Wednesday, 5 December 2018

December 2018

Hello friends!
It's been such a long time since I sat here at my laptop tapping out some words to journal our life and happenings here at Jembella.
This was the purpose of the blog, after all, but life generally gets in the way of sitting back and writing things down. So today's post is a catch up on what has been happening.
To those readers who also follow me on Facebook and on Instagram, you can expect to see some photos that you've seen before. Although these two platforms are also a great way for me to record my living journal, I realise there are dear friends who don't use them and the only way they can see what we're up to is by reading this blog.

In late October we drove to collect our two female piglets from Peggy, our friend and free-range pig breeder.
In years past we have always bought three piglets. One for our freezer and butchered at home, and two for selling the meat. 
By law, to sell the meat we are required to have them butchered at an accredited abattoir. However, due to our disappointment with the local abattoir, (read.... rough treatment of the pigs at their final hour of life was clearly evident  on inspection of the carcasses at collection time) we have decided not to sell our pork. We bought only two pigs because it will be manageable for us to butcher both pigs here at home on the same day, to our own ethical requirements. This pork will be for our freezers and shared with friends and family who have helped us out in various ways.

 They are living a good life and dining out every day on restaurant scraps and surplus milk. Soon there will be orchard fruits that we collect from under our trees of those of our friends.  I've often heard it said that home grown food animals "have a good life with just one bad day" but it is really important to us that our animals DON'T have ANY bad days.

Also in October we attended our local Angaston Primary School 140th anniversary.
One of my longest time friends (I won't say oldest)  joined us and we found our Grade 3 teacher, Miss Hahn. She was our favourite teacher and she is still a gorgeous lady.

Little Stretch seemed to be growing up and not out so I purchased a bag of "Calf grower pellets" which he would not eat!  I tried feeding him by hand, but he spat them out so I  taught him to drink from the bucket and add the soaked pellets to his milk rations twice a day. Almost immediately we could see him filling out.

 October Beekeeping workshop at Jembella Farm

November Beekeeping Workshop at Jembella Farm

We had the great pleasure of running two Beekeeping classes in both October and November. both of them fully booked out.
Yes, they are quite a lot of work to organise, especially so because I do all of the catering of morning tea and lunch, take all the bookings and do all the marketing and publicity, but they are enormous fun. We see people learn about keeping bees and then return to buy their equipment and bees, and then we mentor them through the beginnings of their new adventure. 
Brian and I both believe that knowledge should be shared. We shouldn't take it with us, as was the attitude of many older apiarists who we peppered with questions during our early years of beekeeping. 

Forty chickens hatched in the incubator and then placed into the care of three broody hens.
Another sixty eggs are in the incubator and due to hatch next week.  Most of them will be chicken for our table plus a few replacement layers and breeders.
I bought a chicken from the supermarket last month when our supply in the freezer ran out. It was a big disappointment and my plan is not to buy from the supermarket again! 

 After a tricky growing season..low rainfall whilst growing and then a downpour of 25mls after cutting... we actually got some hay baled. Phew!! 
Hay is so expensive to buy this year due to the shortage, and we can breathe a huge sigh of relief that we have enough to supply our stock for the next two years.

Cutting enough chaff from our new season hay to feed the cows when they're in the dairy for milking.

The nets are on the fruit trees. The birds are becoming hungrier and coming in closer than ever before. 

A reminder to take extra care when near the netted trees as snakes are often caught in the netting that touches the ground. This one had its head caught in the netting that covered the blueberry bushes. The only way out was to remove its head.
The week before this, Brian had a surprise as he lifted the lid on one of the hen's nests to find a Red Belly Black snake curled around half a dozen eggs. 

 This is the time of year for re-queening our hives if the Queens are getting old. We ordered (and received in the post) six Queens form Queensland last week. 
Brian's Queen breeding program is going well, with five young Queens gone to new homes last week.

And as if life wasn't busy enough, we found this sweet girl at the cattle sales last week. 
Her arrival has been challenging and eventful, but with great joy too.
Honeysuckle deserves a blog post all to herself, as you can see I'm completely smitten.

But before I go, I want to tell you about a beautiful new blog from a friend who I met through this blog and then through Instagram. 
Great things are meant to be shared and I think you will love Fairy Wren Cottage
as much as I do.
Jude is a wife to Michael and mum to fifteen year old Liliana. They live on a few acres in delightful Tasmania, in a cottage they have renovated together into something out of the pages of Country Style magazine. Truly, you will drool over the photos that Jude so cleverly styles and displays on her pages. But it's not just about beautiful things and a life of total fantasy. Jude suffered an injury a few years ago that has changed the way she has to live, and then young Lil also suffered an injury.
Jude writes about the ways they have learned to adapt, learned to be positive and grateful for the simplest of things. 
 (Lordy, don't most of us need a reminder at times, to be grateful for our good health and mobility that we mostly take for granted?)
This little family have a genuine love for animals, especially ducks, guinea pigs, chickens and dogs that is heartwarming to read about. Jude writes about and shares tips on permaculture and organic gardening and animal care, cooking, baking, sewing and crafting, homeschooling etc.
 Her beautiful mantra of "Bloom where you grow" rings true in my ears.
I honestly wish Jude lived just down the road from me, she is just the kind of friend we would all love to have. Oh and did I mention that she also writes for Grass Roots Magazine? Yep! 
So go over and have a read, I think you will be charmed.

That's enough from me today, and thanks if you made it all the way through.
Sal XX

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