I took a bit of a walk round the property to check on our progress over the last 12 months. We have seen a number of changes with the major ones being getting ready for our goats, hatching and learning about guinea fowl, preparing a new paddock for next year’s oats and bringing in a good hay crop.
In February, the young guineas had their first taste of freedom, a couple were killed by foxes and I helped two new guineas Bill and Ben from their shells. We harvested lots of food from the garden and went to choose our goats.
April started with giving Bowie a series of injections to combat a severe allergic reaction to a sting. An unseasonable heatwave dragged on before we got our first real rainfall. We built luxury accommodation for the goats – although they are a bit delayed as Midge didn’t get pregnant – and the little guineas Bill and Ben met the older birds.
Poor little Ben got taken on the 1st of May and Billie only survived another 10 days, even though the others took her in and showed her how to fly. The most exciting thing of course was bringing our 2 goats Midge and Smudge to the property. On the 8th we got the highest rainfall in the whole of WA at 78mm, the tanks were full by the 11th May and the dam was overflowing by the end of the month. The wet weather brought out the first fungi.
June was all about identifying all the different fungi popping up in the forest, they came in a whole rainbow of colours. The main jobs were the first 8 stages of producing oaten hay – weedkiller, raking, rock picking, sowing, harrowing, rock picking, rolling and fertilizing. On the wildlife front, I learned more about the red-legged earth mite and a couple of kites.
July was awesome. Looking back at the posts, there were great sunrises, our first frost, baby goats and while our oats sprouted we started cultivating a new paddock for growing them next year. I got my first pictures of the baudin and red-tailed black cockatoos and had fun with a rogues gallery of chicken bottoms.
August was wet. There were only 3 days when it didn’t rain and we got 50mm more than average for the month. I took my favourite sunrise photo of the year, learned about my Holy Halo, and captured a beautiful rain drop. August was focused on our future food security. We put together our greenhouse, got some milking supplies, weeded the vege beds – with help from the chickens – and planted tagasaste for the goats. The first flowers of spring appeared and we found out we had rabbits.
Midge had her twin girl kids in September. Curious Rose and Gorgeous Crumpler were even cuter than I had imagined. Poor Midge injured her udder,so I suddenly had to learn how to milk and the milking stand got built sooner than anticipated. Mama Hen went broody so we bought a couple of day old chicks for her to raise. It was a wild weather month with our first hailstorm and storms that brought trees down and blew a panel out of the greenhouse.
October was all about the hay. Our kind neighbour lent us his mower, rake and baler and we got it in the shed after 6 days. The kids and chicks are growing quickly and the horses were very happy to be back in the oat paddock. The wildflowers were mostly pink and blue. The dry days that let us harvest the hay also gave a couple of chilly mornings and a record low maximum.
During November, the kids and chicks started showing their independence. I milked Midge for the first time and garden produced potatoes, radishes, beans, peas and our first tomatoes. We started trapping the rats which have made themselves at home in the feed shed. We had an unusually hot spell for the first couple of weeks, but the rains returned at the end of the month. We spotted an interesting range of wildlife including metallic birds and beetles and pink parrots and peas.
In December, we started building the earth oven with our own clay and sand and put a drip irrigation system in for the vege beds and fruit trees. The chicks are almost fully grown and we weighed the kids again at 3 months – they were huge! We had 6 hot days in the middle of the month followed by a cool change and lower then average temperatures. There were still some bright flowers around including the vivid orange Christmas Tree and the pink Pretty Honey Myrtle. After a very wet winter, water is still flowing into the dam, so hopefully the level won’t drop as quickly next year, although we will use more with our new garden irrigation system.