"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

Thursday, 21 March 2013


Ok so I know it is only a python and not even a very big one at that but coming face to face (literally) with this character first thing in the morning is still not good for the heart!
Annabelle thought it was hilarious! I swear she chuckled all the way through the milking afterwards.

In other news, the littlest cloud farmer is most pleased with his new bed. It was a very kind donation from our most wonderful neighbours. Repainted now and with a pair of hand print smudges from the little feller on the end board. I wanted a pair of neat hand prints but the young artist had other ideas.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Chook pen is done

Well it is done, sort of, nearly, with just a few bits to go, near enough. Sure I still have to build the nesting boxes and only one of the three pens actually has a water drinker installed and I still need to fill the floors in with gravel, but we could wait no longer and so we have moved the chooks in. Rather than avoid much flapping squawking and swearing, the child bride and I staged a covert night time raid on the feed shed and the old chook pen where the chooks roosted for the night. I had wanted to do it in the proper style for all covert night ops - black clothes, cool military webbing, night-vision goggles, tazers and handcuffs but the wife would have none of it. I had to settle for humming the tune from mission impossible as I dazzled each bird in turn with a torch as the missus crept within range and seized the unfortunate fowl before tucking it under my arm, giving me a clout behind the ear and a whispered warning to knock off the bloody noise. Then with each of us fully loaded with a cargo of indignant poultry we transported them to their new home where they will remain incarcerated for the next fortnight to get used to the new pen.
We also rounded up all of the excess ducks and the spare turkey to be fattened on a mash of milk or whey with cracked corn and millrun. In a few weeks time they will "come inside" for dinner.
We have had problems with the big native ravens and currawongs in the past. They are dreadful egg thieves and will attack chicks and ducklings if they can. With that in mind I built these pens to be as raven proof as possible. One idea is the chooks daily access door- a small hatch down low in the door to their pen. I find the ravens dislike having a limited escape route and will usually not go into the pen through such a small door.
Between the rain and the heat the bananas have gone, well, bananas. I counted sixteen bunches this morning. For some reason the local possums and friar birds have not destroyed them so far this year. Last year I had to bag every bunch with old feed bags to try to save something from the local wildlife. Don't get me wrong, I have no objection to sharing as long as we get at least one bunch.
The weather is changing although it feels a little early yet. The nights are beginning to get chilly, blankets on the bed and the days are still warm. We are getting those beautiful blue skies that come with winter. I love this time of year. I am also getting to enjoy it a little more than usual. I am currently nursing a fractured rib due to occupational violence. I know I am a dreadful patient, I find it very hard to just sit about the house and having a sore rib nagging constantly certainly doesn't improve the mood. Oh well.  

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Back again

Well it has been over a month since I last posted. Sorry about that.
There were no particular calamities -my computer simply broke down. The replacement part, of course, took weeks to order in.

Life here has continued in its usual cloudy way. Both the trees in the orchard and the littlest cloud farmer have grown. The chook pen is pretty much complete but not much else has advanced and the wet season is finally making a late appearance. The hen duck sat a nest behind the feed trough in the stock yard and managed to make a complete mess of it. The turkey hen is sitting seven eggs behind the compost bin- so far so good. The other turkey "hen" proved to be a gobbler the other day when it put on quite a display and so will be going into the fattening pen along with the excess ducks. The rain and warm weather has given us a good lush crop of grass in both fields and the cows are waxing fat and healthy. Soon I will bring one of our steers back from a neighbours place where he has been keeping the grass under control. The stocks are getting low in the freezer. I really should tan the hide this time as I need a new workshop apron. Last time I did a goat for the freezer I tanned the hide and it worked out well.
Needless to say, I did it in the traditional manner. Salted and dried before getting scraped and bark tanned for a month. Good durable leather was the result. Thin though, won't make a workshop apron but good for drum skins or gloves. I am told cat is the best drum skin though.
The weather has been giving us about an inch of rain per day lately which is about normal for the wet season. Thank god I remembered to replace the weather side roof before the rain hit. Above is a typical Cloud farm day during the wet season. I like it.