Sunday, 19 January 2014

Construction and Destruction

Well it has been a busy week on the farm.  We have settled into a bit of a pattern with the apples, it is irrigation time now and after we do some more thinning (removing surplus fruit so the remaining fruit can get big) there won’t be much to do on them until harvest in April.  The fruit we have been focused on is looking pretty good, and we think we will pick some extra throughout the orchard.

We have been using the extra time to work on a number of building projects.  The first pig shelter I built wasn’t a success, being too small for Tinks or Peter Pan, they just lay around outside it (I really did forget how big these two were), so I took some outside inspiration and knocked up a couple of “mark 2” pig shelters.  These are much bigger and will hopefully do a much better job.  The mark 1 will still be good for weaners and smaller pigs.  The new ones are in place in the new paddocks, as we just today separated them for Tinkerbell’s farrowing.
Not big enough!

New design...

Fully tractor mobile

A happy fit!

We also built a “mark 2” mineral trough for the cows, complete with lawnmower wheels for easy, one person, moving.  Following the success of this I then retrofitted the mark 1 sheep mineral trough with wheels as well.
Quite proud of this one, and the cows seem to like it too!
The other side of the week has been destruction.  One of the arms that holds the 3 point hitch on the back of the tractor (the hitch we need for using all of our implements and as a result doing things like watering our animals) broke off.  I was lucky to see it before there was any damage done to the slasher I was carrying with the tractor at the time.  I managed to scrounge a replacement to do the job while we waited for a new one.

In addition, when running our irrigation pump I noticed some water coming out of a valve, then a lot of water.  After an extensive digging operation I found the leak, a join in the PVC that must have come loose, so a clamp is required there too.
I dug a hole, and this one's filling with water.
The final element of destruction has come from the sheep.  The neighbour’s sheep that we were given had spent the last four years in the orchard ring-barking trees.  We tried to put them on a program of minerals so they wouldn’t need to do it, however they have shown no interest in the minerals (even when mixed with some of the normally-addictive-sheep-pellets) and have continued to absolutely smash the trees in any area we put them in.  The Wiltshires we bought are absolutely fine, and this has led us to the conclusion that the new mob consists of an unreformable bunch of reprobates.  We are going to have to sell them, gumtree here we come.

Yesterday was a blast from the past, going back over to Fat Pig Farm to help Matthew and Sadie prep for their upcoming series of farm picnics.  As it always seems when we visit, we came home with 10 litres of their delicious milk from their Guernsey and (new!) Fresian cows.  Cheese making time!
Matthew and Sadie's Clarissa has lovely piglets!
The coming week we are doing our day course for our firearms licences, plus Cor’s parents and uncle Robert arrive for a visit, which promises to be exciting.  Can’t wait to have them here and show them what we are doing, and spoil them with some of Tassie’s amazing produce.  The roadside stalls are now out in force, with rich cherries, juicy peaches, sweet nectarines, tart apricots, tasty tayberries, and bursting blueberries all for sale at ridiculously cheap prices.  It is an amazing time of year, we may even do a preserving session or two so stay tuned for pics.

Until next time, enjoy your good life!

This girl has eggs, so fingers crossed we get more Muscovys!

Tinks fooling around.

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