Permaculture in Action

Friday, February 7, 2014

Around The Farm

2014 has been declared International Year of Family Farming and so to celebrate I would like to share snippets of our family farm. So once a week for the rest of the year you can join us here for a slow tour of the farm.
The 2014 International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) aims to raise the profile of family farming and smallholder farming by focusing world attention on its significant role in eradicating hunger and poverty, providing food security and nutrition, improving livelihoods, managing natural resources, protecting the environment, and achieving sustainable development, in particular in rural areas.

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Another week has just flown by and I haven't managed to write a blog post. But I have committed myself to recording farm happenings weekly and so what has been happening here? 

First of all I would like to thank all those who left such heart warming comments regarding our trip to Italy later in the year for Slow Foods. We are just one of many, many people who are promoting , through our choice of lifestyle, the wonderful ideals of the Slow Food movement. Be it Permaculture, Biodynamics, organics, or the adoption of a slow and simple life, by supporting local producers of sustainable agriculture, by choosing local businesses where possible, by reducing waste, cooking from scratch, repairing, making ethical choices, etc etc. We would like to thank those who support us through our CSA, who value the family farm and all that that entails.

 Rain, or the lack of it to be more precise continues to have a huge effect on us at the moment. Our CSA boxes have been very light on this past couple of weeks, but thankfully our subscribers understand and continue to support us during the lean times as well as the gluts.

On a personal level, the drought and heatwave has also had a detrimental effect on us both. It is hard to see seedlings and produce wither and burn , to be constantly out in the heat checking on livestock. I was beginning to feel quite despondent. But just lately the weather has been a little kinder. Still no rain, but much cooler. And along with the cooler weather came a new lease on life. I once more felt the enthusiasm that usually surrounds me here on the farm, and spent a whole day, working well into the evening, on some chores that were a little behind. 

The ducks, geese and chickens had their houses cleaned out with lovely clean straw added. I let the pigs into one pen to dig up all the old bedding for me, before cleaning it out.

 Wednesday was a fruit day so I spent the day weeding and mulching some very neglected fruit trees. They were all looking very stressed. I gave them a tonic with seaweed to help them recover before adding a mulch of aged cow manure, followed by deep watering.

A young mulberry tree after the treatment. We have planted quite a few mulberry trees in strategic positions around the farm. They offer good summer shade, as well as berries. I don't think there is any animal on the farm except maybe the dogs who don't like the berries and leaves of the mulberry. The large one in the back yard overhangs the fence into the paddock beyond and it has been grazed to head height by the cows. The pigs just love the leaves as well, and I have been told that they are great for the eradication of intestinal worms. The ducks, geese and hens just love to be let out of their yard in the mulberry season to feast on fallen fruit. It's a real race to see who gets there first.

Here is a very sad fig tree. It has really suffered during the hot dry summer, but after just a couple of days I can see much improvement. The cage is to protect it from the livestock as it is in the nut orchard where the geese ducks and hens have free access.

Cinnamon and Nutmeg spent some time in the nut orchard today while Mark worked on their pens. They are only allowed supervised visits as they can be soooo destructive.
 The pigs are getting another day pen so that we can rotate them onto new pasture periodically. Mark fenced in the last section with wire netting. Timber was placed between the posts first of all to prevent the pigs digging out underneath.To strain the wire he screws on these boards which hold the wire and gives a purchase for the winch.
The winch is attached to a strong piece of wire bolted to the boards and the winch attached to the ute...
The finished fence..
  The mesh is attached to the top two wires using netting clips and stapled at the bottom to the timber.
 Should keep them in. Fingers crossed.


  1. I'm enjoying these farm posts, Kate. Really nice to see whats happening week by week. Thanks!!

    1. Thanks Evi. They are a great way of recording the various things going on here.

  2. I really enjoy these posts. Having enough land to grow fruit trees or raise animals is some way off so it's nice to have a share of yours.

    I can never hear about mulberry trees without thinking of Buckingham Palace - do you know the story? As far I as remember it, King James I had something like 10.000 mulberry trees planted to support a population of silk worms and launch a domestic silk industry but he planted the wrong kind of trees and the scheme was an utter failure, but there are still large numbers of the trees in the palace grounds today.

    1. What a great story. I had never heard of it before. I was under the illusion that silk worms could eat any mulberry leaves. They are happy with the species that are typically found around here as I see many children with silk worms over the years.

  3. I heard last night on the news we may be in for a rain event next week, my fingers are crossed!

  4. That's a good idea having the timber at the bottom- that would work with goats too!
    When my goats are not well or I am concerned about worms, I put them under our mulberry tree.
    Your farm work is looking wonderful in spite of the dry conditions. As soon as it rains I am running out to stand in it!

    1. Me too. It seems like such a long time since it has really rained.