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Farm update - April 2013

I'm not sure where to start!  I usually start with the weather, its been quite normal this month, a bit of rain, a few hot days, a few cold evenings.  Autumn is here, and we are getting a bit of everything.

We hatched 33 chicks, way more than we expected, so now we are shuffling them between cages as they grow so fast!
baby chicks
We have been training Molly to eat her grain ration in the milking bales.  We now have an afternoon queue as Bella goes first, followed by Molly.  And Donald even tries to join in sometimes!  Poor little Romeo had "3 day sickness" for a few days.  This is when cattle get man flu and just lie down for a few days.  This is not good for them, as their legs aren't made for a huge weight to lie of them for days, but as Romeo is only (relatively) small, he was fine.  Only problem was he didn't feel like milk, even though Bella parked herself next to him, so we had to take extra and I made some more cheese.

Bella eating her grain in the bales, helped by Donald, who can't quite reach
this is very pregnant Molly

and very huge Romeo after he recovered from "3 day"
I've been picking lots of beans and tromboncinos and basil.  And waiting for things to finish, so I can pull them out and start my winter garden, the tomatoes are looking better than ever, although its all leaves and not much fruit!  A friend gave me some rosellas, so I dried them for tea and made a fermented drink.  I left it on the bench in Grolsch bottles as we had no room in the fridge, and then I noticed the seals bulging, so I asked Pete to open one, and we covered most of the kitchen in stick rosella drink, the rest were opened outside and we managed to recover most of it into a softdrink bottle, it was quite nice, and now I know how to add more fizz!

Rosella fermented drink
We have finally been able to feed off the forage sorghum that we planted in November.  Throughout the dry period we were worried that it hadn't grown enough and the cattle would get prussic acid poisoning.  After we had the 500 mm of rain through late January/ February, now it is taller than me, so its definitely ok to feed.  We would like to make hay, but its been too damp, so we decided to just start feeding it to the cattle. We are using electric fencing to strip graze it so they don't just trample the whole lot.

strip grazing the forage sorghum
And poor miss Chime had to go to the vet to have a couple of lumps removed from her teats.  She even had to stay overnight and was not happy with us when we came to get her.  She also does not like the cone, but otherwise she won't stop licking her wounds.  Stitches come out on Tuesday, should be an interested trip to the vet!  Cheryl has been most unsympathetic, especially as Chime finds it difficult to eat her morning bone with cone one and Chez keeps stealing it!

In March I wrote about the permaculture principle "obtain a yield" and I had a copy of Frugavore to give away.  I have lots of great comments and discussion on this principle.  The winner was Cheryle.  Congratulations, please email me on eight.acres.liz at to arrange to receive your book.

How was your March?  Any plans for April?


  1. Great Post. Gosh your place looks so beautiful. I was raised on a farm but obviously didnt take in too much as a child. It was all fun fun fun. The complexity of keeping livestock is boggling.

  2. Hi Liz. We have had lots of cattle with 3 day sickness here too. All that wet weather and mosquitoes I guess. We do lose the occasional animal with it ,but like you say ,it is a little like 'man flu' and after 3 days they are up about again.
    Are you still milking your cow? We start milking our goat again in May after she kids.Have missed home grown milk so much!

    1. yes we are milking Bella, and will dry her up in 3 months (3 months before her due date) and we are now milking Molly as well. We tried to time them to be 6 months apart so we could milk all year, we missed it too much when Bella was dry last time!


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