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.