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

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Firstly – Happy Birthday Dad! St Patricks Day again.
Things are slowing down in the garden, I think we are getting the last of the zucchinis’, the cucumbers are slowing down and the strawberries are just a trickle. Can’t wait until our pumpkins ripen – from the one vine we’ve got almost a dozen large pumpkins!

I helped run the NSF booth at the Cooma show, we met a lot of nice people including Tristan and Jessica, they were great because they read the blog – see it really was me!
NSF Booth Cooma Show 2011

Anyway, they are taking over a property to the south west of Cooma and are keen to do things right, including using biodynamically. Hopefully our group will be able to help them out. Unfortunately it rained a bit at the show which kept the numbers down, it was also obvious that old heads aren’t as interested in NSF as all the visitors to our booth were either new land owners or hobby farmers.

Lamb after Cooking
We had a large group of people around on Canberra Day for a sort of open farm for friends. One of the pigs obliged by having piglets the day before, and the rain held off until everybody had left. We didn’t cook a pig this time we had a lamb, and keeping up the tradition managed to set it alight as well. But, having learnt at least one thing from last time we didn’t have it under a tree. The fire was quickly and calmly managed, I didn’t even know it had happened having been dragged off by the kids to see the piglets. I came back around the house to here somebody say (whom was linked to the last fire) ‘Help me scrape the burnt bits off before he gets back’.
The lamb was delicious, the cake table was superb, the company was great and the afternoon turned out to be very pleasant and enjoyable. We were so impressed at the generosity of everybody, we had so many salads and deserts, homemade rolls and bread it was truly astonishing.

Lamb after eating
Mrs D was in attendance and she brought with her a new Drake for our Khaki Campbell girls – it was love at first sight and I don’t think the girls have let him out of there sight since. She also bought the most magnificent mint jelly made by one of her neighbours – it was just perfect and made the lamb taste even better, hot and cold. Luckily she left it behind, I’ll return the jar for a refill later (the Cook would like the recipe hint hint).

We had a couple of set backs this week as well. Our pump got submerged for the umpteenth time after the creek rose suddenly on Friday. We had about 65mm on Thursday night/Friday morning, I left early Friday and the Cook didn’t notice the river – it probably hadn’t changed much at the time – by the time we got home it was well and truly up and the pump was bobbing around at the end of the pipe under six foot of water. I cleaned it up, but didn’t manage to get all the water out; sadly now she has had to go off to the Honda shop for a rebuild this time (yes because I tried to start it – it blow smoke for a second and seized, crap!). No showers for a week kids! The amount of rain we have had this year is unbelievable – nearly 200mm just this month alone.

Our feed supply man Greg, has come down with a sudden and very serious illness – I hope he gets well, and the Cook and I wish him all the best. Unfortunately we can’t get our feed that cheap or as good a quality anywhere else, so I’m off to Griffith this weekend to pick it up, that’s about 350km away to the west. It’s still cheaper then getting it here, and if I get a double order cuts down on the extra cost as well.

We’ve sold so many pigs this year. I’ve lost count of how many have gone, and last week we received an order for 20 over the next 4 weeks. So as well as driving to Griffith I’ve got four trips to Sydney in the next couple of months. On a rough count, we’ve gone from nearly 100 pigs to about fifteen or less by the time these leave. We plan on getting back to just our 5 foundation sows, their piglets, Little Pig, Floppsy and Fatso and the two boars. Specially now our feed man is out of action.

We have a couple of regular customers Ivan and Zvenda (sp), they have ordered another two weaners and are taking our oldest barrow to make into sausages/salami’s for us – half each. They are lovely people and ply the Cook with home made wine for a reduction on prices. They bought over a lovely shiraz the other day which we shared at the open day – I don’t drink, but was told it was very good.

Our Solar power station goes in a month which is very exciting. I’m waiting for the design drawings to come so I can get the holes and trenches dug – another job to do.

We’ve almost finished the first stage of new fencing for the Permaculture project and, probably not this weekend but the next, will have that finished. The small bull is back and the other bull and our cow are somewhere down the creek just waiting for it to be finished. I’ll get it slashed next week so that it’ll have fresh growth in time for winter.

So we are looking forward to apple picking and acorn collecting over the next few weeks as well – they say there’s time to sleep when your dead.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The seasons change

So much has been happening over the past couple of weeks, lets see if I can remember.

We had our field day with the Permaculturalists and the NSF the other week; it went really well with lots of good feed back, more about this later.
The Cooks Pumkin Vine
The Cook has been cooking. I saw over on Mrs Ducks blog that’s she’s been doing the same. My cook, beloved that she is, has made up a big batch of the best plum jam, bottles of spaghetti sauce and many, many cakes covered in wild black berries or choking with fresh rhubarb and zucchini. This woman is amazing she can turn a beaten up cucumber, an egg and two radishes into a meal fit for a King (or me – which ever).   Her garden is going wild at the moment with fresh garden vegetables a hilight of every meal,  hopefully Autumn will be kind to us.

The Cooks favourite
We had a visit from the Cook’s townie sister as well. She didn’t like Ricky the rooster and his 2:30am crowing. The first night she tried to sleep through it, the second night she tried to evict him off the veranda with her foot and the third night – she got out of bed, picked up the rooster and toddled off with him down to the vegie patch. She dumped him in the tomatoes and stomped back to bed. About two minutes later, after thinking about what she had done, she realised that if a fox took Ricky the boys would never speak to her again. So off she toddled back down to the vegie patch, curlers in her hair face cream on, and spent the next few minutes looking for the rooster (she said he was lost – I’m pretty sure he was hiding). When she found him, she tucked him under her arm and carried him back to the house (I didn’t tell her he had caught lice). She placed him back on the railing where he perches and went back to bed – if only Ricky could speak, I’d love to ask him what he thought of it all.

Harry helping fence

We’ve been doing a bit of fencing- as usual. The Cook and the kids have been helping out as well. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve extended the garden out the front and started on the fence along the river. By the weekend we should be able to keep the neighbours cows out and our in. Once that’s finished, we’ll slash the front paddock, graze it over winter and then have the pigs plough it during the first rain and plant some feed crops out there for the next winter.

We had a visit form Lisa the Saddle Back pig. She was dropped off to be covered by our boar Tiberius. I have never seen a pig dig so much in my life. Our pigs have never turned the ground like this one. It was like the difference between a 100hp John Deere and a 15hp Kubota lawn tractor. Might have to invite his pigs over when I want to dig up my front paddock. The other thing she did was tip over the water trough – everyday! There wasn’t a single day were I didn’t have to jump in with them and turn the trough back over. In exchange for services we did receive a bag of very nice Biodynamic apples and a bag of Biodynamic Garlic – the Cook was very pleased.

Tiberius sitting and Lisa Laying down - water trough tipped over.

There’s been some big snakes about lately as well, and for the first time I‘ve encountered a rather large Tiger Snake. The tally for this year around the house has been seven brown and the tiger.

Lucerne Paddock - the little pigs love this.