"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

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

The Heeeeeaaaaat.

It is still hot! The sort of heat that drains the energy and leaves you in a big ball of sweat if you try to do anything at all. The sort of heat that will drive man and beast into the shade from mid morning to lie dormant until the afternoon breezes drive the heat away and the shadows grow. The farm becomes silent save the noise of the cicadas and the dark shade beneath each tree holds the still forms of the livestock as they pant through the midday heat. Each breeze is savoured while it lasts. Finally the afternoon sun diminishes as the evening wind comes in and the noise resumes. I have always loved that time of day. It has fond memories of sultry evenings sitting under the stars as they come out, drinking wine into the evenings as the perfume of the night flowers scent the darkness. Good times indeed but gone now.
We have had a good wack of rain since I last wrote, although it is long gone now. The same rain which headed down the coast to deliver storms and flooding to folks down south. All of the water tanks are full now which brings great relief. The newly cemented tank is full of crystal clear water and holding well despite a small weep on the far side. I will be dumping the water several times over the wet season in order to help the cement cure. So when it is next emptied, I will give the inside nearest the weep a wipe of cement paste which should solve the problem. Wipe the weep.
Despite the rain, the wet season is not yet here. Yes I know that is a contradiction but I mean to say that the monsoon trough has not yet formed (despite the opinions of some hysterical weather reporters who really should know better, have a look at the satellite charts folks!). The trough is a thick band of cloud that forms over Papua new Guinea and then descends over the north and north-east coast of Australia between January to March- usually. With global warming screwing things up who knows what will happen in the future.

Thursday, 17 January 2013


It's hot! Unusually hot for this part of the world. I know we are in the tropics but our farm is at altitude and we usually experience a very temperate climate. So when we suffer temperatures at 38C (100F for the metrically challenged) we feel it!
Still, we did get a good wash of rain and the grass is growing again. This may not sound like news to some folks but to us grass IS the staff of life. Good grazing is directly responsible for a large portion of our diet. With the grass growth comes the changes in season and the life that it brings. Grass seed attracts the finches to feed and nest each year. I love watching these guys go about their business.
We have also finished off most of the work in the orchard with the felling of the last two trees to go. One pink cedar (also called sarsaparilla) and one black wattle. We now have plenty of firewood for this winter.
The ham is finally ready and I can report it is a success. Although the outside of the hams turned a rather unappetising grey, the inside was firm and pink.
Texture and taste is much like a prosciutto which is what I was aiming for. Fine shaved cured ham with a wedge of farm cheese and good wine. Does it get better than that?
Finally the chook pen is nearing completion after a long wait for time and materials to come together. A very kind gift from my parents allowed us to splash out and by the wire needed to enclose the yards. This is heavy duty chicken mesh and is *quite* expensive but I prefer to use it -because it is cheaper.
Does that sound like a contradiction?
Simply put, if I use the proper materials then I will not need to replace this mesh in my lifetime. Having to replace a cheaper mesh twice would be a lot more expensive in both money and time than doing the job properly in the first place.