"We must achieve the character and acquire the skills to live much poorer than we do. We must waste less. We must do more for ourselves and for each other. It is either that or continue merely to think and talk about changes that we are inviting catastrophe to make. The great obstacle is simply this: the conviction that we cannot change because we are dependant on what is wrong. But that is the addict's excuse, and we know that it will not do."
—Wendell Berry

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Time of lean, time of plenty

When you live on your own food you usually have either too much or not enough. Lean and plenty.

Last week we took Anna off the milk, that is to say we stopped milking her each day and have allowed her milk supply to dry up. This is necessary for her health as she gets near to dropping her next calf. To continue milking a heavily pregnant cow in the last month would be cruel, her body needs everything it can get at this time without the strain of supplying milk too. This means we are without milk until after the next calf is born. We did give in and begin buying the occasional bottle of shop milk. Yuk! Of course the way around this is to have two milking cows calving at different times of the year. I like the idea of a Brown Swiss. The milk is almost as good as a Jersey and they produce good beef steers too.

Emily, our heifer to Anna, is for sale now. She will make someone an excellent house cow. If she does not sell she will probably become our second house cow instead. Emily really is a bit of a sweetie. Must take after her mother like that. She likes to come for a scratch and a chat when the other cattle are not about and she gets jealous if Anna gets attention and she does not.
We sent Leopold, Anna's most recent calf and now a strapping big steer, over to a neighbours block to fatten and keep the grass down. I was necessary to do this to wean him. About the only fault Anna has is that she devoutly refuses to wean her babies and will let them suckle well into adulthood. Obviously I cannot have a newborn calf competing with a half tonne steer for milk.
I also wanted to ease the grazing pressure on the property. I have since let the cattle into the orchard where they have done a fine job of knocking down the rubbish growth. I will go in and clean up today and probably have a bonfire tonight. I also have strung an electric fence across the bottom of the house yard and allowed them in to graze that. No mowing for me!

Still no veggie garden and no progress on the chook pens. A large repair bill for my Ute has completely gutted the projects account so no materials until further notice. I would love to be able to earn what I need without being reliant on a long commute each working day. One day perhaps.


  1. Sigh - wish I was still up there to help with clean up and witness the bonfire! I'm still carrying around the happness from my visit :)

  2. I do so love hearing your updates

  3. Thanks. Unfortunately the digital camera has decided to cease working without notice so I am missing out on lots of good piccies. Oh well.

  4. Sounds like you have the cattle thing under control Ulf! Make them work for you. Pity you can't keep the pics up but one day we will see more. I am sure.