Thursday, October 17, 2013

A bit of an update...

After being here for 10 months, I have now got my oven hooked up and working. It is a real novelty to be able to bake a batch of bikkies in 1 go, rather than over 3 bakings in my little George Foreman benchtop oven.

 Around the farm it is very dry and hot, as it is everywhere at the moment. What happened to Spring? I think we've had about 65mm of rain since about April...I hope this dry spell breaks soon. There is still feed for the cattle, but it is very dry. We are supplementing their feed with molasses and fortifier every couple of days to try and keep the nutrients up to them. So far they are managing to keep their weight on, even though we have 7 ring in steers from other properties over here at the moment. We are waiting to get our laneways built to our yards so we can round them up. Most of ours will go in to the yards for molasses, but we have 4 stubborn ones and the ring ins won't go in either, so we need the laneway to force them in so we can get their owners to come and get them.
Doughboy is happy with his girls, he is such a lovely bull, so gentle and docile, a great bull for first time bull owners like us, hopefully he throws that trait to his progeny, not sure if any girls are in calf, we are hoping so..
 One happy girl hanging out by the chickens
 Hertie Gertie is pretty happy also
The guinea fowl think they own the place, they boss all of the chickens around
I am rebuilding my chicken stocks at this point. I have 17 babies in the chook tractor, they are all about 6-7 weeks old now and off the brooder light. There are polish, marans, blue leghorns and a couple of araucanas. The roosters have been easy to spot for about 4 weeks now, they have such obvious comb and wattle development. The maran boy is also easy to spot by his black feathers over brown.
 At the front here are the maran girls, and then there are the polish and leghorns as well. There is also a lovely brown coloured leghorn as well, who should grow up really pretty.
 At the front here again are the maran girls, you can see they don't have the comb development, and they don't have the heavy black feathering like the boy.
 And these are the polish chicks, I have been wanting some of these for a long time as well, they are just adorable and they are getting very fluffy crests.
Here is Mr Neurotic, he has claimed the rhode island red girls as his own, the other 2 roosters even though they are twice his size don't get a look in.I bought 6 of these girls sight unseen as first year layers - free range - and when they arrived they were so bedraggled looking, feathers missing everywhere, and they really smelt bad. I dusted them straight away for mites, and they are due to be wormed again. I'm just not sure on the ethics of the lady I got them from, I have a feeling they may have come from an egg farm, their beaks seem shorter than average as well, they don't seem to have the sharp point that most chickens have on the end of their beaks, so I am really suss that they were free range at all, so I won't be buying any more from that particular breeder again. At least they do get to be true "free range" girls here and I hope by the end of their first year here that they will look nice and healthy.
 This is the rhode island red rooster I got with the RIR girls, he is a lovely quiet rooster as well. I do make a point of handling my roosters a LOT, I try to make sure I always pick them up and give them cuddles, so that they get used to be being around, I have managed to not have a nasty rooster yet, but I am sure it will happen at some stage.
  This is the sussex rooster, he is a beautiful looking boy, he doesn't really like handling much yet, but I still make sure I pick him up whenever I can
 Here are some of my 8 teenage chickens, I have 2 plymouth rocks, 4 sussex and 2 australorps. They are about 3 months old. They spend most of their days hiding behind the water tanks away from the harassment of the guinea fowls, they just will not let up on these little ones.
I only have 4 guinea fowl at the moment, and I am sure only 1 of them is a girl, so I do need to restock on those soon as well, even though they can be a real pain in the backside to the chooks, they do have really good merits so I definitely want to keep them around. I still can't branch out to ducks and geese though, but I am sure I will get there soon. 
And these are 4 of the ring in steers that I discovered 2 days ago. They don't have any ear tags and I can't get close enough to see if they have a brand, so we will have to wait until we get them in to the yards.The buffalo flies are starting to hang around the cattle again, so we need to get them some insecticidal ear tags to get on top of that before they start to get too bad.
Our house in Brissie is just about ready for the market, we hope to have it put on by the end of next week if poss. It will be nice to be able to just settle and not be back and forth all of the time, even if I am still not sure where I want to be. Most of my new veggies died in the heat while I was away, even though they were flooded with water once a week and mulched heavily, so back to the drawing board there :/ ....again... Anyway, that's the update for now, crossing my fingers for some rain soon, our dam is starting to get a bit  low. We still have water in our tanks, but some rain to refill soon would be great....

How are you coping with no rain? Have you still got enough water/feed for stock?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Cleaning and decluttering

At the moment I am down at our Brisbane house with Kasey cleaning and decluttering, getting the house ready to rent out. It's been a BIG job. 21 years in the same house, and you tend to accumulate a LOT of stuff. Especially when we have been running our own businesses over that time, we had 15 years of paperwork stored in our attic space above the office! It's been exhausting, and I think we are probably only 50% done. I have been listing a lot of things on the online facebook garage sale sites for our area, and I have been having a good amount of success with that, so I am hoping I manage to get rid of some more things before the end of this week. It all helps, and all of these things we have cost money, so it is nice to recoup some of that, and as they say, one persons trash is another persons treasure! It's funny though, things you think will sell in a flash, don't, and things you think you'd never sell rush out the door. Our shed was full of bits and pieces, and we now have that down to a couple of shelves in there, neatly stacked in plastic sealed storage boxes. Our garage and carport was pretty full as well, and that is nearly empty, it mainly has things that still have to go to the dump or things we are transporting back to the farm. The attic above the office is now totally empty. I think we must have looked really dodgy throwing all of this paperwork on the fire on the weekend, but we only have 3 plastic storage crates left of current year's paperwork that we have to keep for the tax office.We have taken 2 full horse float loads of rubbish to the tip, and I think we may have 1 other load by the time we finally finish. And we haven't even started on the maintenance things we need to finalise before we finish either...
I have discovered that soapy steelos are soooo good for cleaning, they have been a godsend for getting things really clean. I am working on the kitchen at the moment, and they just get through the dirt that accumulates on the shelving so easily. My hands are like dry little prunes though with the combination of soap and scourers on my poor skin, I have been piling on the moisturiser.
Damian headed back up to the farm on Monday to do a couple of jobs, and he should be back down, probably on Thursday so that he can get some of the maintenance jobs done. I will be so glad when this is done, it's hard work, but cleansing at the same a fresh start...
Oh...and I brought ALL of my chooks , and my new chicks with me so that the mongrel FOX does not help himself while we are down here...9 big chickens and 25 little chickens. The 4 guinea fowl stayed home because they all sleep in the trees was a bit of a hassle, but I feel so much better being able to look after them and keep an eye on them...anyway, off to do a bit more cleaning, and then off to bed....zzzz