Friday, November 27, 2015

Year 6 Graduation Dinner and Dance..

I've been getting in to trouble from my Mother for not keeping my blog updated, sorry Mother :) so I thought I had better stop being a slacker and update it ;). A LOT has happened in the last few months, including a move back down to Brisbane, as work died off immensely up at the farm township, so decisions had to be made.  A lot of people up there have been affected by a lot of mines closing and money is pretty short, which of course has a flow on effect on small businesses such as ours. We still have the farm, and the cattle, we just have to head up every few weeks to take stock of what's happening up there. We still also have our business up there, we have put a casual guy on to do the jobs that come in, and I am running that part of things from down here, and Damian has gone back to project managing for a company down here...regular income is lovely.

Anyway, tonight is a big night for our youngest, Kasey has her year 6 dinner and dance tonight. This is the first year they have put on such an event, and the kids are all really looking forward to it. Kasey spent weeks designing her outfit, then we had to provide the $ to make it all come but she looks beautiful, and is looking forward to a great night.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Newest Addition

Our newest addition was born overnight... a gorgeous little bull calf born to our Hereford, Hertie Gertie...he is sooo tiny, as Mum is only little herself. We were a little concerned that she may have had a difficult birth, but she seems to have managed fine, we noticed her milk bag filling up the other day, but didn't expect her to have her calf quite so quickly. He's a little cutie...

Friday, March 27, 2015

Snakes are definitely out and about...

I have had a run in with 3 in the last week. The first - I was pruning back my arrowroot plants and throwing some over the fence to the cattle, as they absolutely love it. All of the plants are about 2 metres tall, so I was tucked right in the plant chopping it back, when my eyes focused on something moving, and when it came in to focus, it was a dark brown snake slithering past my face about 4 inches in front of me.  I know they say you are meant to stay still, but, stuff that,  I was out of there...before I knew it I was in the middle of the house yard on my knees, wondering what the hell had just happened. It had also jumped out of the tree and was high tailing it out of there as well. I think I shuddered for about an hour or 2, and made myself a nice strong drink to try and get over it all. The second was a couple of days later, I could hear little Sam barking and barking, and I went out to investigate, and I could see a few toads gathering in behind the bins. I was muttering away to myself while I was fetching the dettol to spray them all, about how much I hate toads, and how they attract snakes etc, and as I came back to spray them, I noticed a black snake in there as well. So armed with my broom and my shovel, just in case, I started pulling things out to try and shoo it out of there. It ducked underneath the corrugations on the end of the verandah back out in to the yard, so I am hoping it stays away now. And then 2 days later another crossed my path on the driveway as I was leaving for work. It was black, but I think it had a yellowy greeny belly from what I could see, so I am thinking it was a tree snake. I didn't see it until I was just about on top of it, so I couldn't stop in time, but I didn't run it over, as I noticed it slithered away when I checked in my rear vision mirror.

In the last 12 months, the only snakes I have seen was a red bellied black in the chook pen about 6 weeks ago, which the guinea fowl chased away,  and a tree snake down at the cattle yards at about the same time, so to see so many, so close together, is unusual. I really hope this heat goes away soon so that they can all start to hibernate over the winter. They are definitely around in droves at the minute, so be careful, watch where you are walking and where you put your hands and your feet while gardening etc.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A big day of cattle handling...and another chicken processing day

The new heifers and bull calves are all about 8 months old now, so it was time to round them all up and brand them, needle them and castrate any bull calves, and put all of their NLIS tags in. We organised for a musterer to come in and he and his dogs rounded them all up and in to the yards. We put all the mothers through as well, as it was time for worming for all of them anyway. The musterer is an experienced cattle handler, so we organised for him to bring his brand heater etc so we could brand them all. He also castrated the 3 bull calves while he was there. It was a hot day, but it all got done.  We had a few very angry cows to deal with as well, so it can be a bit dangerous at times, and you have to keep your wits about you so you don't get hurt, they are very big and can be very dangerous if you get in their way.

I felt so bad for the cattle, but it is very quick, and they don't seem at all worried about it as soon as they are let out of the crush. The little bull calves all handled their castration really well too, it just amazes me that they just stand there, no reaction whatsoever, and then they just wander out of the crush like nothing has happened. This little bullcalf (the darker one at the front) has just been castrated, and he is just standing around here, completely calm, and oblivious to what has just happened to him.
We are hoping to send a few of the heifers off to the sales as breeders in May, along with some of the older cows as well for breeders, as we don't want to go in to winter again with too many cattle. We would eventually like to get down to about 6 heifers and 1 bull, with maybe a few steer to grow out each year. We're never going to make a lot of money out of cattle on 150 acres, so it is just to keep the grass down really.
The next day we also processed all of the excess roosters, we had 6 in total to do, not a nice job, but it has to be done. They were all just starting to harass the girls, and fight with each other, so the time had come. So 6 birds in the freezer, I roasted one up, much nicer when they are younger, as opposed to the older ones we did a while back which were all tough,  I managed to eat a little bit, but still not sure if I can do this eating our own chickens thing..

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Guinea fowl....NOT good mothers!

I knew that Guinea fowl were not good mothers....which is why I always try to either put the mum in a protected pen so she can hatch and stay with them, or either incubate or put the eggs under a surrogate chicken to hatch. Over the last few weeks, I had noticed that I was missing 2 guinea fowl, and they appeared yesterday, with 3 brand new babies in tow! Unable to get near any of them before I left for work, I checked on them all as soon as I got home. I found one baby nearly dead in the chicken house, and the other one had been abandoned. I bundled them both up and put them in a cage under a heat lamp and gave them food and water. The one that was nearly dead, would not do anything other than lie down, so I have been using a dropper to give it water, and I have made up a slurry of crumble and water and I have been using a dropper to try and feed it a little bit of food. It's not improving, so I don't hold out much hope. I also tried to see if I could get the last remaining baby and mother into a pen, but after being flown at by a very protective male guinea fowl who was determined to try and claw my face, and he also attacked the dogs, I gave up on that idea yesterday. Determined to try and give in another go this afternoon, I bundled up the healthy baby that I had in the cage, and put it in the pen area to try and attract the mother and baby over to it...I grabbed a half dismantled greenhouse as my barrier...yes...a funny sight I am sure, but it protected me from manic guinea fowl. Anyway, they would hang around the caged baby for a few seconds and then wander while I was standing there with my half dismantled greenhouse armour, I could hear a chirping coming from behind me...and out of the long grass wanders another baby!  I was like...huh??  Then the guinea fowl started to attack it, so I bundled it up, and put the 2 orphans in the cage back with the sick one.
I then thought that I should try and find the nest in case there were any others about to hatch or or had been abandoned, I found about 12 eggs that have hatched, and only 4 babies all up that I have seen...gotta wonder how they survive out of captivity. So, I am now caring for baby guinea fowls again, and also a sick one to boot....gee, thanks mother guinea fowl.
(This is the guinea fowl that wandered out of the bush this afternoon)
(These are the 2 healthier guinea fowl now keeping each other company)
(This is the unwell little guinea...I'm really not holding out much hope, and I am surprised it has survived this long..poor little thing)
The chicken mother hen from the last guinea fowl hatch has been looking after her brood really well, she is very protective of them, and they are now all ready to start venturing out and about a little bit each day. We lost one a couple of weeks back, I think it may have been attacked by a rat overnight, but there are still 10 out of the 11 that hatched, which is pretty good odds.
(Update 25th March: The sick little guinea baby died overnight, now I'm not sure about the first one I rescued either, it doesn't seem quite right either...sigh....we'll wait and see) 
(Update 26th March: The 2nd one I was suss on has now also died, so the only one left is the one that wandered out of the bush 2 days ago. The guinea fowl are still managing to keep the single baby they still have with them alive so 2 out of 12....pretty bad odds when they do it themselves)

Monday, February 16, 2015

The 100% mumma..and it's been a bit shaky around here...

Our little Maran girl went clucky about 5 weeks ago, and I put 12 guinea fowl eggs under her to hatch out for me. About 2 1/2 weeks in, 1 egg mysteriously disappeared, leaving 11 eggs. They were due to hatch today. Overnight on Friday night and over the course of Saturday, all 11 eggs hatched out healthy little babies. That is the first time EVER that we have had a 100% success rate with any hatching, whether it be in the incubator or under a clucky hen. I have moved them all in to a separate safe pen, so they all have plenty of room, and they are running around and being very cute.

And just to keep things interesting, just before 2am last night, we were shaken awake by our first ever earthquake. It was like a loud rumble roaring through the house, it only lasted about 10- 15 seconds, and the dogs seemed a bit frightened, but there was no damage to anything, it was a 5.2 magnitude, so I think it was pretty mild compared to what some poor people experience. That is something I never thought I would see here.
And, while I have been sitting here reading this, we just felt another one...not sure what magnitude yet, as the news sites haven't reported on it nature reminding us again not to mess with her...

Monday, January 19, 2015

2015....ok....I'm getting ready for you....slowly.

I have been away from the farm for 5 weeks and I have come home to an overgrown jungle. It's amazing how much the rain affects things, and how much better the landscape is once we get some. The property goes from depressing and dusty, to lush, green and full of life. The rain has been wonderful. The tanks are full, the dam is overflowing and  there is lots of grass in the paddocks and the cows are looking full and happy. LOTS of weeding to be done... This arrowroot plant has more than doubled in size in 5 weeks and is now over 2 metres tall!
Everything has grown so much, Damian got back to the farm 2 weeks earlier than me, and he came home to our small front yard looking like this:
My gardens are in there somewhere! He even resorted to bringing in the heavy artillery to bring the grass down to a mow-able level.
I have managed to make a small dent in the weeding, and the grass is back to being nice and mowed, now with the added benefit of being green and lush. The rain makes the weeds fairly easy to pull out as well, even though when I was weeding yesterday I got stung by a nasty wasp...nevermind, I am loving the rain! In the 2 years we have been here, the only good rain we have had was from the floods in Jan 2013, so to have had some regular rain, and to have our tanks full again has been fantastic.
While down in Brisbane, we made the house quite Christmassy and even put up a few outside lights this year!

It was  Grace's 1st birthday party on the weekend, this first year has gone so quickly. It was ridiculously hot, but Grace had a great day.

We did a visit to Lollipop Land at Old Petrie Town before coming home, I took Kasey and her best friend Bethany for a day out. It is about "Lollipop Land" a town of the North Pole where all of the lollies and sweet things are made for the world at Christmas time. It is only held for a few more days, so if you haven't had a chance, go and see the displays before they disappear, as they won't be back until the end of the year. The show is put on by doll maker Chris Boston, and visual display artist Jule, from Whimsical Imaginings.

So, now we're back at the farm and Kasey is back at school next week... Time to get back in to the swing of things and see what 2015 brings...