Archive for February, 2009

Caravan in part

February 26, 2009

Today the caravan arrived. Hopefully the annexe will come across next week. We were screwing tin sheets on the open side of the annexe and bracing it up preparatory for transport this afternoon and hauled home a heap of cement blocks to sit it on when it gets here, despite numerous mechanical problems with our ute and generator etc.
Still it is actually here, and we are very excited to have it. It is quite big as you can see.



February Flying By

February 20, 2009

I am pleased to say that I have weaned our turkey poults from living at the house into living with the other turkeys.   It took a bit of doing but it was worth it.  We started by getting them all to roost together in the evening.  We moved the turkey house into a position away from the gardens which was a fun manoeuvre.  It is a fairly heavy structure so in the end we hoisted it onto the back of the ute and the boys walked along behind keeping it balanced.


For a while our household poults would follow us back to the house each morning while the others would take off by themselves but they have pretty much formed into one big flock now and hang out together most of the time. They are all really growing up.


They continue to invade my gardens during the day but Josiah herds them all up to their house each evening and locks them in safely away from quolls and devils.


One poult recently vanished for a day and a night.  We were sure that it had been taken by a quoll and had given up hope of finding it but it surprised us by turning up at our house the next morning.  The poor thing had some cuts and scratches on his head but after some medical treatment inside we were able to return him to the flock where he is getting along just fine now.  We are contemplating calling him Lazarus.


We have spent quite a bit of time lately preparing for the arrival of the caravan and annexe.  In fact we wasted some time by working on widening and changing the route of the driveway before deciding that we could totally avoid the worst part of the high tension powerlines by just driving through the lake area.  It is dry and hard there at this time of year and so will be a much better option.  We still had work to do to make it viable but it was much more achievable.  Then we turned our minds to where the caravan would go and began to clear up an area between the greenhouse and our home.  However on taking a more in depth look into it we determined that before putting anything there we really should remove about 6 large and difficult trees first.  That was a blow because it would have been a huge job, probably taking us about a month to complete.  However on thinking it over we decided that a better position for the van would be on the far side of the greenhouse instead.  That only required the removal of 3 easy trees and the moving of our accumulated stacks of tin and timber.  A much better idea.  Of course it would have saved a lot of time and effort if we had had these ideas in the first place but such is life.  Anyway the end result is that the area is prepared and the path to it looks passable as of yesterday.  Next job is to get out to the van to brace up the annexe and get it moved.  Hopefully that will happen soon.


You know of course that we have a cow and calf now.  We saw her advertised in the Country newspaper recently.  The kids were so keen on getting a cow that they pooled their money with some of mine and we decided we could just manage to afford her.  Then we had to drive out to Wynyard to have a look.  She was in a paddock with a whole bunch of other cattle of various sorts, but a Dexter was what Sam wanted and he was pleased with the look of her.  The people were kind enough to offer to deliver her for some fuel money, although I think they may have regretted it by the time they made it through the Gog Range in their old 1966 Bedford truck.  Then we had to find a good spot to get her out, requiring us to dig holes for the back wheels of the truck to drop it down a bit lower.  It was all good fun and we invited our new mates to have some lunch with us.  They were fun to talk to.  The elderly lady (82 though she didn’t look it) has always had cows.  She started milking 7 cows when she was young and worked up to milking 35, all by hand.  She would make butter and sell it in town.  She said she could milk out a cow in 7 minutes.  I think it may take us a little longer!


The cow has been christened Isabelle but the calf has still to receive a name.  Isn’t he cute?


We have yet to build the milking stanchion as the caravan preparation has taken priority.  However Sam is now able to pat her head and shoulder when he feeds her now.  She will put up with a lot for carrots and grain.


Speaking of carrots Caleb bought us $10 worth of waste carrots today, which was half a tonne!  We spent more money in fuel collecting them.  They are pretty good quality actually.


And while on the subject of animal feed, check out what I found when I went to the wheat bin yesterday morning.  I was not impressed.  The poor thing was too scared to move and stayed there until sunset when it promptly fled.


Another job we did recently was to remove all our storage boxes from the shed, sort and repack them and put them into a different shed.  It took a while but it freed up our best shed which Kim has now turned into his workshop.  He is thrilled to have a decent area to work on things and he has plans to build in a workbench.


We also cleared an area next to this shed and have made it the place to store all our accumulated stuff such as tin sheets, timber, poly pipe, fridges, cement mixer etc etc.  It is good to have all these things close to Kim’s new work area and as an added bonus they are out of view of the house now.


In other tasks we have connected our electric fence generator up to our neighbour’s electric fence line.  Russell has a single wire running around the base of his fence to keep the wildlife out of his paddocks.  By using our generator we will now be able to section off other areas of the block with electric fencing simply by connecting up to Russell’s wire.

We suffered more quoll attacks on our chooks when the earth wire on the electric fence came adrift.  As a result we have done further fortifying of our domes.  While the quoll did not get into the domes it managed to kill some hens who stuck their heads out through the wire, and so we have now attached some small gauge mesh around the base of the domes so the hens can’t get their heads through.

We had a bit of a heat wave here the other week with most days about 30 degrees and warm nights too.  Even the turkeys thought it was too hot and they fairly drooped.  So did we!!!  It was nice to drink our home made ginger beer during those hot days, but we were all very relieved when it cooled down again.


In the gardens we have been harvesting potatoes, peas and spelt and are now starting to get some tomatoes too.  The corn is coming along nicely but I am not sure if it will make it or if we will get an early frost.  Time will tell.

Kim has been jumping through all of the various hoops required for him to get a gun license.  He recently did a training course one Saturday in Launceston and has received his notification that he passed.  Now he has to wait for the paperwork to come through before he can organise his photo gun license, then he has to wait another few weeks before he can buy a gun after which there is another 4 week wait before he is allowed to pick it up.  We are keen to have a rifle just in case any stock should get hurt and need dispatching.  On the topic of stock getting hurt our little pig who broke his leg is doing fine.  He still walks with a limp but does put weight on his leg.  He lost quite a bit of condition during the healing process but we hope he will start to put weight on again now that he is doing so well.

Caleb and Sam recently spent a day up in Burnie at the tennis.  They got to see Bernard Tomic and Peter Luczak play which they really enjoyed.  They are also still playing Futsal (indoor soccer) and have finally been allocated into their own team starting this coming Monday.


February 12, 2009

Look what arrived today! Our very own Dexter cow with 2 wk old x-breed calf. 


We finished madly removing all the bracken from this newly sectioned off piece of land about an hour before they arrived, then we had the challenge of finding a good spot to get her off the truck. It all worked well in the end, although a proper loading ramp has been added to the list of things to do. We got some good ideas of how to make one from the people we bought her from so that should help. She seems to be settling in okay, doesn’t mind the pigs in the paddock next door. She has been used as a house cow by the people who had her previous to the lady we bought her from, but has just been rearing calves for the last few years. The plan is to make a small yard for the calf to go into overnight so that we can milk her each morning, then she will be with the calf all day. She is a bit out of practice with regards to being handled so we’ll just work on it slowly for the moment. None of us has ever hand milked a cow before but the internet is full of helpful information. 🙂