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

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Green acres and acres

March 14th
It seems that the frosts are almost here, chilly mornings and heavy frosts are a good indicator. Our tomatos are taking for ever to ripen and the Cook is afraid we’ll lose the best of them to the frost. The potatoes and the zucchinis are still prolific – we have foot long radishes and eight foot high corn.

We get our straw and hay from a couple down the road on the other side of Prospector’s Gap, years ago they also had pigs and have been keen to have a look at ours. They offered us their old water tank pig shelters; they had been sitting in the paddock for a while but where still in good condition. Harry and I went down in the morning to give them a hand to get the shelters on the truck and shift them over here. We discovered that once the pigs had moved out of the shelters the Red Backs moved in – unfortunately I only had one pair of gloves which I gave to Harry and hoped like hell I didn’t put a finger on top of one of the deadly little buggers.

Everything went well and loading them onto the truck was no problems – no bites either. We got the shelters home, Harry rode in the truck with Lance which was a bit of a highlight for both of them I think. We unloaded the shelters in the pig paddocks ably helped by Fatso – she oversaw the whole operation and inspected the shelters once in place. Its good timing as I had hoped to have more shelters up before winter came. It also lets me divide the large paddock in two.

I’m limping around at the moment and slightly tender – I’ve pulled a hammy, bloody hurts too. So I’m hobbling around the place – it’s not as sore as Friday and I should be right by Wednesday.

We took a drive out to south of Cooma this afternoon in hunt of apples to crush in our new apple press. We found a couple of good trees and returned home with bags full of good looking apples. After doing the feeds and getting things ready for an early morning trip to Sydney we sat down and copped up apples. We filled the crusher top the top and set about crushing. Unfortunately we didn’t have any food grade grease to grease the spindle of the crusher and we failed dismally. I think we also needed to mash the apples a little bit better – we live and learn
The Cook has been letting her Ducks out into the garden during the day to eat the snails and slugs – and the ducks just love it. They get into the corn and waddle about quacking and scoffing down snails. She does have problems getting them back in – but the kids give her a hand.

I’d like to go to the Sydney Show, but I don’t think that is going to happen this year. I’d really like to have a look at the Pigs and see what other peoples Berkshires look like. They’re showing on the Saturday which would have been a good day to go. I am going to a Scything workshop up near Mudgee on the weekend before – which is why I’m going to the show. The workshop sounds like fun, alot of people going are interested in heritage farming. I’m catching a lift with a fellow from Bega, he’s bringing a grain mill to make fresh flour for pancakes and I’m supplying the bacon for breakfast when he picks me up – I think the Cook is planning on starting late that day. With a start like that it’s got to be a good weekend.

I don’t get enough time to reply to all the comments at the moment, which is unfortunate; I’d love to talk to everybody. I do check out your blogs and I’ve got them all book marked. One day I’ll get to you all – I thought with a bung foot I’d get time to do it this weekend, but the Cook just finds jobs for me I can do standing still.

I didn’t see the Duck lady at the Bee meeting – I guess she forgot again.

March 20th

Well, looks like the poor old Duck Lady didn’t forget - she was sick; we all hope you’re feeling better by now – the weather has been way to good to miss.
I took time to head up the back today and have a look at things. There is grass everywhere and water in all the dams. The wild flowers and native grass has seeded for a second time this year and I’m really happy with that.

In the main dam I found an Australian Grebe – a small Australian native duck, had built a nest. A closer inspection showed a duckling sitting in the nest with an unhatched egg. I came back later to photograph the chick, but it was riding around the dam on its mothers back, how sweet..

Not much else happening, we had a feed pick this weekend, dump run and general stuff. Ben got bitten on the finger by a piglet, swelled up really well, quite impressive. We got to see Jamies Pig show which was really good - hopefully it will show people how poorly pigs are treated in industrialised production farms. Really interested to hear that New Zealand have banned Sow Stalls, surely it can't be too long before it happens here.

Oh' yeah, and Old Nev was 70 years old the other day - Happy Birhtday!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Good one Jamie

This was on last night - I hope people get it, but I wont hold my breath. Lots happening I'll update soon - MTFO.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I love this rain

Another case of starting to write then getting side tracked, taking a detour, heading the wrong way down a one way street and finally finding I’m in the wrong postcode. As everybody knows; sometimes we take things in life for granted – things like, you never get to good drops of rain in a row, the river doesn’t flood twice in a year or washing machines. Follow so far?

Now I’ve already written one blog entry, last night, tried to upload it but the connection was playing up. So I ended thinking I’d wait until today to up load it. I should have saved it first I guess, I thought I did – and well in a way I did, but I saved it to the Cooks USB stick which she has taken of to work with her today, it’s no good to me there.

So what’s been happening down on the farm? We’ve had a little bit of rain, almost 40mm on Sunday, very pleasant. The river flooded again, which was good for the soul after all the dry we’ve suffered lately. It’s really nice to look out over the river from the house and see water flowing and to hear it at night as you nod off to sleep.

The Cook asked me on Sunday afternoon if we should move the pump, I had a look at the rain gauge and it only had about six mils of rain in it, so I said I didn’t see the need. About 11:30pm I had another look and there was 26mm in the gauge and the water was flowing rather well down the drive and in the gully behind the house, so I thought I should check the pump. When I got down to the river the water was turning brown and the flow had increased, so I decided I should move the pump – the fact the pump was in ankle deep water also had a little bearing on my decision. Unfortunately for me the Cook had stuck the foot valve in a bucket (which is the right thing to do) and the bucket and foot valve had snagged on a root in the river. This caused a little bit of swearing and some disingenuous statements being made about the pump – did I mention the Cook was sound asleep in bed whilst all this was going on. The water was awfully cold, and I managed to easily disengage the foot valve from the bucket – unfortunately the bucket was left behind. And of course the first the thing the cook asked was – “did you get my bucket?” oh dear……………

So by Monday morning the river was flowing rather well, we’d had over 38mm by then. The Cook was up early and decided that seeing I didn’t let Archer of the chain for a run the night before she would let him off for a run – the river was flooded so he couldn’t go far, town is on the other side, he won’t swim that – yeah right!!!! So the Cook is foraging around the garden, playing with her ducks, I think she was collecting snails for them. She gets so carried away she forgets about Archer. I was sitting inside having a cuppa and some home made plum jam on toast, I could hear her calling him and thought he must have gone up the back some where chasing Kangaroos.

After about half an hour I decided I should take a drive and check out what he was up to. I figured he may have tried to walk into town and make his way to the pub – so I went off in search. There was no sign of him along the river so I thought I should have a quick look in town in case he had gone across the river. It had risen about 2metres and was flowing rather well. You would think an old dog like him would not even try such a thing, but there he was soaking wet trotting towards the pub – with out his collar. He was rather perturbed to see me and resentfully jumped in the car for the ride home.

We spent Monday removing the growing hedgerows of Horehound from along the electric fence. It was so thick that it was shorting out the fence constantly. After a couple of hours work we had everything back in order. Tiberius, our 400kg boar acts like a little puppy when we do anything in his paddock and as usual he was all over us like a rash. I still get a little nervous when he’s so playful – at one point he almost pushed the Cook head first onto the fence with a great hip bump (this of course was serious and I couldn’t laugh on threat of an eventful and totally painful death), I swear I could see him smile as well.

I also managed to get the score of the year! A brand new, second hand fruit and wine press – for $100! I saw it on all classifieds and thought why not? I was going to get a new one earlier in the year but they were over $700, and that was for one half as big and no where near the quality. I’m very happy with it and plan on collecting some apples this afternoon to try it out – was going to be Monday, but I took another nap.