After feeling like we were treading water for a couple of months, waiting for the rain we needed to get things rolling, “things” being the veggies and crop mostly, May was everything we needed. Most of the good rain came at the end of the month, but there was enough at the start and during to get us going.
Over the month we managed to finish planting out The Patch. This involved finishing up with some carrots, parsnips, cauliflower, broccoli, artichokes, various herbs and a couple of strawberry plants.
At the same time, the onions and garlic planted was all up and looking awesome.
We also planted out some berries. Only one had made it through the hottest January in recorded history, so we got 10 more – two each of loganberry, black berry, blue berry, boysenberry, and raspberry. Planting them in May will give them a full two extra months to get established before hitting the hot weather. This is also apparently due to be quite a wet Winter, so we might be good.
The weather ended up being perfect the crop too, and we got it in a couple of weeks earlier than last year. This year we went for our own blend for grazing. Our original plan had been to try and feed a small stock of meat animals, probably sheep, mostly off of what we could grow ourselves. We learned early on that our two acre crop is never going to produce enough for that, and so changed tack a little. Now we’ll try and grow enough of a grazing crop for our milk animal, and depend on selling pigs to cover the cost of feeding the meat animals.
We went for a blend of barley, oats, and peas. We wanted rye rather than barley, but it proved a little tough to get. Last year we planted wheat, and put in 60kg. That was at a slightly higher rate than is normally planted, and it came up quite thickly. This year we planted 60kg of each of the 3 grains, giving us three times the coverage. I’m expecting big things…
Even with all of this activity, we managed to get a heap of other things done. We trimmed back the border trees both between us and Farmer John and down the eastern edge of the back paddock. This is just basic maintenance, but it’s amazing how much wood it produces.
We also had another near-miss farm accident. The ride-on wouldn’t start after we loaded the trailer it was towing with wood. I towed it and trailer back with the tractor, and didn’t realise it had no brakes. The carry-all was half raised, I slowed down halfway down the driveway, and it ran into the back of the tractor. The carry-all busted all of the faring off, and almost crushed dad. Without the faring, dad may have been crushed between against the carry-all. It was a little scary.
There was also some more fence-building, and potentially the last fence that we need to build from scratch. We need an area to lock away the cows, and future stock, from the crop. We chose to run a fence north-south near the western edge of the back paddock. This gives the stock a heap of cover under the giant pine-trees, and keeps them close-at-hand.
We put in another 3.6m farm fence opposite the one letting out from the backyard, but closing against the far edge of The Patch’s fence. We ended up running 3 electric strands and 5 single strands, and still have trouble keeping the stupid goats in. We ended up locking them in a spare pig run until we work that out.
The last of the cement pads was finished in the pig runs. This is the 5th we’ve done, and Linhda tells me I’m crazy to post pictures of each of them, mainly because they all look the same. However, there’s a lot of hard work goes into cementing, so I’m going to post proof of it. Enjoy…
We had a small bonfire, which I’m guessing will become an annual event around this time of year just to clean up any accumulated crap we have hanging around. This one was interesting though. It had a heap of well-dried leafy gum limbs, though they were a bit damp from being out. Linhda used one match to light one gum leaf, just to see how well it would take. The results were fairly amazing, and it grew to a nice-sized blaze in no time. Just goes to show how easily bushfires can start…
May wasn’t all about growing things and building things, it also had a nice porky theme too. We took George to the “Other Farm” mid-month. He was the runty one from the four boys we bought as potential baby daddies some months back. We didn’t really need the meat, but he was certainly getting no bigger and was just eating our CPG.
We’re really not that good at estimating size yet, and I guessed he’d dress out to around 30kg. He ended up being 46kg! We minced more than last time, put away some mince, and made about 8kg of sausages. We tried an English Pork Sausage and a Dried Tomato mix, and both are amazing.
To my mind, the most exciting part of May was that we saw Boris actually end up… doing the deed with the sows. It took about 10 minutes of fairly determined activity, and that’s without Honey struggling at all. In fact, you could tell she was eager as she stood still and even went as far as raising her tail.
My concern was that Boris would end up being too short, as the girls are significantly bigger. I wanted him to be smaller though, as that should extend his breeding life. Still, we weren’t sure if the angle-of-the-dangle would work. As it turns out, it works perfectly, and I have the pictures to prove it.
We had the last Sunday of the month off, which I think is our second weekend day with no farm work. It wasn’t my idea, and I’m still not sure how I feel about it.