Farm work has been rolling along.
The lambs are all topping 30 kgs apiece now easy, and some of them are so fat they're wider than they are tall.
I should have named them more appropriately - "barrel" and "lardball" would have suited them better!
We've found buyers for our four extra males, so they'll be going to various barbecues in and around Dunedin. Just don't tell them. But we're keeping our females, plus a wether as company for the new ram lamb when he arrives.
Everything is going well. The huge pruning and winterizing I did in the orchard has started to pay off.
The orchard is absolutely laden with fruit. I don't know how we'll ever eat it all! I'll be preserving all summer, I think.
One of our recent jobs has been fencing off the new orchard trees. We thought we'd be okay letting the sheep in, now they were a bit bigger and there was plenty of grass to distract the animals.
Bad move! One of the new trees was badly damaged, and another suffered a bit too. So we've been busy working out how to fence the trees.
What we came up with was putting Y-posts (waratahs) around, then wire, then chicken wire around that. I'll do a post on the details of this operation once it is done, but it is keeping us busy!
On rainy days I've been inside, busy painting the upstairs bathroom. I'm making sure I do a good job of it, because I will not be in a rush to do it again!
It's hard work, working in such a confined space.
Conversion to organic: de-thistling
I've spoken about it before, but in our conversion to organic, we've been busy de-thistling the property the old-fashioned way - grubbing them up by the roots, and ripping them out!
It's been hard work, because what happens when you turn a conventional property organic is that everything that was poisoned before comes back with a vengeance, and you have three times as many weeds to deal with as every else.
When you go organic, you really begin to understand that chemical poisons really are a short-term fix that will just make the problem bigger in the end. They're a short term cop out, not a solution.
I even wrote an Ode To Weeds:
- Oh Weeds!
Why dost thou growest faster than mine flowers?
I plantested thee not, yet reap thee do I, yea: thistle and vine both.
Tarry not do I, yet thy prickly scourge does taint my earth and shedests thine blight year beyond year, making beauty desolate...
A weed whacker have I!
You can kind of see how crazy the thistles have been making me!
The new woodlot
Other tasks I've been doing, apart from all this, is planning the new woodlot that will be going in in 2012. We'll be planting 200 trees, which will make us fuel independent for heating. The likely candidate for our woodlot is eucalyptus nitens, which can be coppiced.
Coppicing saves the tree a lot of energy. Not only do you not have to re-plant with new trees, but the trees grow faster, because they do not have to develop new root systems, which is literally half the energy expended by the tree as it develops.
Our estimate is that 200 trees will fuel our home and keep it toasty warm. It sounds like a lot, but did you know that the typical wood-heated home will burn through 25 trees a year?
This month, I was also busy completing my new beehive. It's ready, and now all I have to do is source some bees. The workshop was lots of fun, although I really didn't do well with the drill!
Our group of bee people now have a working group located on Facebook. Search for "Dunedin Working Bees" and you'll find us!
Between beehives, woodlots, fencing, de-thistling, planting tomatoes and salad veggies, general weeding, planting another 50 flower bulbs, writing a 50,000 word novel, and various other jobs I've not talked about, someone reminded me that Christmas is fast approaching!
Oh my - I forgot!
So I was glad that I did all my Christmas shopping back in the middle of the year when the sales were on. Everything is scarily under control, and the only thing that got forgotten was this blog!
I'll be back again more reliably once the silly season is over, but in the meanwhile, I guess I've done a lightning-fast update!
Have a lovely day!