Thursday, 20 March 2014

Hard work and help

Sorry for the lack of updates on the blog front recently, we have had Scott and Hannah (our first ever WWoOFers) with us, and this has put a bit more pressure on us to work hard with them to really get things ticked off our to-do list.  And with their wonderful help we really smashed it in Feb!  Unfortunately we worked so hard I was always too tired to blog after work…

We are in full swing preparing for new fencing in April, and we have completely removed our back fence and cleared a number of trees from it.  There is still more tree clearing to do, but we know we can do it.  We also cleared out two blocks worth of irrigation and trellis wires and had an excavator come and pull out the apple trees.  One of the blocks will be the site of our new house and the other will be the location of some polytunnels that will allow us to grow vegetables year round.

The house site underway
All the rubbish that was stashed in the farm sheds has been sorted into recyclables and rubbish (one 6 cubic metre skip of rubbish alone!) and the place is looking a great deal tidier.

Burning scrap wood
We picked up some Indian Runner ducks from a friend in Franklin, they are supposed to be great foragers, and decent layers, so we are giving them a whirl in the orchard.  They have settled in nicely, and we hope to start getting eggs from them this winter.  Any boys will get the chop, and despite the runners being a pretty small bird, they are reputed to be pretty tasty.

Moving the Muscovies to accommodate the Indian Runners
We have also bitten the bullet on the ring-barking sheep, and found a great solution where we are able to agist them (let them eat someone else’s grass) year round on a property a few minutes away.  This means that we still have our Wiltshire girls (and ram) on our place, together with (Shish-ka)Bob.  We had a day of sorting and age-tagging all 60 sheep with the kind help of our neighbours Ross and Leanne.  After wrestling sheep in the race in 30-degree heat they probably won’t be so quick to offer to help next time I ask a favour!
Ross holds the girl while we check her teeth to age her

Leading a few of the Wilty girls into their next area
Which brings us to Bob… Due to popular demand, Bob won’t meet the butcher this autumn as we have too many guests coming to meet him and he is very much a people sheep.  But next spring he definitely goes to Disneyland.  Maybe.  I keep reminding myself there is room for sentiment on the farm, but not sentimentality.

Maintaining that tough outlook is made so much harder when you witness the miracle of a cow having a calf, as we did yesterday.  Two new animals added to our herd, we are now waiting on the other three.  Photos to come when I change the battery in the camera(!).

Black cows are hard to photograph...
So Scott and Hannah have left us to go picking apples at Calverts in Waterloo.  You should see the location of the pickers accommodation, right on the Huon.  Million dollar views for the help, amazing stuff.  I really should get some photos to show you all.  The jobs were organised by our new friends down here, and all I can say is that I have never known a community to help one another out like this one does.  It is a real privilege to be a little part of it and we do our best to return the many favours and help we receive.

On the visitor front we had a visit from Paul and Lulu from the UK.  I knew Paul when I was working at Anglo Pacific Group (in fact he was our largest shareholder and an old friend of one of my mentors, Peter Boycott) but meeting them both for a day on the farm, followed by Masaaki’s for lunch was wonderful.  Paul has had some experience with Tasmanian farming, and they manage quite the estate in the UK.  Some of the questions they asked were really perceptive.  We also had a visit by Katie, Kevy and young Madeleine.  It was a great day to show them round the farm and take them to Masaaki’s for lunch.  Are you getting a theme here?  Well, Masaaki is famous for the best sushi in Tasmania, and he just happens to be based in Geeveston, so what more could you want?
Kevy, Katie and Mads with Cor

Mads loved Princess most of all!
The next month promises more visitors and lots of work as we start picking our (few) apples.  Hopefully we will also get cracking on our polytunnel as well.

So that wraps it up.  Let us know when you are coming and we will wash the cows, brush the ducks, comb the sheep, polish the chickens, and book a table at Masaaki’s….

Cor modelling her new "pregnancy" workwear

Just a small taste of our autumn harvest