A journal of my favourite pastimes gardening, farming and sewing.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Weekly Update

It has been a long time since I posted here, for two reasons, so many things needing attention and also so many things needing attention. 😉  Perhaps time to update some of the things that have happened around here.

In no particular order then:

We bought two more Wessex Saddleback piglets (males); these will be bred with the two females we acquired in August.  Those two females along with the three Landrace breeders have grown significantly and now live in a large enclosure with the two newbies next door.  

Remember these girls back in August?
These five (including the two above) are now close to six months old

 One newbie decided it might be interesting to go under the dividing fence and check out the neighbours, but when I found him, he looked like he'd been through a chaff cutter.  He had scratches all over him and his bung eye (an early injury before we got him) had opened up again. All in all, he looked pretty sore and sorry for himself.  I was able to hold him while he had a drink and then I lifted him back over the fence into his own pen where his less adventurous buddy was waiting for him.  The fact that I could handle him without any struggling on his part told me he was not in a good way.  He didn't eat or drink that afternoon, but the next morning he was up, although a little wobbly, and had started eating again.  I gave him a blast with the antiseptic spray to keep the flies away from his scratches and eye, and he's back to normal.

The two 'newbies' - the escapee in front
Our meat chickens are growing well, we have both groups outside in enclosures now which they seem to really enjoy.  They are scratching around, can stand normally and are behaving like normal chooks, which gives me real satisfaction.  We have ordered a "chicken plucker" and expect to receive it around the time these guys are ready for processing.  So 20 chickens in the freezer.
One half of the meat chicken flock
We had a good lambing season, with seven drops including one set of twins.  The dorper breed is clearly dominant so "Rammie" who was on loan from our neighbours certainly did his job, quickly and effectively.  The only issue we have had is three of the group now known as the Three Musketeers have been very creative as escapees.  Several times every day for the past month they would find a way out of the sheep paddock and into the house yard where they would stand on the opposite side of the fence to their mums bleating plaintively.  They (and we) had a new routine of letting them back in only to look in an hour's time to see them out again.
Enjoying a bale of barley hay
We are about to buy another seven sheep, most of which are ewes in lamb.  So we are heading for our target 40 head.

The stone fruit situation is precarious I have to say; our beautiful apricot tree which last year gave us over 15kg of fruit has sadly yielded precisely nothing.  The fruit formed perfectly, and was starting to increase in size when we were hit with a hot spell and then things went all kinds of wrong.  First the fruit fly got to them, and then the fruit bats followed up.  I picked what I could, most of which were still very small but every single fruit was either stung and grubbed up or bitten by the bats.  Good thing we have pigs was the only positive I could take out of it.

Our younger fruit trees are battling on against the heat and wind, peaches, plums, currants and berries are starting to form.  I'll be netting these to try and salvage some pride this summer.

Speaking of wind, we finally have a new windmill.  Living here has certainly taught me one thing - patience - although I am not a good student of it.  When our windmill blew down in July, we were very grateful to receive a payout from our insurance company in order to have the thing replaced.  Unfortunately the contractor under quoted and then refused to honour the price so we had to get resourceful.  Our ever helpful neighbours spotted a windmill stand (minus head) in a nearby town so a deal was done to acquire it.  Of course then we had quite a wet spring so it was a wait until the ground dried out enough for a truck and crane to move it to our place.  We ordered a new head which has now been fitted to the 2nd hand stand and all that remains is for a few pipes and hoses to be replaced.  We've had to buy in water twice so I guess it could have been worse.

There's plenty of other stuff to report on, but if everyone can wake up now from their boredom slumber that would be nice.  Promise I'll be more diligent in updating this blog from now on.

Cheers for now, Barb.


  1. 'Boredom slumber' ...what boredom slumber Barb? What an interesting life it must be where you live. So different from when you lived in the city, eh? :-)

  2. I'll say Chel, never a dull moment!

  3. You will be the veritable meat platter neighbours, everyone in your district wants to know. I'm curious, are all the animals destined for consumption, or are they part of a land improvement strategy? Also, how many acres are you on? Cheers. :)

  4. Hi Chris, We are gradually increasing our flock aiming for around 40 ewes; whose offspring will form part of our Pinnacle Pastured Products offering - along with pork, eggs, meat chickens, and honey. We are starting out slowly because we feel our ground needs some work: soil and pasture improvement etc but the pigs you have seen here and the ewes are the basis of the breeding group. Our block is the standard 40 acres almost devoid of trees (hate that).

    1. Forty acres sounds great. If you want to plant some shade trees, look for something which can also serve as fodder. I think casurina is one of those trees, as well as mulberries, moringa trees and even salt bush can be browsed. All hardy trees too, once established. That will be the challenging part. Getting them established with stock around.

    2. Thanks Chris, yes I have raised some acacias from seed, and have leucaenas planted. I lost the moringa seedlings but intend to get more. That is exactly our thought, shelter belts that can serve as fodder when it inevitably gets dry.

  5. Hi Barb, glad to hear you have been off the streets and out of the pub....never a dull moment when you live out of town with livestock.
    Good to catch up last week, I followed Chris's directions for the sourdough and got a very successful loaf, I had been putting in too much water, proving too long and not getting the starter fired up enough. ...its a wonder I was getting a decent loaf at all, on the right track now.....even got a few holes, yaaay
    Piglets are very curious, our babies used to sqeeze under the fence away from mum and wander off 2 or 3 paddocks away, then come back for food or a drink and carry on outside the pen fence because they couldn't get back in,lucky all the front fence was Rabbit board so they couldn't get onto the road.
    Hope all goes well and the windmill is working soon, with all this heat everything will be getting a bit parched.

    1. Glad your sourdough is working out Margaret. I'm planning to do a full sourdough tutorial on my blog soon. Although it sounds like you're doing wonders already. :)