Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Smoke on the horizon

This is a very hastily stitched image showing the smoke that was blocking the sun yesterday afternoon. All fire restrictions have been lifted since the rain so there have been many fires - farmers burning stubble and cleaning up paddocks ready for seeding. This fire yesterday however was a controlled burn to clear the understory in state forest so that there is less risk of wild fires next summer.
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Thursday, April 8, 2010


For the last few years there has been a black cat which has been sighted only very occasionally around the sheds on the farm. At first when the kids told me there was a black cat I didn't believe them, and thought that they must have seen a rabbit or something else that looked like a cat. But seeing is believing, so since the day I saw it with my own eyes (about a year after the kids told me about it) I have believed in the existence of the black cat, although we have only ever seen it four or five times...
Sometimes when we arrive home in the dark the children beg me to drive around the sheds shining the car headlights to see if we can spot the mysterious black cat. And a couple of times we have.
Then yesterday Matthew and his friend Jake were getting sheep manure from under the shearing shed and guess what they found? Three little kittens!
They brought the kittens up to the house (in the wheelbarrow) for everyone to look at, and then took them back. In the short time they had them, the kids named the kittens Timmy, Tommy and Escapee.

Matthew with a cute kitten

Up close and personal

Odette checking one out


Joyce (helpX) with a kitten

Cute little kittens...

Wild animal!

Since the discovery of the kittens there has been much discussion about the ethics of kittens - should they be humanely destroyed? Should they be left to become feral animals which prey on small native marsupials and birds? Is it a good thing to have stray cats around the sheds to keep the mice and rats down? Should they be left to grow up and then be used as target practice for shooters?
At the moment the kittens are under the shed, on their way to become feral pests; or farm vermin control, depending on which way you look at it.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Foul Stench

The air is stale and has a foul stench since the rain we had a week ago. The rain came down very quickly and washed a lot of what was in the paddock into the dams, or the specially constructed silt traps which are designed to stop the rubbish going into the dams. The sheep manure that ended up in the silt traps has fermented nicely until the stink fills the air. Thank goodness the nearest dam is a few hundred metres away from the house, or I don't think I could bear to stay here.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Poll Dorset Rams

Poll Dorset rams are used over our merino ewes to breed prime lambs. This is the first time in recent years that we have done the prime lamb thing, and it has worked very well. The last lot of lambs sold for $4.80 per kilogram dressed weight, which averaged out to over $100 each, which is a fantastic price. That was the highest price we have received so far, but it may increase as the season gets older. It is just a pity that we don't have about 10,000 of these lambs...
The rams have just been taken out of the ewes after the mating season. So in a few months we'll have new baby lambs on the ground.

These three rams were brought home from Wattle Creek on the back of the ute.

Clearing Sale

Roger has been wanting a new (second-hand) 5-in-1 seed and fertiliser bin so he has looked at the classified advertisements in the Farm Weekly and he has scanned the clearing sales. He went to a clearing sale a couple of months ago but instead of buying a bin he bought an old motorbike and some other random junk as is so easy to do at a clearing sale. This week there was a reduction sale at a farm just near home, so we went along and he bought an old 5-in-1 bin. It was a lot cheaper than he had budgeted for (but he will need to do a fair bit of work on it before he uses it.) And as an added bonus he also bought the truck that it was mounted on, for only $1,000!! You can probably guess how old the truck is. It needed to be jump started and have the brakes bled before he could drive it home.

The auctioneer selling the truck

The proud new owner...

A little bit of rust...

Yannick and Fabian (helpX) checking out the new purchase

The truck and bin

A detail from the sale

Hugh took his tricycle

Farmers at the sale

Getting the truck started

bleeding the brakes

Roger wasn't tempted to bid on the field bin...

or the tractor with front-end-loader...

or these...

Neglected Blog

A section of new fence

This is a bit of a catch-up blog, as I have been running around so busy lately that I haven't sat down to blog.
The season has changed, with the mornings being cool and damp. We had rain on the 22nd of March, which has resulted in the paddocks turning a greenish colour, after the hot summer months of brown. It is a welcome change, as the rain also replenished our tanks and filled the dams. And it settled the dust a bit.
Although we welcomed the rain it came with a storm which caused widespread damage, not so much at our place but in the metropolitan area of Perth there was millions of dollars of damage. There was flooding, trees uprooted, rooves damaged, windows broken with hailstones and cars thoroughly pitted by hailstones. I have seen pine trees with hardly any leaves left after they had been battered by the storm. My sister says that she has never seen such big hailstones, and she was surprised because they weren't round, but jagged - like there had been a thick sheet of ice which broke up and fell out of the sky.
On the farm Roger has done a lot of fencing work. (No not with an épée!) The French guys who have been with us in the helpXchange program were kept busy too. They did about two kilometres of boundary fencing, as well as taking down some other old fences that need to be replaced. And then after the rain they had to repair some sections that got washed away.

Where the creek ran over the road when the drain blocked

Water! (Better than dust...)

My mother surveying the water damage

Hugh helping Roger to clean up, supervised by my father

Roger removing a log so he can repair the fence