Spring has sprung! Another spring is here, and it's quite unbelievable how fast this year is galloping along. I've lost my blogging mojo lately as there isn't time in my days to sit at my computer when there is so much else happening.
Well, there has been a bit of writing going on, but it was for Grass Roots magazine; the first article published and another article is ready for the next issue.
I tell you what... I really hung onto that cheque. Hated parting with it at the bank last week. It's the first time I've ever been paid for writing, and it was such an honour to write for my favourite magazine. The accompanying hand written note from founder and co-editor Meg is tucked away for keeps though.
My articles are on Natural Sheep Care using Bio-dynamics and Organics, and there are lots of other fabulous articles in there as usual.
Chicks hatched out in the incubator. We had too many Cornish Game (meat bird) hens in our flock, and not enough Australorp (egg laying) hens so Brian incubated eggs from both breeds to give us meat for the freezers, plus replacement laying hens.
When the chicks were strong enough to leave the incubator, usually 12 to 24 hours after hatching, they were placed in the brooder enclosure under a light to keep them warm and to get them moving about, eating and drinking, for another 24 hours, before being introduced to their foster mothers.
I took little videos of the chicks in the brooder to go onto my Instagram, but I'm not able to put them on here. (Another skill to learn on my list)
The fenced off nursery section of the chook house. Note the small opening in the wall.
The small cut-out opening allows outside access into a separate yard during the days, away from the other hens, but is covered over at night keeping them safe from predators and sheltered inside the nursery.
There have been bottles on the sink, and milk stains on my clothes constantly for five months! Is it any wonder that I'm counting down these remaining few weeks until this lot are old enough to wean? That early arrival of the first bottle lamb in June has extended our usual three months of lambs by two months. Too much... too long..!!
Little Trevor, my 'special needs' baby, is going ahead now in leaps and bounds. His malnourished and bent bones are gradually straightening out, his little belly is round, and his legs are developing muscles. He will never amount to being a proper sheep, but this gutsy little fellow will always hold a special place in my heart, and will live out his years here.
Still too small to be tailed and castrated, we'll wait until he looks ready.
The ewes have learned the routine. Each night we bring them down to the small paddock nearest the house where they huddle together and protect each other's lambs from foxes.
In the early morning I open the gate for them to wander back up to the hill paddocks. A new paddock every few days.
It's much quieter and relaxed around here now that Mulga Bill has gone for another 'holiday'.
Bulls, even quiet bulls, love to throw their weight around, literally! He rubs himself against gates, trees, sheds. Lifts the hay rack and moves it to various parts of the hay feeding yard. Tries to intimidate anyone and everything that comes into his space. The heavy tyre on the rope gets a good workout, usually in the middle of the night (boom,boom,boom) on the shed wall, but if it keeps him occupied that's a good thing. A gate is saved from wrecking for another day. a tree branch stays connected to the tree for another day longer!
The hay bale is lasting twice as long now that he's gone, and that's another great thing. So we will not see him again until after Lavender's calf is born, due in December, and by then she will need to be mated up again.
And suddenly it's bee season again. A stack of new boxes ready for filling. Note these boxes are branded with my initials since I've become a registered bee keeper along with Brian, so our holding capacity is greater now, and so is our workload!
Out today at some of our apiary stands, checking the health of the hives, adding super boxes and excluders, making notes of what we need to do next. It's shaping up to be a good season, and we're hedging our bets by having bees in many different locations.
The Bee-keeping workshop on October 8th is fully booked now, so we will open another date for the next workshop soon. Preparations are now keeping me busy, in my free time.
But right now I'm trying to organise a short break in October to get away for a few days in our newly purchased Avan..
The logistics involved in going away...!!! (insert eye roll)
All work and no play is making a certain person a bit cranky and a tad grumpy, (not me) so I pulled rank and bought it! Yes, just like that!
I have wanted one for years, and recently decided that life is too short not to use the good china, so, after looking for the right one for many months, this one came on the market in the City near us, and we brought it home a few days ago. You may notice that we drank to its good health and longevity that same evening, pretending to be on holiday.
And that, my dear friends is quite enough for you to read in one sitting.
If you made it all the way through, thank you!