From the Farm

Apr 15, 2011

15 April 2011


Well the first frost of the season and another tonight (Wednesday).  It stayed low and missed the house but finished the pumpkin vines and spuds on the flat.
Ila collected the pumpkins only 53 ........ only fifty blooming three, on a good year we would grow 400 in that area.  It is down to the dry period in fact we have had very little rain.
The chestnuts are falling and we will be collecting them later in the week. Unfortunately the grapes are all gone.
The ponds are still well down and the springs are not running. Can't see the potato crop being good either.
We do have more pumpkins close to the house and spuds but we are going to be short as it is also stock feed for us.
Dropped in to Dee's to sort our Organic Farm NZ courses etc after doing deliveries in New Plymouth.
Ila mowed the lawns (I would put the sheep in) the clippings go to the pigs /chooks and compost.
Samuel has been doing some odds and ends of fencing for us and been sorting his cider.  He has been on the phone to John of Cottage wines getting advice.  If its 20% as good as Johns it will be good.  A real bonus for this came from Shonagh and Mike Hopkirk who gave Samuel 20 dozen bottles, a capper and caps.
Ross came out to take photos for the essay good timing as Ila had just netted an eel.  Jamie was here and showed us how he bones and fillets them.  I had never seen them done that way.  It went into the freezer with the others for a batch to smoke later.
Jamie was out here to help (well he did it) grind the concrete floor where we are going to put the Farm kitchen. Looks good.  Now i have to get on with the nib walls.
Ila made a real good curry out of some of the diced goat meat, it was her first try and im sure it wont be her last.
Ruth has cleaned out all the chook trailers and put the manure into the compost heaps. There was trailer loads so will be fantastic after a turn or two.
At least we are getting something from the chooks as at the moment most are not laying due to the moult.
Yesterday we had to get the cattle in for TB testing.  Now our cattle are not like milking cows more like elk or wild buffalo in temperament.  The last time some of the cows were in was 3 years ago for TB testing. The whole thing is a total pain in the donkey.  The herd live more or less wild over the 100 acres and we do get the odd one in for the market or for house meat.  They know the block better than we do and its not a easy job to get them in.  Anyway Beate and Ruth helped after 2 hours of going round and around in circles through scrub and swamps.  I remembered i had an appointment with a Swedish student from Stockholm university at the same time the dogs at home started barking, so i hopped into the Austin Gipsy and rushed home and sure enough there was two good looking Swedish women.  Hi im Katrina and this is my tutor, both looking at me jumping out of an old Austin gipsy, sweaty, covered in swamp mud and cow shit.  Hi im John, look im having a problem with the cattle can you hop in here and
i will get you to just stand somewhere and turn them.  So they looked and got in and we drove back to the cattle.  Im not sure it helped when i said Ive been waiting for years to get two blond women into my gipsy.  Anyway it was just the help we needed, turned out they had stock sense even thou never done it before.  I did forget to tell them if the wilder ones got stirred up they would just flatten you.  So we just left the cattle in the yard for the government agent to sort out and he will be back on Friday for the re check. I will have them in the yard.
The interview went well it was on lifestyle blocks it seems this is a NZ phenomenon.  I still can't believe a university in Sweden would fund a trip for students on this but they do and have been doing similar trips since 1976.
In the afternoon i picked up the 2 new woofers Leah and Leo a kiwi and a Italian, a couple about 25.. 30..who are going to be sort of flat mates with Beate.
We will see how it pans out and keep you posted.
See ya Sunday

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