Saturday, 31 August 2013

Thanks Dad !!!

Our Blue Cattle Dog Tilly  and her mate Doug the Kelpie love to chase  a soccer ball. They will chase it all day every day all over the farm.They get to be a real nuisance at times pushing the ball into the middle of what ever project you happen to be doing at the time and expecting you to kick it or throw it for them..
We have a grey water pit at  the farm into which all out kitchen,bathroom and laundry grey water flows into. We then hook up a small petrol pump and pump the water from the pit  out onto the lawn and trees. It passes through a rudimentary grease trap before running into the pit.
The pit is quite deep, my husband can nearly stand up in it.
Well recently when Brian was pumping it out, the dogs were racing around crazy with their ball and it just happened to fall into the pit.I just love the following images, they were just too cute.

And then it was like...."Hey Tilly the ball has  fallen in, come and look"

And then...."oh dear what will we do"
I think they thought that if they watched hard enough and really willed it to happen, that the ball would just magically appear again.

I think it was about then that they realized that Dad was there and they began asking him to save it for them
So good old Dad came to the rescue and pulled out that dirty smelly old soccer ball out  of the grey water pit.

So there were two happy dogs ,once again playing with their old soccer ball.
Another time when Brian had just started  pumping it out, Doug the Kelpie was racing around chasing the ball and then he just disappeared. Suddenly Brian realized that he had fallen into the pit and had to quickly rescue him as the water level was quite high. It certainly scared him and he was very wary of it that day.
For safety reasons we always keep a heavy concrete lid on it, the only time it is removed is when it is being pumped out. Because we don't live there full time it doesn't have to be emptied as often as it will when we become full timers.
 Today is the end of Winter, with Spring just around the corner with the promise of new growth and colour, all we need is that ever evasive rain.
Until next time,

Builders,we are not.!

My husband and I are not builders, we may have other talents, I love to can and take photographs..(.not necessarily talented at either of those activities) and my husband is a mechanical whizz, can just about fix anything. But builders,we are not.
We have brilliant ideas and plans in our heads of what we want, but it's just bringing those plans to fruition that is the problem.
There is so much up the farm that needs attention, and  as there is not  a lot of spare money around we decided  to bite the bullet and have a go at a few simple less important jobs ourselves.

We have a shed up the back of our house, long and rectangular,which houses the solar panels on the roof which powers our home, the power room is located in one end of this shed, the other end we wish to covert to my new laundry room(my old internal laundry room will become my new canning pantry( yay !!!).At the far left hand end of this shed is another  small external storage room and    an  internal extra toilet and basin. What we decided we would like to do was turn that little extra shed at the left hand side of the photo into an extra  outdoor shower room connected internally to that toilet and basin.This will be the very first stage, and I will follow up later on as the project progresses.

We have some wonderful friends who regularly come up to the farm and give their time  and effort to help us out and with hopefully four heads together, problem solving may be a liitle easier, and anyway the old saying "Many hands....."
The first job was to remove the exterior siding from the outside around the original door, then remove the back wall of the shed to create the new internal opening to the bathroom.

Next the siding that was the original internal wall was replaced as the new external wall if you get what I mean.

So far so good, the siding is old and caused numerous problems as it had to fit neatly into special shaped corner strips and many times it required all our hands to hold and balance while things were secured.
We are happy with the job so far, this was to just create the new external shell ready for the plumbing and lining stage which should follow before too long.The photo below, shows the wall finished and the view inside of the new shower room to be.

We have already purchased a tankless gas hot water service to  supply hot water to the shower and the new laundry, also have purchased a white fiberglass shower  base to go on the floor and most of the plumbing supplies required. All we need is the time and manpower to complete the job.
This is never intended to be a five star bathroom facility, it is just an outdoor back up and as we have a lot of caravaning and camping guests, we thought it would be even better if they had their own basic bathroom facilities to use, and that it would then take a bit of pressure off the facilities in the house.
I will  update the progress with another  entry as we finally get onto the job and hopefully complete it.
So until we meet again,
take care everyone,
Jane .

Monday, 26 August 2013

The ever expanding flock of sheep.

I thought today I would write about our  beautiful (well maybe not always in looks) sheep.
We started way back soon after we first purchased our little place. We thought that sheep,rather than goats would be the wisest choice for us to have as we have to leave them alone for weeks at a time and goats are a little too clever for their own good and are brilliant escape artists.
We just happened to be driving past a house here on the coast and saw a sign for 6 sheep for sale,so we went to check it out.
They were 5 merino X ewes and a Poll Dorset ram, all fairly young for $30 each.
So we purchased them and took them up to the farm the next day.We decided not to give these sheep names and we did very well  with that until the first lambs arrived.Who were promptly named Sweet Pea and Daphne.

It was only about 12 months later that we had a phone call from out neighbour to tell us that our beautiful ram  had died near his shared boundary fence with us. He suspected snake bike at  he had seen a big  Eastern Brown Snake  lurking around in the previous few weeks.
We happened to mention to a friend  who is a full time farmer that we had lost our ram and he very kindly offereed for free  if we were interested a new ram. The only thing was it was a Damara breed.
So we went and picked him up in Dubbo,We named him Roger(no idea why, it just popped into my head at the time)
Roger quickly got to work and produced some very colourful off spring that looked more like goats than sheep. We called our first one Honey due to her beautiful honey colour. As his babies grew and the flock started to expand we referred to them as "The Mottly Crew".

The  Damara influence tended to produce a fairly tall, light sheep that was very timid and flighty and after a couple of years our farmer friend(god bless his heart) offerred us another ram. He had himself changed breeds and was now fully running Dorper Sheep.
So we offered him Roger back and were told he was no longer required and to pass him along to some else, which is what we did.
So then we went  and picked up Cassanova, named in the hope that he would successfully romance all our ewes, which I am happy to announce he did, with great speed.
Soon after acquiring Cassanova, we heard of a young hobby farmer who had been involved in a car accident that was selling up his small flock as he was still in rehabilitation and didn't expect to be able to continue on his block.We went and looked at them. They were DorperX Damara ewes, but were advised that they would make a good breeding base with our Doper Ram. So we purchased 6 ewes for $360.( money well spent as it turns out) Our farmer friend in Dubbo also gave us 3  young Dorper ewes( They had thrown a little back to merino,so he didn't want them for breeding)
We arn't looking to breed purbreds, we just breed for meat and our own personal use.We are also pleased to say that the young farmer made a full recovery and is back into farming in an even bigger way, such good news.
Then just over five months later we celebrated our first babies.
There have been many more born since.I just love the baby lambs and how early every morning and in the evening they get frisky.Sorry to bore you with the pics, but I just had to include the next few photos.They are not very clear, but just cute!.

We really like the Dorper breed as they are a good heavy meat sheep, and they don't have to be shorn.
As your crosses get closer to pure Dorper they have less and less wool on them.
They constantly rub themselves on fences,gates, posts ,trees and sheds to "rub off" their Hair/wool.
The lambs are born hairy, more like a goat kid rather than with the tight white wool curls of other breeds.
As they get older, their hair/wool in some of them just forms like a saddle on their backs. We have had to trim a few but not too many. They are clean on their legs, necks and underbellies and are an excellent breed  to have as they don't seem to get fly or lice problems as much as other breeds.
We  always hand feed our sheep when we are there, it keeps them quieter and gets them to come to us more easily when we need to yard them for drenching and when we need to  butcher for meat.
No matter where they are on the place, my husband just starts calling and banging a bucket and they come running.

So far we have been lucky, considering all our time away from the farm, we have had only minimal losses, we had a tree limb fall in a storm  on one good ewe , lost a couple to Barbers' Pole worm and a few to just old age.We also have been lucky that we haven't so far had to poddy any lambs.
Our next door neighbour has done a few, but one "special" one he had is called Bouye...Bouye thought he was part of the human family(and still does) I will add a quick pic of Bouye the day he discovered his Father's brocolli garden....he was not a favourite child that day.
About 6 months ago, we felt that we may be getting close to inbreeding,so our ever wonderful friend in Dubbo once again came to our rescue and swapped cassanova for anothe ram. We named this one Colin after our friend,
At about this same time, things were pretty dry on our block so we seperated the wethers and Colin off and moved them to my brother in laws larger block down the road.
Our numbers had grown too quickly, so we have given the girls a season off and have only last week brought Colin back to our place to the girls again.He seemed pleased about that.
We love our sheep, and yes I am very matter of fact as to why they are there, but our idea is ,they are here for a purpose,and that it to feed us, so we give them the best life we can until that time comes.
I personally don't watch them die, I just can't do it. I grew up on a farm and saw and helped   my father butcher sheep for meat regularly, now I have a choice. Once they are dead I have no issue helping and  the cutting up, and the  processing is sort of honouring the animal for what they have given us. I always appreciate the animal for it's full worth, and waste very little.
We love to sit and watch the sheep, they are content and happy, or at least I like to think they are.

We need to reduce our numbers a great deal, we now have approx. 40 sheep, realistically we need to get that number down to 20-25.
So I guess I know what I will be doing on the next trip to the farm.....maybe canned  lamb meatballs in sauce , that would be a new  experiment for me.Will keep you informed.
So until we meet again,
Cheers to everyone,