Summer here at Sunnyside!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

I've had questions about the farm happenings here at Sunnyside & I can understand why.  Unless you follow along on our facebook, this blog has rather forgotten the farm since the days changed to hot & the nights followed close behind.  My husband reminded me the other night that this blog isn't just about homeschooling. In fact the main purpose of this blog is to record our time here & the lessons we've learnt (& the many mistakes we've made & continue to make) on this little piece of God's earth.  So I will attempt to update & maybe you'll catch a glimpse of why I've been rather hesitant in writing.

Beefy, Bessy & Cadbury
Sunnyside in January is a dismal place.  Sounds ominous doesn't it, but it's true. Especially this year.  You see last year we received just 12 1/2 inches of rain. Our average rainfall is generally a low 18 inches anyway, but to have such little rain meant that we are now suffering from a severe water shortage.  All our dams except the big house dam are bone dry.  We are so thankful that the large dam still holds some water & we haven't had to truck in water for the stock as we have for the house. 

The roll on effects of this water shortage is that we've had to let the garden go. Completely.(sigh) With our main watering dam completely dry and with numerous troubles pumping to the garden from the house dam, the first garden I planted very quickly gave up even with my feeble attempts at bucket watering.  I still held some enthusiasm & so when we were able to water again I replanted just a few plants.  Unfortunately (for the garden) we went away over Christmas and the 2013 poddy lambs that were locked in the very back paddock somehow made their way to the houseyard (bottle fed animals are notoriously naughty).  We did have some wonderful friends who came to look after our farm while we were enjoying the beauty of Port Macquarie & they tried to chase the lambs out, but with very little success.  Upon coming home I found our whole garden (what was left anyway) had been decimated by this annoying animals. Even the fruit trees (except citrus)  were eaten up to the height they could reach.  With the recent 48 degree days (Celcius) we've been having I don't think much would have survived anyway unless we had a whole lot more water to throw on the garden, which we don't. To tell you the truth I've about given up this summer.  Winter gardening seems much more successful so I've decided this year I'm going to focus on that & appreciate the natural fertiliser the lambs left everywhere.

The exciting outcome of this water problem is that we have just had a very affordable quote to dig a 5.4 ML dam in the back paddock ( which has wonderful catchment since it catches off two slopes).  This would enable us to hopefully have as much water as we would ever need!  We have also invested in some water bladders which would enable more water storage for the house. This will mean that instead of catching off just one half of the large shearing shed roof ( ours is twice the size of a normal shearing shed due to being a fine wool shed at one time as well), we will be able to catch rainwater off the whole lot.   We are still considering the dam, but were so excited that it is actually affordable!!!

We are thankful that the little spring rain we received last year granted us an abundant hay harvest.  This has meant we haven't had to buy in hay (which is expensive) for the animals this summer.  We are supplementing some of the animal's feed with various minerals etc, but overall we have been able to feed our animals without excessive costs to us. We did leave some paddocks of clover ungrazed during the winter & spring months to ensure a good covering of dry feed during summer.  Thankfully this has sustained our sheep completely so far!  Sheep sure are hardy creatures.

So while at the moment  Sunnyside looks very depressing, we know that it is just a season.  The rains will come, the temperatures will drop, the grass will grow again & the garden will flourish & in the meantime we are appreciating the small amount of work required in the upkeep of the farm over these blistering hot summer days.

And I have finally got my new camera!!!! These photos are the first I took with the zoom lens & I am having so much fun playing!  
 I need to practice keeping the camera horizontal when zooming for photos ~ no this is not a slope, but the photo was taken from our dam bank which is almost half a km back from the road!! :)

We have also added to our menagerie...and this time it wasn't my idea (at all)!
Any guesses what??!!??

Have a lovely day friends

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