It sure is spring time

Spring Farm Update

Like a lot of farmers/gardeners at this time of year I seem to be outside with my gumboots on before I am truly awake in the morning and I’m falling asleep on the couch just after taking them off at night. Daily job lists easily fill the back of one envelope and are rarely completed in the one day.

Blogging certainly takes a back seat, an inspirational blogger from Scotland,at http://stoneheadcroft.com/ has been known to catch up on his blog late at night.  I certainly am not capable of stringing 2 sentences together after about 7.30 at night, let alone publicizing my thoughts to the world.

So we’ll just have to settle for an update and maybe some of it can be fleshed out at a later time.

There have been birthdays and bonfires,

cute kids,

bunnies,

and growing piglets.

There have been births

'Births' of a sort, these radish seedlings have come to life despite some very attentive slugs.

Deaths

This unfortunate lamb did not make it much past it's 4th week (?), we have also lost 2 ewes in the paddock for no obvious reason.

and bottle fed lambs

Yes this lamb lost it's mother, and has managed to spray a good lot of milk in that greying beard that is visible.

Garden update to follow.

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What do you choose to run your car on?

big picture agriculture: When Will We Admit that our Corn Ethanol Policy is Immoral?.

I hadn’t yet made the leap to using the ethanol options we have in Australia, initially because I’d heard that it may not be ideal for some vehicles.  However I’d been reading snippets here and there from some American forums that had me thinking there was something more than just a little wrong with the whole concept of using our precious topsoil and a food source to fuel our desperate need to travel.

Thanks to ‘big picture agriculture‘ for opening my eyes to this issue.

Daylight Savings begins

Frost on the hill.

A chilly start to day 2 of October and the new period of daylight savings, it’s -1 outside and quite frosty.  I wonder how many tomatoes were burnt this morning.  None of ours that’s for sure, we only have 6 tiny seedlings that emerged a couple of days ago and they are inside under a fluoro.

Everything else that may be fragile that is outside is against the wall of the house, all except for one Vietnamese mint which may not survive, but I took 9 cuttings from him before I transplanted him out.

This is one reason why most of our chooks don’t free range.

'Bugger off, this is mine!'

Here in this part of the world we have an amazing number of raptors, this ‘swamp harrier’ (I’m fairly sure this is what this chap is) has caught what might have once been a large wattle bird.  Tasmania is the only place in the world where these birds adopt a migratory pattern, arriving in Tasmania in late winter, early spring, in time for the nesting of the hooded/masked plover.  They are a joy to watch in flight, as are most of the larger raptors.

We also have regular visits from whistling kites, wedge tailed eagles, brown falcons and a white goshawk.  The latter being possibly the most dangerous for free range poultry, as according to a local poultry expert Paul Healy, the goshawk is the only raptor that will attack from the ground.  All of the other raptors, apparently, will only attack from the air, whilst the goshawk will attack from the air and once on the ground will pursue it’s quarry.

I don’t think I have ever recorded a fatality (poultry or otherwise) from our friendly white goshawk, swamp harriers however have certainly taken a number of our chooks.  This is why at this time of the year the plovers are my best friend in the paddocks.  Yes they will swoop me if I am too close to their nest but, any time a raptor, or even a crow, comes into the area, one of the plovers will attack them until they move on, all the while making loud calls of alarm.  It is incredible watching such a small bird as a plover, working desperately, flapping it’s wings, to gain altitude, to take on a wedge tailed eagle.

Cue teenage boy (blog photographer on school holidays) to get a photo of a plover as I’m much too busy.

Weeding crew in training

I love to see a young man enjoying his work.

and a young lass.

The ground our young pigs are preparing for a late spring planting was once part of an old strawberry field as can be seen below

If you look closely you can still see the ridges for the strawberries.

Under all of those ridges, the black plastic, used in most strawberry fields, still lies in wait.  Until this young weeding crew

in conjunction with these tenacious little blighters

comes along.  The pigs dig up the plastic and the weeding crew collects it.  Just one step away from weeding our rows of veges.

Incidentally the young man shown here has already negotiated his wage for this job, negotiations with the young lass and our resident blog photographer are under way.

Photos by Kalin Hayes