Monday, October 27, 2008

Girls Night In

On Friday night our Ag n Chat group held a Girls Night In to help raise funds for research into women's cancers. We visited a new little cinema in our next closest town. It only seats 22 people on comfy lounge chairs. We had a lovely meal together before watching the movie "Across the Universe". No one had seen it before and we were all tapping our toes and singing along to the Beatles music. We all had a fun night and raised $240 which we thought was fantastic.

More Landscaping

We've had a very busy weekend trying to get as much of this sprinkler system installed as possible. We'll have one section finished tonight, so I'll order the turf for Wednesday I think. We live on a hill and it gets very windy sometimes, so all the black compost is now all over the bricks and paths. It's been trampled inside the house as well.

We had to hire a jackhammer to help with digging the trenches. The hill we live on has very granity soil and lots of floating rocks under the surface. Farmer Phil decided to dig the post holes for the proposed deck with the jackhammer while we had it. Each 600mm hole took almost half an hour to dig out. Farmer Phil was very tired and sore after hanging onto the jackhammer for hours.

Kittens Galore

Here are the kittens when we found them on Thursday morning - aren't they just the cutest!!

Farmer Phil has been checking them everyday and put food out for the mother cat. When we all went to check them on Saturday evening they were very thin and looked like they hadn't been fed for quite a while. We've never seen the mother cat and the food we put out had not been eaten. We decided to take the kittens and hand raise them ourselves. I figured that there would be 5 less feral cats running around being able to breed if I took them.

They are getting the hang of feeding from the bottle now which makes it easier on me. They fight and squabble about which one gets fed first though! They all have very different personalities - the black one is very placid and the little light grey one is a real ratbag!

Ryan and Emma think they're great, but Bella, Charlie, Poppy and Daisy are not so fussed with them!

If you'd like to adopt one in about 5 weeks, then let me know! We will not be keeping any of them as we've got enough cats already.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I'm supposed to be shovelling dirt at the moment, but I had to spend some time with the kittens instead!

We had a bobcat here on Tuesday to spread all the compost. I hired a rotary hoe yesterday and Farmer Phil worked the compost into the soil. He then hooked up a big square of steel behind the four wheel motorbike to run around the area and compact it a bit and also level the dirt after the rotary hoe stirred it up.

It did a great job, so all we need to do now is dig trenches where the sprinkler system will go, then put the sytem together and in the ground. We're going to turf the area with Legend Couch as it's very hardy and drought resistant. Legend Couch is used on golf tees and sporting fields, so it stays green all year round. The area to turf is about 430 square metres, so it will take us a while to get it done.

As I said in a previous post, harvest will start in a few weeks, so we need to get the landscaping done now before we get too busy. A contractor started to windrow the canola crops yesterday.

Cute Kittens!

I've got plenty to blog about at the moment but I don't have any photo's to share. Emma took the camera to school this week to complete a photo assignment.

I've just come back from one of our farms after Farmer Phil phoned me and said to come and have a look at something. I jumped in the car quick smart when he said he'd just found 5 tiny kittens in a hay shed where he was loading a truck with hay.

They were so tiny and cute. There was one all black, one all grey, one fluffy light grey tabby and two dark tabbies with white cheeks and toes. They were about 2 weeks old as their eyes had just opened and they couldn't move around very well. The mother cat shot out of the shed when the loader tractor moved in. We made a little nest for them in the corner of the shed with some of the loose hay and rags we found. The mother will come back when she feels it's safe, but she'll probably move the kittens because they've been found by humans.

I took a photo on Farmer Phil's mobile, so I'll try and retrieve it and see if it's blog-worthy. I was told quite sternly by Farmer Phil that I couldn't keep any of the kittens! I would love to hand raise them and give them away as pets so that they don't become feral cats later on.

As you know I'm a cat lover, so have a look at this blog. It's just gorgeous!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fire Preparation

We had our monthly Ag n Chat meeting this morning and the topic was Fire Preparation. As we are coming into our "fire season" this meeting was timed perfectly.

We invited James and John from the Rural Fire Service to give us a talk and demonstration about how to be prepared if a fire came our way. We all had to start the pump on the fire unit and extinguish fires using fire extinguishers and fire hoses from the unit. We then got to use the hose from the brigade fire truck and see how much effort is needed to hold the hoses.

We all came away feeling much more confident about what to do when a fire comes and we have to defend our homes and families.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

it's the little things...

I ordered these two pendants from Lisa Leonard a few weeks ago and they finally arrived today. The first one is for mum and it features a family tree and the names of her six grandkids stamped on a 1" pendant with a freshwater pearl attached. I didn't get around to buying her anything for Mothers Day or her birthday recently as I was totally stuck as to what to buy for her. You know, she's the person who has everything!

The other one I bought for me just because...

It features the names of our 4 children which are stamped on little 1/2" silver squares with a freshwater pearl as well.

You might be thinking that I only mention 3 kids in my profile. Our second son, Brendan was stillborn just over 15 years ago at 24 weeks gestation. I still think of him everyday and wonder what could have been... The day he was born seems like it was only yesterday.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

More Poo!

We received 24 cubic metres of manure/compost this morning. Yes, Adrienne I'm still shovelling poo!! This will be rotary hoed into the area which will be our front yard. Farmer Phil will install a watering system and then we'll lay some turf. It's an area of about 430 square metres, so we'll have a large yard. We eventually want to install a 15 or 20m lap pool as well. Let's hope that our harvest is a good one!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Waterski Camp

What a great week we've just had at waterski camp. As you can see from the photo, the view from the kitchen window was to die for! It was very pleasant preparing meals and cleaning up afterwards when you've got that view to look at!

Everything went very smoothly and cooking for 20 people wasn't such a drama. The kids had to clear and wash their own dishes if they wanted a bonus 4th ski. It worked very well, but some kids obviously don't do the dishes at home!

We had a visit from about 20 cows and calves one night, so here I am cleaning up their calling cards! The kids put on a talent show for us one night too which all the parents thought was hilarious! Who knew that these kids were so talented!

It's back reality now with Farmer Phil inspecting crops for aphids and heliothis moths. He's also getting the header ready for harvest which will start in about 3 weeks.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Checking the Crops

After the rain this morning, Farmer Phil and I went to look at the crops on one of our other farms which is 65km from our home farm. We measured 17mm of rain there, which is fantastic as the farm is in a lower rainfall area than home. In the first photo, Farmer Phil is checking out one of the barley crops. I sowed this paddock at cropping time, so I'm glad it's looking great!

The second photo is of some of the heads we collected. The top one is a head of barley. It is much thinner and has longer whiskers than the wheat head which is underneath.

The wheat head has finished flowering and is now filling with grain. This head of wheat is 12cm long (not including the whiskers) so you can get an idea of how big each one is. Each floret produces 5 grains in a normal season, which means that this particular head could potentially grow 100 grains of wheat. However, this head has filled 3 wide and should produce 60 grains, which means that it didn't have quite enough moisture to completely fill. We are still very happy with what we've grown due to the tough season. Last year the wheat heads were only half this size!

The field peas look great this year too, and as you can see there are peas inside. These peas are for animal consumption once harvested.

More Rain, Glorious, Rain

Yep, it's happened again - we've had rain overnight. 15mm in fact, which is absolutely fantastic. This will mean a much bigger harvest than we expected and many more dollars in our bank account! The wheat heads have filled with a quarter to half a grain in them so far. Now this rain will fill the heads completely.

The photo is taken from the same spot as this one from 2 weeks ago so you can see the difference a few weeks makes - the canola has finished flowering.

This will eventually be our front yard. It's just a big,flat dirt area at the moment. For the last 7 years in fact, since we built the house! We had a mossy rock wall installed 10 months ago, but haven't been game to spend the money on a watering system, turf and the proposed swimming pool because of the run of drought years we've had.

This morning Farmer Phil said it looks like we'll be able to finally finish off the yard the way we want it now! Yippee!!!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Baking Biscuits

This is what I've been doing this morning - baking biscuits. I've made chocolate chip, plain chocolate and some ANZACS. I'll also make some slices on the weekend too. Ryan and Emma are off to a water ski training camp next week and I'm the nominated cook for the week. I think there will be about 13 kids attending and maybe 10 adults for the week. Farmer Phil is providing our boat and himself as a driver. It'll be like a mini holiday for us. I'm thinking of having a BBQ one night, lasagne on another, possibly a roast on another night. Do you have any other easy suggestions for feeding a crowd of people?