Friday, 29 August 2014

August at home

Most years we're away on our annual holiday for the month of August, but this year we've needed to be here. I think we need to look at re-scheduling our future holidays so that we're here to enjoy August at home in the Barossa Valley.
These flowering cherries along the front are quite stunning & we've never seen them at their best until now.
The Happy Wanderer (Hardenbergia Violacea) is slowly forming a hedge along the front fence & the purple blue colour is gorgeous.
Last year I planted a couple of Cootamundra Wattles (Acacia Baileyana) near the fence which have flowered this year & add bright yellow to the colour scheme.
Over the years I've grown many different plants here but with our dry hot summers & the cost of water, it just doesn't make sense to grow anything that isn't drought tolerant.
Brian's hip replacement surgery was just fours weeks ago but look at him now. His recovery has been excellent & although he's still not allowed to drive or return to work for another couple of weeks he's been gradually improving every day.
Today he sprayed the stone fruit trees with Copper Oxychloride. Sprayed at bud swell stage for preventing Leaf Curl & freckled fruit. He will keep an eye on the trees as they come into leaf over the next few weeks & spray again later if any leaves show signs of curling.
While I've been caring for Brian & doing the tasks around the farm I've reduced my working days to two days each week. The days I go to work start very early with milking Daisy in the dark, feeding the cows & letting the chooks out of their shed before 7am. Almost every morning has been frosty as I crunch through the icy grass across to the dairy with my hands in pockets. Invigorating!
I'm definitely a winter person.
It's been a lovely experience to care for the person I love. I've enjoyed every bit of it & has once again reinforced my appreciation of just how much work he does around here. This farm & our lifestyle is definitely a two person show.
My success at managing all of the animals has been quite empowering & a boost to my confidence, but I'm happy to hand over the chook management to Brian once again.
Three weeks ago I decided to let a broody hen sit on some eggs so I gathered a dozen & settled them under her. To prevent the other hens from squeezing in & laying their eggs in the broody hen's nest I placed a wire crate in front of the nest. Water container was kept full & some wheat made available to the hen. I wrote the date on the calendar & the expected date of hatching 21 days later.  Exciting!
She was only a week away from the due time of hatching when I noticed she was off the nest & looking like she wanted to get out of the crate. I let her out thinking she would return after a quick run around, but she didn't, & after a few hours the eggs were cold. She wasn't interested in sitting on them again. Oh dear, what went wrong? What a disappointment. Yes, I admit I wasn't looking forward to breaking the eggs & finding chicks in there so, I when Brian offered I gladly accepted. They were all empty!
The rooster was obviously infertile so into the freezer he went that very same day. Soup will be on the menu soon.
Two days later & Brian has purchased a couple of lovely (and lively) roosters from a breeder friend. Double the crowing at 4am! Thankfully we don't have neighbors living close to us.

 Life for us is returning to normal & how grateful we are for that.

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