Saturday, July 14, 2012

Slow winter days....

Now that we are in the grip of an Otway Winter, we're taking it a little slower on the farm. Most days it rains. And it's cold. The lawns don't need as much mowing. The garden is dying back. However, some chores are ramped up. Frans is hand feeding the cows twice a day. He started off by rolling a large bale of hay into the paddock to let the cows graze as they would. But they made such a mess of it. They dragged the hay all over the place and pooped in it and then didn't eat it. So he has resorted to eeking it out to them in managable chunks. At $45 a roll of hay, we can't afford for it to become paddock mulch. It is more cost effective this way!  More time consuming, but then again, he's getting up close and personal with the girls every day. They are now less shy and will eat out of your hand.
Early morning mist. This is the view looking down our driveway towards the front gate.


The cows in the top paddock. Early morning. Cold and frosty.

Looking down the long end of the property. The dam is full. We have had a LOT of rain.
 In a couple of previous posts I've waxed lyrical about our Rayburn wood fire stove in the kitchen. We lit it at the begining of June and it kept going for over a month. I had a little trouble regulating the heat in the oven. Usually it got too hot so I would open the door. But we then noticed that some of the fire bricks that line the inside cavity where the fire gets lit were cracked. Some had chipped and even broken. Then one morning a we found a big chunk of brick had collapsed into the fire well. We had no choice but to let the stove die down so we could investigate. What Frans discovered was not good. Most of the bricks were damaged. This could account for the irregular oven temperatures and the fact that he would get up most nights around 2am to add another log to the fire to keep it burning. We needed to replace the bricks.

Firstly Frans had to source a new set of bricks. A local business could order them for us. It would take a week. Mind you, these bricks only had to come a few hundred kilometers. I ordered something from Holland and received it in 4 days! But we won't do there. He removed the old bricks. Cement dust and ash floated around the kitchen. Once the bricks arrived, they were laid out on the bench to work out their placements. When I say bricks, I don't mean the square things you build a house with. These are funny shaped pieces of fired clay that fit into each other. There is an order to remove the old ones, and an order to replace the new ones by. Each brick had to be cemented with air dry cement. Then the entire fire chamber had to be sealed. Frans is meticulous, so this task was long and laborious. But it was finally done. He then took another trip to town to get the fibreglass rope that sits around the opening on the top of the stove. We waited 24 hours for the cement to dry then he lit a small fire in the oven to aid the drying process. We'll light the fire properly this afternoon, and if all goes well, we'll be cooking dinner on it tonight. A side benefit of all this messing about was that the electric stove was moved out of the way. We could clean behind it and as a bonus we found an old spoon lying between the cobwebs and dust bunnies! To be honest, I never move the stove. Maybe I should do so more often!

I missed my regular post last week. I wasn't feeling too crash hot. So I took to my bed. No, I didn't. I just wanted to say that. Instead I did do a bit of knitting. I wanted to get a move on Frans' jumper. I thought it would be a good idea to get it completed before winter ends. It turned out ok. He's happy with it which is the main thing. There were so many changes to the original pattern, but hey, it finished!

Is that a chocolate roll??? Mmm.. no, probably just the shirt underneath...

The back. One thing that really annoys me is when you knit with a good yarn and you're half way through a row and there's a join! Aaagghhh!

Between the rain and gloomy weather, I made it into the garden to start pruning the roses. I'm doing a dry run this year to see what flowers are going to be blooming at the end of October. I've pruned half my roses. The second half will get their chop at the end of the month. I've planted loads of bulbs and will see when they bloom. For Sara and Stephen's wedding next year, we are going to grow our own flowers. So this is the run up to see what we'll have at the end of October. We have a lovely neighbour who lives on a farm down the road. She's a keen gardener and has over 600 roses! I thought I had a lot to prune with my 60 odd plants. She has kindly offered her garden to us for the wedding flowers as well. So we have a back up! Peonies. We want to grow them too. They will have to be purchesed as root stocks and be planted in the next month or so.

This round garden bed looks lovely when all the roses are blooming. Now it's pretty ordinary.

And I'll leave you this week with a little piece of Australia! Our neighbour Graham looks after a few farms around the district. He told Frans that on one of the farms there is an old kangaroo buck that gets into one of the paddocks and then can't get out. He's big. Very big! He can't get under the fence and he's too old to jump over it. He usually hangs around in the paddock for a few days till he gets enough umph to jump over the fence again. So a couple of Sundays back Graham came over and told Frans to get his camera. The buck was in the paddock. So off they went to find him.

And this week it was Nala's birthday. She turned 14. I gave her a delicious lamb bone which she burried and dug up a number of times during the day. She charged around the yard with the energy of a two year old. Then she collapsed in front of the fire! I did have to wash her face before she came inside! This is a 'before' the end of the day shot!

Till next time.... Ooroo!

1 comment:

  1. You look chillier than us Ami, we are fortunate to be in a frost-free area. Though your frosty mornings are very photogenic. Love the shot of the bedraggled old roo, he looks worried!