Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Unto Geranium, a calf is born

Yesterday afternoon, around about 3pm I reckon, Geranium had her calf.

I went out at about 4.30pm to move the sheep into another paddock so that the cows had maximum access to the shade for Geranium's calving. Her estimated delivery date was the 28th so I thought I had a few days.

As I approached the giant Blakley's Red Gum where the sheep were resting, I saw Geranium with her new calf all freshly licked and shiny.

(Warning -  lots of pictures of mother and calf.)

Geranium let me get very close and let me touch the new fella - all the work I had put into getting Gerry to trust me has paid off!

I spent ages with them watching Geranium care for the calf. It was hard to get good photos when they were in the shade and they are both black Dexters.

Being helped up.

Some of his first steps.

They spent the night outside the yards - they usually come in each evening. It was a bit hard to walk a long way for the little fella.

This  morning the cows were hanging around in the long carex grasses that grow in the drainage lines - plenty of shade and hiding places for the calf.

The new babe is getting to know his mini herd. Welcome little one!

Monday, 25 November 2013

Harvest Monday - 25 Nov '13

Currants!  I had never grown currants before coming to Highfield and just this last week I have started to pick a few - just a few. The white currants are bigger than the red ones but both taste wonderful.  They and a few strawberries and mulberries are my only fruit harvests. I didn't photograph the mulberries - I just ate them from the tree.

Otherwise the pick has consisted mostly of snow peas,

radishes including one radish that seems to be an odd one out!

There has been more broad beans,

 and more radish and snow peas.

The broad beans are all picked now but not all eaten yet!

And this was this morning's pick - the currants have already been devoured.

Hope you are picking well.

I'm contributing this to Daphne's Harvest Monday. Pop over to her blog to see hers to see others' harvests. They will be there when the earth turns a little more.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

The pulse of the pulse

With such a new patch, I have deliberately tried to grow lots of pulses. As well as harvesting them for food I am growing them for their ability to provide fertility thru their nitrogen fixing properties.

Today's pick of pulses (loads of broad beans and some snow peas) came in cradled in my home-made paisley frock! I so often forget to grab the basket when I hit Fortress Wallaby, mostly because I intend to go for a stroll rather than pick!

The broad bean patch is now looking very tatty - soon I will turn  the de-beaned plants into the soil and let it  stew a for a bit while I think of what to plant in the nitrogen richer spot.

I took a slightly different approach with the spent sugar snaps. When they had finished producing I cut the plants off at ground level leaving the nitrogen fixing nodules on the roots in the ground and then put the contents of a compost bin on top.

Note the be-sandled toes of the peasant! Something pulsey will go in here soon or maybe cucumbers?

I used the tops of the sugar snaps as a mulch for the tomatoes.

Other pulses I have in are some borlotti.

They are at two different stages of development - some of the plants got knocked over in a very late frost and the younger ones are from me re-planting the spaces left behind by the frosted-off plants.

I also have some climbing  'Purple King' in which seem to be doing very well.  I am enjoying the purple stems very much.

 In front of them are some 'Hawkesbury Wonder' bush beans which were also knocked around by that same late frost and so the gaps in the bed...more have gone in.

I am picking a small crop of snow peas right now ( as you saw above).

They wont go for much longer - as the heat creeps up the plants fade.

I also have in a row of 'Kentucky Wonder' - thanks Nina.

These too would have been more advanced except that late October frost did all of the Wonders from Kentucky in! Well, at least these little wonders are looking quite healthy!

What pulses do you have in... what should I grow that I am not?

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Home-made heaven

I've discovered heaven, one bite was all I needed to be sure.

Today's lunch of home-made bread with home-made marinated feta and recently preserved bread and butter cucumbers. I want another piece...

Monday, 18 November 2013

Harvest Monday - 18 Nov '13

I can see the hungry gap from here... while I have had a diversity of things to harvest this week very soon I will be left with slim pickings - lettuce mostly and a small crop of snow peas.

But for now there is still some bounty. This week I picked some beautiful radishes, they are a really good size.

Some broad beans - they are very sweet when steamed.

A large 'Salad bowl' lettuce.

There has been small quantities of berries - strawberries and mulberries (and cackleberries too). Psst, don't tell anyone, I have also eaten quite a few mulberries straight off the tree!

I also emptied one of the temporary beds I established when we first moved here. The only things in that bed were some pathetic leeks and spring onions.

I don't think I will try leeks here again.  I have had success with leeks before but in milder climates. Here where we are a little more extreme, it's been too cold in winter for them to thrive and now that it's warmed up the leeks have started flowering.  There is not much leek to these - mostly flower cores...

Even though the same thing has happened to the spring onions, they are a quicker crop and I can plan to avoid  the more difficult times of the year  to ensure they don't bolt.

There has been a little chives, some dill, thyme and rosemary but that's been it really.

Hope you're pickings are good. Pop over to Daphne's to see her pickings and others from around the world.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

One year at Highfield

Today marks one year of living at Highfield. Today we walked the long circuit around the property to celebrate.

We walked thru the grazing land and down into the conservation part of the property and followed the little creek as far as we could.

Then we climbed up the dry slopes past the grass trees for views to the hills around Gundagai in one direction and to the hills around Tumbarrumba and off to the Snowies in the other. We can see for miles and miles from Highfield Hill.

We watched wallabies sitting in the creek eating the greenest grass that grew on the bank. We saw giant goannas slide up the grassy slopes we watched birds flit in the trees.

We remembered why we bought Highfield...

We have been busy here in the last year. We have learnt so much and done so many things. There has been sheds and tanks built, there has been bolstering earthworks in the form of wooden outdoor lounge suites.

There has been wood chopping and storage!

There has been the building of beautiful chook sheds,

There has been planting and growing in Fortress Wallaby.

 There have been battles with wildlife and chooks for the mint bed.

There has been understanding the ways of sheep, chickens and cattle.

  There has been a complete inability to understand the ways of alpacas. They are unfathomable!

We have learnt how to 'pull a lamb' (assist at a lamb birth when the lamb is stuck) while horizontal rain only a degree off sleet falls splatters on your glasses.

We have carried the little bodies of the lambs that didn't make it and added them to the veggie patch.

We've learnt the names of 88 birds. We've learnt that the only number that matters is measured in millimetres and is read off the rain gauge.

Soon Geranium Dexter will have her calf  and we will welcome a new animal to Highfield Farm and Woodland.

Soon the peaches will ripen and I will again be sharing them with the wallaby.

Some places just feel right.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

You dill you!

I am on a mission to use up some of my dill before it all goes to seed.

 I will let it go to seed - now I have more space in the veggie patch I can allow things to self propagate  - saves time in saving seeds and replanting them yourself right?

But dill is such a wonderful herb that it would seem a waste to not take advantage of the mini glut.

My dill grows in a corner of my central bed. It's a bed that holds lots of herbs and in which 'Pothead' my Scare Cockatoo stands or rather slopes. She may look pretty pathetic for a Scare Cockatoo but she works!

So the other day I made a pretty nice smoked salmon and dill pasta but today I made Liz's Bread and Butter Dill Cucumbers.

I pretty much followed her recipe, except that I used pickling spices instead of just mustard seeds and I made the recipe at double quantity because I had enough cucumbers. The cucumbers were bought ones unfortunately, but soon I will have my own!

Here is the result -  one of the 4 jars made.

The best part? It makes the kitchen smell heavenly.  You know one of those smells that makes your mouth water?

The worst part? Well I only needed 4 teaspoons of chopped dill so it didn't put a dint in the dill at all!

Thanks Liz.  I might not be able to wait very long before sampling them...


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