Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Winter once again on Leven River Farm

Early morning fog.
The valley completely fogged in. Foggy days are common in Winter.

Well we are in the middle of winter again here on the farm it’s our second Tasmanian winter. It’s the time of short daylight hours as it doesn’t get light until after seven in the morning and it’s getting dark by around four in the afternoon. Once again the paddocks stay wet for most of the winter and not much dries out during the day. The pig areas are very boggy with mud and they are mostly up to their knees in it especially around the more heavy traffic areas like the feed troughs and the entry to their sleeping quarters. This is the time of the year when the pigs are head down bum up as they go into a digging frenzy and plough the paddocks. Don’t know exactly why they pick this time of the year to do it, maybe it’s because the ground is softer now. We have sold most of the piglets with six reds and six black and white ones left plus little Horatio our stud Saddleback Boar. He’s got to be one of my favourites as he is such a cutie and a sook. He always comes running to me with the cutest high pitched squeaking sound if something is not quite right. We sent our first pig off to get the chop the other day; it was one of the red piglet Boars. They are twenty-three weeks old now and are very solid and long. We took him to a small meat works where we knew there would be less stress for him, as our animals’ welfare is always uppermost in our minds.  I picked the meat up last Friday and we’ve sampled some chops and a rolled roast and I must say both were very tasty. Nothing like your own meat, which has had a good and happy free-range life.

In harmony, the Tammies and Saddlebacks in the paddock.

We have had a few hard frosts so far this winter and at last we have had a wood heater put in the lounge room. No more cold nights huddling under blankets while watching TV. It’s been well used so far and now we just have to start adding to the wood pile so we have enough on hand to see us through winter and beyond. The geese are very noisy at this time of the year I think they must be sorting out who to pair off with. They are also on the water a lot of the time too and haven’t been close to the house much either preferring to stay down in the paddock. The chooks are still off the lay as with everyone else’s too by the sound of it. They’ve finished their feather moulting etc a good while ago and I’d just wish they would hurry up and start laying again. I don’t like buying eggs from the supermarket when I have perfectly good well-fed chooks at home.  Oh well I guess they’ll start when they are good and ready.

You know it's cold outside when everything looks this white.

Even the cob webs freeze here in winter.

The cows are heavy in calf at the moment and are looking very nice. They have their nice red winter coats on again. We are hoping for no calving troubles, which can sometimes be a problem down here in Tassie because of the high nutrition in the grass. So we are watching their diet very closely. Genevieve our Guernsey cow and her calf Angus are doing very well also. We had to dehorn Genevieve not long after we got her as one of her horns was growing down the side of her face and obstructing her eyesight and it must’ve been very annoying for her. So while we were taking off that horn we took the other one off too. Now this, along with her only just arriving and not really knowing us made her go off and sulk and not be very sociable for a while. But I’m happy to say that she now knows and likes us so much that she comes up to the gate to get a hand out of heifer pellets in the afternoons. 

I'm very lucky I get to travel around and take lots of photos of our beautiful State.

As I look out of the window while writing this and see yet another shower of rain going across the valley I’m already thinking of spring, which is only another seven weeks away. At least then the paddocks will start to dry out a bit and there will be more day light hours to do jobs around the place and the grass will grow a bit more quicker and lusher. Not really looking forward to the lawn growth though as it is a round of continuous mowing in the warmer months. There will also be new life born on the farm once again. The bare trees will have their cover of nice green leaves and the garden will once again be in full bloom. I enjoy all seasons down here in Tassie as they are very distinct changes so much better than the same thing day after day you get in north Queensland. I love autumn for the glorious colour of the deciduous trees. I love winter for the snow on the peaks, which is still a novelty for me. I love spring for the lush new green growth, flowering bulbs and a hint of warmth on the way. I love summer for the warmer days (though not extremely hot, it’s just right) longer daylight hours and daylight saving. Yes I’m a Queensland convert to daylight saving I can see it’s advantages down here where we have long hours of daylight during summer. 

I took this recently while visiting one of our famous Tassie Icons Cradle Mountain.

Life is never dull here as I’m kept very busy on and off the farm as I’m also a Feature Writer (North West) for Think Tasmania so I’m very lucky to be able to travel around our beautiful State and visit areas, businesses and tourist attractions etc and write about them. If you want to know about everything Tasmanian check out the web page and Face Book page. You’ll find all my articles on this very informative web page.
And so the ebb and flow and the rhythm of life moves pleasantly along at its own pace here on Leven River Farm even in winter.  

An icy puddle behind our chook pen.

Below are a couple of links to some of my articles, too many to list them all. Enjoy.


  1. Hi, just wondering if we can exchange a fews emails about the area you live in as we are considering buying a farm there. If so, please drop a line to

  2. Hi Guys. Ok no worries will email you. Cheers Michelle

  3. Hello Michelle, I just found your blog through Think Tasmania, I love it! My family and I use to live on a 20 acre hobby farm in Alaska before moving here to Australia. We miss the cooler climate and will be moving to Tassie next year lol.

    We were able to get eggs from our chickens all year round...sounds impossible I know but its true. If you don't mind I'll share my cold climate chicken rearing tip with you...chooks require 14 hours of "daylight" in order to lay. Well that's not a problem with virtually 24 hour sunshine during the summer months but winter was the opposite. So I hung a household energy efficient lightbulb in their coop and plugged it into a timer. I set it to turn on at 6am and off at 8pm. Got eggs all winter long! I also upped their feed to a 20% protein layer crumble and turned a heat lamp on at night, but the daylight is what did the trick! Hope it helps you this coming winter!
    Cheers, Stephanie