July 2012: Well it has been far too long since I updated the site.....always the best intentions to keep the information up to date, but just finding the time, and the inclination, to sit in front of the screen and do battle with this web editor has proven difficult. So with the rain and cold weather putting a damper (pardon the pun) on outside work, it is time to throw another log on the fire and devote some time to the website.
Improvements around the property in the last 12 months include a new double garage, a new henhouse, additions to the verandas which has the double benefit of improving the look of the front of the house and doubling the size of the carport. The new henhouse is home to 5 Australorp chickens (was six but someone stuffed up when they were sexed as chicks and we ended up with a rooster - since consigned to a hotpot). The Australorps are now at point of lay so we will get an increase in eggs over and above what the 4 Isa Browns are producing. We have locals who are happy to help by taking our oversupply of good free range eggs.
It is taking time to get the newly located vegie garden up and running as the soil needs building up. We did have a good crop of garlic and onions last spring/summer but other vegies struggled. This year we have in more garlic and onions (there has been interest in supplying good locally grown garlic to nearby businesses) so we will see how it goes this year and may expand the crop next year. We are planning to double the size of the vegie patch to over 600 sq mtrs this year for a big crop of spuds, pumpkins, melons, corn, peas, beans, etc. - that is if it stops raining and I can fence the area off and build up the soil, at the moment it is just too wet.
Our berries went famously last summer with a good crop of Sylvanberries, Marionberries, Youngberries, Blackberries, Boysenberries and Raspberries. We launched our own range of homemade berry products under our Martindalefarm banner which have gone well. We have a number of jams, coulis (syrups) and vinegars which are sold at a couple of local outlets. Another product that has done well has been Julie's Zuchinni Pickles which are even on the menu at a local restaurant. The orchard is starting to produce and last summer resulted in a supply of peaches, nectarines, peacharines, apples and quinces. Still waiting on the plums, cherries, figs and almonds to produce meaningful crops. Unfortunately it has been so wet this year that the orchard is sodden and I have grave fears that some of the trees won't recover. Will have to look at putting in some drainage to stop the area becoming waterlogged if this level of rainfall is to continue in future years.
We now have 8 Damara ewes for breeding (the original six plus the two ewe lambs) but finding a ram to rent has proven difficult with the one that was promised not eventuating - now need to get a ram in quick! The 4 wether lambs were consigned to the freezer at around 14 months old - a good supply of lamb to see us through until the next lot. We won't leave the next lot as long as around 10-12 months appears to be the optimal age for size and quality for this breed.
I had intended to sow down the top paddock (2 acres) with lucerne last autumn but the wet weather has deferred that to next spring at the earliest. A soil test showed that the soil is too acidic and requires a good dose of lime (around 2 tonnes) but I was only able to get lime spread on half of the paddock due to the wet ground. The rest will have to wait until the ground dries out a bit (if ever!).
There has been no work the restoration of the Fordson tractor or the Ford D Series truck and the XY ute is still not finished with a solution for the tonneau still to be found. I did restore (and reduce the width of) a Sovema power harrow unit which worked well as well as build a 3 mtr tyre roller to use on the worked ground, especially after sewing. The next project is to modify the rotary hoe so that it forms a bed for the enlarged vegie patch (much easier than trying to do it by hand).
There is still a long list of things to be done over spring/summer, including re-fencing the boundary fence to rabbit-proof the property as well as a large fenced in area for the chooks to fre range in without being able to get down around the house, as they make such a mess on the verandas!