We have been continuing work on removing trees from our final fenceline, when the wind and weather permits.  Also we have collected timber from a local sawmill and have been finishing off the carport and have started on the framework for some shelves in there.

We have connected two of the permanent fence lines to the big electric fence energiser, and moved the pigs to take advantage of that.  They are enjoying having some new areas to dig up as they had pretty much decimated the old area they were in.  Erlestoke continues to be a great big sook, collapsing on the ground when you rub his belly with closed eyes and a blissful smile on his face.

The chooks have moved too and Lydia is thrilled to have finally found two Australorp pullets.  That means that she will be able to breed pure bred chicks in the future, and we were keen to try out Australorps as Lyd’s research shows them to be a good dual purpose breed.  They are certainly much larger than our Isa Browns, and all those feathers should help to keep them warm.

Last week there was a tiger quoll under the house again, only this time it was not a sweet little baby one, but a full grown fellow.  Lupo spent half the day barking and scratching the floor trying to get at it, and it retaliated by growling and hissing back.  Even when the dog was banished, the quoll would growl and hiss at us whenever we walked over the floor where it was.  I kept thinking that it would go when it was dark but the silly thing seemed to have decided to stay forever.  Eventually the whole family, complete with dog, moved up to the manor for a couple of hours.  We hoped that the critter would feel safe enough then to leave!  I am pleased to say we were successful, and peace was restored once more in time for bed.  I must say that I was glad it was gone as it was pretty scary hearing it growl at us.  Having been cut purely accidentally by the possums claws when he gently takes an apple from my hands, I can quite readily imagine how much damage a quoll’s claws could do on purpose.  They do climb the same trees.  I actually would not have minded having the quoll around for a bit, if it hadn’t caused such a fracas, as we have seen a few mice around lately, and the quoll would have been most welcome to hunt them.

Some time ago Lydia went outside to find two sugar gliders outside under a tree.  They were having a full on spat, clawing and hissing at each other before she arrived.  She called us out to see them but they had bolted up the tree, and were too far away to take photos of.

Sam has been researching cows, and we are keen on the Dexter breed as a house cow.  They are dual purpose cattle, having similar quality milk to a Jersey although not as much volume.  However they can provide enough milk for a calf as well as a family, and yet have a beefy build and so are good for meat as well.  They are also small and reputedly friendly which would make them good for inexperienced folk like us, and they are available in Tasmania too.  Since we go through 16 litres of milk a week, as well as cheese and butter, and we would like to have milk to feed the pigs too, I think we will find a cow most useful.  However, as always, we’ll have to wait until finances are sufficient and we have made the required fences, yards etc.  I am actually keen to try Sam on unprocessed milk, as I have heard that people who are allergic to “normal” milk are fine on the real thing.

Kim is busy working on the Passat this week, in hopes of getting it’s exhaust fixed so we can have it back on the road this week as we would all like to go to Launceston on Sunday.  The Audi is still going strong, although it has decided that the middle of winter is a good time for the heaters to stop working.  We are most concerned about Kim’s dad who has been very unwell recently with his cancer.  He is home now after some weeks in hospital but the prognosis is not good, he has lost about 11kg and is very weak and has been told that the cancer is spreading.


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