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

Monday, September 28, 2009

It never snows in September!

Snow over Bredbo

A lot needed to be done this weekend – not much happened. Due to the weather we had a pretty quite weekend. Saturday the wind drove us all inside and at times it was either raining ice or snow. I don’t think the temperature rose above 7 Degree’s making it the coldest September day for years. The winds suddenly abated at 6pm Saturday night, which was nice, but by Early Sunday morning we had our second dust storm in a week and woke to a rather windy morning. The kids had a sleepover and spent the night n the wool shed – luckily their swags are well decked out and they didn’t freeze.
Cooks day off

I was supposed to go over to Braidwood for an NSF meeting Saturday night – but I decided to stay home because of the weather and the 3 hour drive – one way.

We fed a lot of bread to the pigs on the weekend. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve lost interest in it. But they were still eating it this morning so hopefully, by tonight, it’ll all be gone. Of course having a couple of extra hands made feeding it out a lot easier. George is always there to give a hand as well and his eagerness to get into the trailer is going to be legendary one day.

Sunday was another horrible day – but things needed to be done. I dropped into the Bredbo Markets and picked The Cook up some honey. Went into town and picked up the feed, visited the dump (hilite) and spent the afternoon unloading the feed.

This morning we had a sort rain shower and then everything fined up – you wouldn’t have known we’d had such a bad weekend by 9am.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Lots of bread

Well it’s back to farm stuff. Had a little more rain over the past couple of days and we are starting to see a little bit of green come through into the paddocks. We had a pleasant surprise yesterday morning when the cattle arrived in the back yard after a couple of months grazing the ridges. I don’t know if it was the rain that bought them back, but it was good to see they are doing fine.

The kids wandered out of bed bleary eyed early this morning – followed by that ball of energy known as Ashes. Ben was complaining that the kitten had woken them up wanting to play not long after the sun rose – neither of them was impressed and I had little sympathy for them.

I received a call from the bakery this morning – one of the ovens had chucked a wobbly and they had a tonne of bread they needed to get rid of before the weekend. The big trailer is packed to the brim and the Jeep had a job dragging the trailer up the range this morning. They just kept on bringing the stuff out by the forklift load. I think the pigs will be really happy tonight when the boys get home and we can start unloading it. The big trailer is packed to the brim and the Jeep had a job dragging the trailer up the range this morning.

The bruise on the Cook face is going down at last – she had parent teacher interviews last night, goodness only knows what they thought.

There’s a big weekend ahead of us but the weather isn’t looking that good. I’ve got to make it to the dump on Saturday before anything else – it wasn’t Em’s fault I missed the dump last time either – it was all mine.

And lastly – hi to Liz and Obie down in Melbourne – thanks for the email, which I haven’t replied to yet.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tuesday - already

I didn’t get time to post last week, I’d written something – but it never went any further, so I back posted it today. Another week has flown by and we are getting closer to school holidays again. We’ve had a little bit of rain – enough to get things started, but not enough to put anything in the dams.

Last week was our first trial run at delivering fresh pork to the door step. This worked well and I think everybody was happy. We’ve had our first family feast of Berkshire and everybody was very impressed – even the Cook.

Luckily for me the Duck Lady and her husband were on the delivery list for pork. I left my stop there until last as she had offered me a cuppa. They have a lovely place and we had a nice chat and a cup of tea under a lovely shady tree watching the ducks, chickens and cockatoos doing their thing in the garden.

The kitten is growing and taking up a lot of everybody’s time – she sleeps with the boys and has been giving them a bit of curry during the night. I think Harry will be glad once it’s a little bit older.

We’ve had more chicks hatch in the chook pen and there are chicks everywhere. Hopefully we’ll have a better ratio of hens this time and start getting eggs again before winter. Until then we have a one egg a day ration.

I managed to visit Em in Cooma on Saturday when I picked up Ben form a sleep over. I thought I should introduce myself and took them around some pork as a welcoming gift. Unfortunately I missed the dump – that’ll be a blow later in the week.

After the rain last night there were no pigs out of their paddocks – giving more weight to the idea that he ground isn’t wet enough for the fence to not work properly over the past couple of weeks.

On the lighter side - the Cook bashed herself chopping fire wood on Sunday evening. It left her with a great shiner on her cheek. She spent all Sunday night wandering around the kitchen holding frozen peas to her face. Unfortunately she had to work Monday – which included lecturing at the University. And working in a female dominated work place you know who will be getting the blame for that one…….

The Brown snake is alive and well in the feed shed. He and I had words on Sunday afternoon – but I don’t think snakes have ears, so basically I’ll stay out of his way.

We had a light Aircraft doing low passes along the river all day yesterday – may have been the aerial photography mob that do property photo’s and letter drops every so often. It looked a little ruff for that type of flying though. I went out and watched it go by a few times – just in case they were spraying weeds. The aircraft was a blue and white Cessna Skyline 182 – been in a few of those in a past life, glad I don’t have to do that anymore.

I bolted out of bed this morning and headed off to Canberra to pick up bread. At first I thought it was raining, it had earlier in the night (going by the Old Di rain in the feed bucket method of determining rain – I think we got 3mm), but it turned out to be a massive dust storm mixing with the clouds and a little fog – a very surreal look to the whole valley and surrounds.

Last weeks post

We’ve all been really busy lately, spring is here and the temperatures are slowly rising. The first blossoms are almost done and we’ll be searching the apricot trees for buds in the next few days. It was up early this morning to enjoy the pre dawn hours. The animals were out and about snuffling in the dust and dry grass, somewhere along the river a fox was calling out – it was very peaceful.

It was a busy weekend; the days were nice – apart from a mild breeze. It was Ben’s last soccer game of the year, sleepovers, a huge trailer load of green scraps for the pigs had to be fed out and a long afternoon walk along the river looking for signs of the wild boar.

Sunday was busy, helped to move some chickens across town to a new home - that took some effort. We picked up feed and more greens, and finally loaded up some pigs for travelling. I took some from down the road with a couple of ours. It was interesting to note the differences in the breeds, the ones I picked up where Saddle Back crosses and are markedly longer then our guys. The Berkshires appeared to be a lot hardier pig and the muscle tone was much better on the free’er range pigs.

Anyway, by the time we were able to load ours it was late. So here we were trying to sort out and load black pigs on to a trailer in the darkness. Poor old Ben got knocked for six and winded buy one of the bigger pigs and trying to sort out a boar from a sow proved problematic.

At the end of the day I think the cook learned a couple of new swear words – so it wasn’t all for naught.

We’ve got a cat. I’m allergic to the buggers – but we’ve got one anyway. It’s a little black kitten named Ashes – photo’s shortly. Of course a cat wasn’t really part of the overall scheme of things, but the mice problem gets worse each winter and we don’t want to poison them which is the only other way we could get them.

It’ll be another busy weekend ahead

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Something completely different

My next job - Weeds.....

I love Bush Poetry and Australian Folklore, I still have my collection of Henry Lawson and Bamjo Paterson somewhere - and a couple of old Wallace and Matilda cassette tapes so here's a lovely Australian poem. It has something for everyone - If you know the bush, it will appeal to you, if you work in the oil industry, there is something in it for you too, if you have a sense of humour - well, it might test it a little and if you are not an Australian, then it won't help your knowledge of Australian life one bit ...

I'm not sure of the Author, I think it's that really famous poet Annon.

Goodbye Granddad

Poor old Granddad's passed away, cut off in his prime,
He never had a day off crook - gone before his time,
We found him in the dunny, collapsed there on the seat,
A startled look upon his face, his trousers around his
The doctor said his heart was good - fit as any trout,
The Constable he had his say, 'foul play' was not ruled
There were theories at the inquest of snakebite without
Of red-backs quietly creeping and death from outer space,
No-one had a clue at all - the judge was in some doubt,
When Dad was called to have his say as to how it came
'I reckon I can clear it up,' said Dad with trembling
'You see it's quite a story - but it could explain his
'This here exploration mob had been looking at our soil,
And they reckoned that our farm was just the place for
So they came and put a bore down and said they'd make
some trials,
They drilled a hole as deep as hell, they said about
three miles.
Well, they never found a trace of oil and off they went,
post haste,
And I couldn't see a hole like that go to flamin' waste,
So I moved the dunny over it - real smart move I
I'd never have to dig again - I'd never be 'caught
The day I moved the dunny, it looked a proper sight,
But I didn't dream poor Granddad would pass away that
Now I reckon what has happened - poor Granddad didn't
The dunny was re-located when that night he had to go.
And you'll probably be wondering how poor Granddad did
his dash--
Well, he always used to hold his breath
Until he heard the splash!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Okay - We're back and it's full steam ahead

Grazing, cropping & horticulture


Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th November, 2009 9am–5pm


You will learn how the biodynamic preparations contribute to the soil food web creating fertility and balance in your soil.
Biodynamics is a cost effective method of producing high quality plants, food and fibre with regenerative ecological outcomes.
Also applicable for garden enthusiasts.
This two day workshop will introduce you to all practical aspects needed to apply biodynamics:

• The life of the soil

• Creating fertility in your soil
• Managing your natural resources
• Practical use of the biodynamic preparations
• Using the planting calendar
• Developing risk management: Weeds, Pests, Diseases
• Meeting climate change challenges: Drought, Flood, Carbon sequestration

Books will be available for sale

BOOKINGS: 02 6655 9853
VENUE: Bredbo Valley View, Bredbo
LOCAL CONTACT: The Bredbo Pig Man, you can smell him coming! Use the Blogsite email.
COST: $220 pp or $330 per couple GST inc.
Morning & afternoon teas provided. Please bring lunch.
Please register by Thursday, 5th November, 2009.

Presented by
Biodynamic Educators:

John Priestley

John is a third generation ecological farmer. He has been evolving his practice and knowledge of
biodynamics for over 50 years. With his wife Dorothy he grows award winning citrus and beef
cattle at Paterson in the NSW Hunter Valley. He is a wealth of practical knowledge with a
keen eye for the small observations that can make adifference to farming.

Hamish Mackay

Hamish has been working with biodynamics for 35 years and travels Australia presenting introductory
biodynamic workshops, providing growers with clear and practical methods for adopting biodynamics as a cost effective way to produce high quality food and fibre; at the same time improving our environment.

Monday, September 7, 2009

New hatchings

Wombat tracks in the mud

The Cook has spent the last couple of nights on her hands and knees in the dinning room. It’s the only way she can see into the incubator and watch the chicks hatch. So far we have had nine out of twenty four hatched. They are a mix of types some are ours and some we bought locally. We have a good setup now and things are working well, they grow so much better under the heat lamps then they did under light bulbs.

So far we have two Hamburgs which are growing much quicker then the rest. The three that I picked up from Monika are growing and have feathers now; I think they are from our small white hen and maybe one of the red roosters. The Cook has had to help some out of the egg and one even managed to get a warm bath and blow dry. She just loves hatchings and spends hours watching the little ones escape their shell and play around their new home. Although most spend the first few hours sprawled in front of the heat lamp recuperating from their ordeal.

I’ve finally managed to get the grain mill fixed and now we can get back to crushing the pigs feed. Unfortunately the feed guy didn’t make it this week so we are on shop bought rations for a week, the pigs don’t mind and I’ve never seen them pass up a free feed yet. I had a talk to somebody about our electric fence and it appears there’s not enough moisture in the ground to conduct properly and therefore the pigs aren’t getting zapped. I need to go around and rewire some of the fence so that the ground is set up differently and should work better.

We’ve been getting the odd light shower over the past few days – but I don’t know exactly how much because somebody ran over my rain gauge. But we’ve not had enough to make the electric fence work unfortunately.

We’re glad we decided not to sow any crops this year as well – would have been another waste of money.

I spent the weekend installing a new surveillance system for both the pigs and the farm. We’ve had continuing problems with ‘unknown’ people entering the farm during the day. I’ve managed to make a catalogue of tyre marks as well to match with cars. I splurged a little and have purchased both daylight and infra red cameras with zoom. The range is amazing – so far I’ve been able to read number plates at 200 metres. It’s also hooked into the internet so I can monitor it from anywhere and it sends an SMS alarm if it detects certain types of movement or tampering. I might hook it up to the Blog one day when I’ve got a spare five minutes.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Catching up.

looking North along the Gully

We packed in a lot over the past week. The Jeep went in for some long awaited repairs – which took a little longer then first thought. But no wit is up and running at full speed. Of course only having one car was a little bit of a bother, but we managed.

There were a number of meetings, including the Natural Sequence Farming AGM and a Weeds vs NSF show down at the Bredbo Pub. Both went well with the showdown going well with nearly 80 participants. The Council Weed Inspector was very accepting and I think his approach to the whole evening was encouraging.

Then Saturday it was off to Yass early in the morning for a Field Day with Peter Andrews. It was horrible weather and by 9:00am I was soaked. Reminded me of lovely times I spent on the training area near Rockhampton. Once the sun came out it was mild enough that I didn’t catch pneumonia.

The property we visited was very elegant and obviously had a bit of money spent on it. The lady had a variety of animals including; Alpaca’s, Dorpers, East Friesian Sheep and Jersey cows. She was supposed to have pigs – but I didn’t see any. The country was a little rough and I doubt if there was room for the serious implementation of NSF principles.

I was going to have a rest of Sunday – yeah right. Fences needed fixing feeds need making and feed needed to be moved. I had to feed out the remainder of the green feed and clean up the mess. Sunday afternoon I let all the pigs out for a graze on the new fresh grass in the potato paddock – they loved it, but by 5:00pm they were all ready to get back home and have dinner.

The Cook has named the smallest one of the three piglets Scruffy. They other two haven’t got names yet, but they are looking really good and as they are able to be registered may be good candidates for show pigs. The buggers chase me everywhere I go – day or night, squealing happily. They eat with the big pigs and then expect to be fed again when the dogs eat. Luckily we have lots bread.

George has left home – on a trial basis. He’s living with the mob of sheep in the bottom paddock, the ones with all the lambs. There is no Ram with them so he’s pretty happy. He still comes when you call and he chased the car down the track yesterday them once we had gone he returned to his girls.

Monika from work hatched some of our eggs (three) in her incubator and I took the chicks home with me last night. She was sad to see them go – but she likes ducks better. They have settled in nicely with the other five chicks we have at the moment. By next week we’ll have more from the two dozen eggs ready to hatch in the incubator at the moment. We managed to find eggs from Hamburg’s, Old English Game, Plymouth Rock and some Silkies.

The Geese are still laying and hopefully we will try incubating some of their eggs once the latest lot of chicks have hatched. That’ll test the incubator, might have to put some duck eggs in with that lot as well.

The willows have started to sprout and the highway was lined with snow white blossoms in places this morning. The wild apple trees are really showing off this year and if we get some rain it should be a great crop. The first of the new Bredbo Markets ran on Sunday and was pretty impressive by all accounts (the Cook). She said there were a lot of stalls – mostly Arts and Craft. Probably not the place to sell our pork, but there maybe something else we can do instead – keep posted. The Cook has also found a Butcher to process our Bacon and make Sausages for us as well. More on that latter also – BTW he’s German ……. So they should be good…..
Oh yeah - we've had about 8mm ofn ain as well......