Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Around the farm

Today we again spent time working around the farm. This can mean all or any of the following with breaks for lunch, to answer the phone, when neighbours stop by, toilet stops and for a cold drink - depending on the need. Visiting the sheep is now a favourite past time. While still timid, I think they are beginning to tolerate me. We are having ongoing water issues. A fix it option for the pump held temporarily but has now failed and expert assistance is required. In the interim I had cleaned out the water trough (full of weed) and we had refilled the trough with water pumped in from one of the tanks. At the rate the water has disappeared though, there are still issues, so today we moved the sheep from the bottom paddock into the top paddock which has its own dam. Bingo! Water problem solved. While the flock moved pretty well there are always a couple of silly sheep who break away and do their own thing. Entertaining perhaps, but annoying when you want to achieve something specific with them. Eventually we got everything sorted though so they should be good now while we get the pump sorted. While the quad bike is still firm favourite in the farm toys stakes, I advanced to the ride on mower today. So, after some instructions and safety alerts from Frank I headed off to mow the area around the house, shed and entrance to the chicken run. Not a bad effort for a beginner. Frank in the meantime hitched the slasher to the tractor and headed off to cut the grass in the orchard and within the chicken run. For the uninitiated, the chicken run is about a quarter of an acre. He then started running along the edges of the paddock on the fence line. A good idea, in theory, as snakes can be an issue and a clear access point is sensible. The thing is,the tractor didn't know this and decided to spit the dummy. By the time I wandered down to see what was happening Frank was headed for home, with the tractor limping along with no steering. Apparently you can manoeuvre a tractor without steering - with individual brakes for the rear wheels you can steer of sorts. Enough at least to get you out of trouble. Even so, it was a slow return to the home paddock. The orchard has apple and cherry trees in it, as well as one solitary olive. With no one around on a regular basis though it is unlikely the fruit will be edible this year. Apparently without sufficient water, the fruit is quite tart. Definitely an acquired taste. I have never seen cherries growing before so it was interesting to see the fruit forming on the tree. I now know why we pay $20 a kilo for these little red treasures. They would have to be picked by hand and as such most of the cost must be in labour. Nothing beats a good cherry! With the tractor confined to the shed we went to Plan B, with Frank mowing the lawn around the house, while I continued to do battle with the weeds. The garden shows signs of having been quite beautiful at some stage with more flowers than I can identify. With natural rocks edging the beds and the soil a beautiful dark loam, the beds are pretty easy to weed. I think that after working off and on for the past three days I have probably tidied up 1/5 of what is needed. I have also dug out more weeds from the lawn than I can count. You know those sneaky ones that have a long root and lots of leaves that cluster together and you need a special tool to lever them out with? I have the bruised hand to prove it. The lawn looks like some little animal has been popping up here and there, with little patches of bare dirt where there was once a weed. Hope the grass recovers! That little lot pretty much kept us busy for the best part of the day. Doesn't leave much time for getting into mischief!

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