Sunday, 15 December 2013

Old MacDonald's Farm.... in progress.

So as usual when we update our blog, lots has been happening.  However, to avoid boring you, there are two ways to read today’s blog.  Actually, there are always two ways to read it.  You can skim the pictures and get a general picture of what we have been up to and a recent day in our lives, or you can read the boring prose.  I know which one I would do if I were you…. but then maybe you haven’t had your monthly dose of “farming life” and need to top up!

So we have been busy fitting into Geeveston life.  We have had sushi at the famous Masaaki’s (who it turns out used to live in the house we are renting), we have made friends with our neighbours and the people behind the wonderful Geeveston Roadhouse, James and Samara, we went to a charity bingo night at the local services club (which I have joined) for young Will, watched a woodchopping championship, and went to the Cygnet release of Matthew Evan’s latest book.

Sadie and I submitted the egg petition to Parliament.  The response from the politicians was all very placatory, however the draft legislation that has since been released is nothing short of nonsense.  I guess it will take a pelting of rotten eggs to wake these pencil pushers up, so stay tuned for my next blog post from prison.

On the farm front when last we spoke we had 14 Wiltshire horn sheep.  Well Matthew put us in touch with a lady who was giving away 8 Wiltshires, including a ram.  Comedy ensued getting them in the trailer, however lucky for us there was no camera crew around.  They settled in quickly and we thought we were all done on the sheep front.  Until we spoke to our neighbour.  He has been grazing his 55 sheep in our orchard for the past few years and we thought that after we took it over he would simply send them to the saleyard and keep a few as “lawnmowers”.  Instead his response was to offer them all to us!  The price?  All he wants is for us to give him a couple lambs every Christmas.  Not a bad deal, but now we have 22 Wilties, 55 mixed breed sheep, and Bob, who probably can’t believe the amount of company he has now.  Do you like how I said that?  Almost as if we didn’t spend the morning with 5 people running about the orchard like idiots trying the herd the 55 into the same paddock as the Wilties, and failing.  The job is done now (with lots of pratfalls and swearing), we will have a few of them butchered this week so we will have a fully stocked freezer come Christmas.

In a vain effort to get our grass growth under control, we also got 5 cows.  Despite our hankering for hairy Highland cows, Matthew and Sadie had 5 pregnant “lowline” Angus cows that they wanted to move on as part of their ambition to move towards a more dairy-focused herd, and that made the decision-making process easy for us.  As an added bonus they are trained to electric wire for strip grazing and they now have settled into a routine of daily morning moves to a fresh salad bar.
One of the cows flew over the fence the first night, we still don't know how...
But the new animals don’t stop there!!  We have also agreed to be the retirement site of choice for a couple of Matthew and Sadie’s old Wessex Saddleback pigs, Peter Pan and Tinkerbell.  We hope to get a litter or two from them while they spend their later years exploring and rooting up part of the old orchard.  They have already caught the imagination of both the neighbours and the local kids, as pigs are wont to do.

We also bought 5 Muscovy ducks from a friend up the highway, 4 girls and a drake.  They have settled on our dam and are coming up every morning for their grain breakfast.  To add to our little chick flock we also bought half a dozen Plymouth Rock chicks from Ross on Bruny Island, taking us up to 11 little cheepers who now running about a little fenced area at the farm.

And finally, we are now open for WWoOFers of our own!  We have joined WWoOF and are hoping to have an extra couple pairs of hands helping us out and sharing our great food as soon as we can.  Want to volunteer?  Your room is ready, step this way…
Luxury indeed!

OK, now that that is all over, here is a recent day in our life on Our Mates’ Farm.

Open up the chicken house

Walk the dog
Feed the pigs
Feed the ducks

Check on the vegetable garden
Top up the water for the cows
Hook up new electric fence
Move the ladies onto the new salad bar

Brushcut a line for sheep electric mesh

Move them in
Phew, time for a cuppa and morning tea

Some of Cor's home-baked treats
Back to work: fixing irrigation, cleaning off water shoots and thinning some apples

But we do get some time to go fishing occasionally!

Until you arrive to take possession of our guest room, stay tuned for more of the Good Life!

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