driveway.

The Cook had a terrific lunch and is full of enthusiasm for truffles again. This will mean more fencing and hard work for me – but she’s the boss. We will have to carefully decide exactly where they will be planted; I think the last spot was too close to the pigs and the power lines, so next time we’ll choose a better, smarter spot. Our soil and temperature are perfect for truffles here and there are already a number of growers close by.

I fixed the electric fence for the time being, just glad I don’t have a pace maker - yet. I think I need to go back around the whole lot and replace some of the work I’ve done previously. One big mistake I made was not being able to isolate individual paddocks. I think I can fix that without too much effort or cost. I also needed to use more steel posts in the hinge joint parts, the little pigs have no respect for that stuff.

I will also need to finish the front paddocks and put a hot wire around the river flat later on just to stop the young pigs getting too adventurous and heading for the highway.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Things just keep on getting busier and busier. We delivered our first processed pig to a local customer Saturday morning – or more like they came out and picked it up. Normally people come out to our place they might arrive an old ute or a flash 4WD, we don’t usually take a real lot of notice. But this morning was something different. We were standing outside; I had just arrived home from picking up the pig and the cook had just got off the phone The Cook says she can hear a car driving up the road, sounds a bit rough she says. As it comes into view we got our first look at the car and she said to me – better grab the dog that’s an expensive looking car, at first I thought it was a MG but as it got closer I could read the name – Masarati – holy cow...!!!!!
So the lady pulled up and we had a little talk, she took a good look at the pig,, figured it was big enough and we stuffed it into a big plastic bag and loaded it into the boot of her car. Next time I’ll ask more questions before I tell them how much I want for a pig.

The Cook went off to Canberra for a visit that afternoon – she ended up driving back in somebody else’s car – on top of everything else the Jeep hasn’t any lights now – and she found that out just before she went to drive home in the dark. She’s gone off to a truffle lunch today at Old Parliament House with a couple of her mates. So I’ve been left at home to run the farm.

So the big news for the weekend is – we have lambs!!!!!! Beryl and Sheepie amongst others came down into the house paddock this morning to show off their new babies. So far we have four of which two are female, I had to ring the Cook straight away, interrupted her lunch but it was just too exciting news to keep to myself.

So that’s it quickly for today, I’ve got feeds to make up and washing to do – have a nice Sunday.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Bredbo's Burning

I’ve been doing a little investigating and it would appear that there are only a handful of Berkshire breeders in Australia. The Australian Berkshire Breeders Association have about 8-10 studs on their books – most being in SA or WA. So it would seem it’s a good time to register ourselves as a Stud and have a number of our herd registered.

What is this all going to mean, I don’t know yet. When we bought our Boar I was told it was registered with the Association – I have to find out more about that; our six foundation Sows have registration numbers as well but that’s another story.

I don’t think the Cook ever thought she’d be a Pig Stud owner when she left school – I know I didn’t.

I was in my way home last night just after sunset, I get a call from the Cook – two houses in Bredbo are burning, she can see the fire from the house. I thought it was a bit strange to have two house fires – but if she can see them then it must be right. I was a little further down the track when I got another call telling me the fire had spread and if I could see it from where I was? By the time I got back I was just in time to see the RFS packing up their toys and going home. The Cook had seen them burning off the long grass out the back of the Pizza Shop and between the Church and the School, but because of where we live it looked a whole lot worse.

Our new water license arrived today – it says I can’t pump anything at all until it rains. Funny that; I didn’t really want to spray sand all over the paddocks.

I’m taking the kids into town tomorrow for a School Holiday treat. I needed to do it on Friday so I could have the weekend to get other things done around the farm. So far I have a mountain of jobs to do but little time to get everything done, hopefully I can get a start this weekend and start knocking a few over.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Cooks day off

Poor old Cook. She had a day off yesterday – sort of. She started out having to complete all the chores because the boys had gone off to a friend’s for a sleep over. By the time she had finished those she noticed that the horses were down in the river again so she went off to fetch them back, on the way she lost the sheep. Poor old George doesn’t like getting his feet wet so he wouldn't cross the river.

It turned out, once she got down there, that one of the horses had hurt itself. So she needed to look after that first and later went back for the others. Then she went looking for the sheep – which of course had already returned to the house paddock – but it took her an hour of searching to find that out. Once everything was settled at home, she had to take a trip into Cooma and get our car in for repair and do a little shopping.

She finally arrived home – much later then intended, just in time to feed the animals. By the time I arrived home she was in the kitchen cooking dinner for the two of us – what a women, what would I do with out her?

Anyway, she had left the preparation for the next mornings feeds up to me – and rightly so. So I spent a while doing before dinner. Then we both sat down and watched Australian Story and Peter Andrews whilst enjoying a delicious curry.

I had arrived late home. I’d had to drop something off on my way and thought I’d take a long cut. I’d never been down the ‘Angle Road’ before and it was definitely something I shouldn’t have done at night. I had the car and trailer going side ways around corners and missed turnoffs – nearly ended up in a paddock once! I haven’t been on a road with corrugations that bad for years.

Then on the way down the highway I had to wait a while because of an accident. A four wheel drive had rolled off the road avoiding a kangaroo whilst travelling to the snow.

This morning on my way to pick up bread I was passed by a fellow in a ute just before Williamsdale, he passed me on a pretty dangerous spot and wasn’t going slow. I caught up to him a bout three kilometres later pulling a kangaroo out of his radiator – he wasn’t going to get to work today. I am amazed at the speeds people travel at on the highway this time of year. The sides of the road are littered with car debris and dead kangaroos – you’d think it would be obvious.

Monday, July 13, 2009

One week at a time

Our Farm in 1995 - the good years

The weeks are going by and the jobs are stacking up. Thursday night, after my umpteenth early morning was the Bee association meeting. Various people spoke about ideas and issues they had come across in the recent past. It was all very interesting and I heard some good ideas. The Duck Herder was there and it was nice to catch up. She’s got the inside scoop now and knows what I don’t put on here.

Whilst I was at the bee meeting we had some poor chap hanging around town waiting for me to get home. He wanted to buy a few pigs for gastronomic reasons. He finally gave up and went home, but luckily called back the next day.

Friday morning was cold, and because we had evicted the last young piglets from the house the fire hadn’t been left burning all night, funny how the cook can’t wait for the piglets to leave and is then the first person to complain once they are gone. That night I picked up a load of green waste from Dave, six 44 Gallon drums full. I thought the trailer was going to pull off the car at on point, but with a little luck and at eighty KPH I finally arrived home – to find they’d already eaten dinner…!!!!!

Saturday morning started early with pigs going first thing. It’s getting a lot easier to get them loaded and away now we have a little bit of experience behind us. We trucked out six boars, the Cook sent me straight into town to buy Harry a new pair of boots and a new battery for the electric fence. I was a little shocked at the price batteries have risen since I purchased the last one, they’d gone up about 50%.

By the time I arrived back home there was just enough time for a cup of tea when Dave and his family showed up. I’d forgotten he was coming out to shoot foxes. So we toddled off up into the hills, whilst Dave’s wife and kids waited at home for the Cook to return from Cooma. We saw a couple of foxes but they were a bit quick for Dave and have managed to live another day. I haven’t been out shooting with anybody in a long time and it was interesting the different approach between a civilian and military way of doing it.

So I didn’t get home until after dark and the Cook hadn’t fed anything – so I was out until late feeding the starving hoards. By the time I got back to the house it was well and truly bed time.

Sunday morning was another early one, I took a breeding trio out to Burra. When I arrived the people asked me how I was going to unload them and get them into their new yards. Because our pigs are very trusting and haven’t been mistreated, they are very easy to handle, so we just opened up the back of the trailer and they jumped down into the paddock. After a quick sniff and graze they followed me straight into their new home. The people who took them didn’t expect them to be so friendly.

I had to be back in Bredbo by noon so I could make the dump before it shut, the Cook likes me to deal with the household rubbish, so she was very keen I wasn’t late. I got that job done and then fixed the pig fence and installed the new battery. We fed out some more green scraps, filled waters and refilled the grain bins before having a break for lunch.

The boy’s are going for a sleep over Monday night and I’ll be late home so by the time I had the feeds made up and the waters done and everything else it was after dark. By dinner time I was ready to drop, we had a late dinner and I hit the hay before 10:00 O’clock. The Cook took her usual nap in front of the fire before coming to bed late.

We were woken at 6:00am by the phone, the people who I delivered the pigs too wanted to let us know how they were settling in – at 6:00am, they thought I’d be up! But unfortunately for me it was the first morning in ages I was able to sleep in - because of school holidays, no appointments and the Cook was on days off. Anyway they were really happy with the pigs, couldn’t believe how quite and good natured they are and just love them – it was nice to know, but it could’ve waited until 9:00am.

We’ve become members of the Slow Food Movement as well. They are organising a regional group based on the Monaro and we thought it would be good to be foundation members of a group in our area.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Back again

The weeks I take pigs to Sydney are long ones. It’s only Wednesday and already I’m looking towards the weekend. So what’s been happening? Saturday I spent running around getting feed and dropping off a Turkey and feeding greens to the pigs.

The Cook reluctantly headed off to work for an extra shift on Saturday night, which left all of us boys at home alone. Sunday we started slowly, it was cold, but by lunch time we had post holes dug and pigs feeds made and the garbage taken to the dump. Whilst loading rubbish into the trailer I bashed my face into one of the trailers cross bars – no permanent damage, to the trailer. I saw stars and a bit of blood, but luckily I was ugly to start with – the Cook didn’t even notice.

At lunch time we were presently surprised to find the river had risen a few feet and was flowing for the first time since spring. The Cook suddenly realised she’d left the pump by the river and bolted down to the water hole to retrieve the thing – luckily the water hadn’t risen sufficiently to cause the pump to be submerged.

It was an early start Monday with two pigs off to be processed. One of them ended up dressing out at 93kg, a little more then I had anticipated, the other at 71kg. On the way into Sydney I hit a kangaroo, mainly panel damage and knocked out the blinker, I still need the steering to be checked as I think I may have bent a steering rod or something as well – but the Jeep keeps going. Skippy didn’t make it.

That evening I picked up some green feed and Dave presented me with a freshly killed and butchered sheep. I was quite amazed at his generosity. When I walked into the house with it Ben was rapped, he wanted fresh lamb chops for dinner and nothing else. Ben has been a little disappointed because we’ve done four pigs and he hasn’t tasted one yet. On Sunday we had somebody out here rabbit shooting, Ben wanted him to leave one here so he could try it – but he only managed to shoot one and wanted that for himself.

By the time I arrived home Monday it was 7:00pm and I still had to feed the kids, make up feeds for the next day, unload the trailer so I could pickup bread the next morning and pack the sheep away. By the time the Cook and I got to bed we were knackered.

When I arrived home Tuesday evening I found that a number of pigs that have escaped due to the electric fence not working had discovered the green feed. I had fenced it off with sheep panels, but they moved those and had a lovely feast of fresh fruit and veg. I am hoping the Cook has managed to get them back in today – their all sleeping in the meadow hay under the shearing shed and seem completely happy to wonder around the farm all day grazing and snoozing in the sun.

Bee meeting tomorrow night - don't forget Duck Lady.......

Friday, July 3, 2009


George the sheep has once again disgraced himself. I went out onto the front veranda last night and found he had eaten – yes, eaten half a dozen cardboard boxes that used to contain books, video tapes and cloths. We had stored the boxes on the veranda whilst we did some, as yet not started, interior renovations. Not only has he eaten the boxes – and you’d have to ask why, he lives in the front yard , nearly an acre of good grass and has unrestricted access to the paddocks and he gets fed bread and grain; but, he’s eaten two very large bags of shredded paper we were going to use on the compost heap that we had in the shed.

He also frightened the life out of me last night when I went to feed the dogs. As I opened the back door he must have been standing on the other side and burst through the door – I had no idea what was going on, and tripped backwards over Shadow and landed flat on my back in the middle of the door way, George decided I’d make a good door mat and walked over me to get inside. He has also developed a funny reaction to cement, when ever he stands on it he wee’s.

The two piglets living inside the house have found their voice and will soon have to leave their fire side comfort. The Cook has rules and as soon as they become noisy they are out. The next load of pigs is off on Monday, so it’ll be another big weekend. We’ve also got to find the time to pick up feed, deliver a Boar and attend Soccer and a NSF working B – then there is fencing and weed control.

Hopefully the wind will subside tonight, it’s been howling the past few days and there is now snow on the mountains again. Looking at the weather charts we had the lowest pressure barometric pressure we get over us yesterday and by Sunday we will have the highest barometric pressure from the high travelling across the Great Australian Bight – it’s not normal to get both ends of the spectrum in less than a week.

Looks like the pigs fence is off again, I think I need a new battery, there hasn’t been much sun lately on the old one might be having problems. So the Cook is kicking my behind to sort that out and I’ve already got a hundred other things planned for tomorrow – maybe I’ll just sleep in……….

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

New Blog

Just found my Sister-in-Law Fiona has started a Blog about their family - check it out here , it's only new, but it looks great. You can see the difference in country between South Eastern NSW and Central Queensland - but where are the pigs????

Bad weather

Well I didn’t win Oz Lotto last night. But I was bitten by a piglet today – and that’s not something I don’t want to repeat too often. The little piglets were a little bit hungry when we brought them in tonight. In their eagerness to get their heads in the feed bowl one of them decided I needed a little hurry up. Got me right on the finger, no wonder the Cook screams. She spent all day in the garden building the Berlin wall around her garden to stop the pigs
The winds have been blowing all day, they are a little worse this evening, and we’ll see what it’s done in the morning.

I went it town this morning, early mornings I like to catch the first Sky News report at 5.45am. But this morning I had trouble finding the remote; by the time I managed to get the TV on it was time to go. I was in a shop in town with a mate and went to pull out my wallet, what I pulled out was the remote for the TV – can’t buy breakfast with that chirped my mate. I was wondering how long the kids had spent looking for it after I’d gone. So anyway the Cook couldn’t watch any day time TV.

Last night I had the trailer on the car full of bread – it was Tuesday. I parked the car and went off to do a job, by the time I got back it was pouring rain. Unfortunately for me, not only was it raining but the trailer had a flat tyre. So I ripped the tyre off, and found the spare was flat also, I took it to three servo’s before I found one that had an air compressor and hose that worked. After I got everything back together – in the rain, I headed home, it was about 8:00pm when I left town. It rained and blew all the way home, when I got out at the front gate the wind was blowing above 65kph and the rain was bucketing down. The unusual thing was that the moon was out and the stars were shining. The rain was being blown from about four kilometres away from the western ranges right across the valley to us. Unfortunately the rain gauge was blown over, but using mum’s feed bucket method I think we had more than 15mm.