Meanwhile, back at the farm….

It has been a while since I have written about our new place, we’ve been there for about 5 months now and life has settled back into a normal rhythm.

The paddocks have all been slashed – with the result that both tractors went on strike complaining about the added workload. Luckily my other half is a mechanic, and after some problems finding parts for so-called grey market tractors, both are up and running again – phew.

There is still a lot and I mean A LOT of lantana and other woody weeds about, but they will be slowly destroyed over the next few years – it is not going to happen overnight.

The uncovered orchard produced an enourmous amount of very tasty and juicy mandarins – I didn’t keep a tally but I reckon we could have filled two trailers with them. The bonus: with a glass of freshly squeezed mandarin juice every morning, I seem to have avoided the various cold and flu bugs that have been going around.

The chickens have been contained in a run (well, sort of. The young ones still fly over the fence) as they tended to hang around the house all day, every day, creating the mess birds are famous for. And a couple have started laying again. Yeay – decent eggs at long last!

The horses are still nice and round although it is now mainly dry stuff in the paddocks, but plenty of it. And all of our water woes seem to have been solved. A recent 25mm shower filled up the house water tank again, so it looks as if it is large enough and gets plenty of water from the roof.

The cattle grids are gone – after I watched one of the horses casually walk across one of them: I thought my heart was going to stop and imagined a horse with 4 broken feet. Luckily she negotiated it without any problems, but the grids went up for sale the next day.

We made a start on the veggie patch and are planning the design of the shade house for it. There is still some fencing to do (when isn’t there on a bit of land) and the driveway still needs improving. The dam needs major work, either fixing or filling in, the jury is still out on this. The orchard and a few trees in the gardens need haircuts. But all in all things are looking a lot more orderly than they used to.

 

 

Advertisements

Sub tennants

We have the usual assortment of wildlife at our new place: all sorts of birds like magpies, peewees, kites, wagtails and more and of course various lizards and geckos and their prey, innumerable insects; but the first ones to greet us in the yard after we picked up the keys were kangaroos. Since then we have realized that our place has a whole family of sub tennants. Almost every morning and afternoon a mob of kangaroos wanders around the yard and paddocks and seems to look at us as the intruders. They are not shy and let me approach quite close, more curious than afraid. There is one very large one, presumably the male, a number of smaller females(?) and a few teenagers. All of them eating, playing and resting with apparently not a care in the world. 

This morning I was pulling down the weed vines from the last few mandarine trees when I noticed 2 of the youngsters watching me with mum lying in the grass nearby totally unconcerned.  It was not until I walked to the next tree about 3 or 4 metres away from the little ones and started working on that that mum raised her head and eventually said to her kids: that’s enough now, lets go.  And they slowly made their way to the next paddock. 

A unique store

The other day we took a day off and went to check out a local boat ramp (local being a relative term here). After an uneventful drive we came to a little fishing village with a nice boat ramp and not much else. As it was lunch time we decided to pay the local store a visit for some fish and chips. This was the most versatile store I have ever seen in such a small place. In a building the size of a 2 car garage there was the general store with bread and milk and other daily supplies, the post office (a number of parcels took up the already small area for the customers), a bait shop, a take-away, an espresso bar and a bottle shop and probably more tucked away in some corner. And to top it all of there was a veranda cum beer garden.  And our fish and chips were fantastic!

If you are looking for a new chapter in your life:  the shop is for sale.

Settling in – sort of.

I am starting to enjoy living in a small town – every business we go to seems to be run by a husband and wife team and they are all very helpful and friendly. You never have the feeling to be in a shop but just asking some friends for advice. And almost every government agency has an office here where you can talk to people face to face instead of over the phone with numerous repetitions of “your call is important to us..” Everything is within walking distance, parking never seems to be a problem, and, of course, everybody seems to know about everybody else 😉

It reminds me of the time when we first moved away from the big smoke many many years ago; sadly the place we moved to then has now grown so much that it is almost indistinguishable from the big city 20 years ago. And so we moved again, at a time of life when most people downsize,  we up-sized 😉

The house looks almost right now inside, only a few more boxes to unpack and perhaps we will find the missing phone handset that disappeared at the beginning of our packing. The paddocks are starting to appear from under the 10 years of unchecked growth and although there is still quite a bit to do, nothing is really urgent and we can take our time. Which means instead of rushing around every day from 7am to 5pm, we now just run around doing things from 9 to 3 – much more relaxing 😀

Mow, weed, prune, water – just like in the suburbs

Mowing the grass….20170425_120438

…weeding…

from this…

20170428_161018a
..to this..

20170428_161122a

…and pruning…

from this..

…to this:

When we first bought this place I mentioned to someone that this would be a voyage of discovery: how right I was!

We have various sources of water: 2 rain water tanks, 2 bores and a dam,  some of them connected to places with underground pipes. The puzzle is which pipes go where. Some are quite obvious but others less so, like the fact that the toilet cisterns don’t fill up when the bore doesn’t supply enough water which seems to happen a lot. But, there is a rain water tank going absolutely nowhere- go figure. We will get it all sorted I hope.

But not this weekend – I’m going camping with my horse 😀

The continuing saga of the chicken shed

I mentioned our new chook shed last time: “the worlds easiest and fastest shed”. Yes, easiest to manufacture and fastest…

It took us about 4 days and numerous modifications to make things fit and to achieve a modicum of stability, but eventually the hen palace was finished – wow, what an achievement. I might add here that we have built a number of sheds over the years, including a 3 bay garage, so we are not complete novices but this one was a puzzle all the way through.

Our trusty little sunshine (tractor) lent a hand, ah bucket to move the shed from the garage where we built it around the house to its intended spot. All went well and it looked good in the corner, just have to put up the other 2 sides of the fence.

A couple of hours later I went out to check for a good place to put the rain gauge. As I was looking at the bottom of a post I saw movement out of the corner of my eye: a chicken shed lifted up by a gust of wind and sailing happily over the fence! So that’s what a ‘fast shed’ is 😉

We decided the shed might look better on this side of the fence and after a few repairs to the flimsy aluminium, the shed was up again – with four starposts at the corners pinning it down. Try and go flying now!

Needless to say, the rain gauge is still on the kitchen counter.

The next step – week 3

Things have settled down a bit after the last 2 hectic weeks. We are actually spending some time at the new place unpacking and sorting things out. We chopped down a couple of trees that were damaged in the wake of cyclone Debbie and Andrea started to remove a huge plant that was allowed to grow betwe20170416_072859en a rainwater tank and a septic tank – it is holding on with all its might. I bought some treekiller to spray the lantana that has spread over parts of the paddocks and might just try it on that plant.

On Friday Andrea and I went for a ride along our boundary and paddock fences to make sure there are no repairs required. Fences are good and it was quite enjoyable to plod around our own place. Even the horses enjoyed it as there were lots of tall grasses and seedheads to munch on on the way. 20170416_072832

We also started to build the new chook shed: ‘the worlds fastest and easiest shed’ according to the blurb. Yea well, not sure what they mean by that but sofar we spend almost a day on it and it still has only three sides and no roof- hopefully we’ll get it finished before the next trip south so we can bring the girls back; my hens have been holding the fort at the old place and I would love to have them here.

But, there are also positives: the weather is fantastic, we are actually getting somewhere in changing the place into something  resembling less of a storage shed and more of a home, and last not least, the spa is up and running!

20170416_100933