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Farm update - August 2017

Its been cold this month, and very nice to have the fire going every night.  Here's a photo of my boy in his cape, great for late night woofing at things.  Most of July we were either preparing for the butcher to come or putting meat away.  Its always a big job, but its only once a year, and its all done now.  My lovely neighbour came over to help, so it was fun to have the company and work together.  Taz was a champion once again as she helped us to move cattle in the yards ready to load for the market.  Gus is not at that level yet and had to stay home (he cries when he gets left behind, but he just gets in the way and scatters the cattle).  We have had a few sprinkles of rain here and there, but also plenty of cold nights, so the grass is mostly dead and dry, waiting for the warmer weather to revive our summer-active pasture.

Gus in his cape
Taz after she helped to move cattle

Food and cooking

It was all about beef in July and we are very happy to have the freezers loaded again with plenty of the nice cuts (we were still finishing roasts from the last animal, it was luxury to try the first t-bone!).

Two sides of beef, ready to chill
The chickens are now at full-capacity again and we are getting 12-17 eggs a day, eek!  I don't know what do to with them all as I don't have a lot of customers at work, so we are going to be eating quiche.  The dogs get a few each with their food and I think we will start hatching some.  We would most of all like to utilise the pasture improving qualities, see the green trail behind these tractors?  We want that in our paddocks!  But I need to figure out what to do with all the eggs as well!

the green trail behind a chicken tractor

Cows and cattle
The sad news, as I shared last week, was that we lost Molly unexpectedly.  We are feeding lots of hay to make sure her calf isn't missing out.  He is three months old, so he's old enough to be weaned (but we like to leave them must longer so that they get to a decent size).  I don't want to take her off my profile photo, I love that selfie we took, she was so placid.

A new angus calf appeared during the month - very difficult to photograph a black calf!

Bees and Beekeeping
The bees are pretty quiet this time of year (although they look very busy every time we drive past and Pete has checked them on a warm day).  These books arrive and I am reading the Australia Native Bee Book, it is fascinating!

Every day I am amazed by how much I can harvest from my little garden of pots (and even more amazed at what continues to grow in my old garden with no help from me!).  I am getting a great harvest of peas and tatsoi, along with plenty of herbs.

We have been focusing on the shed, because we have now moved everything out of the old house, including giving away two couches and a mattress.  Now it is just the shed to clear out and I didn't want to bring it all to the new shed and have a big mess there, so we've been trying to set up Pete's new workshop area and storage so we can put it all away as we unpack.  He's even painted the floor.  I must take you for a shed tour soon....

Chapter eight of Toby Hemenway's Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, 2nd Edition (affiliate link) is the first chapter of part three - assembling the ecological garden, so this is where all the concepts in the previous chapters start to come together.  The first chapter is about creating communities in the garden.  This is where is takes the typical monoculture garden designs and turns them into polycultures.  I think this is where I got a lot of my garden ideas (I read so much, I forget where it came from).  I don't plant anything in straight lines.  I actually don't plant much at all, I mainly scatter seeds and see what comes up.  I also get a lot of volunteers from the compost.  If things are too close, I thin them or move them around to suit.  Everything is mixed up, few things are planned, it seems to work, especially as you thin out some areas and then more seedlings come up.

Wattle flowers

I have been taking advantage of the winter weather and doing some crochet.  A new pair of crochet socks and nearly finished a lap rug.  Crochet is so quick, I love it!  I will have to do a bit of knitting now just so I don't forget how.

new socks and old socks

I've also been playing around with goat's milk soap seeing as my friend with milking goats gave me more milk.  Its fun to try a new ingredient.  I haven't had as much time to experiment as I'd like as I have also had to restock my usual soaps, I can't keep up with demand lately!

I've also been working with the lovely Lizzie Moult on plans to upgrade my soap business, so over the next few months I'll be moving this blog and setting up my own online shop.  If you have any kind of business that could benefit from improved social media or web presence, or you just want help to grow your business, Lizzie is a great coach, you should get in touch and see how she can help you.

July was a month of highs (butcher day!) and lows (Molly), but things are getting back to normal now, we don't have much time to dwell on excitement or disappointment, there is always another job to get done.

How was your July?  What are your plans for August?


  1. I hope the goats milk soap turned out well, Liz. Lots of people are a bit scared of trying it but I have never had any problems as I freeze it first. It makes a nice soap.

  2. So did you butcher the cows on your new property, or your old one? And it sounds like you're busy, clearing out the old property. Are you intending to sell it or rent it out?

    Glad to hear your soap business is doing so well. I love using your soap. Especially the one with coffee grounds. That's still my favourite, even after trying the charcoal one. :)


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