"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

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Cloud Farm Christmas

Well Merry Christmas from everyone on the Cloud Farm! We had a good Australian Christmas. We ate too much, drank too much, showered the young feller with presents and generally had a good time. One thing we have not done is swelter in the heat, so far this has been the coldest December we have had here. By this I mean that there are blankets still on the bed and the days are nicely balmy. Beautiful!
This year we have gone through the cycle of the seasons that we have come to know and love. In this part of the world we experience a particular microclimate different from other parts of Australia. So although we experience the typical Australian summer and winter cycle (we don't really get a dedicated spring or autumn) we also get the summer mist months, the wet season, the windy month, the blue sky end of winter and so on. We are learning to expect each in its annual turn and enjoy the cycle.
All the fattener pigs have now been slaughtered and are in the freezer or pickling tub. I took the last carcasse out of the cold room and cut it up into pickling joints today. Two hams, two boned rumps, two bacon sides and two pork bellies. The shoulders were boned out and will be used to make sausages.
It sure is quieter out in the pig yard. Only old Sausage our sow remains. She is heavily pregnant at the time of writing and should drop her litter early in January.
Anna, the first lady of the dairy shed, chose to come into heat on Boxing day so we took her next door to see Francis the bull. After last years shenanigans we were ready with a plan. This time we put a halter and lead on her calf Isobel and Anna followed quite willingly. This would have been ideal except that Isobel the wonder heifer decided she was not going to have a bar of it and instead chose to fight like hell... Oh well, now I have a year to plan for next time.
 This morning I took the camera with me when I did the milking. I find when I sit quietly milking all the animals will ignore me and go about their morning business. The guineafowl will bring in their new keets for a feed and drink. The King parrots will come down and steal the chickens feed and the red cap finches will flit about almost close enough to touch as they wait for a turn at the feed trough. 
Lately I have also noticed that my somewhat eccentric dog Rufus has begun running a bovine grooming station each morning. When Bonnie has finished her bucket she will come over to the gate of the milking shed and let Rufus give her a good clean all over the face. They both appear to quite enjoy their morning session.
Keets and their mum in the morning sun. They have just had a feed and begin yawning before settling down for a sleep in the sun. Cute.