Dream For Three

Out with the Old

The new year is here and now is the time to take stock of the old and reflect on what may or may not need changing.

First the unavoidable, the schoolwork. We managed to finish up all our themes from last year and so will be starting a new theme when we start up again later in January. We will be doing the Sea and Sky Theme, from WinterPromise. It will be on science and history of the sea and sky. We like these programs as they give us a lot of choices in how we learn and provide us with lots of good books and  fun activities. Although sadly this may be the last year we use them, depending on what new programs they bring out.

On the craft front, I probably spend way too much time in front of my sewing machine, but I did achieve several quilts, some gifts and started on the gift bags, that we want ot be using from now on.

We have enough chickens at the moment, so we are not planning anymore chicks this year. Maybe next year, but we will see. They have started to get out of the orchard so we will have to upgrade the fencing quite a bit to keep them all where they are suppose to be, before they start finding the garden.

And on the subject of gardening, now that I have put the sewing machine away for a while, I am finally starting to tidy up the weeds. Production is down, due to my own neglect, but it is also picking up as well. I really like the whole chicken dome idea, and it seems to be working quite well.

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The kikuya is a bit more of an issue, as the chickens managed to kill it off, but did not dig the roots up at all, so that is something that I will have to work on for some time yet.

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They left us with a lovely cleared, fertilised and mulched area that was all ready for planting.

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These photos were taken at the beginning of spring and shows the gardens just starting out.

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This was the first circle planted, and many of the plants are due for replacement. In saying that, it provided us with fresh peas and salad greens for christmas, and is now producing cherry tomatoes beetroot, and some very beautiful cabbages right now.  I have just added some more tomatoes and spring onions but will put more in over the next couple of weeks.

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This was the next circle, we have had an almost endless supply of pumpkin plants out of it, which is not so bad since most of my seeds failed to germinate this year. The pumpkins have mostly been transplanted, and I have lots of tomato plants going crazy in there. We have a few green tomatoes on them, but mostly they are just starting to flower.

We have had several meals of broccoli, and there is celery hiding under the broccoli leaves. I seems to like it under there and is doing very well. We are already eating the outer stalks while the plant is continuing  to keep us supplied with celery. The lettuces again need replacing (will probably happen today) as they are all going to seed with the hot weather.

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This poor circle has sat neglected for all this time. I didn’t even get around to putting the edging on it. Yesterday I planted some bean seeds, and I have some more started in trays to go in here. I also have some more broccoli plants and well as few other things that are waiting to go in. Good to start getting some production going in here.

On a more positive note, I did get around to planting corn on the other side of the house, and it is doing really well.

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It is just starting to form its top flowers so I am looking forward to getting lots of corn of it this summer.

The sheep are still here, they were shorn again at the end of last year and are running in the orchard out of the way. I haven’t decided if I will do lambs this year or not, that will have to be decided closer to march when the ram goes out.

The cows have consumed the most time this year, and also have brought us lots of pleasure and some sadness.

Liquorice is still at the neighbours after being weaned at 10 months, he is looking very good and is very settled there for now. Poor old sweetie did not take kindly to Ollie, when she lost her own calf.

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We milked her up until three days ago but now we are drying her off.

Little Ollie seems to only be loved by Murray, but is doing well sneeking feeds from Daisy while Murray is feeding.

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He is still much smaller, but is certainly not hungry at all. We will continue to have Daisy feed both the calves for another few months before we wean them off. If she starts to lose too much weight we may take Ollie off sooner, but again to be decided later.

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Daisy loves being a mum to her own baby, but will only tolerate Ollie. She has slimmed down quite a lot now that she is making milk, and sometimes I feel that she could do with a rest before she has another calf. We did not intend to have her feeding two calves, it just ended up working out that way.

Neither Daisy or Sweetie Pye are in calf at the moment. We could detect the heat cycles the whole time the AI techs were working, and of course the week after we could get them any more, the both came into heat on after the other. Very frustrating.

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This is Sneezy. She was one the calves we got in as week old, late born babies last year. She was always very friendly and seemed to want to be a house cow, by the way she kept coming to see us, for a scratch, and would lick me if I let her. As a last gasp effort, week after the AI techs officially stopped working, she came into heat, so I rang the tech, and he agreed to come an AI her.  At this stage it is looking like she has held, and so she could well be our house cow next year. She was just 15 months old when we had her inseminated, and although we would have liked to wait a bit longer, none of the other cows were coming to the party.

The weather is very dry here at the moment. We had a very wet winter, not much of a spring flush, and now we are going into drought conditions. This is not good for our grass situation, and we are hoping of a few days of rain soon. At least we sold two of our yearlings, so that has eases things slightly.

Overall we have had quite a good year. The biggest high was Daisys baby being born, the biggest low was Sweetie Pye slipping her calf. We are hoping for another good year and not too much excitment, just more chugging on and getting on with life.

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