Thursday, December 5, 2013

Sad to see them go.

Today is a not so nice day for us as later this afternoon we are loading our last years calves to go off to the sale yards. I know, we are a bit soft now days, at least we are putting them in the Friday sale. Friday meaning restocking/people after breeders and not the butchers. We think our calves are too good for the butchers we'd like to see them go to good homes. I hope the heifers go to someone who wants breeders, they are great looking yearlings. Hopefully the steers will go to someone who wants to grow them out for ages. People probably say you have to be tough and not be so soft well, pish posh this is the way we are. We love our animals and it's a bit hard sometimes to block out the nasty thoughts i.e. slaughtering animals etc. I'll give them good luck, happy good vibes as they hop on the truck. That will do the trick.

Last years calves.

We now have nine new calves on the ground and they are looking great. The oldest of them born in September and the youngest born in November. Genevieve our Guernsey cow had a bull calf this time to Monty our Hereford bull.  The little fella is a very rich dark red colour with nice white markings. The pigs have all finished farrowing at the moment thank goodness. We still have lots of piglets in varying stages of ages running around the place. They are so cute and I never tire of their antics. We are about to start fencing up the paddocks into smaller areas so we can rotate the stock better. Something we have learnt while living here, smaller paddocks are better. So used to large paddocks in Queensland. We fertilized for the first time this Spring as well. The benefits are showing through now with lush grasses adorning the paddocks. We bought a windmill recently, you can't have a farm without a windmill, it's just not right. 
Genevieve and new calf for 2013.

We had a couple of floods go through while the geese were nesting this Spring so not as many goslings as we usually get unfortunately. We have sold a lot of geese this past week as we had to get the numbers down. They were getting out of control and getting onto the neighbours place and eating their grass, naughty geese. My two ewes Gwendoline and Clover are still two no lambs to be seen. One had a still born and the other one, well I don't think she is in lamb. They both need to be shorn very soon too. They reside in a paddock near the house as they were banished from the house yard for nibbling my fruit trees around the trunks and nearly ringbarking them. I've never had sheep do that before. Apart from that there's not much else to report.

2013 goslings.

My ewes and some of the Saddleback piglets.
One of the new 2013 calves.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

More for the Menagerie.

We have recently acquired two more animals for our farm flock. I've always wanted Black Face Suffolk sheep, so having seen two for sale on a friends Facebook page I just had to have them. Sheep are one of my favourite animals and years ago we had loads on our property in far western Queensland. These were the Merino breed of sheep well suited to the hot dry arid conditions of the far west. I used to love laying in the wool bins after shearing and taking in the smell of wool and lanolin. 

Clover and Gwendoline

My new Black Face Suffolk sheep are both Ewes, they are in lamb and due sometime in November. I have named them Clover and Gwendoline. We've been meaning to get sheep for awhile now so I'm a bit excited that we finally have some. I know it's only two but we will grow the numbers. For the moment the girls are in the house yard mowing down the lawn for me. They do look very James Herriot-ish running around with the green valley as a backdrop. Our new Wessex Saddleback piglets have introduced themselves to the girls and I wondered what each of them were thinking at the time. The piglets scampered through the gap in the garden gate and proceeded to race over to the sheep en masse. It was a funny sight so I had to go inside and grab my camera. 

The new piglets say Hello.

Pinky, Perky and Petunia, our Wessex Saddleback Sows had piglets in August. At the moment we have 35 little piglets running around the place. They have good colour and markings, Horatio did a good job. They are at that exploring stage now which means they are going under fences everywhere. It can be a bit of a problem if they get it into their heads to go for a wander over to the main road. I tend to keep an eye on them during the day for this reason. Thank goodness our road isn't all that busy. Night time is fine they are asleep in their beds under the heat lamp as it's still a bit cold here at night. 

My Black Face Suffolk Ewes.

So, now I am waiting for the lambs to arrive, the countdown has begun. How I love little lambs, so cute and photogenic. They may have twins, Tasmania seems to produce lots of twins in sheep. Maybe it's the high nutrients in the pasture. My girls will keep me in enough wool for spinning, which I like doing when I have a moment or two. Black Face Suffolks are an old breed from Britain and in the 1600's Norfolks were crossed with Southdowns and originally known as Southdown Norfolks or Blackfaces. Then in 1774 an agricultural writer decided they should be called Suffolks. In 1810 they were accepted as purebreds and the name Suffolk was used for the first time. Yet another old U.K. breed to add to our farm, we do love our old breeds.

I just stopped by to say Hello.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Don't worry we are still here.

Our youngest calves. 

Yep we are still here on the farm and daily life has been hectic as usual. So what's been happening since we last wrote a piece for the blog ? Well a fair bit really. It's Winter again and with it comes the rain, mud and cold. Once again the pigs are sloshing around in the mud as they go in and out of their sleeping areas. We have a plan to fix that problem. The Tamworths have had more piglets and they are now weaned. The Saddleback girls are in pig again, this time Horatio is the Dad and I can't wait to see the piglets. They are due around early August, so not long to wait. The calves are weaned and growing quickly they will be ready to sell in the Spring. Genevieve our Guernsey house cow had a beautiful grey calf in January and I called her Misty. We will probably keep her as she isn't related to our bull Monty. The geese number has grown to just over 60 and they are looking beautiful. They bred very well last season and made their nests in the paddock. We really need to sell some, the number is getting out of hand. 

Genevieve and Misty.

We went through a very dry Summer, in Tasmanian terms it was a drought. Someone said it was the driest Summer since the 1990's. The river got very low but we weren't in danger of it drying up thank goodness. We were getting a bit worried about whether we would have enough feed left in the paddocks but we came through it ok. There were lots of fires around Tasmania at this time. We were very lucky here in the valley as we didn't get a single fire even though the grass was so brown and dry. The green paddocks we have now are a very welcome sight again.  

It was such a dry Summer.

We recently bought a new garden tractor to dig up our large vegetable patch. It does a fantastic job in no time at all. It digs much better than you could ever do by hand. This will come in very handy with Spring approaching. We have our Rayburn woodstove in place in the kitchen and it's been great to cook on and in. Beautiful pork roasts and other assorted meals have been coming out of the oven regularly. Why do meals always taste better when cooked in a woodstove ? 

Our new garden tractor.

I've started a new tour business called Uncover Tasmania. I've been enjoying showing guests around beautiful Tasmania in our 4WD van. It's something I really love doing.  I think it's the best job ever. Well that's it, a short update as to what's been happening on Leven River Farm. We always seem to be busy and there's a long list of jobs to do in the coming months. Can't wait for Summer when we will have the longer days to do these jobs. Yes we are still here and still loving our life on the farm.


Cheeky Tamworth piglets.

We've had some cold frosty mornings.