Seeds arrive!

Today our seeds have arrived, ready to be sorted and planted! Looking at the weather, we still have another week or two of frost still to come, so seedlings will need to be raised indoors in the warmth. Some of the seedlings in the greenhouse froze last night! We had a forecast of -1 degrees celcius, but this morning getting ready for work, it was a balmy -4 degrees outside and the poor cucumber seedlings suffered, even under cover in the greenhouse! So the seeds will be raised inside until the risk of such severe frost is over and hopefully we can start planting out in our plots in the coming 2-3weeks.

Ahh the joys, it is always a bit of a gambling game this frost business…

More Babies!

After 21 days in my makeshift incubator, our first of our croad langshan chicks have hatched! I managed to get a clip of one of them pushing out of the egg! Very very cool! There are 3 in the brooder, one in the incubator fluffing up and another 4 eggs to go. One of those eggs is almost there and another one is smacking its beak against the shell to pip its way out. On a sadder note, one did die and Tano-Li helped me take it to the wormfarm. Sounds kinda odd heartless, but the way I see it, the life that was lost will help feed other life forms, which will inturn help feed plants to help feed us. Kobe-Li’s comment, “Ahhh, that chick is really dead.” Our kids are exposed early to life and death on the farm and I can only see the benifits of this. Respect for life, but also respect for death.

I think I will exand this incubator to allow for more eggs at once and to allow for more working space. As it is, I am lucky I don’t have giant hands! Anyway, here is the vid!

Great food, great wine, great company and great news!

Another productive weekend after my rear end regained feeling. I got the last of our potatoes in (well the last for now, will plant some more but that will be much later in the season), and have prepared and semi prepared some beds ready for planting in a couple of weeks. Collected some black gold and now just have to wait and let nature do its thing.

We also had a vist from a long time friend and his partner. It was great to see them again and we enjoyed a lunch of slow roast lamb shoulder that was meltingly good, roast potates, sourdough bread and and a garden salad. Life really doesn’t get much better than this! Great company, great food, great wine and to top it off great news from our friends, who are expecting their first baby in December! Congratulation Jamie and Rachel! Can’t wait to meet the bub and next time we catch-up, I’ll remember the eggs and rhubarb!

Numb Bum

OK so the topic title this time is a bit dodgey, but tell you what, that is exactly what happened tonight! I got home from work and it was time to move the cows to their next bit of fresh pasture. So I turned off the electric fence, moved the cows into a temporary paddock and setup a new cell for them to graze. I turned the electric fence back on and moved the cows back out and man they were happy! Dang, forgot to move their water trough (an old bathtub). So I dragged the old tub down to the new cell and as I hate double handling, I decided to leave the electric fence on rather than go up the hill, turn it off and then back again to turn it on. I then dragged the tub under the hot wire… yeah well, that was a mistake… I thought I was low enough, but my BUT was sticking up too high and made contact with the hot wire! I have said before in an earlier post that this little solar unit kicks out a bit of juice and has floored me before – literally. Well I can report that feeling is slowly coming back to my rump and next time, I’ll turn that bloody electric fence off!

Biodynamics

When we first purchased our little patch of paradise, Hayley and I dicussed whether or not we would go certified organic or not. After doing some investigation, we decided not to as the cost and time required to keep things sorted for auditing was not going to be worth our while. Instead we thought we would grow organic (as if THAT was ever in question) and not certify, but also look at going biodynamic, once again, uncertified. What is biodynamics, well read here:

http://www.biodynamics.net.au/

I am not a huge fan of the mystic mumbo jumbo, but the common sense approach it brings and the symbiotic philosophy, to me is very aluring. In a nutshell, it is all about the health of the soil, the health of the plants, the health of the animals and ultimately the health of us. Biodynamics’ core element is a mixture called 500, a cow horn stuffed with cow poo and buried for 6 months to super decompose. What is left is an amazingly concentrated humus filled with natural organisms and good soil microbs.

So after purchasing a home gardeners kit at the start of the year, which inoculates upto 1 hectare (2.5 acres) of land, I finally got around to inoculating our orchard, berries, kitchen garden and market garden areas. There is still enough to do the same again, which I will do mid spring. The instructions say to do it 2 times a year, once in spring and once in autumn, but to give it a boost start, I was told that I could double up early on and then do the standard applications there after.

As always, I had my young padawan with me, wanting to help in everythiing I did! Tano-Li helped to spray the mixture in the orchard and he also helped to load the ride-on trailer with the cut grass Vern had just slashed! He asked what he could do to help and follwed every instruction to the letter!

A big thanks to Vern and cousin Quoc-Le today for their help also. Vern played on the tractor and with the chainsaw and Quoc-Le helped stir the 500 mixture for an HOUR! He also worked out that planting potaotes by hand, can be pretty hard bloody work 🙂

We also made our own butter the other day! Hayley found a “bath milk” supplier and so until we have our own house cow, we can use this milk and cream to make our own dairy products! Hayley made some feta also! Can’t wait to have some!!!

This is a photo of yesterday’s lunch: homemade bread, eggs from the chook shed and homemade butter. Sen-blody-sational!

Vietnam Vets Day – 3 generations of Quach’s march!

Today was Vietnam Vets day, a day which is set aside to remember those who served and fell during the Vietnam war. It is also on the anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan (http://www.anzacday.org.au/history/vietnam/longtan.html) an infamous day in Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam war.

Tano-Li marched with dad this year, and my brother Nam-Hoang was the flag bearer. 3 generations marching! A proud day in the Quach family history!

Chicken Rotation.

Vern came over today to do a few odds and ends. It is always great working with him, we sometimes don’t say the same thing, but we mostly mean the same thing. Not really sure how it works, but it just does. Best of all, we seem to be able to communicate without talking, each of us kinda knowing what the other person needs or is trying to do… Anyway, we cleared out the old wood shed, which is now a storage shed. One day I would like to cover it with crushed rock, but that’s another job. A whole bunch of stuff now sits in there out of the weather, ready to be used.

We also started separating the chicken area into 4 quadrants. The idea is that the chickens will be moved around each quadrant on a rotation basis, not too disimilar to the other livestock rotation. After they destroy one area, we will then level it out and sow a mixture feed crop, like sunflowers, and grains, so that when they are back in that quadrant, their feed will be supplemented by what has grown. It is really looking good, but we will need some more fencing and 4 gates before this is finally finished. Once done, I will then knock up a chicken tractor like Joel Salatin’s ones (http://www.polyfacefarms.com/2011/07/25/pastured-broilers/) but half the size and halve them follow the cows.

So much to do!!!! So much fun!!!! So much life yet to live!!!! So glad our family is living it!!!!