Farmyard happenings...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I realized it's been a long while since I've blogged about just the day to day of the farm.  So much has happened, yet not a lot really - the farm keeps on plodding along growing every day (literally - we've had over a third of our annual rainfall already this year & usually summer is our dry season). So let me share:  


The garden has often been a tangled mess over this summer - it seems that the chickens somehow crept into my shade house & ate all the first planting, so a week ago I replanted what I could - slightly early for winter, but we have been having such autumn weather that I felt it would be alright (I did save the autumn/winter only plants for later - I'd hate for a hot day to spring us by surprise & kill the seedlings).  

 I planted dwarf beans (a whole pack of seeds),  onions, coriander, mixed basil, dill & chives in our side garden - this bed already holds parsley (in abundance), echinacea, rosemary, sage, thyme, & potatoes (those that I haven't harvested - I harvested some as new potatoes -yum).  We've also recently planted a blueberry bush there & a chili plant.

Our shade house has a grapevine inside that is many years old - it has a beautiful crop of grapes this year & February is the month for harvesting grapes.  It is so much fun having a "pick- your-own" morning tea with the kids!!  Inside I have a mint plant, some heirloom carrots that I planted at the start of summer ( I should be able to harvest them soon), a heirloom cucumber that is producing these tiny, tasty cucumbers we are enjoying in salads almost daily and a couple of heirloom tomato plants.  Newly planted are sweet corn, rocket, pak choy, spinach, cabbages and lettuce.  As soon as I have room I have a chocolate mint plant to go in as well!  I am trying different things in here this year - since the shade prevents the harsh summer sun & protects from the winter frosts - it will be interesting to see what works.  

In the paddock near the chook shed I have a random pumpkin vine that is growing profusely & near the shearing shed is a tomato bush that is huge, but I haven't been able to pick any fruit from it as it has a fruit fly problem.    We have also added a raspberry vine & a cold region banana plant to our garden.  We have two orange trees that are covered in immature fruit.  This is the first year these have fruited due to a lack of water over the drought years & a scale problem that I treated with white oil mid last year.  I am looking forward to these fruiting as reportedly they have the most delicious oranges on!   

We still have two garden beds that  are currently weed patches - I intend to clean these out - my intention was to put in pumpkins & watermelon in one - although it's a little late for that now, so I'm hoping that over winter I can at least build up the soil & by next spring have it ready for these plants.  The other side I intend to plant to flowers - I love having flowers all over the house & the only way to do this is to grow them.  I'm looking for biannuals  that  are hardy &  able to grow is shallow soil ( this garden has black plastic about 15cm under it) & has beautiful blooms for as much of the year as possible.  
We are also constructing a garden bed at the back of the yard - this is a raised bed & hopefully will be ready soon.  I'm hoping to plant some more winter veges in there!  Ideally I would like a garden patch (at least an acre) somewhere on the farm, but we are aware that we have to rig up a watering system wherever we choose, so at the moment we are starting small & utilising the garden beds that are here.  

 Our girls are still managing to provide us with an abundance of eggs each day - Zai & Jud love going & collecting them each morning as they open up the cage! 
 I mentioned that we had seven baby chicks hatched in early December - well these ones are going through the gawky teenager stage - this phase always amuses me in all the animals - they are becoming independent, but aren't included with the adults just yet. 
 A few days ago we had another 8 babies hatch - to one mother (talk about busy - imagine having 8 toddlers running around you all day)!  There are 6 black chicks & 2 yellow & they are just the sweetest little things! 

 We are so thankful for the blessing of these chicks - we will keep the hens & cull the roosters once they are around 6 months old!  


Our Bessy girl is growing up fast.  She still loves affection ( a little too much). We had to move her from next to the house yard as it was too dangerous for the children to go down to the hen house - she would run up to you & try & push into you (which hurts since we haven't de-horned her).  She will be a year old in March, but I still think she is quite small - although I do know that Jersey are a smaller breed of cow than the Fresians we've had previously. 

We intend to get her with calf around June if possible - we are investigating A.I. options as we have heard that you can get sexed semen which would be great as we would love another heifer - to raise & then get into calf & then sell as ready for milking - a little side business for me!  This will hopefully mean that by next August we are milking here!!!


Sunnyside is now running about 200 ewes.  We still have the hundred young ewes that we are fattening up - once old enough we will put them with rams & then get them scanned & sell them scanned in lamb.  Our other mob is more of an experiment for us - we have purchased some old merino ewes (in fact saved them from the meat works for one last fling here at Sunnyside ;)  - I call them Methuselah's mob!   These we have had running with Border Leicester rams & hopefully they are now all pregnant.  We will not get this lot scanned as we are going to have them drop their lambs right here at Sunnyside.  These will be first cross lambs which are very popular at the moment.  Once they have weaned their lambs we will sell the old ewes on.   We will then consider what to do with the lambs in September.  

We are looking forward to these lambs being born.  Other than a few pets dropping lambs, we have never had a whole flock dropping them here, so are excited about the challenge of this (especially as they are older ewes we are gearing up in case we have a number of poddy lambs).  So the farm plans are very exciting - we wish we had more time to spend working on it as we love getting out as a family & doing sheep work (well except for catching rams - but that's another story)!  We are so thankful for the blessing it is!


OK so I didn't actually update that we harvested.  Well harvest 2010 was incredibly late - this was mainly due to the rain preventing the headers into paddocks.  It was on boxing day that our neighbour actually arrived here at Sunnyside to harvest our modest 50 acres of barley.  We visited with him in the morning & at that point it was much too humid to harvest (the moisture levels are checked in the grain & must be below a certain point for harvest to take place).  We headed off to church & arrived home after to no activity whatsoever.  Thinking it wouldn't take place we went to our friends place for lunch.  We arrived home late afternoon to see that it had all been harvested.  Apparently our neighbours father had bought his header in & helped him - I 'm so disappointed that we missed seeing two headers working our paddock - what a site it must have been!  We are thankful once again for a harvest - God has blessed us here at Sunnyside!
We do not intend to crop this year (well that's the plan, but I imagine when that time of year comes about it will be hard to stop Dave doing a little).  We are focusing on our sheep instead! 

So that's what's happening here at Sunnyside  - we love the simpler lifestyle farming affords us.  We are excited about the fact that we are getting more self- sufficient!  And we are trusting God to lead us into the future!

Today I am joining other in:
  (OK so I know it's Tuesday, but I'm sure it's still Monday somewhere...)

Have a great day


Amy @ Homestead Revival said...

Wow! Lot's going on at your place, Renata! I love your Jersey cow! She looks so sweet and I'm imagining the milk you'll get from her!

Rachel~ At the Butterfly Ball said...

Wow Renata, Everything sounds so lovely and "farmy". You all have so much to stay busy with! The flocked of mixed lambs will be for meat or wool? By the way it is Monday here!! (for another few hours at least!)

Saminda said...

So nice to hear from you Renata! It's been ages! I so enjoyed reading about all the growth at Sunnyside. :) Love your pictures too! xxx

Mum-me said...

That was a very interesting read. Thanks for the update.

Homeschool on the Croft said...

Not a very imaginative response, but..... Wow!

It is all so wonderful.. Blessings, but hard work too. It's easy to forget all the (constant) hard work when we're just looking at pictures. It's wonderful that you have this life.... there's nothing like being surrounded by God's creation, is there...

Fabulous run-down of goings-on!

Marsel said...

Such beautiful photos! Your farm life sounds wonderfully appealing!

Amanda said...

A great, great post. I loved taking a walk through your farm with you this morning. Beautiful Farm life photos!

Farmgirl Cyn said...

Hokey toot, Renata! So much goes on over there!!!! Beautiful photos, too. Thanks for the update. You are one busy family, for sure!

Quinn said...

Love the variety you have! (Especially the orange- I've never seen a green orange. What a contradiction!) And all those eggs!! I was happy to bring in 7 today, not so much when I dropped one on the floor). What a wonderfully lovely little farm you have. It was so good to get a peek at summer while we're buried under a foot of snow!

Linda Stubbs said... beautiful! Loved all the pic's. Precious family you have there! Wish we could all come and that would be fun!

So enjoyed my stay! Loved the Momma and her babies! You made me smile with your comment!
Hugs, Linda

Regan Family Farm said...

Oh my goodness! I had to chuckle when you said your garden was "small" this year. What an unbelievable amount of farming you accomplish!
Thanks for visiting~
Sending a hug from the farm!

Grandma said...

Hi Narn, thanks for sharing what you're up certainly have been busy. Wish we were there to see it all (and even more important to see you all). Say hello to all the lovely ones for me. love mum xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Heather said...

Renata, your beautiful pictures always make me want to move to a farm. Though I don't think I have your energy. I'm astonished at all you're able to accomplish with 4 children, AND homeschooling!

Jenn said...

Loved this update! Makes me want a Jersey cow! I think they are the prettiest breed!

Cassandra-ann said...

Hi Renata, i loved the update, you have so much going on. So can i ask you a few things? do you keep a rosster in with your chickens? We had to get rid of the rooster from ours as when the kids went in to get the eggs the rooster would attack the kids, pushing them over and pecking them. We have a broody hen now but no rooster.
Your sheep are doing well. We are having so many problems with ours, so i cannot wait to see pics of the lambs when they arrive!!!
Your garden sounds awesome, we are just about to get into ours for our winter planting, we still have pumpkins, potato's , carrots and tomatos growing but everything else is finished. The weeds took over this summer so we are putting down weed matting this time to keep them at bay as its just too much work with everything else that needs to be done.
Anyway i LOVED hearing your update and seeing all the pics. I especially love the pics of your cow, she looks so sweet and friendly!

Have a blessed day sweet friend :-)

Cassandra xx

Smilie girl said...

Thanks for the tour of the farm!
Lots of wonderful things you have growing there.
Love all those eggs.
You sound old hands at farming now.

Regan Family Farm said...

Hi Renata~
Thanks for joining the giveaway! I've added more opportunities to enter...just blog about the giveaway for five additional entries. Be sure to let me know if you do!

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