The Sun!

Isn't it wonderful to see the sun after all this rain? The earth is loving the good soak it has had over the last ten days or so but, it is time for the sun to shine!
Happy Sunday everyone!
The magpies are singing their song, the flowers are all raised up to meet the sun's gaze and the air is crisp.
What else could make this day anymore beautiful?


Day to day nurturing

I hope that everyone has had a lovely Christmas and New Year. How quickly the time passes us by. We are already heading into 2013 with gathering speed. Being swept up in the momentum is something that is hard to escape. Living here on the farm makes slowing down a little easier. I have mentioned before, the comforting routine of daily farm life is a safe haven from all the hustle and bustle out there in the big wide world.
Our animals have had an ordinarily peaceful time over the Christmas and New Year break. Nothing unusual has happened except for the fact that we are a pig down. I wonder, how many of you had roast pork during the festive season? We certainly did, and in fact it was rather wonderful! We are fortunate to be able to grow our own meat. It is immensely satisfying to eat a meal knowing that you have reared the animal and provided it with a good and happy life. I must say, our roast pork this year was the best we have ever tasted! There is, however, a side to growing your own meat that is quite confronting. It is difficult to take responsibility for your food, especially when it comes down to the nitty gritty of having to end an animal’s life. It is much easier and anonymous to go to the supermarket or butcher and ask for your favourite cut of meat. You do not have to face the day to day nurturing and be accountable for whatever may go wrong. I am proud of my family’s decision to take this big responsibility on.  I recognise in my children, a sense of respect and gratitude for their food. They have helped to provide their own food and it is teaching them to really appreciate what they have.


Karate Chopping Rooster- Latest Article for Southern Highlands News

The other day whilst I was gardening I witnessed the interesting behaviour of our two roosters. I was bent over in the vegie patch pulling out some of the many weeds and, I happened to notice the chooks that were busy scratching around. They were clucking and shaking bushes so I stopped my work to watch them for a bit. The chickens, ducks and geese all get on quite well and can even be found sitting on each others’ eggs. It is always a bit weird to lift up a chicken and find duck egg underneath! I am not sure which birds are the most dominant as they all make lots of noise and gestures. The ducks seem to act as guardians around dusk. The chickens and geese will go into their little house for the night whereas the ducks will sit at the door, half inside and half outside. It is as though they are guarding the door to make sure nothing harms the others. When I go down to put them to bed they quite happily get up and waddle inside.
While watching the activity this day, I noticed that the smaller rooster was sitting on top of one of the hens, holding her neck feathers in his beak and going at it! All of a sudden the bigger rooster cock-a-doodle-dooed from about three metres away. He came running at break neck speed towards the amorous couple. When close, he jumped in the air and let loose an almighty karate kick, knocking the small rooster off the hen and sending it flying! I stood there open mouthed at having been witness to this spectacle. The hen quickly gathered herself and scurried off. I did feel a bit sorry for the smaller rooster at having been knocked off his perch so to speak.


Farm update

This is a particularly hard post to write today. I haven't written much lately due to being busy. As most of you know, we are selling our farm in order to buy a bigger farm. We've outgrown this beautiful place and would like more room to expand and continue on our quest for self-sustainability. The link to our advertisement is here

The reason this is difficult to write is that I am concerned that some of you may be sad to hear that we have reduced our number of pigs from two three to two. It is our goal to eat our own home grown meat and we do this with the sheep and cows but, this is the first time we've had pigs. As you all know, I have grown very fond of the three little pigs. They have been challenging to say the least. They are lovely animals and very intelligent. So, consequently, it wasn't completely easy to say goodbye to one of them.
But, on a more positive note, we are taking responsibility for the meat we eat. Our pigs, and all the other animals, have a wonderfully free life (the pigs more so than the others!). So, it makes me happy to think that we are eating food that has been cared for and respected. Spot has gone. Pinky and Fudge remain.
Sean and Greg, the two calves, are happily out in the paddocks now.They can be seen hanging out with the sheep, and they will come to the fence for a pat when called. They are both looking very healthy and happy.
We've had a new lamb and I think there are a couple more on the way.
The garlic is looking good. The corn and beans are starting to poke their little heads through the soil. The tomatoes are growing fast. The rhubarb is prolific!
Our garden is looking stunning with all the flowers and new growth. After the rain we've had over the last few days, it all looks fresh and sparkling.


Direct Sunlight

Today I am thinking about how all the colours in the garden are shining bright and how everything looks crystal clear. Some days, time seems to slow down and not matter so much. There isn't that feeling of being rushed from one thing to the next. These are the days when we can really enjoy and absorb the beauty around us. These are the days when we can appreciate all we have. We have the warmth of the sun, the sound of the bees at work in the flowers, the colours of the trees and flowers in the earth, the joyous chatter of the birds busily tending their nests or feeding their young. 
In my small village, the clouds often reign supreme over direct sunlight. For this reason, days like today are all the more treasured. I know that this glorious sun is heating up our forty solar panels and therefore providing us with power. Knowing that we can work with nature to provide our basic needs is very satisfying. Using a resource such as the sun helps us to take responsibility for sustaining our beautiful, bountiful earth.
Today I am grateful for all the wonders in my world!


My Secret Garden

When I was a child I lived in a small house,
With a secret garden out the back…
It was an old soldiers cottage that my father lovingly restored.
My mother loved to garden.

I had a dog who followed me about.
We would wander around and get lost in the garden…
There were the prickly rose bushes that we’d push past,
Trying to avoid the thorns.
The scent of roses now, takes me back…

Behind the shed were climbing vines,
Some were passionfruit and some chokos.
I loved the way their tangled extensions groped,
To find something to touch and wrap around.

My favourite place was the giant weeping willow.
My dog and I could hide inside the long curtain of branches,
It was dark and quiet inside,
Our very own world where no one could find us…


Pig scales metre high fence in front of startled onlookers!

Just the other day, my city slicker sister dropped by for a visit. She, and her two children followed me around as I showed them all the things that I'm proud of about our farm. Also in tow were my four children and my lovely brother-in-law who had come to stay for a few days.
We meandered through the garden, stopping to watch the chooks, ducks and geese scratching around. The rooster even "cock-a-doodle-dooed" for us! We strolled past the calves munching away, batting their big brown eyes, stopping so that my little four year old niece could pat one of the calves.
Now, when we got to the pigs (I'm calling them pigs now as they are not little piglets anymore) we stopped so that I could introduce Pinky, Spot and Fudge. As usual, my two dogs were with us. The dogs went up against the fence, nose to nose with the pigs, to say "Hello". The next thing that happened seemed to unfold like a slow motion film...
I lent over the fence to pat Spot. As I did this, she stood up, placing her two front legs onto the fence. Usually when one of the pigs does this, I just tap them on the nose and they stand down but, Spot did not get down. She continued to lean on the fence with her front legs, while lifting up her back legs, one after the other until she was literally climbing the fence! As a group, we all just stood there, mouths agape, and watched her climb right over the fence! Spot casually landed on the ground, oblivious to us startled onlookers, and proceeded to eat the grass.
Only hours before, the dogs had been seen talking to the pigs through the fence...the very same fence that Spot had just now climbed over. Quite suspicious really as last time the pigs made an escape, the dogs seemed to be involved. 
Watching her climb, I had visions of all three escaping again and, of me spending all afternoon chasing three pigs while trying to lure them back to their pen...
Quickly my brain went into overdrive as I tried to figure out a way to get Spot contained before Pinky and Fudge followed her lead! Instead of thinking rationally, the first thing I did was to dive at her. I thought that if I could catch her, I could somehow lift her back into the pen (with help of course-she is quite large now). Instead, I ended up on my knees in the grass as she swiftly moved out of the way. She wasn't just going to stand there while a big human lunged towards her!
My apprehension soon vanished when I realised that she did not have any notions of trotting away. She was content to be close by, which was a big relief. 
My brother-in-law tried to direct Spot towards the pen opening but, the dogs were trying to help too. They were rounding Spot up and pushing her towards my brother-in-law! It's all quite funny when I think about it now. Spot was probably secretly laughing at us.
As usual, food was the key to successfully walking her back into the pig pen. She happily joined her brothers in a meal of bread and fruit. And I breathed a sigh of relief, for a moment at least.