June Days

Friday, July 18, 2014

While it seems so far away & so much has happened since the changing of the calendar from June to July, it's always good for me to briefly record the happenings of the month if only for my personal record.  
June began with gorgeous, mild, winter days which slowly turned cooler until the end of the month which saw a freezing cold change showering the mountains with snow & us with bitterly cold days.  

The end of May saw me sick in bed & as often happens in families, the illness slowly wove it's way through the whole family with the exception of Dave.  How he missed it, I don't know.  He's touting good immune system ~ I say he's the carrier!  :)

My sister Cor arrived for a visit & we had a lovely time with her.  We even snuck in a girl's shopping trip which was a great break away from the normal!  We visited so many op shops that we were almost (note: almost) sick of them.  We had fun finding vintage records for our other sister who has an old/new record player.
  Unfortunately Zai came down with another vomiting bug while Cor was here & we sent her home with it.  I also came down with this one ( that was slightly different from the last) and spent the week after her visit in bed.  I don't believe we've ever had a month so filled with illness in our family.  I'm looking at natural ways to boost our immune systems so it doesn't happen again.


We continue to milk Bessy daily.  She is still yielding well & providing both us & the pigs ( who get the leftovers) with enough milk to keep us all happy.  I had wondered if we would slowly see a decline in her production as we are only milking once a day, but she's been very consistent so far. By the end of June she was so used to our schedule that she no longer required locking up at night, but happily came for milking when called in the morning (often-times she is waiting for us).  We did leave her for one milking while we were at church camp.  I was really nervous about this, but everything I read said it should be alright.  It turns out she was fine although she gave us 18L at the next milking.  I watched her closely for signs of mastitis, but thankfully she hasn't had any problems.

One of last years poddy lambs with Eli!
The end of June also saw us watching Delores (our sow) closely as her udder began to fill in preparation for her third litter of piglets.  We never know exactly when she is due ( although this time we had a fairly good idea) so it is always exciting watching & waiting!  We also began to watch our sheep closely as they were due to lamb come July.  
We did have one ewe with major problems & in the end we knew she needed to be put down.  We decided to c-section her lamb in the hopes that it was strong enough to survive as a poddy.  Unfortunately what would have been one good sized lamb ended up being two preemie twins.   I was covered in amniotic fluid as I cuddled them in the freezing wind while we sped to the house to get them as warm as possible.  Sadly they died within the hour, snuggled together.  They were so early that they never even opened their eyes.  There was nothing we could do, but it's always hard to loose not just one animal, but three all in one night.
Twin preemie lambs all snuggled in together.

During June we had 9 eggs in the incubator & were able to successfully hatch 6 of them.  This is one more than last month & the children were so excited about their success.  Our other chicks continued to develop well & we moved them outside to ensure the smaller, warmer brooder was able to house this newest batch.

We excitedly watched our barley crop continue to grow.  This year we are using an Exhaust Fertiliser System which stimulates the biology in the soil.  This is in place ( at least for us) of any fertiliser.  We are so very pleased with the difference in the quality of the crop so far & we have been able to grow crop in places that have previously been bare ground.  Apparently the biology continues to be stimulated & you get even better results in subsequent years of using this system!
Our cats asleep in the sun!

Twin boys sitting in the sunniest place doing schoolwork :)

Our NSW Board of Studies inspection occurred with very little warning early in the month.  In hindsight it was better that way as it's all over & done with & I don't have to spend weeks organising & rearranging & rewriting my learning program (which I am very likely to have done).  It was a rather intense time of writing though, as I had one weekend to be ready (all while manning vomit bowls).  We were approved for two years so I don't have to worry about this again until 2016 which sounds like a long way away, but I'm sure will be here before we know it. I'm thankful that they are happy with everything I'm doing.  Note to self:  Next time be ready for the inspection before you send in the reapplication letter.  

We had some branches grow from under the graft of one of our orange trees.  It turns out they are a bush lemon and are producing fruit!  
My winter garden is making me believe that maybe I am not blessed with the 'black thumb' my husband has teased me about!  It is wonderful to have plants growing in the garden!  I am thankful for them & certainly no longer take it for granted.  We began to harvest the earliest salad greens in late June.  It was so nice to have garden fresh produce even if it isn't really salad season!

We had quite a time of eating pancetta after the current lot of bacon ran out.  (We always make one slab of pancetta when we make bacon.)  We were regularly enjoying our homegrown eggs, homemade pancetta complete with coffee made with our home-produced milk for breakfast .  When we weren't eating pancetta, we were enjoying our beef & pork!  We are abundantly blessed to produce our own meat.    We also sampled our salami  (just the tiniest bit & no, it is not responsible for the vomiting), but found it much too soft.  We fried up that batch, but left the rest hanging in the cool room (modified fridge).

June was a month that has seemed to pass in a random flurry of activity, although there were certainly some days that lagged!  I am thankful to report we are all in good health again!

Have a lovely day friends

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