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

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Snakes in the grass

(BREAKING NEWS) Poor little Penny; The Cook just rang me in the middle of writing this to say that her puppy has been bitten by a snake, poor little thing.

I need more time to take photo’s… That’s why I haven’t updated the Blog. I keep leaving the house with out the camera which certainly doesn’t help.

A lot happened last year, after thinking back the Cook and I are both pretty satisfied with what we’ve achieved. Our first pigs were sent away and processed, we made head way on our conservation projects, the garden is producing well and the fruit trees all had fruit, we received our first wool cheque, sold a solid number of pigs, nobody was bitten by a snake (until today) and the kids did well at school. Unfortunately the Cook didn’t get a renovated kitchen or a tiled bathroom, nor did the floors get re-laid. Oh well, add them to the list for this year.

The snakes are still causing some concern with the family being trapped in the house on Sunday by a decent sized brown. I was out fencing away from the house when the women folk and children rang to tell me about the snake trying to come into the laundry, luckily the dogs alerted them and the Cook gave it a stern talking too. Harry had one slide over his foot in the chook pen days earlier and we’d seen them wriggling around the farm in the preceding days.

Thanks to the Cooks Sister, Iris, for this pic of the Brown Snake - she was standing in teh laundary when she took it.

But, on the upside we don’t have any mice. We’ve got big rats though. The Cooks sister is visiting and the biggest rat I’ve seen for months poked up out of the floor and scurried across the kitchen to squeeze out a hole behind the old tank water tap. As soon as I saw it I almost yelled out “see the size of that flippin rat” but, due to the Cooks sister not being quite as “understanding” as the rest of us I decided to just shut up and say nothing. It was a really big rat, the type you could really admire if it wasn’t living in YOUR floor and I’m sure it flashed me a gold toothed grin.

The Cook took everybody down to the river – where most the snakes are, to pick wild black berries on Sunday. They came back with a couple of buckets full which made lovely black berry streusels. The cook can bake a cake that would make a master chief cry, but her berry cakes, jams and pies are just to die for, unfortunately I don’t get to share in the bounty as much as I would like with two teenage boys in the house. I expect it’ll all be gone by the time I get home.

Of course whilst everybody was down the river I rocked up home with the trailer full of feed and rain about five minutes away. I had unloaded most of it by the time the boys turned up to help. Last time we unloaded feed I was worried about a fire, what a difference a couple of showers of rain makes.

This is Fatso - she say's hi to everybody. We caught her suckling off one of the mums yesterday - no wonder she is so fat. The picture doesn't do her justice.
BTW - Old Nev, we got nearly 10mm of rain an hour after you rang.

I spent a fair bit of Sunday fencing. Have I ever told you how much I love pounding steel pickets into rock? The rotten things a $5 each now, and that’s for the poor quality Chinese ones. I’ve bent a couple into S shapes after hitting rocks. I think my hair is falling out – I keep finding bits on the keyboard, oh well, nothing lasts forever. Anyway, I have almost completed the majority of the picket lines and just need to set some strainers before I can run out the wire. I think the most sworn at piece of farm equipment I have is my wire spinner. I bought a good Waratah one in the beginning thinking I was doing the right thing but the bloody thing is useless some times.

Because I’m out on my own most the time I need it to work properly. But, I spend more time walking back and forward trying to fix problems with it then I do pulling wires. Sunday was no different and I think I turned the sky purple swearing at it and walked a couple more kilometres then necessary. Time to start experimenting with the hack saw and grinder me thinks.

The Cook built a fence of her own with the help of Harry last week. She’s planting a line of trees as shelter for her garden expansion plans – she thought I had no idea about her plans for farm domination, but I can see right through you darling! The upside is there is less lawn to mow in summer. The garden is going well with the corn and zucchinis towering above everything else. Luckily I really like zucchini as long as I don’t have to eat it.

It’s the next day and I’m happy to say that Penny survived the day and has managed to recover from her ordeal. Apparently it was touch and go for a while, the Cook wasn’t very confident at about 2pm that she would get well, but by 7pm she was up and about and by bed time she was going crazy on the cat again – a big thankyou to whom ever looks over little puppies in need.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Looking for boots - again

Rather warm today – for us Southerners. Reached the forecast 35Deg C, and stayed there for hours. The Cook has even declared that the fan may be taken into the bedroom tonight – lucky me. I took the kids over to the pool at Cooma to cool off for a while at midday, I needed to get something from the Rural Store – but I missed that, by two minutes. That’s country towns for you, I love the fact that there’s nothing open on Sunday here.

Everything is still green at the moment, but the warm westerly’s have started so it’s only a matter of time before we are dried off and brown again.

I had a rather pleasant surprise this morning, after going to the dump I picked up the Canberra Times from the store. When I opened up the paper (page 8, Mrs D) they published a photo I had entered in the papers Summer Photo Comp – how exciting. I've put it up again just because I can.

Ben came across another snake in the feed shed – I’m sure they are following him around. I couldn’t find a shovel in time so it got away to live for another day.

I love our kids – they really have a great (their fathers) sense of humour. Last night we were all sitting at the table and Harry says

“I saw something really disgusting today Dad”, Ben chimes in

“Britney Spears?”

Both the Cook and I nearly choked on our dinner and once again the Cook was caught snorting. It was rather funny – and no, I’m not going to tell you what Harry saw.

IO'm searching for new boots again. Not happy with steel caps, no good for walking down hills in, wish I could find some of my old Army GP's, I loved those boots. They always fitted well and I could walk for days, and did, in them. You wuoldn't think it would be so hard - it's only boots.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Flat on her A@$&*

Well, I spent all of Sunday improving the pig fences in prepartion for the next flood of piglets. I doubled the number of steel posts, strained all the wires and tied down everything. Unfortunately for the Cook some of the fences are a little further off the ground then before - add the fact that the fence is running off of mains power now also and it has a pretty good zap factor - as the Cook found out. She tried to climb over one today and made contact withthe inside of her leg. She ended up seeing stars and clouds, flat on her back it put her. Of course I didn't do anything to help laughing until I cried, snorted, had stuff running out of my nose and nearly choking - and that was all before she got her hands around my throat.
She's not the only one, poor Penny has had a couple of zaps with her tail as well. Shadow walks around with her tail down always now.

And keeping with tradition of Christmas litters, we have a bundle of new piglets arrived today - I think we are up to 18, bacon supply is safe for next Christmas.....

Monday, January 4, 2010

First week of the new year - gone already.

It’s time to get back to work and stop all this laying about. I’m talking to the Cook! We’ve had a pretty hectic Christmas with heaps of visitors, lots of rain and more piglets.

Santa certainly did bring the rain and we’ve had over 80mm since Christmas eve. Everything is lovely and green and we won’t have to worry about fires for a week or two. The river is flowing, but no flooding yet so the pump is safe. The kids discovered we have fish living in our water tank. Looks like carp, I did want to try Aquaculture – but not in our drinking water would have been the preferred way.

Ben had a snake chase him around the chook pen the other day, Saturday I think. Each time he called me the snake had disappeared before I got there. We also spotted a rather large Red Bellied Black in the back paddock on Sunday. He was lying in the sun, the Cook wanted to know if I wanted to get out and have a look – after you sweetheart!

The Chook Dome has been completed and Harald did a wonderful job. It now houses half a dozen chooks a nice rooster and the three Khaki Campbell Ducks. The ducks quack every time we leave the house, but they really enjoy the showers the get from the garden sprinkler. And the chooks seem happy; some one is laying an egg a day so we can’t complain. If my calculations are correct we only need another three hundred and six eggs and the Chook Dome will have paid for itself.

I managed to find time to fix a few of the home fences, managed to strain the back fence and pull over the gate post - the Cook wasn’t very happy with me about that. Anyway, still can’t keep the goats out, which is a bit if a shame. I have fortified the pig enclosures and they are happily producing in the manner that will provide us with much pork this year. There are two whom are marked for bacon which are looking rather good.

We had a rather dramatic end to the week with a car catching fire on the highway in the front of the farm yesterday afternoon. I saw it from the pig yards and thought it was an accident at first, I raced up the drive and was just in time to see the car engulfed in flames, and luckily the two occupants had managed to get out before it was too late. I was amazed as they both lit up a cigarette and stood back to watch. It took the Fire Brigade nearly fifteen minutes to arrive, but the car was burnt out by then, I was grateful that he driver had managed to stop on the gravel and not the grass – even with all the rain the wind would have pushed a fire into the paddocks and who knows what could have happened.