Saturday, 15 November 2014

Farm Tour

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Farm Tour

It has been a little while since I have posted. I have been busy getting together photo's for this post. To give you more of an idea of how I live and how things work around the place, I would love to give you a farm tour!

Paddocks and Cattle
Having cows has been an amazing learning experience for both of us. When we bought our first couple of cows, we honestly just wanted to have a go, but we have  had no experience whatsoever with handling these funny animals!
We started of with a 3 year old Heiffer Angus/Brahman (Brangus) and a 7 month old little bull. The bull is meant for either selling or the butcher and the 3 year old Heiffer we want to use for investment to produce calves for us. Before we bought our 3 year old Heiffer, she had been with a bull in the paddock so we knew there was already a chance of pregnancy.
Over 2 months ago she gave birth to a beautiful little bull that has kept us all on our toes from birth till now! She has proven herself to be an incredible natural mum. Our cows share the paddock with two Angus cows, around one year old.
The house and land has previously been used for horses, so all the paddocks are fenced. We use electric fences as double protection. Unfortunately in this time of drought we have had to supplement their feeds with hay. As we have a cow who is producing milk for her little one, we have to make sure she get's enough nutritious food. Most of the paddocks have shelters and include water troughs that automatically fill with our bore water.
I'm not sure how I'm going to go with having one of these animals on my plate one day. If I really want this self-sufficient lifestyle though I better deal with it quickly and enjoy my T-bone, knowing what meat I am eating and what kind of life it has had.

We were blessed that our house had an existing chicken pen and roosting area. Right in the middle of the pen is a huge fig tree that hopefully is going to give us lots of fruit this year. We have 1 rooster and 8 laying hens at the moment. We are keen to increase our flock of birds and add some pure bread Australorps. Eventually we would love to have meat chickens in removable chicken tractors that will work the land for us.

Veggie Patch
At the moment we have a total of 40m2 of raised garden beds, divided into 4 beds of 10m2 each. Besides these raised beds, we have a patch of approx. 20m2 that we use for veggies as well. All our veggie patches are fenced as there are lots of rabbits and kangaroos around who would love to have a nibble of the juicy lettuces we grow!
Also fencing the veggie patch means our chickens can free range on the farm without ruining our harvest. We mainly grow our vegetables from seeds. Most of our seeds are Heirloom varieties.
Although we are not (yet) organic certified growers, we grow our veggies without the use of poisons, pesticides and only use natural fertilizers.
Our own little rule is that the main goal of the patch is to produce seasonal vegetables for our family to use. Our access we sell to friends and family.

As we have lived in rentals for the previous 5 years, we have grown some fruit trees in large pots. All these fruit trees are dwarf varieties.
It was such a delight to finally give these fruit trees a permanent home and let them spread their roots into real soil.
We have created a dwarf fruit orchard close to the house that includes an Orange (kara kara), a pear, 2 blueberry bushes, a nectarine, peach, and a multigrafted apple tree (3 grafts).
A bit further from the house we are slowly creating our normal sized orchard. We would love to have lots of fruit and ultimately be self-sufficient in growing our own fruit. At the moment we have an apple, mandarin, cherry, lemon and fig tree. Through the seasons and the years we will be adding a lot more fruit trees to our collection!

When we first bought the house the gardens were very overgrown. It definitely showed signs of potential but you could see that the gardens hadn't been looked after for a while.
The front garden is devided by 2 long gardens with a drive way in between. The garden closes to the deck has a big bottle tree that gives us much needed shade on the deck. It also has a little pond.
I will share our front garden transformation in a future post.
The other 'front' garden closes to the road is a very overgrown and mainly infested by weeds and weeds and weeds. We have started clearing some trees to give us a better view from the deck. The garden has got an interesting mix of plants, shrubs and trees in it, but is mainly dominated by randomly placed roses, citrus trees, a macadamia nut tree and a mulberry tree. This garden needs a LOT of work and will be a future project to tackle.
On the side of the house we have created a rose garden. On this side of the house we have a lot of windows and when the windows are open we really enjoy the fragrance of these beautiful roses.

We have lots of ideas and dreams for our outdoor areas and gardens. We have to take it one step at the time. Sometimes I have to really chose to enjoy the slow process, but on the other hand it teaches me a great lesson. We know that we really work hard physically and financially for every little transformation of our house and gardens. This really gives us great fulfillment!

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