Monday, August 3, 2009

It's a new day!

Life has been somewhat hectic recently. Construction of our new home has finished and we have been moved in for three weeks. Unpacking is spasmodic and unorderly, except when our amazing friend is here to motivate us. New routines have to be established, and for someone who traditionally couldn't function until the local newspaper was read, its taking a bit of adjusting to only be able to read it after the kids are dropped off at school. Pet lambs need feeding on the way to take kids to school, as does the new calf Miss Moo(who was one of twins but the mother rejected her). New gadgets to get used to, cooking with gas instead of electricity. The house is amazing, more room is fantastic!, although the kids have one speed only -running everywhere.

Gotta run. Too much to do.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I'm Back

Where has it gone? Time that is. I blinked and months have gone past. At your request Tinkingbell, I will get my act together again. (by the way Tink, your son did a remarkable job yesterday at the Mothers Day Litergy xx)

We have been feeling pretty smug up till the last week or so. GFC has been happening, and we were getting through relatively unscathed, but no longer. Our customer has advised that no over contract produce will be accepted. This means we will have a fair amount of grown produce going as livestock feed. This is the same for potatoes, carrots and cauliflower. Potato harvest has finished this week, and the harvester is being converted today for carrot harvest to begin on Monday. Cauli harvest is in full swing.

The next seasons philosophy will be to get right back to basics, grow what we have historically grown well, with our preferred customers. No experiments. Pure and simple, try to scale back slightly, so we dont wear out our staff, try to keep morale up, both with employees and ourselves. At the end of the day, if it becomes a chore and we're not enjoying it, we need to be asking why are we doing it! The kids are nagging, madly for Dad to have a day off so we can go to minigolf or ten pin bowling. I think that is planned for this weekend. Mother's Day Weekend.

Happy Mothers day!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Admission time

I have a guilty secret. I'm not a hands on, get out in the mud and dust type girl (except if horses are concerned, and then its OK.) Potato harvesters I avoid like the plague, cauli cutting time, see ya, Broccoli, well it was such a disaster this year it wasn't worth getting contract labour in, so I put myself out and joined the team. Don't get me wrong, I dont bludge off the farm, I just enjoy a different type of money making venture. My passion has become the Stock Market, and I have just enjoyed some considerable success, much to the farmer surprise and delight. One of my companies just became a takeover target and needless to say the price skyrocketed, as two companies have commenced a bidding war. I held onto them for as long as I could, but have cashed in this week.

The farmer has been on a "three day course" this week, learning how to become a leader in the Vegetable Industry. He seemed to enjoy it, although the thought of wearing a suit to a dinner was all to much to take. It's hard enough to get him into a suit for weddings and funerals.

So with this new found knowledge under his belt, and my future goals laid bare, we started talking strategy. My vision for my future is not to return to the workforce full time. I want continue to be classified as a stay at home mum, so I can drop off and pick the girls up from school. The administration for the farm takes a reasonable amount of time, and it is so much easier to concentrate if the house is quiet. I get enjoyment from my one day a fortnight QA based job at the exquisite local chocolate factory, and I have a history of creating funny snippets for the work newsletter, so I wish to continue my "Corky" tradition(from Murphy Brown TV show).
Anyway, I digress, back to the strategy. I spend a good part of my day researching the market. Broadband was down on Monday morning and I was beside myself, pacing the floor, on the phone to my IP to get it fixed, and frustrated beyond belief when they couldn't get it up and going. By lunchtime, almost hysterical on the verge of tears, I was back in business, but concerned - I think I'm addicted! The farmer and I formulated the following strategy to enable me to build on my stock market side of the business. Put 15% amount away for Tax office being Capital Gain, invest 15% on building my future portfolio and sink the rest into the B&B(not really a B&B, just our accountants nick name for the new house as he thinks its big enough to take in guests).

With the market so depressed at the moment due to the "current global credit crunch" surely I can build my existing portfolio into an income generating venture equivelant to a part time job.

Thankfully the ASX stockmarket game has commenced and I am able to satisfy my urges with a "pretend" or "virtual" $50K. I'm not doing too badly. Pursuing my buy and hold strategy is a bit difficult in a game that only lasts for a couple of months.

Time will tell. One of my long held goals has been to generate sufficient off farm income so that the farmer can spend some more time with us, rather than working 7 days a week.

The Farmer has caught me out tonight. I had failed to mention to him my newfound blogging interest, he read a couple of paragraphs, and then went off to watch the footy. He was on the radio this morning as he is Chairman of a commodity committee and they are dealing with our factory announcing cut backs to Cauli plantings. The company blames a failed new upmarket product incorporating mixed chunky vegetables. Why are they surprised the product has failed if they have launched it in the warmest part of the year when we are all eating salads rather than casseroles, roasts and hot winter foods. Not to mention the containers being shipped in from China filling up all their cool storage!

On another subject, my mum and I have a horse racing this Sunday. Hopefully he will show something so we persevere with him, otherwise he will be looking for a nice eventing home.

Getting late, must sign off.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Update, Update, Update

Just having a read through of some of my previous posts with some updates to report.

The Silkies, Milky and Fluffy have fallen in love, and I am pleased to report that Fluffy is happily clucky and expecting fluffy chickens in the near future.

No sign of Boy Bunny who escaped some time earlier this month, however Girl Bunny has just given birth to two little hairless babies.

Also an oopsie with a suffolk lamb arriving this week. (Too late getting the fertile ram lambs out)

I have started the search for the perfect kids pony today. First visit proved unsucessful, and I am mightily paying for his dislike of me. He planted a swift hoof into my thigh, so unfortunately we bid a hasty retreat without even getting the kids on him. Plenty of time though until the perfect one comes along. If only I could have cloned my second pony, Vanessa. She was a legend.

First of the potato paddocks have been harvested, now a bit of a break until the factory want the remainder. Only carrots, beans and cauli in the ground now. As well as the Pyrethrum.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Sombre reflections

Firstly, to the people who have lost everything in the Black Saturday Victorian bushfires, my heart goes out to you. Looking back on our brush with fire earlier this year, it was absolutely nothing in comparison to what these poor people are enduring. To lose friends, family, neighbours, property, keepsakes, animals.... the list goes on, is unimaginable. Coverage via the media has been extensive and the stories are enough to break your heart. But the main message that has struck me, is that land owners should be allowed to clear firebreaks on their own property. They should not be fined thousands of dollars, to provide protection their own homes and families.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

10 years Married!

I can't believe it! Where has the time gone. 10 years ago today The Farmer and I were eloping, running away to the beautiful Royal Botanical Gardens in Sydney, to tie the knot. I wonder what would have happened if we had gone ahead with the planned nuptials that would have been in April 1999. The stress would probably have killed me, I vividly remember the lead up to the eloping decision, I was in tears every night. Probably over trivial matters, but when it is your one and only big day, every little thing tends to build up and escalate into issues of massive importance. We had a magical day, starting out from Berrima, getting hair and make up done, then the drive to Sydney. We were booked into the Sebel of Sydney and had the Sir Robert Helpman Suite. Which had the most magical meditteranian scene mural painted on the wall. Things got a little comical when it came time for the Limo to take us to the Botanical gardens. We forgot the veils, then the flowers, so we ended up being a little late. Lucky the celebrant was patient. We chose the location, under a glorious tree, beside Sydney Harbour, with the Opera house and Harbour bridge as a backdrop. Our friends were there to witness and they had enlisted the help of a photographer and someone to video proceedings. This was mid afternoon, after the service we had drinks at the Rocks while waiting to board a paddlesteamer for an evening meal and entertainment. A beautiful day. Perfect! Then we just had to come home and tell family and friends. We plan to go out for dinner this evening to celebrate. My alltime favourite restaurant Glo Glo's. Lets hope the treasures behave themselves.

Time is really flying, two days and the treasures start school. Not that I'm excited or anything. School holidays have felt really long. The girls have been in childcare only two days, as a result of me working in my other job (HACCP Practioner in a chocolate factory). As for farm news, crops are being harvested left, right and centre. Two paddocks of poppies have gone, which leaves two remaining. Beans are being harvested at present right next to the house, and the Big Jacks are letting out their distinctive hum. I hardly seems right for them going. The bushes dont appear to be big enough to have any beans on them, but you can see the beans blowing into the hopper, so fingers crossed there will be enough there to make a crop and cover expenses.

The first paddock of potatoes have gone. The farmer seemed happy enough and was one hopper shy of reaching his desired number of loads. Cauli transplants have been planted over the last two weeks and they appear to be establishing well and growing. Carrots are looking lush and glorious, their magnificent ferny stalks standing up well to the extreme heat we have been having here on the coast. Onions are still drying. Hopefully in the next few days they will be leaving the paddock.

On a sad note I lost my new Stud Suffolk ram on Australia Day. He was with his girls for the best part of two months so I am hoping he will have covered most of them. May/June will be the expected lambing time.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Back to normality

Thank heavens the fire threat seems to be over now. Still feeling somewhat sleep deprived, but that wasn't helped by needing to be up and going early this morning. Seem to be chasing my tail today, eldest treasure had a birthday party to go to, electricians needed to know where power points and light fittings etc need to go, plus heaps of other things added to the mix.

Potato harvest started yesterday, so it will be long days for the farmer now. Another paddock of onions has been going since Saturday. Not sure how the beans will turn out this year. As it has been so unseasonably cold up until Christmas there is not a lot of growth, and the poor little things are starting to flower. Time will tell.

Friday, January 16, 2009

That dreaded F word..... Fire!

Well, its happened. Having to deal with a fire. To date we have been relatively unscathed with fire, at least during my 11 or so years here. On Thursday the farmer phoned me at home to say our neighbours had been phoning him due to a fire outbreak originating on River Road that was headed in our direction. He was on another property and couldn't get home in a hurry due to being in a tractor and as luck would have it the baler had got a flat! So I was instructed to go up and check it out, move a mob of sheep and report back. So here I am, kids in tow, smoke bellowing, and definately feeling in panic mode. A million thoughts running through my head. Where do I put a mob of 200 ewes plus rams where they will be safe, so after rearranging the gates, and herding up a somewhat startled flock, I got them to the far back flat relatively quickly, and with a minimum of stress. I'm sure they must have sensed my desperation. In what appeared to be perfect timing a Fire fighting unit arrived and needed to pass through the lane where I had just got the sheep out of. A panicked call to dear old dad slightly earlier had him arriving at about this time also, closely followed by mother dear. Then F-I-L arrives and it seems I have forgotten or wasn't advised that my ewe hoggets were in one of the fire threatened paddocks, but I swear they were hiding. Then Dad decided the farmer needed to be there so proceded to race to collect him. The next hour or so was the longest. Mum had taken the kids to safety and would have them overnight.

Waiting next to our partially constructed new house, with no water to speak of. What to do! I collected some old garbage bins that had previously been used to cut cauliflowers into, some pea seed bags and placed them next to the house with a dribble of water going into them. Poor house, standing naked in its bubblewrap, with smoke everywhere and the wind causing the fire to change direction by the minute. Fire units were racing backwards and forwards, refilling with water from one of the dams. The seven or eight Fire fighting units were able to use back burning methods to assist in controlling and after a while the fire was still burning but considered under control. Mostly on neighbours side of the fence. Not a lot we could do at this stage, the fire service personnel know their stuff and had it all in hand, so we headed to the other property, secured the tractor overnight and headed home, via River Road where the fire appeared to have started. More than likely deliberately lit.

One thing I wasn't expecting was the lingering smell of smoke on me. I had a shower and washed my hair once, but could still smell it. I then proceeded to have the worst nights sleep ever. Firstly I remembered I hadn't covered my Burke Parrots so I got up to do that, also having a drink to quench the sore throat the fire gave me. Then one of the treasures toy alarm clock decided to go off at about 3am, and was difficult to locate. The best sleep came as it was time to get up, and go to collect treasures.

Later in the day, approximately 4:30pm I took the treasures out the back to have a look at things and noticed one stump still smoking. I went home to prepare tea, meaning to let the farmer know. But at 6pm he rang, with a panicked tone in his voice telling me to call the fire service, it was going again. He was stomping it out in the grass, but it was heading in the houses direction. So, call made, I raced the treasures to safety at my parents, and returned to the house. Friends had arrived slightly before me and were in action. Thankfully my trickle of water into the garbage bins came in handy at this point and I didn't feel quite so useless. Fire fighting units from Devonport, Latrobe, Wesley Vale and Moriarty all started arriving and there was a truck at the house at all times during the threat. The seven or so units quickly contained the fire and by about 8pm we were happy it was out. Nanna had insisted on having the treasures overnight again which proved to be a good thing considering we went back up to check everything was ok before going to bed. It was about 10pm and I had again tried to get the smell of smoke away in the shower and was in my Jammies. I had suggested to the farmer that we take it in shifts to check the site overnight, hoping I could have first shift and get a goods night sleep, but we went together. First check proved fine, as did second, but next place there was smoke in a rather large stump. We firstly exhausted my fire extinguisher that is kept in the car, but that did nothing, so the farmer went for the tractor with water on the front. He poured the water over it for 20 minutes to no effect, it still kept smoking, and then he decided to go back and get the fire fighting pump which finally extinguished it fully. Getting home at about midnight thankfully a good nights sleep ensued.

I hope and pray it is out for good now, however there is one troublesome spot that is inaccessable and still a little of a problem.

On a lighter note, it was eldest treasures birthday on Wednesday, and what did she really, really want? A silky chook. Her grandparents were able to source one and I had a very happy camper that morning. As luck would have it, in todays paper there was a Silky rooster for sale. So we toddled over the Devonport to pick up this lovely young chap.

I think it is lovely to see enterprising youngsters, and was very happy to pass over the asking price to this young chook breeding teenager. He obviously loves his chooks and has handled them so they were lovely and tame. (A good thing for the treasure as she can spend hours carting hers around and pampering them.) Kids are our future and need to be encouraged. Whilst this young man is living in town hopefully when he is older he will seek a career in Agriculture.

Unfortunately when we got Milky home and introduced him to his new lady friend, Fluffy, it wasn't plain sailing. They had a bit of a tiff and he appears to be relegated to a corner of the coup. Poor boy.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Cup day

How life changes. Ten plus years ago I would have relished the chance to get dolled up and go to the local cup race meeting. But now with two treasures, the thought of keeping them under control amidst a crowd of 10,000 plus, does little to entice me out. I did however manage to get a couple of bucks on local hope Pindari Prince, and cheered him home from the privacy of my own home. My youngest would have died of embarrasment had I been at the races, due to my screaming, jumping happy dance. What a success story for the Kenny family, it sends shivers down my spine at the thought of how they must be feeling at the moment. I can't for the life of me understand how he was considered an outsider. He has been given an ideal preparation, with the extra benefit of beach work. While his last couple of starts back from a breather may have been considered disappointing, I'm sure there were extenuating circumstances for each of these occasions. One of which leads me to the debate on if female jockeys should ride whilst in the early stages of pregnancy. Spreyton track also has a habit of producing "Spreyton Specialists". I remember one of these was my favourite horse "Turbo Jane" who won all three of her races at Spreyton.

To date no follow up from our friends in Blue regarding the missing gate. Guess it is low on their list of priorities.

First Paddock of onions have been lifted, they are currently on top of the ground drying for a couple of weeks. The next crop to commence harvest will be the Early Spuds. Looking forward to that possibly next week.

I'm having a bit of a battle with my baby bunnies. We had our first litter? born 13th December, and while everything was progressing well for the first 4 weeks, we have had some disasters recently. This has let to creating Fort Knox so they are safe from falls and the cat.

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year - New Vision

While I say new vision, I feel I should be saying resolution, however I really don't have a good track record with these so vision it is.

My Sister-In-Law gave me an interesting book for Christmas called Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. While I have not finished reading it yet, it is quite interesting and is based on seasonal eating, set in the US. In these days of Credit crunches, talk of recession, and much more awareness of food miles and the subsequent environmental consequences, my aim for this year is to move towards being self sufficient and locally focussed. Not dramatically so, just subtle changes, with food preservation in mind, and hopefully the household budget will benefit.

I confess to being a terrible housewife, and am increasingly aware of how much wastage goes on in our kitchen, while it does get recycled to a certain extent by going to the chook house, it needs addressing.

Being a farmers wife should make this easy, lets face it, we grow our own beef, lamb, cauli, peas beans, carrots, potatoes and onions. Why is it then that I always seem to be at the butchers or Wells buying food. There is little more satisfying than when you sit down to a meal and you can claim it all comes from your property. Run the household smarter is what I have to learn how to do! Open to suggestions.

Onion lifting still progressing well, and a late planting of beans has just been sown, intended for processing at the local plant.

First post

Well, here we are, new year, new challenges. I'm sure no one will be interested in my ramblings, but I guess it will be interesting for me to document my feelings at certain times and be able to look back on things with more experience under my belt.

New Years day was a lovely day spent around home. were invited to friends place for a lovely dinner of Roast Venison. Time got away and we didn't get the kids in bed until after 11:30 pm.

Todays challenges included reporting the theft of a farm gate. How desperate is that. Luckily there wasn't stock in that paddock, as it has road frontage, and is relatively close to the highway. Apparently we weren't the only one's who had gates stolen last night, one farmer lost 6 in one hit. Apparently hubby can apply a small amount of weld to make it harder for the mongrels to get more, but that is probably very low on his list of priorities at present.

Onion lifting has started today, and is looking promising.