Saturday, 15 March 2008

Tatoes and Matoes

Took me a day to do it, but I unearthed three overflowing wheelbarrows of potatoes, weighing in at about 120kgs (we've already had at least 2 wheelbarrows full) and around 20 kg of tomatoes, and planted out 65 broccoli's/cauliflowers in their place. I found heaps of big fat juicy worms, which is very gratifying as there were none at all when we first got here and I despaired of the soil, plus lots of small frogs, which I think I have correctly identified as the smooth skinned tasmanian froglet. They are in the thousands, again, very gratifying to see garden life.

We still haven't had a real rainfall event since December. About to run out of dam and domestic tank water. Supposed to be 30 degrees today, it was 36 on Friday and Trev, with Atrial Fibrillation, picked apples under the hot sun, and ended up collapsing. I finished off the day for him but he was back out there the following day.

Trev's hard at work again today, this time he's dropping trees for fence posts up at a neighbours place. We need to replace the fence and as quickly as possible as the goats have found there way into the neighbouring orchard (after having been shown the way by the two rams Butty and Choppy). They're now tethered till the fence is repaired, and I spend way too much time chopping them foliage and hand feeding them. They are also expert at getting themselves tangled up in the rope, and of tangling me up in the rope and upending me, which can be painful, but more usually provides injury to my dignity.

The neighbours are still laughing about how early one morning I woke to discover the two rams were in the apple orchard (again) and I raced down with a bucket of grain to entice them back out again. I was wearing my dressing gown. I couldn't entice them back through the fence and had to take the road. I had two full grown rams jumping at my outstretched arm to get to the grain, when I saw a freshly hit wallaby on the side of the road, poor thing... but also, pragmatically, now a good source of dog food. I swooped down picked it up by the tail and continued to run, with the two rams jumping up, and now a dog on the otherside jumping up at the dead wallaby (about 10kg of dead wallaby), me running down the middle of the road, still in my dressing gown huffing and puffing and praying no one is currently looking out their window.

They weren't, but they all want a reinactment. Not likely.

The rams now live at the next door neighbours, and they turn up at the fence line to say gidday fairly regularly. But I'm glad they're gone.

Then Bella decided the electric fence wasn't such a big obstacle. I was already over the electric fence and halfway through the barbed wire when she realised this and decided to rush at my bucket of grain and shoved me through the barbed wire (I ripped out hair by the roots, clothes were rent, and the air was too; with a torrid stream of invective designed to relief angst, but more likely succeeded in raising the neighbours concerns about the seemingly mild mannered me).

Then she figured out that if she grovelled really low and kept inching forward she could get under the barbed wire too. Hence, two tethered goats tangling my legs.

Keeping animals is 1% feeding and care 99% fencing.
Caleb recently helped out and became resident goat herd, to keep the sheep away from the goats feed, it kind of worked. However he's totally engrossed in the John Marsden Tomorrow series at the moment.

Having said that we're getting a new goat, a Bristish Alpine in the near future, after her offspring have been turned into goat pies, which a local chef will be turning them into for Medieval Mayhem, which is on again this year, along with the race for the highest blood pressure reading.


Daisy said...

Wow, thats alot of matoes and tatoes! Also congrats on the 65kg of honey. I enjoyed your article but have yet to convince my other half to get bees. What will you do with all you honey? How many hives do you have? Would love to see an article on the bees wax.

Bev said...

Great harvest! How will you store the potatoes to stop them sprouting? I've heard the frig is best, but I just stick mine in the cupboard where they usually start to sprout before we can get around to eating them. Jackie French just leaves hers in the ground and digs when needed.

Tiny request...can you put a link to Caleb's blog on your page so I can visit you then go straight to Caleb without having to backtrack to Favourites.

cath said...

Great descriptions!

(found your blog through your book, which my 18 month old daughter is extremely attached to -- she is very fond of the picture of goat cheese which she pulls out and looks at constantly: "cheese! cheese! cheese!".)

Rinelle said...

I just had to comment, seeing the picture of Caleb watching the goats. It takes me back to my childhood and my sister and I reading and playing games while we watched our pet goats. They still got into the vegie garden when we were distracted though!

Like Bev, I'm also interested in how you plan to store your potatoes.

This is my first comment, but I read your blog often, and love hearing about your family.

Linda said...

Hi Bev and Rinelle,
You can build a clamp - which is a straw covered bit of earth, heaped with potatoes, covered in straw and then piled with a big thick pile of earth that you pat down with the back of a spade to keep nice and firm, and dig up when needed. There's a good description of a clamp in John Seymour's book, on self sufficiency.

But all we've done is buy big hessian sacks and half fill them and leave them in a dark shed. Ours tried to grow legs and walk off last year, you can knock off their legs and eat them anyway.

Commercial spuds have a retardant of some kind on them to stop them sprouting... give me garden spuds any day. Trev's mum came for a week and couldn't stop remarking on the taste of the spuds. There is such a difference between the ones you buy and the fresh as an apple ones from your own garden.

Keeping in the garden till you want them is fine, but me... I'm always looking for more space to plant things and want them out of there.

As to the honey Daisy, we give a lot of it away, but we'll probably have to slow that down now as we have only 50 jars left, at the rate we go through it that might last till the next honey flow - late spring next year. Only one hive at this point. And I've been giving the beeswax to our neighbour who uses it as a finish on his wood products. But I'm saving it from now on also as I want to use it to finish the floor in our, one day will happen, house.



daisy 81 said...

Wow congrats with the harvest, our poor garden has been suffering with the dry here in toowoomba, I swear everyone else has had decent rain, but us. However a little is better than none, so I won't complain too much...
I had to smile at Caleb reading the 'tomorrow' series I loved it as a kid, it is very addictive!
Have a great week - Emily B

Kathie said...

Oh the times you need a video camera, would have loved to have seen the Ram/Wallaby Run!!!
Both my husband and I work full time shift work, however we have a backyard that is a fruit bats delight. Unfortunately we lost a number of fruit tree's due to lack of water even with recycling and a water tank.

gsysezz said...

ROFL at the image of you running down the road. I've just discovered your book and savoured every page. I'm so pleased to have found your blog and look forward to reading more. Thank you for sharing...