Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Spring Rush and Dear Friends

Dear friends,
Thank you for your  kindhearted  comments in regards to the loss of our Soda. I know you will understand why I did not answer each comment personally, and I hope you will accept my gratitude to each and every one of you for taking the time to write, in each case, the perfect words that were balm to my soul. You knew exactly the right thing to say. Wow, from people I have never met came comments, emails and phone calls with wishes that were perfectly soothing and powerful.
What a beautiful community we have here, and I'm so grateful to you all.

 The days are warming up and the Spring rush is on.  There is much to achieve each day, and now the watering routine has begun. I do wonder why I create so much work for myself, but I enjoy pots of colour and greenery around the place.

You know how concerned we were about getting a hay crop this year? The contractor arrived last week and agreed it was time to cut.

This smaller crop was lush, but the other paddock was not so, but he cut it anyway.  Oh what a great feeling of relief, but we must not count our good fortune just yet; not until it's bailed and put away in storage.
The number of bales will be well below our usual, but combined with our stored hay from last year, there will be enough to feed our cows and sheep through summer and get us through until October 2019.

Brian has taken two weeks annual leave to do our shearing, among countless other things that need doing at this time of year. Most of these were the ewes that we did not mate up in view of the dry season ahead. So no lambs for them this year, but they put more energy into growing an extra long fleece. Brian was doing some fancy footwork to handle the huge girls and shear their wool off.

At morning smoko on the first day.  I didn't recognize Coco with her wool off, but she was happy to see me and came over for a chin scratch after I snapped this photo. She was one of my bottle fed lambs from last year, now grown into a lovely strong ewe.

Jack of all trades, this bloke.

We butchered the steer. 
I helped bring him into the crush because I was familiar to him and he was relaxed around me. We didn't want him stressed.  I then swiftly moved the other cows into a far paddock before beating  a fast retreat while the men completed the job in a competent and professional way. 
I'm so very grateful to have people around me who are capable and can be trusted to do such an enormous task. As a meat eater, preferring to eat chemical free and ethically raised and dispatched meat, I can't stress enough the importance of taking control of the entire process from birth to plate.

 Hung for two weeks in our refrigerated cool room.

Our butcher friend helped us cut the carcass into all manner of cuts and portions. I chose to forfeit a couple of rolled roasts and gained these ribs instead. 
We enjoyed some of them slow cooked in a sticky Asian type sauce in the wood oven for dinner that night. Delicious.!

This is the advantage of helping our butcher, standing alongside him, and choosing the cuts as we go.
Brian helped me to make approximately 10kgs of mince with the off cuts and then I spent the remainder of the weekend packing the meat into meal size portions. It's a huge job that needs to be done with care to avoid any waste.
Most of the meat was packed into vacuum sealed bags and will store very well in the freezer for twelve months or more. The meat that we intend to eat first, within five or six months, was packed into ordinary plastic bags.

  Rendering the beef fat in the wood oven. 

For baking and soap making.

The weather has been cool enough to have the wood oven burning everyday, so there has been quite a bit of baking going on.

It has been a bumper couple of months for the Farmgate stall since our local Cottage Industries shop in the town closed its doors. People obviously love to access old fashioned home made foods.

There's bee work of some type going on every day now that we're into Spring.

Marking young Queen bees ready for sale. Red is the colour for this season.

Bee rescue call-outs are a daily occurrence at this time of year.

 Heavy work.

My goodness we've come a long way since our early days of hand winding the honey extractor under some bee proof netting strung over the Hills Hoist (wash line). We laugh about that now, and never take for granted our much easier set up that we've built up over the years. 
However, for all the modern equipment that we have now, our honey is still the same in quality. It is still spun from the frames without the use of heat, to maintain it's raw and pure goodness. 

 Lavender's calf Bertie is six months old now and it's time she was weaned.  

As we have only three cows on the property now, and I wanted to keep Lavender and Poppy together in the same paddock, I needed to buy a paddock companion for newly weaned Bertie. 
Also, now that Lavender is not feeding a calf, she needs to be milked twice daily. 
ALL that MILK!!!  What a great way to use up some of it by feeding a bobby calf?
A call to one of our local dairy farms on Sunday, and by evening we had this little bloke in our possession.  A Friesan bull calf, three days old, had been bottle fed on colostrum...perfect.  
Such long legs, we named him Stretch. 
Before we lifted him onto the back of our ute I slipped an homeopathic Arnica pillule into his mouth to reduce the shock that he would suffer from the short trip to his new home. 
I previously wrote about our use of Arnica here.

 Bertie, meet Stretch.
Bertie was reluctant to accept Stretch as a replacement for his mum; weaning time is stressful for all and there were a noisy couple of days.

But this morning peace reigns as the two paddock mates have become acquainted. 

So I think I've almost caught up on our news for now. I'll show you the vegetable gardens next time. 
Cheers until then.
Sally XX



  1. Sally we’ve been away, and I’ve only just read about the loss of Soda, so sorry to hear such bad news, sending big hugs XXX

    1. Thank you Cheryl, those kind words mean a lot to me.

  2. Sally our caravanning adventure took us way out Western Qld. If the farmers could find something that grew well on rocks, they would make a killing. The paddocks are bare. I mean bare. Your hay, whilst not what you normally cut is so much better than anything we have seen.
    All that gorgeous golden honey! This has reminded me that I need to visit out beekeeping friend and purchase some of his honey.
    I love that your farmgate stall is doing so well. I would like to be nearer at times, to purchase some of your lovely wears.

    1. Jane we are so lucky to have had the rain we got, and not a day goes by that we're not grateful for the grass we managed to grow. Our drive through NSW in June was an eye opener to see how bare the ground was then. But as they say up that way, "each day is a day closer to rain".

  3. What a wonderful example of mixed farming - how farms used to be, diversified and interesting.

    1. Thanks Phil. Sustainable diversification is the way to survival, we believe. It also keeps life interesting.

  4. I love farm gate stalls, Sally. I can't drive past one without having a look!

    1. Good on you Meg. I say that on behalf of all farm gate stall owners. X

  5. Lovely to hear from you again. Your seats outdoor mingled in the gardens look heavenly.

    1. Thank you Brigie, we have our favorite spots to sit with a morning coffee and other spots to sit for our evening glass of wine. Creatures of habit. ;-)

  6. So glad to see the crops grew a little more since my last visit and you got to cut them both for hay. And your garden is such a pleasure to be in and walk around.

    Stretch looks lovely! Can’t wait to meet him!

    I just love your farm Sally, I have no words. Xx

    1. Emma the garden is looking at its prime right now, and so it should, I've spent hours of work at it...lol. Extremely lucky to get a hay crop worth cutting this year, but it still isn't baled as yet.

  7. You've been so incredibly busy already. My growing season really just began, in October. When the rain arrived. Your grass looks so lush and lovely, the meat delicious and your farmgate stall, always so interesting. I love how you've dressed it up with a stuffed scarecrow, old wooden crates, and the prizes you won at various shows. If I lived near you, I'd regularly clear your farm-gate out, lol.

    Nice to catch up with your goings-on again. Here's hoping we have a gentle summer, this year. :)

    1. Thanks Chris. Here's to a successful growing season for you. We're making the most of this lush greenery, soon we'll be surrounded by brown paddocks as we move into our dry season.

  8. i've just caught up, you place is looking as lovely as ever. good luck with the weaning calves hope they become good friends.
    just heard about your loss & feel sad too, they become part of the family, time will heal.
    your own butchered meat, wow it must taste soo nice! wish i could have home grown meat, one day...
    recently bought a bucket of honey from my friend (15kg) the flavour is awesome!
    lovely post
    thanx for sharing

    1. Hi Selina, it's always great to hear from you. Thank you!

  9. That's good news on the hay front Sally - at least knowing you'll get through to this time next year will bring some peace of mind.
    Nice to see what you've been up to - busy as usual. The bread looks delicious too by the way.


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