Thursday, May 26, 2011


After re-sowing 250ac of mouse-eaten canola today I'm now curled up on the lounge in my jamas and ugg boots watching Oprah's second farewell show. Farmer Phil is still out there spreading the paddock with poisoned wheat in an attempt to exterminate another few thousand mice who survived the last baiting a few days ago!

I'm not ashamed to tell you that I'm a big Oprah fan! If you come to my house in the afternoon, Oprah will always be on the tv. She is a very inspiring woman and some of her shows have been very thought provoking for me.

One particular show I saw last year had a huge effect on me. It was an interview with the authors of the book "Half the Sky", husband and wife Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.

I ordered the book the next day from the local bookshop and waited the few months it took to get it in . When I started to read it I couldn't put it down and I was always quoting excerpts to Farmer Phil whether he wanted to listen or not!

The book recounts real life stories from girls and women all around the world who have suffered the most horrific abuses imaginable. Some examples are from third world countries who value women so low that they may as well not exist!! From girls who are kidnapped and forced into prostitution in Thailand, African women giving birth to dead babies after days of traumatic labour with no hint of health care, female infant genocide in China just because they had the misfortune to be born a girl, and girls all over the world who are deemed not worthy of an education just because they are female!!!

It really is unbelievable and until you read the book, you just cannot imagine this sort of thing happening in our world in 2011!! The great thing about the book is the list of organisations supporting women which you can research and see if you can help in anyway.

I suggested our Ag n Chat group become involved in the "micro loan" system where we provide a small amount of money to a woman so that she may start a small business to support herself and her family. We are in the process of deciding where and how to spend our money and I'll let you know what we decide in the near future.

So, Oprah really does have some wonderfully thought-provoking shows but I also really love it when Nate Berkus does a house makeover show - I'd so love someone to come and visit my house!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Our BIG Furry Problem!!!

Well it seems that our small furry problem from a few weeks ago is not so small anymore!!!

After finishing sowing almost 1500ac of canola a few weeks ago it looks like we're going to have to re-sow almost all of it after it was decimated by mice. The pesky little s***s have not only eaten the seed before it sprouted, but they've also munched off the newly emerged canola plants!

Farmer Phil had spread the paddocks with poisoned wheat seed through the fertiliser spreader, but it looks like all our efforts over the last month have been for nothing!!

We've sown about 1000ac of wheat with another 2000ac still to sow. So it looks like this cropping season will be a long, frustrating one!!!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Stubble Burning

My father in law Farmer Noel in the ute and fire fighting unit burning stubbles

We don't normally burn our wheat stubbles from the previous year before we sow into them, but as last year was such a good one with high yielding wheat crops, we've had to burn the stubbles this year as they are just too thick for the cultivator to get through. If we didn't burn the stubbles then the cultivator just gets blocked up with all the straw in a huge tangled mess which takes ages to clean up. We would much rather keep the stubbles because they act as a mulch for the new crop coming through to help retain moisture and protect against frost - much like in your own small house garden, just on a much bigger scale!

PS - The reason we haven't burnt stubbles in the last few years is because we've been in a serious drought (since 2002 actually!!) and the wheat crops have been very low yielding and thin, so they were much easier to sow into the following year!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

It's a Dirty Job, But Someone Has To Do It!

This is what my hands look like at the end of the day - covered in soot, dirt and seed treatment! There are no hand washing facilities out in the paddock so when eating lunch you have to be very careful not to contaminate your food!


Thought I'd do a post about about seeding and what equipment we use to get the job done.

This is our seeding tractor - it's a Case MX 285. Very easy and comfy to drive which is essential because of the long hours Farmer Phil and I sit in it. It is equipped with a GPS unit which makes sure that the tractor drives in a dead straight line so that there is no overlapping or missed bits on the paddock which reduces our efficiency.

This is the air cart with the addition of a liquid spray tank. The tank is used to apply the chemical "Impact" which is a fungicide to control diseases in canola and wheat when mixed with the fertiliser. The air cart has two compartments or tanks - one for seed and one for fertiliser. The photo shows Farmer Phil filling one of the air tanks with fertiliser. The air cart has a fan attached which blows the seed and fertiliser along tubes to the cultivator bar.

This is the cultivator bar. It's 10.5m wide and has 36 tynes which are 12 inches apart. The tynes dig a trench and the seed, fertiliser and fungicide are placed behind the tyne in the trench.

Here is a close up of the tyne with the fertiliser hose, the seed hose and the smaller liquid tube.

There is a row of press wheels behind the cultivator bar which presses the tilled soil gently back into the trench.

This is what the paddock looks like after the seeder has been through. Hopefully in a week or so we should see little canola plants popping their heads through!

Hope this sort of explains seeding at our farm!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My Mothers Day!!!

Since I took over driving the seeding rig a few years ago I have spent every Mothers Day sitting on the tractor for the day sowing our canola crop. This year was no different with me on the tractor for the daylight hours and then Farmer Phil taking over at night. You can imagine what my Mothers Days have been like over the past few years!! I'm not complaining too much but this years' Mothers Day really topped me off!!

None of my three children (or my husband!) even wished me a Happy Mothers Day, let alone gave me a small token of their appreciation for me!! I sat all day on that bloody tractor imagining what all the other mothers in the world were doing - a nice sleep in to start with, then the kids making breakfast in bed, homemade gifts given that were made with love, maybe a picnic in the park with the family, and someone to cook dinner and clean up when they get home!! Ha - not in this household!!!

So, I'm giving myself a photo of a nice bunch of flowers that I deserve!! Hope you all had a much nicer day than me!

PS - Sorry about this post - I don't normally write anything too personal here but I really needed to let off some steam!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Yesterday I put some poison mouse baits in the ceiling cavity next to the manhole so that they were easy for me to get to. Looks like it paid off because when I checked it this morning all the bait was gone - hopefully eaten by those pesky mice! Thinking about it now, the house was decidedly quieter last night with no scratching noises coming from the walls and ceiling. So hopefully I may have contained our furry problem for the time being!

Just one small problem - what if the mice decided to die in the ceiling? Look out for the stench in a couple of days!!!??

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Small, Furry Problem!

Yes, we have a mouse problem here on the farm! Thankfully, they haven't found their way inside the house yet although we do have some in the walls!! All our neighbours are battling them inside their homes - YUCK!! I guess because our house is relatively new (almost 10 years old) that it is sort of mouse proof! We also have a Jack Russell Terrier and 5 cats who have been doing a great job at keeping the numbers down around the house and shed - evidenced by bits of mice bodies everywhere outside!

The paddocks are literally covered in little holes which the mice dig as a nice cosy nest for themselves and their family. When you drive at night the roads are alive with mice running across everywhere! We're all hoping that once some colder weather starts that the mice might eventually die off!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A Royal Wedding

I can vividly remember sitting up all night watching Charles and Diana's wedding almost 30 years ago when I was 12. I really hadn't thought a lot about watching William and Kate's wedding until the coverage started on Friday evening - then I was hooked and couldn't wait to see THE DRESS!

Kate didn't disappoint - she looked as elegant and stylish as you would expect a royal to be. And Pippa's dress was just gorgeous! William and Harry looked very dashing in their military uniforms and they looked the epitome of young prince's.

All in all I thought it was a beautiful wedding and I hope their marriage is filled with happiness!