Sunday, 1 January 2017

New Years Day 2017

The older we get, the faster each year seems to go because time flies when we're active and doing what we love.
I hope all of you dear readers had a lovely Christmas, and are ready to embrace this coming year. Well, it's here, whether we're ready or not!
I'm blessed to be able to say that every year, as it happens, is a good year for me. Sure, there are challenges, but what doesn't beat us makes us stronger.
I feel for those who lost loved ones last year, or who suffered from illness, and I wish for you a year of healing, good health and happiness.

 Christmas Day in South Australia was very hot, but two days later we experienced cyclonic weather that knocked trees over, drenched us with 45mls of rain, and left much of the state without power, phone or internet coverage.
Mother Nature is certainly giving us some attention lately.
One of a pair of Golden Robinia trees at the front of our home fell over, leaving a big gap in the garden. The above photo shows how big it was with the remaining of the pair still standing.
How lucky we were though, with the tree crashing in the only direction that caused minimal damage. A metre either way and we would have had serious structural damage to either the fences or the house.
In true Brian spirit, the chain saw had a work out, and all fallen and damaged trees were dealt with before morning smoko. Fortunately, he was on annual leave for the days between Christmas and New Year, so was on hand to get into action immediately.

Lavender has been our number one concern ever since her fence jumping incident and with treatment every day, she is recovering well.
After a five day course of antibiotic injections, we waited for more than double the with-holding period, before drinking the the milk.
For those of you who regularly read this blog, you will know that we don't use antibiotics or conventional pharmaceutical preparations on ourselves or our animals, but in this case, and under the guidance of our trusted vet, we had no other option. For smaller injuries and ailments we always use Vitamin C injections for the animals, and this is the first time in twelve years of cow raising that any of our animals have received antibiotics.
Having had so much treatment and endured such pain and trauma, I am amazed that she still walks into the dairy every day and allows me to put the milking cups on the remaining three good teats.
In fact, in the last few days, she has been easier to bring in and we have confidence that she will return to the easy going cow that she was earlier in her previous lactation.

 The milking cups are on three teats while milk still runs from the injured teat. I put a container underneath so as not to waste it and give that milk to the pigs and dogs.

The cup that's not attached to a teat needs to be blocked so the milking machine doesn't lose compression.  Brian took the teat from the calf feeder and inserted a piece of plastic into it to block off the hole, the artificial teat is then inserted into the spare milking cup. We can remove it when washing out the machine and insert it each time we milk Lavender.  This has saved us from having to permanently adapt the machine and cups, for when we have another milking cow and need the standard four cups.

We decided to pull down the fences in the area near the dairy, and build post and rail cattle yards. Brian hired the Dingo for two days, pulled out posts and droppers, leveled the ground, and started digging new post holes.

We changed the layout, and finished up gaining some paddock space as there isn't the necessity for such a big area now that our cattle numbers are less.
Over these past few years we have learned from our experiences of what this land of ours can comfortably manage. We have learned about what we want from our land, how we prefer to manage it, and what our needs are. We observed how the cows and sheep prefer to move around this land, what feels more natural for them, and so we have adapted our new yards to suit.
We call this "evolving" with our needs and our gained knowledge.
Those new rails are covered in Creosote, so poor Brian suffered horrible burning skin on his arms from the fumes as it was he who did all the work there.
Those days were hot, and I was in the kitchen preserving cucumbers and during the heat of the day,  doing some of the other jobs that keep piling up,. I confess I have nowhere near the stamina that he has.
To soothe the skin on his arms he's rubbing on organic coconut oil that I use for cooking and for all of our skin care. He's also taking Milk Thistle capsules as a liver cleanser to help rid his body of the toxins absorbed through the skin. Our skin is our largest organ, and everything that goes onto it is absorbed into the blood stream. I'm also making him green vegetable juices and making sure he drinks lots of water.

 The finished stock fence with new double water trough for each side of the fence. The wire mesh will prevent sheep from escaping too, and from small calves getting through.
A twisted willow tree was planted in the corner to provide shade when it grows tall. The leaves are medicinal and contain natural Aspirin. Stock will eat them when they feel the need.

They have to pass through this yard on the way to the dairy and this is where we feed out the hay.
It's wise to have an area like this where stock can be enclosed if needed, for treatment, for moving, or just quietening them down and getting them used to being handled.
I'm stunned at the number of people who buy farm animals, but have no infrastructure in which to enclose them if needed.
What happens when the cow gets a grass seed in it's eye? How can it be treated?

The damaged teat is healing well, but now when she lets down her milk for the calf, or when being milked in the dairy, the milk from that teat runs freely.
Only time will tell how this will be managed in the long term, but for now she appears to be happy and no longer in pain.
And all this was only a part of our Christmas, New Year activities.
We ate some lovely food, enjoyed some time with family, checked bee hives, moved sheep to different paddocks on the other side of town, and all of the other daily farm tasks as well.
Is it any wonder that my year flies past so quickly?
Happy New Year and lets get the most out of each day, give thanks for every new day, and appreciate all that we have at the end of the day.


  1. Happy New Year!
    glad to see Lavender on the mend, thanx for keeping us updated there, hope she keeps healing well.
    thanx for sharing

    1. She keeps getting a bit better every day Selina, and we can see her nature improving too. I'm sure you will all be so sick of hearing about Lavender soon. lol ;)

  2. Happy New Year, Sally! I'm glad that Lavender is definitely on the mend and feeling better:) My father used to do fencing work so I know just what hard work that is, your Brian is lucky that you have knowledge of natural remedies to help with his skin and cleansing of his system after the Creosote.
    Glad to read too that you enjoyed time with your family in amongst all the hard work over this festive time. Hope the weather's calmed down your way, it's quite hot here and so we're looking forward to some cooler days and showers come Tuesday. Meg

    1. Meg our weather has been far too mild for summer, but hot weather is on the way. I hope you get some respite from your heat to refresh you all.

  3. Happy New Year. xx

    It's like a breath of fresh air reading your posts, It's just so calmingly reassuring to see someone doing things in a considered, intelligent and logical way. You deal with each problem as and when it occurs, learn from each experience and move forward in a clever and inspiring fashion.

    Your blog posts should be compulsive reading for anyone starting out on a self sufficient or new country living, especially if they are going to be keeping livestock of any description.

    I'm so pleased Lavender is improving and doing so well under your loving care, and I love the new finished stock fencing with the double sided water trough ... a job well done indeed.

    (Oh, and I know the feeling so well of having a man with much more stamina than me!!)

    1. Thank you so much for your glowing kind words Sue. Gosh it's nice to hear that encouragement. I hope all is going well with you and your dogs, Lovely Hubby, and the chickens on your small holding in Wales.

  4. Happy new year Sally! So glad to see that lavender has recovered from the initial emergency, it will be interesting to see what happens with that teat/udder as she heals. The new yards look great. Yep our neighbour got two heifers and then expected to use our crush to eartag them and our ramp to unload them etc. And we feel for the animal welfare so we help out.

    1. Did you direct them to your blog Liz? Sounds like your eBook is just what they need to read.

  5. Happy New Year to you and yours. Guida

    1. Guida, I hope this is a cracker of a year for you. :)

  6. Happy New Year Sally and Brian.

    I haven't been watching much of the news and didn't know SA was was suffering black outs again.

    Thank goodness that tree did not fall on any structures, it would have done so much damage.

    I am glad to read that Lavender is progressing. Poor dear.

    It is wonderful how our links with the land grow over time and how our understanding of the whole ecosystem keeps deepening.

    1. Sherri, we were lucky and lost our power for just a couple of hours during the night, but so many people were without for a day or two and have wasted lots of food. We have a small generator for such emergencies, having learned a few years ago. Now I wonder if those folks will spend their compensation money on buying a small generator? It seems blackouts are becoming more regular, so I would think it's logical to become prepared for them. But then perhaps our thinking is too logical. ;)

  7. Sally, Happy New Year to you. I am behind with my blog reading as my brain was fried during the recent heatwave :-) It is over now thankfully. You certainly have had some bad weather down there and those blackouts are a worry. So far this summer we haven't had any thankfully. I love hearing about your Lavender so don't think you will every bore anyone when you write about the sweetie.

  8. You are off to a great start to the year Sally! Sorry to hear about Lavender, hope she is getting better now.

    2016 really did finish in an incredible way. Certainly went out with a big bang lol! The rain was very much appreciated. The wind was horrendous but it did mean hubby was able to drive around picking up fallen trees for firewood, after the storms of course. Lots of trees down around here as well.

    Hope you have a great year!



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