Skip to main content

Farm update - May 2014

As I said in my garden update, we have had a bit of rain lately, mostly at the end of March, with a top up in mid-April.  Everything is green again, until the first frost of winter... which might be coming soon, it looks like the LONGEST summer is finally coming to an end and its time to start the woodstove and find the winter woolies!  I can't say I'm disappointed, the heat has been really getting to me.

Cheryl wet from the rain and giving me a serious look
The drain from our driveway flowing in the rain
First woodstove fire for the season
Even though last month I said that we sold the braford cows, I was a little premature.  We were EXPECTING to sell them in the first week of April, but we had another heat wave forecast for the weekend we needed to round them up and it seemed cruel to leave them standing in the yards in 35degC heat.  We decided to leave it to the next sale, two weeks later.  We successfully rounded up all the cows into the yards, drafted out the skinny one (that has been returned to us from the sale once before, lesson learnt!), pushed them all through the race and removed their insecticidal ear tags, all the while it was drizzling lightly.  As we left them locked up and ready to go, it started to pour, and the stock agent called us the next day to say that the sale was cancelled!  So two weeks later, we tried to round up the cows again, but three of them were on to us and refused to come into the yards.  The rest of them went to the sale last week and are sold, we now we have three + the skinny one.  Phew!  I will write more about keeping cows vs fattening steers (this is what I wrote when we first got the cows), but for now, I will say that we didn't factor in the difficultly in selling cows when conditions go bad (like a drought) and everyone else needs to sell too, and then you just have to choose selling at the loss or paying to feed them.  It helps if you don't have too many animals too.  We are going to let the grass grow back and decide what to do next....

The home cattle are enjoying finally having some green grass to eat.  We have been using electric fences to section off areas so that other parts can grow back.

Here is Benny, he was our little paralysis tick calf from two years ago,
he had made a full recovery
And here's Ruby, Molly's calf from March this year, born red and now turning black,
laying down in her mother's hay ration
The chickens seem to have finished moulting and now they are just looking nicely feathered and not laying eggs.  A few of them insist on laying where we store the cow's hay, usually low enough to the ground that Cheryl can help herself.  I suspect that she encourages them.

Taz is now almost 7 months old.  She is still full of energy and enthusiasm.  She's getting less scared of all the loud noises that Pete makes and is far more adventurous.  She now enjoys car rides and barking madly at the whipper snipper (learnt from Cheryl).  She has learnt to sit, lie down, come, stay, and go to her box.  She rounds up the two jersey cows at any opportunity and they do not like it!

playing tug-of-war
garden harvest - see the garden update
We did more work on the house over Easter - big update post to come...
I've been practising a nice lacy knit to make a shawl from some alpaca wool
I bought at the Nanango show - I need to wind it into balls first though
Winners of the Grass Roots Magazine draw:
I used a random number generator to pick out Ricki Hanisch and "Wind Rush", please email me on eight.acres.liz AT to arrange delivery :) thanks so much everyone for commenting, its given me lots of great ideas to write about.

A few "new" (to me) and interesting blogs that I "discovered" last month:
Solar Rain Bucket
Making Shift
Ridgetop Ramblings

one more of Taz because she's so cute

How was your April?  What do you have planned for May?


  1. Glad to see your farm going well!!

  2. Getting chilly down this way too but we don't have a nice fire like yours.

  3. I had the last fire ( I hope) last night and it is nearly time to plant warm weather vegetables. Glad that you guys got some rain. The cattle look good. I finally had to give my hens a large fenced area to keep them from laying eggs everywhere, they were feeding all the scavengers in the area with eggs and chicken.

    1. Hi Gil, yes, its lovely to have them free-range, as long as you get the eggs right!

  4. I love Taz's "smile" with the teeth in the last shot.

    1. haha, yes I know, its a toothy smile!

  5. Thanks for mentioning my blog! I love reading about what's going on over in your southern side of the planet. While you're having your first fire of the season, we just had our last. Reminds us how circular and cyclical it is to live on this ball we call Earth.
    Taz is adorable and that garden basket looks beautiful. Here's a hope for lots of grass regrowth for the home cows :)

    1. yeah same, its great to see you going into spring and see what you're doing over there :) I learn so much from other places and climates, I never expected that!


Post a Comment

Thanks, I appreciate all your comments, suggestions and questions, but I don't always get time to reply right away. If you need me to reply personally to a question, please leave your email address in the comment or in your profile, or email me directly on eight.acres.liz at

Popular posts from this blog

How to make coconut yoghurt

Lately I have been cutting back on eating dairy.  I know, I know, we own two house cows!  But I am trying to heal inflammation (bad skin) and dairy is one of the possible triggers, so as a last resort and after much resistance, I decided I had better try to cut back.  Its been hard because I eat a LOT of cheese, and cook with butter, and love to eat yoghurt (and have written extensively about making yoghurt).  I had to just give up cheese completely, switch to macadamia oil and the only yoghurt alternative was coconut yoghurt.  I tried it and I like it, but only a spoonful on some fruit here and there because it is expensive!

The brand I can get here is $3 for 200 mL containers.  I was making yoghurt from powdered milk for about 50c/L.  So I was thinking there must be a way to make coconut yoghurt, but I didn't feel like mucking around and wasting heaps of coconut milk trying to get it right....  and then Biome Eco Store sent me a Mad Millie Coconut Yoghurt Kit to try.  The kit is…

What to do with eight acres

Behind the scenes of my blog I can see the search terms that led people to find my blog.  It can be quite interesting to look through them occasionally and see what people are looking for.  Most of them involve chicken tractors, but another question that comes up regularly is “what can you do with eight acres?” or “how much land is eight acres?”.  Today I will try to answer this question.

Of course it is a very broad question, there are lots and lots of things you can do with eight acres, but I’m going to assume that you want to live there, feed your family and maybe make a little extra money.  I make that assumption because that’s what I know about, if you want to do something else with your eight acres, you will need to look somewhere else.

If you haven’t chosen your land yet, here a few things to look for.  Focus on the things you can’t change and try to choose the best property you can find in your price range.  Look for clean water in dams, bores or wells, either on the property …

We don't have any cling wrap either

Last week I wrote about how we don't have a microwave and I really don't miss it.  So continuing the theme of "weird things about my kitchen", we also don't have any plastic cling wrap or paper towels.  And we haven't had them for so long I can hardly remember why we ever needed them.

I always thought that cling wrap was wasteful.  Not just from an environmental perspective, but I also didn't like spending money on something that I only used once.  When I was at uni and took sandwiches for lunch, I used to bring home the cling wrap and use it again until it didn't stick anymore.  One year when we did Plastic Free July (I can't remember when exactly - here's what I wrote last year) we decided to stop using cling wrap.  I used up the last of it recently when we were painting (its really hard to renovate without creating waste) - its handy for wrapping up paintbrushes and sealing paint temporarily, however I do not use it in the kitchen.

The pape…