Wednesday, 8 January 2014

A hot dry break at the farm.

We have just had a 10 day break up at the farm and although i did attempt to publish this post from up there ,we were having major satellite  issues and I was unable to upload photographs. So I decided to abandon it and wait until I returned back to the coast.

As we arrived at the farm were  were dismayed  to see how dry it actually was. We were aware that  we had  received no rain as we had been watching the weather reports and had been in  regular contact with our next door neighbour.There have been numerous storms around but we seem to have missed every one of them.
Brian had picked the last of the bean plants from the garden on the coast and brought them with us for the sheep to eat.They gobbled them up.

We  don't have a lot of garden going at the moment due to the dry conditions and the fact that we arn't  there to water it, so we have set up a few  1000 litre tanks with timers and drippers and sprays to water for us. We set  most of them to activate for  10 minutes every 48 hours.My pretty flower garden at the back of the house looks almost dead, but surprisingly  with a good downpour of rain it  will jump back to life again fairly quickly, it is filled with hardy drought loving plants.
The apple tree had lost all of it's fruit but is still alive,the rhubarb and potatoes seem to have done  quite well as have a small row of  shrubs along a  house yard fence.

Some things that we  haven't been able to set water onto have survived ok and others have shriveled and died, We had a combination of a fairly dry  year, followed by a few late severe frosts and then no rain and now extreme heat.

The wolley bush above, a native to Western Australia and the spring onions and other bulbs in the old cement wash tubs have survived and flourished.
Our next door neighbour kindly hand feeds hay to our  sheep for us while we are away, we normally restock the supply when we come up, but this time there is no-one in the area with hay for sale.
We are down to 8 bales, so Brian decided to  cut down a few straggly trees for the sheep for a bit of extra green   for them.

Brian coaxed the sheep over to the trees with a little hay, and then they devoured the trees.We cut a couple of Mutheringbung and a couple of black pines.

Last week we had a heat wave pass through,  we had three really bad days, but Friday was Extreme. during the day we reached temperatures of 115 Deg F (46 Deg C) on our  shaded front verandah.

We stayed inside all day, as our house is off grid, we as yet haven't set up  a big enough system to run an air conditioner, so we had to make do with an old water evaporative cooler, which i must say worked remarkably well, we kept the indoor temp to a bearable  31 C inside.We kept all the windows closed and curtains drawn.
Later that afternoon as it cooled ever so slightly we sat out on the front verandah and noticed  a group of birds over on the stock water trough, a group that we usually don't see all together at once, but it was obvious that they were all very hot and thirsty and just needed a drink.
While up at the farm this week ,we picked the rhubarb that had grown and cooked it and canned it ready for pies and crumbles.(I really didn't do  too much cooking this break, we lived on cold meats and salads and grill on the BBQ and salads.)

With our place so tinder dry at the moment and the fact that are not there as often as we would like, we are always concerned  about bush fires, especially when you take into consideration the amount of bush that is all around, the following photos just give a perspective  of our home from a few angles and show the amount of bush all around the area.

We had massive fires in the area  this time last year that destroyed  50 odd homes and over 100 farm out buildings, but we were  lucky  that they were controlled before they got too close to us.
On the last couple of days before we left Brian decided to prune the Apricot tree for the sheep(he said they may as well eat  it, as it would only  drop off the tree in Autumn anyway)

They loved them and really were trying to beat each other to the green leaves, they stripped each twig and never left a single solitary leaf.
We are desperately hoping that we get rain soon, light showers are predicted over the next few days, we really need it badly as 6 of our ewes are due to deliver lambs within the next couple of weeks and will really need some green feed for decent milk production for their babies.
Just before we left the farm we were contacted by the daughter of the person we had purchased our farm off to ask us if we would like an aerial  photograph of our property that they  had taken about 30 years ago  . She had inherited it from her father after his death.
  As she  felt no attachment to the property due to family problems during that period  , thought we might appreciate it. We accepted her kind gift with gratitude  and it will treasured by us.
When we had inspected the property to buy 10 years ago we had admired this photograph on the wall, and suggested that we too one day may do the same thing.
I hope that Mother nature  sorts herself out  soon, I see massive snow and ice storms and freezing temperatures in The USA and Canada, floods and  pouring rain in the UK and extreme heat and drought here in Australia in certain areas. I  trust  that the balance will soon be adjusted and that all will be well  in the world.
Take care until we meet again,


  1. Its terribly dry here in qld too. Its hard seeing the animals so hungry. I hope we all get rain soon....

    1. Hello again Liz,
      I hate the brown and dry,I am such a green girl.I do feel for the animals, if it wasn't for my husbands brother and sister in law who live next door, we realistically couldn't have the stock we do. They are so wonderful hand feeding for us between our visits. Hopefully we can repay them when we live there full time by caring for theirs so that they can do a bit of traveling. Fingers crossed for good rain (some areas in NSW received good rain yesterday, my sister who is out west at Tottenham just sent me a message to say they had 79 mm and we got a message from next door to us, we got 8mm (better than none).!
      Catch you again some time

  2. You are the canning guru! I can't wait to read more.

    1. Thankyou, Laurel,
      Hadn't really thought of myself that way.. I just love preserving. Glad you enjoyed it, hope to see you again one day,