"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

Friday, 21 October 2016

October update

Four days ago Bonnie, our second house cow, dropped a beautiful little healthy heifer. We have named her Jessie.
She is soft and quite cuddly. Not at all afraid of humans. I was very pleased to see Alessa, our maremma, quietly standing guard in the paddock with the cows for the first few days. She still goes out to spend the night with them and keeps the wild dogs away.
Anna, first house cow, is due to drop her calf in another two weeks.
After the delightfully wet winter it has turned dry. Our tanks are running low and we are all a little on edge when it comes to using water. To make things worse some charming piece of vermin chewed a hole in an exposed section of water line from the tank that feeds the cows trough. Not at all happy I must say! I discovered the leak when the tank was nearly four fifths empty and managed to patch the line before burying it deeply to prevent further chewing.
We attempted to pump water from the creek down in the rainforest (we share a water line with our wonderful neighbours) but found the pump was unable to start for reasons as yet unknown.
On the plus side I can hear the frogs "calling the rain" outside. They seem pretty positive so I will assume they know what they are doing.

Times are a changing

I feel it is time for a change!
For those who do not know I have worked as a prison officer for nearly a decade now and it has taken its toll. PTSD and depression and so forth. I think I have finally had enough and so it is time to look in a new direction. This has presented me with something of a dilemma, what to do? What is available? I am not so young anymore and many of the more physical jobs are now out of my reach. I also have something of a lack of tolerance for fools nowadays ruling many of the service industries out! In fact I have quite had enough of working for other people altogether so the only realistic option is to go back into business for myself.
Now I have been a cabinetmaker for many years, I made fine furniture and historical reproductions. It was a fine job and I loved it. Unfortunately it is also a fickle industry as I was essentially selling luxuries, something people can do without in times of need (and quite rightly so). In addition the climate on our farm is ill suited to cabinet work- the rapid changes in humidity play merry hell with timber, especially if it is to be shipped to a customer in a dryer climate. So I was forced to reluctantly rule this option out.
Late one night as we finished a bottle of wine my wife commented that I had always loved beekeeping and could I not consider that as an alternative?
In my younger days I had been an avid beekeeper. I kept around forty hives and they kept me fed and the rent paid (I was living in share housing) when jobs were scarce. I absolutely loved the bees and was enthralled with their workings. I read avidly and discovered that bees operate only by their rules! They cannot be made to do anything and it is the beekeeper that must bend to the will of the bees if he is to be successful. For some reason I find this simple fact profoundly satisfying.
So the idea grew rapidly, I spent many hours over the next few months researching the finances and requirements. Looking at the market and need for honey as well as pollination services, wax, propolis and royal jelly. I was pleased to find the market is better than ever for honey and all services are in high demand. The area we live in supplies many good sites within a few hours drive of our farm. Overall it is looking very promising indeed. My doctor is also of the opinion that it would be an excellent therapy.
Plans are therefore afoot! I will keep you posted.