Saturday, July 13, 2019

Farm Update

In typical Kim and Lucy House fashion, we have changed the plan! After finishing the free range pig business, we fully intended to go on a long road trip/holiday. We got as far as Canberra to visit the grandchild and then came home. Why....many reasons and too numerous to try and make sense of, but nevertheless, we came back to Baralaba and haven't left. Our life is a little complicated and the main reason for this is, that we actually don't "live" on our property Anabank anymore. I'm not going into the reason for this on this post, basically I feel I need to mention this as it makes it easier to talk about our farm life if you dear reader are aware of that fact. We continue to run cattle, goats and sheep (and a few other odds and ends) on the property and I had originally thought I wouldn't be able to keep a garden going, but I am going to give it a red hot try. Not living on the property was one of the reasons that we had planned on being away for so long, but things changed and at the moment we're staying put. We live on another property near by and just come over to Anabank to work the farm.

When we got back from our trip, which is only a bit more than a month ago, I immediately planted some things into the garden - not even knowing whether I would be around to harvest them. Since then I've gradually added a few more seedlings and have even planted some seeds into seedling pots while I continue to work on getting some ground ready to plant. It's been incredible to note how many seedlings are surviving, as my usual death rate is pretty high. Amazing what having the time to water often makes to the chances of survival. My usual, is to plant seedlings and then remember to water them a few days later!

Tomato plants, one starting to flower. Tomato seedling's planted a month ago and garlic coming up after planting a week ago. I thought it was too late for garlic, but I've got heaps and it's all shooting, so I thought I'd give it a go - I can always cut them as garlic leaks if it warms up too much for them to form heads.

Silverbeet and spinach seedlings planted a week ago and all still alive.

I've been doing some tidying up and planting out some plants that we'd had in pots as that was going to be easier to keep alive while we were away. We also found 4 banana suckers that needed to come off the main trunk as it's got a bunch on it and 2 other palms (?) that are too big to remove. We've planted these around the drain from the laundry and kitchen, although that doesn't see a lot of water these days, but it's a trench that we can fill when needed to keep them well watered.

Once the banana bunch stops forming, it's time to cut the flower off. I thought about cooking with it and I might, but there's a far bit of work involved in making it edible and I'm not really sure I'm that invested in the idea. It's not wasted if the chooks eat it, is it?

This bed had about 5 purple snake bean plants self seeded, so I've just tidied it up a bit and then decided to leave it unmulched until we see if anything else comes up - I think I see some little pansies. I also planted out Sam's pineapple and a galangal that have been in pots for ages.

The Farm

When we finished with the pigs, we pulled out their electric fencing, but still have quite a few ringlock paddocks, which we keep the sheep and the goats in. We did get rid of a lot of goats too, but some were too small to be saleable, or nannies too close to kidding. We've got lots of kids on the ground but only a few lambs. Just about every nanny had twins and we've only had one lot of twin poddies so thats been a good thing. Poddy goats are cute, but very annoying in the house yard.

And of course we still have cattle. We've only had half our annual rainfall in our running 12 month total, so things are not so good grass wise. We're doing okay as we've been lightly stocked for several years due to the long term dryer conditions, but we will have to keep selling off as we can. Being organic, there really is only one market and that's fats, so if we have to sell stores, these would most likely go into the conventional market, so hopefully we'll continue to get little bits of rain and the weather will continue to stay warmish and we might just make it through until the end of winter. We're very lucky that we have quite a bit of leauceana and this has responded reasonably well to the recent small falls of rain. The grass is browned off, but does have a green pick when you look into it.

We have chickens for eggs this time and not meat.

And yes, we got pigs again - only 4 for our own personal use.

All in all life for us is at a much slower pace than it used to be and I've enjoyed having the time to do more in the kitchen and the garden. My goal for the garden is to grow most of my own vegetables and that combined with our own dairy products, eggs and meat, makes me very happy.

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