Gardening Math: Rain = Weeds

We got 46mm of rain over the first weekend of June.  We needed to fix the overflow pipes off of our tanks as that big fall filled them. All of this rain has taught us two things.  Firstly, we need more tanks.  We could probably triple or quadruple the water storage we have and still fill it.  Secondly, this much rain means weeds. Lots, and lots, and lots of weeds.  We spent every spare farming moment in June, and the following months, weeding.

The weeding sucks, but a well-weeded veggie patch really is a thing of beauty…

Everything relatively weedless... for once...

Everything relatively weedless… for once…

The Patch coming along nicely through Winter.

The Patch coming along nicely through Winter.

The obvious upside of that much rain was the veggie patch and crop were pretty happy.  The biggest irony we found was that hay was in short supply all of a sudden, and the half-tonne rolls that used to cost $50 or $60 were suddenly $150.  We managed to get some hay from a couple of seasons ago relatively cheap, but we decided to get one of the cows done.

Farmer John hooked us up with some local cheaper hay. He has the best farm toys.

Farmer John hooked us up with some local cheaper hay. He has the best farm toys.

We took the older of the cows, Fillet, to “The Other Farm” at the end of the month. He was around 14 months old, which is at least 2 months, and probably 4 months, earlier than we wanted.  However, with feed as expensive as it was, and with another cow and a pig almost ready, it was sensible to have him done early.

Our stock trailer isn’t suitable for cows, being too low. With that in mind, we hired a horse float, which worked really well.  It took maybe 10 minutes to get him in. At first I tried coaxing him in with grass, but that was never going to work. Next I tried coaxing him with grass with a rope around his neck as I pulled him up.  That worked a treat.

"Coaxing" Fillet into the float.

“Coaxing” Fillet into the float.

Fillet at "The Other Farm"

Fillet at “The Other Farm”

A big part of our farm time in June was taken up with building a track down the eastern edge of our property.  The neighbours behind us have a right-of-way over our block. There are two tracks, one that runs down my eastern border and another that runs along their southern border; however, the last known owner of those tracks died 120 years ago.  The only other person who lives back there has a right-of-way over those tracks, and kicks up a stink if anybody else uses them.  There are two blocks and two tracks, but for some reason that neighbour refuses to share, despite the fact that he really has no say over who uses them. Don’t get me started…

Anyway, we have a right-of-way running along our eastern border, but it was taken up almost entirely with a row of trees.  There was a double fence, though the outside one had parts that were literally over 120 years old and it was unserviceable.  The inside fence was relatively new, and had to come down and move a couple of feet inwards.  The row of trees, which numbered a couple-of-dozen gums of maybe 10 years old and probably 5 or 6 smaller ones, also had to come down.

In reality, all of that work was our neighbour’s to manage, but we helped out.  We took down the trees over a weekend, and started to pull down the fence.

Starting on the fence and track.

Starting on the fence and track.

Most of the trees gone.

Most of the trees gone.

View back towards the front of the property.

View back towards the front of the property.

Proof that Linhda has driven a farm vehicle.

Proof that Linhda has driven a farm vehicle.

Trees gone!

Trees gone!

Our neighbour’s father came the following weekend to take down the rest of the fence using one of his work vehicles.  However, we’d had a half-inch of rain the night before, and we spent 3 or 4 hours getting him unbogged.

Using Sheldon to drag Larry out of his first bog...

Using Sheldon to drag Larry out of his first bog…

... and second bog...

… and second bog…

... and about his 10th bog...

… and about his 10th bog…

Ironically, we used our tractor and my mattock to get the rest of the fence down, and it took maybe half the time we spent getting the truck unbogged.

As always, we reused everything that we possibly could.  We got maybe 5 tonnes of wood from the trees, along with some ancient strainers from the old fence that burned beautifully. We also managed to salvage a heap of droppers from the old fence, and we reused all of the materials from the inner fence to reinstate it in July.

We also had a couple of pig developments in June. Firstly, we picked up a baby to use as a spit-pig for Linhda’s and Gemma’s birthday in September.  As always, it was fascinating seeing how other people manage their pigs. I’ll not go into gory details, but it wasn’t even close to the way we do it.  Secondly, we’re 100% sure that Smoked is pregnant!  Yay!!!!

George!

George!

The Babies in one of the spare runs where we grew some greenery.

The Babies in one of the spare runs where we grew some greenery.

Smoke Pig pregnant!

Smoke Pig pregnant!

We ended up harvesting our pumpkins towards the end of the month. My plan had them being finished around February, which is what our previous experience would have us expect. However, they just kept growing.  Even in June there was still new growth, flowers, and little pumpkins. We were at the stage were we wanted the bed though, so I harvested them and ripped up the plants.

Pumpkins!

Pumpkins!

Despite the weeding and big jobs like the installation of a 150m long track, I also managed an inside job.  I painted the dining room and sealed the slate.  My plan is to get the entire inside repainted and the slate fixed up, but that obviously comes second to the farm work. To be honest, I’d not do it at all, but Linhda makes me…

All-in-all, June was a great month.  We had more rain than we could’ve hoped for, the crop and veggie patch looked amazing, and we looked to have more pork and beef than we could ever use. I used to hate Winter, but am fairly sure it’s my favourite farm season.

This is the downside of free-ranging poultry...

This is the downside of free-ranging poultry…

This is the view from the south-western corner of our property and looking southish.

This is the view from the south-western corner of our property and looking southish.

One thought on “Gardening Math: Rain = Weeds

  1. Pingback: Loving Winter! | The Atherton Farm Blog

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