Archive for October, 2008

Spring at Milkenunny

October 25, 2008

Well it’s been a while since I have written a newsy email so I guess you’ll be wondering what the Howe menagerie have been up to for the last month or so.

Firstly we had decided to put 2 permanent dividers in our little one acre paddock, so we had to go through the whole clearing, running a line, cutting up posts, digging them in, attaching insulators, running wire and so on.  I could just say we put in fence divisions but it makes the process sound much too quick!  Anyway when we ran the wires on the first dividing fence we managed to mess up in most every way possible.  I’m not sure what we did with our brains on that day, but they sure weren’t working at their best.  Firstly the person running the top wire managed to drop it half way along and unknown to them it got hooked under the wire below so when it was finished and we stood up to admire it we had a lovely cross in the middle of the fence.  Then when we sorted that out we discovered that we had hooked one of the wires around the outside of our strainer post wire so when it was tensioned up it very effectively shorted the fence out.  Sigh.  We fixed that only to discover that the fence was still shorting out.  On examination we found that we had incorrectly attached two end insulators.  To explain for those not “in the know”, an electric fence insulator has two holes for wire to go through, so that the wires are kept apart.  The wire that attaches the insulator to the fence goes through one hole, and the live electric wire goes through the other hole.  They are definitely not meant to go through the same hole.  Finally, finally we got the job done and were all very relieved to find that it worked!  The second division caused no such problems, thankfully.

So the paddock is now divided into 3 parts.  Our original 3 pigs are in the middle section.  They have adopted my greenhouse dome as a shelter and remain as friendly as always.  They disappear in the scrub and have a ball in there.

Sweetie finally got out of her small area and is currently enjoying wandering through one end of the paddock which she has mostly to herself, with a couple of exceptions.

In the small section of about 330sqm that Sweetie has now vacated, and which she very thoroughly ploughed up for us, we have been planting potatoes, sunflowers, swedes and other assorted seedlings that I wanted to remove from my greenhouse and had no room for anywhere else.  I must say that while the pigs do a great job of ploughing I have yet to work out how to get them to level it when they are done.  So we had the fun of doing the leveling by hand, as well as digging the trenches and all.

 If only we could put a pig on a leash and get them to dig along a line drawn on the ground.  Ah well.

We’re looking forward to seeing things grow.

Another little piece has been cut out of Sweeties paddock for 3 piglets.  Yes, more pigs!  Caleb is thrilled.  These 3 are Berkshires, another rare breed.  They are all boys and only one will be kept for breeding.

The decision on who to keep has not yet been made.  My favourite does not have the classic Berkshire markings, but he is the sweetest.

The other end of the paddock is set apart for the chook domes and vege gardens.  Definitely no pigs allowed!

The gardens have started to get a bit more vigorous recently with the warmer weather, but just this Wednesday we had a frost which knocked off the tomato seedlings I had put out, as well as affecting the early potatoes and some of our sunflowers.  I thought that I had protected them all well enough but I was wrong, this frost stuff is very wierd.  I have since replaced the tomatoes and have put out my corn too so I feel like I am living life dangerously now.  You never know when you are going to get a frost over here – living life on the edge.  🙂

The chicks that Lyd incubated are down in the gardens now and are continuing to grow at a rate, although they still cheep rather than cluck.  Our guess so far is that 6 or 7 of them will be roosters, with only 2 or 3 hens.  They are all good big birds so I guess they should make good eating, though we were hoping for a few more hens in the mix.  Still, we like eating chicken too.  It’s just the killing, plucking and dressing part that is a bit of a drawback – although we are getting more experienced at that since a few people have given us some roosters for eating purposes.  At least Lydia’s favourite chick, affectionately known as Bruiser, looks like being a hen.

Speaking of chooks, Marigold who is one of Lydia’s little bantams, went broody a few weeks back and we put some of our own eggs under her and gave her her very own mini dome to sit in.  Just today she hatched out 3 adorable little chicks.  Two purebred Barnevelders and 1 cross bred Australorp.  She has 3 more eggs but if they have not hatched by tomorrow I doubt that they will.  Broody hens seems a lot more fun than incubators to me.

Now two of Lyd’s other hens have gone broody and we set some eggs under them today.  They peek out from under the curtains at us which is kind of funny.  We’ll see what happens this time!  Maybe soon there will be even more cheeping of little chicks.

And talking of broody poultry, our turkeys have gone broody.  Of course when I made the double nesting box for the turkeys I only expected the hens to go broody.  However the gobbler had ideas of his own and so he sits on one nest while Beauty, the brown hen, is on the nest next door.  Personally I blame the white hen.  She went broody first on a nest of her own making out in the bush.  We tried to move her into the nesting box at night, along with all her eggs, but she promptly refused to sit any longer after that.  This meant that we had a nest with eggs and no hen so the gobbler decided to take up the sitting duties himself.

I think he may well have ruined all the eggs since he was up and down quite a bit at first, and couldn’t decide which nest he liked best.  All the turkeys have been somewhat unreliable, and I will be surprised if we get any poults out of them.  In retrospect I should have removed most of the eggs as they were laid and only put them back when the girls were sitting properly, but we live and learn and I figure that we’ll let them try and see what happens.  The white hen began to sit again in her outside nest so we rigged up a fence around her this time and let her be.  Time will tell if any of this was worth the effort.  I guess if nothing else we can chalk it up to experience.

Both lakes that I sent pictures of before are completely dry now.  All that is left is a few tadpoles that we caught for Josiah to watch grow.  We could really do with more rain, we’ve had very little this month, well below drought levels.  We’ve been praying for more!

Just to ensure we don’t get bored we picked up another project recently in the form of a slow combustion stove.  It needs some restoration but will be great if we can get it going, especially in winter.  Kim hopes to get the hot water working from it sometime too.

The next project is to fence the 4 acres in front of our little paddock.  Then we can maybe get a house cow!   Sam is keen on that idea as he wants an animal to be responsible for too.  So if anyone feels like cutting down trees, digging holes, nailing in insulators…..

The wildlife continues to abound around here, although I feel like I’ve been too busy to enjoy it as much this year.  However I found the time to go out with the camera the other day and saw this little robin having a feast!

Kim has been not very healthy since he came back from Perth.  He’s even had some signs of the dreaded CFS again, although not too bad yet.  He is also suffering with back and ankle pain, but so far refuses to go to the doctors about it.  If I’m going to discuss health then I should report that Sam still gets bouts of nausea, Caleb suffers from stomach ailments off and on and I still get my occasional migraines.  Lydia, who usually has no problems at all, has been up and down to Devonport with toothache.  A filling did not fix the tooth and they were talking about a root canal but Lyd has decided that they should just take the tooth out instead.  It is still a work in progress at the moment.  Even Josiah has had a woozy stomach a couple of times, although I wonder if it is just that he felt left out.  However, apart from that we are all just fine.  🙂

We’ve had all the cars playing up again lately.  Truly I wish we didn’t need them.  Lydia’s idea of a horse and cart sounds very enticing at times.  Thankfully Kim manages to keep us getting out and about when we need to so we can’t complain.  He is a most useful fellow that Kim.

Caleb spent a week in Perth recently for his friend Judson’s wedding.  He was trilled to be able to catch up with friends and spent a very busy few days socialising.  Sam’s friend Mitchell (Judson’s brother in fact) was recently over in Tassie on a school tour.  They managed to catch up together while the school was doing some touristy visits nearby and I believe that they talked constantly the whole time!

Quotes

October 20, 2008
As the governments of the world fall over themselves to save the failing economy by printing money, here are just a few quotes to ponder:   

“Paper money has had the effect in your state that it will ever have, to ruin commerce, oppress the honest, and open the door to every species of fraud and injustice.” – George Washington in 1787 to a Rhode Island legislator. 

“I sincerely believe … that the banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies, and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity under the name of funding is but swindling futurity on a large scale.” – Thomas Jefferson, 1816 
  

“Whoever controls the volume of money in any country is absolute master of all industry and commerce.” – James Garfield 

“With the exception only of the period of the gold standard, practically all governments of history have used their exclusive power to issue money to defraud and plunder the people.” – Friedrich A. Hayek, Austrian economist, author and 1974 Nobel Prize-winner for economics.

And then some words from the man on whose principles our current economic system is unfortunately based.  

“Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the capitalistic system was to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. …  Lenin was certainly right. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million can diagnose.” – John Maynard Keynes 

“The long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead.” – John Maynard Keynes

Comfort to us all I am sure???

Well, for myself I am glad that the world is in the hands of the one who looks down from heaven and laughs at the vain plots of men. (Psalm 2)