Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Growing up on a farm. With promite sandwiches.

There are definitely positives and negatives for a young boy growing up on a farm. The flip side of all this space to grow into is that there are always jobs to do. The cow hadn't come up for a few days. I don't worry too much because she usually has the calf on her, but I needed milk. So into the backpack The Boy went and we went looking. Gourmet dinners and playing would have to wait.

Dolores calf had wandered off with Laf, who is outside my place on the 100 acres next door with its lush kikuyu grass. That meant Dolores was really full as I hadn't milked her this morning. She needed to be milked, while mastitis is much less of an issue for me as I hand milk with a stripping action, it is not good for her to sit there all night with really full udders. And if I don't take the milk her production will drop and Laf isn't even pregnant yet. The last thing I need is my cow drying off.

That meant The Boy got a promite sandwich for dinner and a ride down to the milking bales. He sat next to me in the backpack and quite happily ate and looked at the chooks, who were cleaning up the pollard crumbs Dolores was dropping. I finished up, released Dolores from the head crush and moved her bucket into her night pen. As she backed out she spotted a promite smeared face and it must have smelled good because she started to lick The Boy clean. He wasn't fazed until I yelled to shoo the cow off which is when he decided that it was all a bit much and he'd like a cuddle please.

Not many kids would come home, walk down a hill and lead a cow back on a leash, then watch their dad hand milk and have the cow clean up their dinner with her tongue!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Seeing the future in the present. Fruit tree edition.

Sometimes you need to see what something might become to get inspiration to keep going. Fruit trees take time to show the reward and for someone like me, who knows bugger all about gardening, there are many pitfalls and problems that can occur to get in the way. But you plant and do your best because once they are established they are a gold mine, especially for a keen cook. It is why I recently recommended to a twitter mate to add value of potential tree change properties that contains a decent orchard. You can spend a lot of money on fruit waiting for those trees to become bearing.

Today though, I got a glimpse into the future of what may be. On a small day trip up to Mt Tambourine, ironically to try and buy some cheap fruit trees, we pulled over down the road from the school and waited for The Boy to wake up. I got out for a wander and in the property we had parked next to there was this amazing trellised kiwi fruit. The whole orchard was maybe 50m long and 20m wide and had maybe 30 trees in it, but there would have been thousands of kiwi fruit there.

The vines themselves looked amazing, thick bristling canes weaving amongst the wires of the trellis. I immediately could see what a garden entrance to the orchard would look like with big thick beams holding up kiwi fruit vines, enticing you into a world of fruit.

It got me thinking about the orchard and what it needs, in terms of fruit that I will use or do use. I probably could do with two more lemons, but one mandarine, grapefruit and orange should be enough. I am trying to sprout every avocado seed that I get, as we go through lots of them and would eat more if we had them growing. I am going to get a pine nut tree for sure, we use lots and lots of them. More pears, The Boy has gone through more pears than I can count in his short life. Bananas we have in boom and bust cycles. One fruit that has caught my eye is the Grumichama. It is supposed to be the sub tropical version of the cherry. Ever since eating off the cherry trees in Tasmania I have been longing for them. It is definitely worth a punt. Apples of course need to go in. Those are probably the main ones.

Maybe I should start a kick starter style project, buy a fruit tree and get a box of seasonal fruit a month once the orchard is going. Damn, I forgot grapes, gotta have them as well....hmm I'm off to research and dream of mature fruit trees and a productive orchard.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Growing what I need

After much trial and error and contributions to The Boys swear jar, I finally seem to have the rotating chook pens cow proof. So it's time to make this little patch of Lantanaland productive.

One of my endless problems is the fascination with the interesting and odd when it comes to plants. I need to ignore that and grow carrots, zucchini, onions, snow peas, tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli, silverbeet, ginger, chillies, potatoes and garlic. The problem is that I have grown only two of these in a way you would class successful over the years.

Still, I figure that this is my best chance yet, the hose reaches the garden beds, it is well fenced, well fertilised and I have to walk past it every day to milk the cows. This is very important as I usually remember to water about a week later than is needed. We shall see how we go. Advice welcome.