Sunday, 20 October 2013

Whatever you do - don't look into his eyes

Sir Loin of Clear Mountain arrived today and he's not happy. He's been mooing his head off and the donkeys are stealing his hay.

Not a good start but the fence is on and I've had to run a third tape (cause he would have gone under the other two).

Roman is quite taken with him
He's a year old (last week) and will be with us for 6 - 12 months before he moves into the freezer. At the moment he's 94cm tall and weighs only 165kg - has some growing still to do.

Just don't look into his eyes...

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Sir Loin of Clear Mountain is coming tomorrow

WARNING: Cute pictures follow

We've finally decided on a suitable breed for a meat cow (ie. with a future in the freezer) and have named it appropriately, Sir Loin.

Finally, he's on his way and will be here tomorrow. 

Plan is to let him help the donkeys graze the property for the next twelve months or so and then it'll be time to trade him in for a smaller one by popping him in the freezer (most people don't want to know the detail of this part).

Much research has dictated that we chose a Miniature Galloway for their beautifully marbled meat. 

Problem is they're very cute...

Hope he likes donkeys...

Monday, 7 October 2013

Garden Share Collective - October 2013

Wow, what a month. I've started some pretty big projects thanks to the motivation from Liz from Strayed from the Table and my fellow bloggers in The Garden Share Collective - thanks guys.

Firstly, I have to say that today is a really really really hot day so most of the photos that I had planned to take have sad, wilting plants in them which was really sad so I haven't posted too many.

What I'm planting
I've started planting heritage seeds again, which is not going too well for me. I think the primary reason is neglect on my part. I need to do more nurturing of the little ones.

What I've harvested
Chillis - dozens and dozens chillis. MOTH (Man of the House) has made some of this famous 100 chilli chutney and he'll have to do it again next weekend - more will be ripe by then.

Lemons and oranges are continuing to come good and picking and I've just looked out the window and spied a paw paw that will be my breakfast tomorrow.

I bought these from a garden shop but now that they're flowering, I can't remember what they are - some sort of mini pumpkin I think.

Not everything is going well - something loves my broccoli more than I do.

Jobs for the month
I'm still working on getting my new garden bed ready. A last minute decision to rip out a huge golden cane has presented me with a large garden bed. 8 metres of soil was delivered last weekend and I just need to level it out and then work on irrigation. Then it'll be planning and planting and fencing to keep the chooker moles out. They are spending a lot of time in it at the moment, which can only be good.

Shit - a crow just got my paw paw.

I've also been wanting a water fountain for the past few years. This project is now a work in progress.

I'm using a cow trough (ignore the water tank in it) and a wrought iron fountain that I've had my eye on for ages. Given it's so big, I'm going to try my hand at raising some silver perch in it for the dinner plate. Lots of water plants and a brick retaining wall should help keep the dogues and wildlife out of it. The biggest risk will be heat so I'm going to try and insulate it somehow. I'm going to start to bricking, electrical work (the sparky not me) and installation next weekend. Wish me luck!

Wysteria flowering around the donkey stall
Irwin had a haircut yesterday
Oh, and I'm getting a cow... a steer to be exact. Sir Loin of Clear Mountain is a miniature galloway and will be with us for about a year before he goes in the freezer. He arrives next weekend so I've been busy checking fences and setting up a storm paddock to keep them in when the weather get hairy. Problem is he's going to look like this:

Sunday, 29 September 2013

I might have bitten off more than I can chew

Gosh, sitting down now to write this blog, I've realised that I have a number of fairly significant projects underway.

Project FISH (fountain in sentral highspot)
In 2011 when Brisbane was flooded, we suffered a major landslide directly behind our house, that quite literally threatened to come through the house on the way down the hill. Sandstone retaining walls were lost, driveway destroyed and (to date) we have moved in excess of 2,000 cubic metres of red dirt (the kind that red dogues especially like to roll in). The driveway has been replaced and we have built a huge gabian retaining wall but there's something missing... no circular driveway around the lawn and rose garden that used to be in the centre of the area.

So, Project FISH was borne.

I plan to make this (note the 3 metres circle on the ground)...

... into something spectacular, using this...

And not just any water feature. I've done a bit of research and have worked out that a 3m wide pond liner is really expensive so I've bought a poly cow trough. It arrives on Friday. Good thing is it's 560mm high (dogues cant reach that high) and is 2400mm wide - that's about 2.5 cubic metres of water. Now that's big enough for some fish - not goldfish - edible ones like Silver Perch. Have bought myself a decent pump and am planning on lots of plants for shade and protection from the native birds. What could possibly go wrong...

Project Her new shed
We're getting a shed. I'm in charge of making said shed. Have had earthworks done, concreter sorted, shed frame designed and is currently under construction, planners doing planning stuff and chippy mate is going to install said shed.

BTW, it's gonna be a big shed.

But.. while the earthworks guy was here, I had another idea...

Project new garden bed
We have a large garden bed that has heaps of shade and would make an excellent secondary vege garden - except for the 2.5 metre diameter golden cane in the middle. Long story (and a few trips to the tip) but it's gone now and today I had 8 cubic metres of top soil delivered. My new garden is well on its way (and my arms hurt from shovelling dirt). Watering system will be installed next weekend.

Project Sir Loin of Clear Mountain
This project has been more of a United Nations negotiation than physically hard (yet). I have gotten MOTH to agree on getting a steer for the freezer. So, I've done my research and have decided on a Miniature Galloway. Apparently their meat is beautifully marbled to die for (sorry - bad choice of words). So, Sir Loin arrives next week. I've put up new fences for a storm paddock (so he and the donkeys don't piss off when there's a storm and a tree takes down the fence) and have bought a new zappier solar fence unit. Sir Loin will live a happy life for the next year or so and then be replaced when he moves into the freezer. What could possibly go wrong...

Project firewood
About 18 months ago a tree that is very close to our house dropped all of its leaves and promptly died. All of the others around it are fine. No idea why, but it had to come down before storm season. So last weekend, our wonderful neighbour (and expert tree feller) came over with his big chainsaw (his was bigger than mine and I get chainsaw envy) and cut it down. It was so dry, it literally fell apart when it hit the ground. A few more chops and we have next years firewood all sorted.

Just need the shed finished so I can stack the firewood next to it in the firewood bay (told you it was going to be a big shed).

But wait, there's more...
And the ongoing day to day stuff continues as well. Garden is going well, things are growing (always a good sign).

Chickens are laying eggs everywhere (another story for another day).

Cats and dogues are happy, although poor old Max cat got his first paralysis tick last week and spent a five star night at the vet (or that's what the bill implied).

There's always something...

Monday, 2 September 2013

Spring has sprung

It's time again for my monthly blog as part of the Garden Share Collective I'm participating in.

What I'm planting
Last month I had the best intentions of planting up some of my heritage seeds - hasn't happened yet but I did pop down to Bunnings and buy a heap of seedlings instead so I had something to report on.

These are little pumpkin things I found at Bunnings. Looked like mini pumpkins. Should have kept the tag.

My rhubarb is not well, I don't think it liked our mild winter at all.

I've also taken on a couple of new projects - a new garden bed and the building of the man shed. Whilst the earthmoving equipment was here, I took advantage and ripped out a huge golden cane and a few other large plants and now have a wonderful new garden to plan and plant.

This is where the man shed is going to be. It has a sandstone retaining wall around it. I'm thinking big - a 3.5 bay shed with an extra bay on the end for storing wood and the tractor.

 The first thing I've planted in it is a new breed of plant, looks a lot like a chicken...

This new garden bed also has its own security...

 I also did a bit of lawn moving last weekend...

And again yesterday up by the house...

What I've harvested
The first roses of the season came out last week, they were beautiful (wish you could smell photos)

Lots of lemons and oranges. MOTH made me a Harvey Wallbanger with fresh oranges one Sunday afternoon when I was in the garden (that was the end of my gardening that day). Picked a paw paw yesterday, am looking forward to that soon. And the chooker moles are back laying eggs again with a vengeance, we're getting up to 10 a day. Only trouble is finding them all.

And, as always, there's chillis galore.

Jobs for the month
I think I've pretty much got my work cut out for me this month.

We have also had more repairs done to the landslide from hell (directly behind our house). So, I have lots more planting to do up on the slope.

My dwarf lemon tree is flowering like I've never seen. The little native bees are all over it so it looks promising for a bumper crop.

And my kaffir lime is also producing its new growth (the new leaves are an interesting shiny black) and the flowers are already turning into fruit as soon as the open up.

I'm also training Max the cat in showjumping. This is him mid air, jumping a 600mm high fence. I'm sure it's only a matter of time that they have a cat section at the Grand Nationals.

As part of my companion planting routine, I plant a number of flowers around the vege gardens This little native violet is more for looks, but it's just so pretty. It grows so well, I have to keep pulling it out.

Lastly, I am at war with my sprinkler system. It has lost pressure somewhere and I am slowly going through it to find the reason. My next step is to rip it up [sigh].

Plenty to do...

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Beware of the animals

Been busy

Keets didn't come back.

We're starting to get more eggs from the chooker moles.

The gardening blog thing I've joined has guilted me back into gardening again (which I'm actually loving).

Irwin walked on a lead rope last weekend for the first time - has only taken 4 years.

MOTH and I are heading to Vanautu in the morning for a well earned rest. And it's raining and the washing is all still wet and hanging in the garage and I have nothing packed yet...

Citrus is all about to ripen so it'll be major production for marmalade very soon.

The Garden Share Collective - August 2013

Hi all

Well, the garden share collective has actually motivated me to get gardening. If only I had more time.

I did manage to get a trailer load of organic soil for the vege garden.

I got the first two beds sorted that day, although I had plenty of help.

Guinness and Irwin helped me with the weeding last weekend and getting the last of the soil in the garden. Only problem is I could do with another trailer load - didn't have enough to finish the job.

Who'da known donkeys like lemongrass clippings
They also did a bit of lawn mowing for me while I moved the soil.

Didn't harvest anything this month, although there are plans for some serious marmalade making in the coming weeks.

I'm off to Vanautu in the morning for a week's holiday and when I'm back I'll be sowing some heirloom seedlings and I might even buy a few punnets of seedlings to kick things off in the beds I've finished. I'll get another load of soil and finish that part of the job too. The watering system is also on my target list - it needs a major revamp and I'll add to it with the fancy new manifold like unit I bought this month. That way I can control the watering to sections of the garden.