This year has been very different with the COVID-19 lockdown and all the associated changes to everyday life.
The drought has finally broken or there has been some rainfall to relieve for many. Here in South Gippsland we have had the wettest first 5 months of the year since we moved here. We are water logged; with springs appearing in the low parts of our paddocks. We do have a good cover of green grass for feed, which is a blessing.
For the last 6 months we have been using 2 horses as a means of reducing parasite eggs in our pasture. Horses have different parasites to goats and apparently also kill the eggs when they pass through the horse’s stomach. It does seem to be working.
We had a really good harvest of apricots, persimmons, pears and kiwi fruit this year. Some of which we have been able to share and some we have dried. We use the dried fruit in sourdough fruit loaf.
We aquired 2 bee hives. They are being fed with sugar syrup as there is very little food around for them.
In the next few days (early June) we will start to prune our fruit trees. Some need a really big prune this year. A lot of work is required.
We haven’t updated this page or the website for a while. Something we need be more attentive to and do regularly.
It is winter again. The soil is cold and the grass growth has slowed. There is a light frost this morning. It is cold outside. In the shade it was still there after 10.00 am.
We have started to prune our fruit trees. Some need a big prune this year and this takes a while. We do get some fire wood for next year though.
We did have a holiday in May. Our first big break for 4 years. We had 3 weeks in the south west corner of WA. Sally farm sat for us. She was great. All our goats were looked after and the dairy goats milked. The farm looked great when we got home.
Hopefully soon we will have a new chook run and house and can get chooks again. We have citrus persimmons and apples to eat from our fruit trees. Our fresh fruit is part of breakfast most days.
Summer 2013 -14
We have just undertaken a trip to Cowra to pick up some beautiful Heritage angoras. There are goats we sold some time ago and the time has come for them to return. Two are offspring from one of the does. These two are particularly special because of the colour of their fleece. The buck kid is grey and the doe kid is black (fading to charcoal). It was a long trip, but we all have recovered well. After a drench and a vaccination everyone is in the paddock meeting their new friends. One of the white does we brought back is pregnant. It looks like the breeding season will never end!!!!
Our new bee hive has arrived and we are excited. Our last attempt at bee keeping ended in a failure, as the hi
After a warm start to Spring the weather has turned cold. We are now very grateful that the goats were not shorn in the warm weather as many of them may have died in the current cold. It’s also very wet. We are looking forward to some dry weather when we can be outside tending the veggies , pruning back the shrubs and preparing for the fire season.
We have sold our cattle. It was a big decision, but after assessing how much money we would need to put in place the equipment required to handle them properly, we decided that the money and space could be better spent on our beloved goats.
Our 8 alpacas have been shorn and they do look funny without their fleece. See our sales page to see the batts we have started to make with the fleece. We hope the goats will be shorn soon, as their fleece is begining to fall off them!!!!
Kidding seasonis now probably over. We still have 2 does who were in with our buck, but they are not showing any signs that they are pregnant. However when we shear and see what’s under all the fleece we’ll have a better idea of whether any more little ones will arrive.
Blanche had 2 twins – Violet & Casper – on August 12. They came into the world in a cold, rainy and windy week. Even so, they are healthy and thriving.
Valro had two buck Ceaser and Brutus. They were born while we had a vet student, Lisa staying with us.
Blossom had a little girl who we have called Rosie and Tilly had a little boy, Banjo.
The most recent arrivals are Bijou’s twins, a boy and a girl who we have called Bib and Bob.
Our diary goats have also kidded. This year we used one of our angora bucks and the angora genes have won out. See Photo page.
I wrote the above too soon. On 15 December our doe Frizzle kidded with twins.
Our first kids for 2013
Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show
The Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show is over for another year, and we were there. We didn’t have our own stall, but we helped out our peak body Mohair Australia by manning their stand.
There was plenty of interest from the public in Mohair and we made some sales of fleece, curls, tops, and finished garments and rugs. But Oh Boy, was it cold!!!!!
The days are now short, so outside activities are reduced. Feeding each evening now occupies most of the afternoon as well. The rain and warm days means that the pasture is still growing, something which has usually ceased by late April.
It’s breeding time and our does who we have chosen to breed are now in with the bucks. In March one buck jumped the fence and a doe we were not going to use this year now appears very large. There may be more kids than we planned.
Lill has been busy processing fleece. She has learnt a lot from the spinning course she is doing with the Hand Weavers and Spinners Guild. Most of what is currently being spun will be on display at the Mohair Australia stand at the Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show in July. After the show we are planning the have yarn and fleece for sale on line.
The early citrus are now ripe and the last of persimmons and figs have been harvested. The Locquats are in flower, signalling that soon it will be summer again. Four years ago we planted some banana plants in our hot house and now finally we now have fruit.
Our kids continue to grow. They were shorn for the first time mid April and they now have little punk haircuts. Wet weather last year meant that our mohair clips have been a bit disappointing, but this latest clip is beautiful. The fleece is shiny and clean. We have already started processing some of it.
After a very dry summer, we have had some rain and the rolling green hills are green again.
Farm life can be sad sometimes. Recently we lost a couple of our young bucks and one of our alpacas. It’s hard not to form some attachment to the animals and each one which passes through our life is remembered.
As the seasons change so do our activities. We are milking once a day now as our beautiful dairy goats are beginning to dry off.
We have a good range of fruit trees and this means that no matter what the weather, some will do well and some will struggle. Figs were great this year for the first time for a while. The warm start to Autumn ripened them so they were sweet and delicious. Citrus and stone fruit appreciated the moisture from the winter rain when spring arrived.
There is usually some fresh fruit in the orchard during the year. Summer and Autumn are peak times for fruit, but there is still food to be had as the days become shorter.
Sometimes we take our kids on outings and in February we visited the Korumburra Show. As always our little fluffies were a hit with the public.
All the does we mated this year have now kidded (written 24 November 2012). We only had 14 kids. It was dryer than 2011 and they really had a good time.
We have had some really great and some not so great kidding events this year. No other year has been like this. Still born kids, breach births and the wonderful and skilled help of Mariko, a vet student gaining work experience. Without Mariko on the spot we would not have alive as many as we have of the kids born this year. We hope we have given her as much as she has given our goats and us.
The really great news about our kids this year is that we now have 3 more grey does and 3 more grey bucks. We also have some wonderful looking little white fluffies.
As well, one of the does we sold that was pregnant to our grey buck produced a grey buck kid and a black doe kid with a white splash on her forehead.
One of our ganders has disappeared. We are unable to find a trace of him.
We have completed our shearing, including the sheep and alpacas for this year. We will shear the goats again in April.
We were fortunate to have three Veterinary students from Melbourne University chose us for some of their work experience in 2012. Our challenge was to provide them with meaningful work and to keep up with their energy. It was a great learning experience for us and we hope for them as well.