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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.

  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!


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