Saturday, April 26, 2014

Blackie First to have her Calf

Either 25 April or the day before Blackie had the first calf.  He looked so small against the calves I bought in December, who are now about six months old.  Penny and Harriet have now joined the herd and are fitting in just fine.



More Rain and More Grass

In late March it rained enough to top up the back dam and make the grass grow. 


Tap Enclosures and Trough Slab (Angle Grinder & Chainsaw)

(The before photo was taken in January)
Also in late March and early April I straightened the top tap and made a stronger enclosure of sheep yard mesh.  We then made a concrete slab and bolted the trough to secure it from moving, or being moved by the cows.  In the top west paddock I enclosed all three taps.  

I also got to use an angle grinder to cut the jaggered tops of the mesh, which was easier than using a hacksaw and pretty exciting with all the sparks flying.  The next weekend I also had a lesson in using the chainsaw, including how to sharpen the chain blades, cleaning the filter and filling bar oil and petrol.  I cut up two old fence stays.  




Friday, April 25, 2014

More Improvements for the Shearing Pen

On Monday afternoon I went to town and purchased more sheep yard mesh for the tap protectors, lucerne hay, and some black rubber to line the shearing pen, as suggested by the shearing contractor.  Dad, knowing how I procrastinate, suggested that we attach the black rubber straight away to get the job done before I organise shearing the wethers to be butchered.

More Blackberry Bashing and Spraying

I had two days off work to help Dad with controlling the blackberries in the back paddock on 16-17 March.  On Monday Dad drove the ride-on and I was armed with long handled snippers and we continued our attack on blackberry bushes.  Because it was such a beautiful day, on the way home I also took photos of the back paddock.  On Tuesday we returned with Grazon to spray the regrowth patches and stubborn blackberries that were mown and sprayed on Dad’s last visit.  

Separating Sheep

On 15 March with some help we separated the sheep.  One group of 15 were the breeding ewes, mostly merinos with a few old favourites and crossbreeds thrown in.  The other group of 15 included the new lambs from last year, merino wethers both high and low wool yielding, and non-merino ewes and wethers from the year before last.  The first group will be introduced to a new ram next month.  The second group will be further separated into two groups: sheep to keep and sheep to either butcher or sell when that decision has been made.


The crutching on 6 March went quite smoothly with the addition of a new ramp as an improvement to the shearing setup. 

Tea Cosy Natural Dyeing Sampler

I entered my natural dyeing sampler tea cosy into the local show on 5 March and received a second place in the dyed article section.  

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Rain at Last

It's good to see a tinge of green over the paddocks after rain.  In the last week or so we have had 77.5mm (others have reported more in their area).  The animal's tank has 5 of 8 rungs and the house tanks are 6 of 9 rungs.  Plus the back dam is a puddle again.  I didn't have the forethought to take photos of the brown paddocks, it was a bit too depressing at the time.  But I should have to show the contrast.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Two New Calves

1 December 2013

Two New Calves

At the local Auction there was a trailer load of poddy calves and grass eating calves for sale separate from the auction.  I bought two girls calves for $200 each.  Of course I hadn’t brought my trailer, so I had to go home to get it first.  They’re about three months old and very shy.  I have named them Harriet (like Harry the Hereford) and Penny (the pirate, due to her patch).
Back Dam Dry Again

On the last day of the year the dam was again dry, so the cows are now in the front paddocks.  They saw the two new calves and mooed softly to them, just like they did with their own calves.  I will keep the new calves separate for a few months more, though.

Dams & Cicadas

27 October 2013

Empty Dam

The dam disappeared completely at the end of October.  So the cows were given access to the trough in the top paddock.

26 November 2013

Some Rain at Last

We had 30mm on 12 November and 15mm in the few days before and the back dam is looking a bit better and there is a flush of green over the whole farm. It's wonderful what a little bit of rain can do.

Late November


This year the cicadas have been deafening.  Plus they’ve been very visible, and not just the shells that they leave behind.  They are everywhere. 


Early October 2013
Shed Flooring

Before shearing I wanted to make it easier for the shearers to fetch the next sheep for shearing than it has been, so I constructed a elevated slatted area for a small pen on the same level as the shearing platform.  I used old pallets and tomato stakes for the flooring and sheep panelling for the dividers and gates.  It was a bit of work but I am pleased with the result.  I intend to extend this raised area, probably after crutching next year

 14-15 October 2013

Sheep in Veggie Garden and Orchard
The shearing was delayed and the grass had been eaten down and not grown, because there was no rain, and I didn’t want to move the sheep to the next paddock before they were shorn, so I moved them into the veggie garden and orchard.  I hadn’t done this before but it gave the sheep fresh grass and I didn’t have to mow this area. 


24 October 2013


Bobby had been shorn on 13 October and after resetting the date a few times the sheep were finally shorn on 24 October.  Steve helped with sheep handling and skirting, I couldn’t have done it without him.


Saturday, December 28, 2013

Goodbye Jemma and Jay

1 August 2013

Sold Jemma ($682) and Jay ($1087).  We had a hard time getting Jay on the truck.  Then Jay broke out of the yards.  He turned around in the area with two gates and jumped the chain off the latch.  Then he tried busting through the fence to get back with the other cows.  The transport guy got him back in the yards and onto the truck.  He was wonderful and we couldn’t have done it without him.  


Blackberry Bush Bashing

29-31 July 2013
Mum and Dad visited from Saturday 27 July to Thursday 1 August.  I took three days off work to help Dad with blackberry bashing.  We think we possibly mowed 15 blackberry bushes, both small and large, and some very large.  It was three hard days work.  Dad mostly drove the mower and I helped by cutting the high overhanging canes and some large ones closer to the ground.  Dad let me mow the last large bush.  It was hard to take a good photo of where we had been because of the fall of the ground.  Unfortunately, we probably mowed all that we could, the other blackberry bushes are either amongst rocks or on the side of the hill.

Visiting Bull

27 July 2013

A visiting bull broke and jumped a fence to be with the cows.  He was going to visit soon anyway but he couldn’t wait.  He will be with the girls until the end of August.  The owner of the bull wanted to use my yards to transport the bull from a neighbour's place and offered to let him stay a while.  The owner of the bull also came to help separate Jemma and Jay from my cows.  He got his bull into the yards first, then let him out when we had Jemma and Jay.  Then the bull and the cows went to the next paddock.


Friday, December 27, 2013

Ebony & Lambs Died (8 June 2013)

I have some sad news.  On 8 June my special Ebony died.  She had a little boy lamb on Friday before I went to work, but as she was still quite large I was sure she had another lamb to go.  I went to work and it was almost dark by the time I came home.  So on Saturday morning we went to visit, expecting another little lamb.  However, the first lamb had died and Ebony was lying down and in trouble with the second lamb.  I called the vet, but she said that the lamb was twisted and had been dead for a while.  She was unable to remove the lamb and couldn’t save Ebony. 
Ebony was the only black lamb that has actually been born here, in early 2006.  Her father was ‘Blackie’, a Suffock ram, and her mum was ‘Original Mum’.  I have included a photo of when she was a little lamb and the day before she died.  Although she was born black all over, over the years her wool went progressively greyer.  Her mum was a merino so the wool is quite fine.  I have kept it but have not spun it as yet.
Rosie also had a boy lamb on Friday and they are doing well.  I think about six more ewes are pregnant, so we will be seeing more lambs over the coming weeks and months.

16-20 June 2013

Losing Big Baby

On 16 June I found another sheep dead, a merino girl with a green tag, but there was no lamb to be found.  Then on 20 June I found Big Baby on the ground panting.  She wasn’t in labour but in trouble, so I rang the vet again.  The vet told me that it looked like pregnancy toxemia.  With the last two years being such good years and with Arnie being with the sheep, I hadn’t feed my sheep extra pellets or lucerne as I had done in previous years.  With this year being such a bad year they were missing much needed nutrition.  So I gave them a mineral block lick, pellets and lucerne. 

29 June 2013
Regular Feeds then Lots of Boys

I have been feeding both the sheep and cows lucerne hay every weekend and sometimes during the week, and so consequently haven’t lost any more sheep.  Spotty Nose had a boy on 29 June.   Original Mum and Tails both had boys on 6 July.   On 14 July Ebony’s daughter from last year had a lamb but it subsequently died.  I think she was too young and didn’t know how to look after the lamb.  Then on 19 July Fluffy had twins (one boy and one girl).  So in all I now have 5 boys and one girl.