It’s been a long time between drinks for this blogger care of this year of mad research/event production mode (hey kids don’t try this at home!). Happily my first soil science postgrad degree has come to a finish, the year’s events have wound up, a new stable job has entered into the arena and farm time is on the rise.
Up here at Murrindindi spring’s past full spring and we’re now into summer, by gosh.
Our cows grew fat a lazing in warm wet paddocks and went off to market.
Green manure’s flourished and replenished soil, prepped for potatoes, tomatoes and eggplants and chillies galore (we use a mix of millet, oat, peas, rye and assorted herbs and spices fyi).
The artichokes have taken to space flight and launched, ready to be turned into summer beans and compost.
And and and most excitingly indeed, our fave red headed hen (who naturally goes by the name of Ranga) has hatched herself a super cute spring brood.
And so too has one of our beaut paisley babes.
The motley crew of bubs, stock from several mums and one black stallion are growing up like gangbusters and we can’t wait to see how they turn out.
Given the size of some of the eggs in the roost and the juvenile patterning we suspect our clucky mum 2, one of our slightly psychedelic looking Sussex bantams got in on the mix, so there’ll be some damn fine hybrid chookie lalas.
We had a lot of baby chooks in our last brood but it was poorly timed and most of the few bubs that survived the winter were boys.
The scientist in me says hmm…interesting, but overall it has been quite sad, especially given we can only keep one male at the moment and the four boys we raised all had to go under the knife.
The kind of territorial scrapping and fighting that stems from having more than one rooster around means that the quality of life for any of the newcomers would have been horrible, and they were starting to bear the battle scars. And as meat eaters who are trying to make an active shift towards taking responsibility for the ethical production of the food we eat, it became a real opportunity for learning. For true ownership and experience of where our meat comes from.
It’s not one you can candy coat. It’s emotionally wracking and hard to take the life of an animal you’ve raised to then eat them.
Even if you’ve been eating said animal casually, matter of factly and with convenient detachment for years, care of the services working behind the scenes to raise, process, cling wrap and ship the creatures as shadow-less food.
To face this shadow head on takes a maturity, an honesty, a sensitivity to the life past and an awareness of the fact that slaughter is necessary when we eat meat. Chopping, feathering, processing. All the muck.
We’ve been spared our expected direct encounter with this – as with the side tracks of postgrad degrees to finish (three in a house of five people, dynamos!), work to do, illness to weather and family funerals our cows reached the later edge of their age of ideal consumption as the local butchers ran into Christmas. With the next available appointments in mid January, and a hot and possibly dry summer ahead of us, we made the difficult decision to sell this load of cattle at the meat market.
It’s been a very disappointing move, especially with all the anticipation we have been holding towards our shift to farm scale meat production.
But it’s a track that we’ve started and we’ll continue to follow, with some more mindful forward planning and clear timelines and processes for completing the process.
Meanwhile, we are nigh on the fuller sun of summer and the garden is in full bloom. Tomatoes and chillis are in.
Eggplants and capsicums are coming along. A record 6 garlic bulbs were harvested from our winter planting (we really need to ramp our act up, but still excited!!).
And zucchinis are going their usual gangbusters
Christmas, new years, and general festivity with friends and family are all on the imminent cards. This means the odd Chrissy pressie and holiday plan are coming together. Baked, dried and bottled preserves are at the fore of the brain, with some new experiments entering into the mix.
Might share a few of the best whip ups in the next few blogs.
Peace out, farm friends