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Farm update - May 2013

This big news for April was the birth of Molly's little calf, Monty (although Pete has nick-named him "caramel caviar" because of the way he races around the paddock).  We have been up very early and spending a lot of time establishing our milking routine, and our cheese-making routine!  What to do with 10L of milk a day??  I've been making feta and romano, both are quick cheeses that I can make after work.  We really need Monty to start taking his share, we are still up at 5:30am to milk until he takes enough to cut back to once a day milking.

Monty isn't drinking enough yet!
making lots of cheese
We have had the woodstove on a few nights, on and off, but its not cold every night yet.  We have had a few days of rain each week.  Its a nice start to winter, which is usually our driest season.  We have been bringing home ute-loads of old wood from Cheslyn Rise and it burns really well, must have been on the ground for years.

The guinea fowl are getting bigger, but I still can't tell which are females/males, I've been trying to watch which ones make which noises, but its very hard as they just walk up and down in their cage in a big bunch.  We culled our old hens and one old rooster to cut down on feed over winter.  We didn't gut them, just cut of breast meat for mince, legs for casserole and wings and feet for stock.  I made some very nice meatballs with the mince, so it was worth the effort.  The 33 chicks are getting bigger and really going through the food, they are outside in a big chicken tractor now, so they can eat more grass, instead of using up all our grain!
guinea fowl are nearly full-grown
At Cheslyn Rise our sorghum finally grew, see how tall it is, you can get lost in it, its over our heads!  We split it up using electric fencing so that the brafords could eat a little at a time and no just push it over.  At one stage they broke the fence when the battery went flat and got lost in the sorghum, they actually seemed quite relieved when we chased them out again, I don't think they liked it in there either.  We also set up a back-rub over the gateway, so they have to go under it and get some anti-fly oil on themselves.  At first some of the cows did little shimmies and bent their back legs so they wouldn't touch it, but it seems like they've got used to it now.

the sorghum is taller than us
the cattle are wary of the backrubs

Poor little Donald has been in the separate paddock to the others so he can't fight the neighbour's bull.  He has been spending his days pushing over termite mounds instead.  My little bull-dozer....

And we've booked the butcher for Frank(furter) for July.  It will be a relief not to have such a huge horned beast running towards us when we go out to feed them.  We are now trying to eat the rest of the meat in the freezer in time.  I also tried to find an organic sausage mix to use and have been sent a couple of samples to try, so I'll be able to tell you if they're any good.

the bull-dozer
In the garden, I've had a big tidy-up and pulled out lots of things.  Its not that I need the garden to be tidy, but its good to make sure that anything that's shading the garden is removed at this time of year to let in more light, also I like to know what's actually growing and that everything I do want has plenty of space.  I've started carrots, onions, turnips, swedes, broad beans and peas already.  Also lots of asian greens are popping up everywhere.  I'm still harvesting tomatoes, had a lovely big black russian the other day.  My rosellas haven't produced much, but my friend gave me another massive bag of them, so I peeled them and dried some, froze some and fermented some.  Yum!

so many rosellas to peel!
Chime is much better following her surgery, she must have been feeling unwell before it, as she is a new dog now, following us around and "helping" with everything.  

Cheryl enjoying a cucumber
And finally, here's a blog I found this month that you might like -

How was your April?  What are your plans for May? 


  1. It sounds like you're in a good rhythm. To my urban ears it all sounds so idyllic, but I bet it's a lot more work than I imagine. You've just reminded me to pull out the old dead plants from my garden to give others a chance of sunlight.
    That cheese looks divine. Enjoy it!

  2. It is always interesting reading your blog lead a varied me it's ideal.....but I think a lot harder than it Monty he is sooo cute....the cheese making looks great....

  3. This is my first time to your blog and wow your living our dream! For now we're on a suburban blog trying to be self sustainable! You have a new reader :D

    1. I was just about to say that you are living our dream too. Lucky girl, though i know you work hard.

  4. Gosh you have been busy Liz! Wish I lived closer and I'd be knocking on your door to buy some of your meat! Thank you for the mention. Much love to you x

  5. Can you let me know how you get on with the organic sausage meal - I've been trying to find something for our pork sausages - no luck so far. For our home made beef sausages, I just use rolled oats, salt and herbs. I can let you know my recipe if you're interested - they aren't too bad!!! For the pork ones we need a proper one, not a home made mix - as they are for sale.

    1. I'd love to try your recipe Lucy! I'll let you know how the organic mix goes, it was difficult to find a supplier, I emailed lots of contacts on the BFA website until someone replied.

  6. Your new calf does look lovely,I only said yesterday to a friend that I would love to make my own cheese. Not much luck as I only have chickens!!!You give us such a lovely insight to what must be very difficult at times

  7. You've been doing heaps as usual! We could never work out the boys and girls with our guinea fowl either. We only knew when they sat on their eggs (down the paddock or in the raspberries!) they are funny birds! You are very resourceful people. Well done!

  8. My April has meant welcomed cooler days, the brassicas thriving and thistle weeding. May will include inspecting a Dexter cow for possible purchase, the finalisation of Fortress Wallaby - my new vegetable patch fence and the collection of manure, cardboard boxes and other OM for the prep of beds.

    So glad to hear of your cheese making, something I will do with my Dexter lass's milk.Do you post on your cheese making?

    Monty is adorable.

    1. Hi Louise, how exciting, Dexters are lovely! I hope you saw my cheese-making post from a few days ago.

  9. Your cheese looks great!
    Does it last long? Have you made a blog post with the recipe?
    Lovely calf ;-)

    1. Hi Marie, the vacuum packed or waxed cheese lasts for months in the fridge (improves with age), I haven't blogged the exact recipe, but there are plenty out there to try, also Gavin has published an excellent ebook on cheese making.

  10. thanks everyone, yes it is hard work, but the rewards are numerous :)


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