Friday, May 2, 2008

The whole 22 acres are now usable!

This is a HUGE accomplishment for us and we're so proud! We can now use all paddocks - we've done the fencing in all the back and side paddocks that weren't able to be used until 2 weeks ago. It feels so good. One of them doesn't have a proper fence on one side, we just used electric fence tape while they were in there for the last week. It's been so good to have them in there, though as it's been ungrazed for so long and was so overgrown they really didn't have that much real grass. But we had them in there at a week at a time to eat it down so at least grass can start growing back and hopefully we'll get there in a couple more cycles. So the big horses are back up the top now, but only in one paddock rather than the whole four! We fixed the fencing down the side last weekend and put in a couple of fences that weren't there. We have electric fence tape over the raceway/gate type area to keep them in there. It's not electrified at the moment as up until this point we haven't had an energiser - BUT we do now! Bought on today. On credit card - ek, ah well it's needed. The 8 minis are currently on the driveway (and have been for the last week) to eat that down. We'll move them into the paddock with the big horses soon, maybe in a couple of days so the big ones get a good feed of the new grass first. Seeing as though wee ones don't need as much. It's feels great though to work it all properly. So we'll be moving them along the top paddocks as they run out of grass (fixing the fences in the next one in between as they all need to be fixed and have a small amount fenced that didn't have fence). Then they'll come back into the big paddock - which by then we will have split into 3 paddocks, move through them and then back into the back and side. WAHOOO!!!! We'll keep the driveway on the rotation for the minis to keep that down too. It's all feeling so good. Yay :) Dunno when we'll have time to do the next fencing with a toddler and newborn but we just have to find a way because I'm thinking the paddock they're in will only last a couple of weeks. So that's where we're at paddock wise and it's pretty damned cool!

This is Ned after a week or so of his new feeding.

My Mickey with his eeny weeny friend Belle.

All the horses in the huge paddock.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ned's weight gain regime

Last week we started Ned's weight gain program to try and fatten him up before winter. It consists of being fed twice a day - he's having fibrepro with 3 scoops of hard-feed and oil. We've started with just 1/4 of a cup of canola oil and are slowly working up to a cup. Hopefully this works and he puts on a lot of condition before it gets really cold. He's also covered now, just with his autumn cover which is a jute lined canvas one. He's already seeming much happier and more energetic which is great. All the horses are loving it actually, we always make sure to give Mickey and Maddy a few handfuls, but everyone else gets some too. Well not all the small ones, but all the biggies get a little bit, not as much as our Mickey and Maddy, but they all get some. It's a bit of a feeding frenzy out there at feeding time. We get Neddy in and he eats in the house paddock while they all clamber around the fences willing us to give them some. I stupidly didn't take any before photos! ARGH!!! But I'll try to remember to take some soon, as soon as it stops raining.

YES! We have rain!!!! It started in the weekend and is still going. It's sooooo awesome and will be so good for the poor parched paddocks. Wahoo!

We currently have 7 big horses (4 grazing and our 3) and 8 little ones. They're all together in the massive paddock next the house, we're letting the front grow for winter. We're about to move them all to the back - but still have fencing to do! Just bought some more fencing wire to hopefully get this done in the weekend. Last weekend we fixed up the back boundary fence which was great - just gotta tighten one side of it and then it's all done. Have to get some electric fence tape, an energiser and probably more standards for one area. The rest we'll be fixing with wire and battens (which we're seriously running low on and have to buy more. EEEKKK!).

Ohhhh AND for the last month or so Toa has been having oil added to his food. It was my desperate attempt to get some weight on him and my god it works! He's looking better than he's ever looked, no more backbone showing through and good coverage over his ribs. He'll be looking fantastic soon - wa-fucking-ho! We've also found out about a good working dog feed from the local horse and stock feed shop. It sounds really similar to the Pro Plan Performance for working dogs that we used to feed him. But at $117 for 17kg that had to stop shortly after we moved here, we just couldn't keep it up. But this food is apparently just as good (I've compared the ingredients and nutritional information and that's on par) and the dogs like it as much. Soooooo that's what we'll be buying once they've finished what they're currently eating.

Mawhero has had her operation (a couple of months after Toa's one) and her recovery isn't going as well. She had to go back in last weekend (op was on Wednesday) due to swelling and ripping the drain and some stitches out. Well it continued to swell and she had to go back in today to get put under again to have it drained out and another drain put in and more stitches. Crickey this has been an expensive exercise but hopefully this works and she is on the road to recovery.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The paintin's nearly a done!

WA-FUCKING-HOO!!!! We had a productive Easter weekend, we FINALLY finished the painting. It feels sooooo much better as well, though the list of things to do is still huuuuuuuge. But at least the painting is finished (well nearly! LOL). We did the entrance, laundry and our bedroom and it all looks great. Our bedroom was the most satisfying because we did it in a colour we love, it's the only room that is a colour we like and would have done ourselves. The rest is an icky yellow cream, it's still a damned sight better than what it was, but not really our kinda colour. Because our room was last we used the final cream as a base and added a bit of brown and a little less grey - it's a lovely natural, modern light earthy greyish brown. hehe Funny enough, before we moved, we got all the swatches and were picking a colour for the inside - our first choice was just like this. It's sooooo nice - we would LOVE it if the rest of the house was this colour. Really nice. Ah well, you can't have it all right?!? Now I just wanna get the huge desk and computer out of our room - the room would look so much nicer without it. But converting the shed into an office just aint really up there in priority unfortunately. So it'll more than likely be a next summer job.

We've moved the horses, they're all in the big paddock next the house - well they're all supposed to be!!! Fucking maggot miniatures just aren't staying where they're supposed to be! They're roaming the whole property, they push out of the unbattened section of the fence and do what they please. It's so damned annoying - we'd hoped we could fix that this weekend but it just couldn't happen. Hopefully the feckers don't go over to the neighbours. Mutter, mutter, mutter. It's so nice having big horses right next to the house though, I love looking out to them and going out for some horse love - they're real, these little ones just aren't real horses to me. Oh Butterscotch has gone back up north - she got way, way, way too fat and foundered. Poor girl, so she's gone back up to the starvation paddock. No more riding for Caelan. Though I will start working Rudie now and break him in, so hopefully he'll be ready for riding soon.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Chris has a Ned

Chris now has a horse of his own - a lovely old thoroughbred gelding called Ned. He's great and enjoying being here. Chris lunges and then rides him both days in the weekend and they're both doing really well. Ned is awesome and knows his stuff which is great - they're both getting to know each other well. We got him from a friend of mine from Caelan's Playgroup, she didn't have the time for him anymore and felt sorry for him being wasted in the paddock with no friends. So he's here now with heaps of friends and loving it. Hopefully he'll put on condition like all these fatties here - all the other horses are very ROUND and full of themselves. So hopefully he'll put on condition before winter comes. So we now have six big horses up the front and nine little horses - not that they're in the paddock they're supposed to be. Buggers! They keep going through the ditch to the big horses paddock. What we're gonna do this weekend, is put them all in the paddock next to the house, put a fence up where the fuckers are getting through and give the front a chance to grow some new grass and they can all eat down this paddock. Then we'll put them in there once it's eaten down here.

The sheep are great - annoying but great! Code is really being a shit lately - he's taken to bunting me as well as Caelan. It's cause I always move them and bring them treats and when I don't have a treat for him he gets shitty about it. We've had a few fights but things are ok - so far. Shitty bloody ram!

We've still got fuckloads to do! It's so disheatening because the new baby will be here in about 6 weeks and we have to finish the painting and do heaps. Just so hard when the wee one around - just can't do the stuff we need to. ARGH! Wish we could put him in a cage for a day and do some work! LOL It's hard not having family around to send him to so we can get stuff done in the weekends. Ah well - hopefully it gets done. We've getting inundated with mice and rats again and have to do something about that this weekend - bastard things, I hate them!

Well here are some photos of choggy a week before we set him free and one of the swallows in the front doorway, along with some of Ned a couple of weeks after getting here.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Choggy's getting better!

We have been treating and looking after a hedgehog for the last 3 weeks and he's really improving. It's so great to see. I need to take a photo of him soon - haven't taken a before photo. He was such a sad sight when we first found him. He had hardly any spikes left, only a small spot right at the bottom of his back and his was all scabby and scaley with some raw areas. Poor little guy and the worst of it was he had maggots all over him and in his ears. Heaps of them! His ears were just a horrible while swirling mass of maggots. UGH! It was horrible, he was getting eaten from the inside out. Chris thought that he was so close to death it was kinder to chop his head off with the spade. It would be quick and he would be out of his misery. It made me sad to think so but I agreed, I wanted to give him some milk first though. Well, when we gave him a drink he gobbled it all up frantically and I said we couldn't kill him, he must be ok to drink that hungrily, Chris agreed and off I came inside to search the internet. After some research I learned that he has mange (a very bloody severe case!) and the fly-blow isn't actually that uncommon, in fact it's common. So I read up on how we should treat him, while shouting out bits and pieces to Chirs - first thing was taking the milk off him and swapping it for water! I always remember being told as a kid to give hedgehogs milk because they like it, well this is true - they love it, but it's not good for them. So while he was frantically drinking water, Chris was cleaning him with a water and savlon solution I'd made and then started the horrible task of picking all the maggots off him and out of his ears. God Chris is a bloody good person! I couldn't get too close because I nearly vomited when I did, I'm not the best with yucky things at the best of times - when pregnant I'm just gonna vomit everywhere. After a long de-maggoting he was washed again and we put a mixture of tea-tree oil and baby oil all over him, the tea-tree oil to kill the mange and baby oil to soften his scaley bits. He's been eating a bowl of cat biscuits a day along with drinking a bowl of water a day - he's put on heaps of weight and looks so much better. Chris had to de-maggot him twice more after that time while the horrid little things made their way out of his ears. He also got a horrible hole in his head that was maggot infested a week or so after we found him. So his box has had a sheet over it and tucked in to keep the bastard flies out. He lives in a box in the woodshed and I'm sure he feels a billion times better. Apparently the spikes can take a month or so to grow back, but his skin is looking good, he's got more condition and he's moving more - horray for Choggy! I'll post a photo of him soon.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Plums, plums and more plums

We have five plum trees on the property AND we haven't even had the runs yet - how lucky is that?!?! hehe I don't know how we've missed it because I thought it was gonna happen for sure. But thankfully no :) Four of them are Billington plum trees (this is what we think anyway based on our research!), which have nice sized fruit with deep red skin with rich red flesh and oh so yummy, slightly tart. They're the first to ripen and you better be quick to get em because once they're ripe - that's it! We had a lot from each tree but there were HEAPS, all trees were pretty laden and we left it a little long to pick them all and start making jam and bottling. Alas the birds were very well fed :) The last plum tree is a Wilsons Early, it has smallish yellow with red skin and yellow flesh and ripens later in the season than the others so we had the first and now the next ones are just starting to ripen. It's great! Today we picked a bucket full, poor Chris climbed the tree and got attacked by it's spikes. Plum trees aren't very friendly! We have made our first batch of plum jam, preserved plums and plum juice. YUMMO!!!

Billington plums just before ripening.

Chris up the Wilsons Early tree.

Our homegrown and homemade plum jam and preserved whole plums. YUMMO SCRUMMO!

What else have we done... well we've painted the front entrance and hallway, as well as the bathroom and toilet. It all looks sooooo much better. I don't know why I haven't taken photo's of that. But will sometime soon and post them - I haven't even taken photo's of the kitchen and lounge which we finished ages ago! Opsy - I'll get onto that. The bathroom is the best for me - it really looks amazing in comparison to what it used to. Sooooo much cleaner - ahhhh, it's so nice not having to look at other people's crud that, no matter how hard you scrub, just wont fucking well come off. Not to mention the crayon scribbles on the toilet wall that I always ended up looking at and getting irritated by as I sat there doing my thing. Along with the hole in the bathroom wall and one in the toilet - I would switch between crayon scribbles and hole in the toilet and always look at the hole and crud in the bathroom. Now it's all gone! HORRAY!!!!! So on the painting front we still have our room, the back entrance and laundry to do, as well as a final coat around the doors and windows in the kitchen and lounge. Oh and repaint the kitchen door where the naughty new puppy has scratched the new paint off - GGRRRRRRRRRRR. Oh and we bought a new front door and have put that on - looks great, though now we don't have a cat-door so gotta get that installed into a pane next to the french doors. Looks so much nicer with a lovely front door. Chris has nearly finished the vanity in the bathroom too, just gotta put the top piece of wood on and then it's done - we have a vanity. HORRAY!

We've spent a lot of money on plants and things are definitely looking better, after bastard horses and lambs eating all the first ones we bought. GGGGGRRRRRRRRRR! Animals. We now have predominantly lavender and roses - it's very country cottage and cute. We'll add it as we can and it will continue to progress and improve (that's the plan anyway). Things were looking great and then the dogs decided they'd annoy the piss out of us and dig one whole garden out, like it seriously was the whole fucking garden. Bastards. All the plants were totally dug out and strewn across the yard. Wow - really wanted to kill them after that. But we've replanted them and although they look pretty damned sad, they look like they're gonna survive (mostly!). And I'm talking about all of this and haven't actually taken any photos of the gardens either. Will do that too. I'll add it to the incredibly, unbelievably, dishearteningly long to-do list. hehe

Before planting all the plants that are piled up everywhere, but you can see the standard iceberg roses either side of the steps and the rocks surrounding where the garden now is - it's now full of lavender that eventually will be a lavender hedge in front of the deck. You can also see on either side of the other steps onto the deck we have more lavender in pots and the standard patio prince roses either side of the doorway. The trellis is also new (ages ago now) and we have star jasmin in pots on the far side of the BBQ to grow up the trellis, along with the pink flowered climber on this side of it, that I can't for the life of me remember the name of.

Patio prince rose - gorgeous colour huh?

One of the pink roses we have in the garden below the kitchen windows - we have alternating pink and ivory ones.

Pink flowered climber guy who lives next to the BBQ :)


What else... ah fencing. We've done the top paddock fencing. We'd used three gates tied together to fence the opening off for WAY TOO LONG. Now it's finally done and feels soooooo good :) That is halfway down the drive way, so we carried on the two rail fencing and luckily enough we had enough rails for that as it wasn't a big area. Makes a huge difference and feels so much better. It was kinda embarrassing when we have the three girlies with their horses paying to keep them up there and it had that. Yay, so now it's gone.

We've also fenced the orchard with sheep netting - there was no way they were being let off in the house paddock anymore after destroying everything that was growing pretty much. So they're tethered during the day, eating the grass along the driveway down - good luck sheepies! It's all so damned overgrown and yucky to them now. But we've tie them up in the house paddock as well which they LOVE, nice short, sweet and juicy grass. They've been in here for the last three days now, to give the orchard a rest and time to grow. It's totally dry and dead now, gone from being horribly overgrown to nothing. It's good though, when it starts growing back (if we ever get enough rain!!!) it'll be good grass.

Just after we put the posts in to fence the orchard.

Met enjoying the lush grass in the house paddock.

Code wanting to know if he can eat the camera.

We cleared out the sheds and sorted them so we now have a workable and useable garden/wood shed and the other one is a useable sleepout which is quite cute (if you're not that fussy). We've had three different groups of people stay in it and they've all said it was great (perhaps they were just being polite! hehe). It has a queen sized bed complete with mosquito net, set of drawers, bedside cabinets and a lantern with citronella oil for lighting, along with waking up to birdsong. Nice. What more would you want? Aside from the fresh coffee and cooked breakfast we have ready for you inside :) The other half of that shed is used for storage, but it's an organised storage shed now thank god. We have a great saddle rack as well, right by the door which is long enough to hold our two adult saddles and Caelan's little one, plus it's got room for one more adult sized. It's great.

Water - one of the most important, if not the most important subjects for us. Since spring we've been bucketing water to the horses and this is frightening for us because with the lack of rain our tank will being going down and down and down and down. We're really frugal with our water use - when we wash our hands we catch the water and it gets fed to plants. All washing water gets caught, with the first load going to plants and gardens and the second being used for the next load. All dishes water gets taken out of the skin and given to plants, there is no such thing as taking a plug out and watching any water (regardless of how dirty!) go down the drain here. Showering every day is a thing of past days, days where water wasn't limited. Ahhhh how we loved our trip to Melbourne and showering every day! Along with our wee two night holiday in a hotel here - aaahhhhh the showers and being able to use water like it didn't matter. It was still always on my mind though, out of habit. But the latest exciting news is, Kevin (my father) found the bore while they were here visiting last week and there's still water down there!!!! It's so exciting! So now we just need to find a way to buy a pump and the hose needed and viola we have water for the horses, sheep and dogs (and gardens) and it wont have to come from our tank!!! YAY! So we're in the process of researching all of that and hopefully our problems will be solved. Yay :)

We also invested in a needed chainsaw - wahoo! Chris has put it to good use and has chopped up all of the fallen down trees from the fence-line of the first top paddock. We have a healthy wood pile stacked in the shed and against the wall outside. There's sooooo much more wood on the property to chop, but we'll get there.

And we've made Caelan a sandpit - it's a deep inground one that took a lot of digging. It's pretty damned deep too. He loves it. It's framed with four 6x2 planks and goes down from there. What a lucky little boy huh? Poor Chris too, as obviously he did pretty much all the digging, I helped when I could and as I could but being pregnant and the heat absolutely KILLING me I wasn't much help. I was more loosening the dirt for him to take out and wheel away. But it got done and two trailer-loads of sand later, Caelan has a sandpit.

Oh and yeah, we have a new puppy. She's the same breed as Toa (dogue de bordeaux) and is loving her country life. Her name's Mawhero (which means Pink), we wanted her to have a maori name like Toa (means Warrior). She's a lovely little girl, even though she destroys gardens! Toa's loving having a friend, although she swings off his lips at times and irritates the snot out of him. He's the most tolerant and patient dog in the world though and just lets it happen. He'll love it when she's big like him and they can play properly.

ANNNNND we bought a new outdoor dining suite and it's lovely jubbly! Our little rickety one just wasn't cutting it - we eat outside so much here (who wouldn't???? It's amazing and you'd be mad not to). The new one is great, seats six and is a really good size - we've used it HEAPS since getting it just before new years. It gets used pretty much every day and it's lovely just sitting out there talking to the birds. Our swallows who live in the front doorway now have their second set of babies - so cute! Caelan loves them and will visit them throughout the day and come back saying "Baby birds sleeping" if they're in the nest asleep. Ohhhh and speaking of birds, we have A LOT, I mean a fuck of a lot of bird visitors here. I've lost count of how many Caelan and I have gotten out of the fire place during the day. We have had a friendly fantail visitor who comes inside just to hang with us - like literally follows us into whatever room we're in. He's lovely. The swallows from the front often come in to say hi when I'm working on the computer. Sparrows will come in regularly - it's a right little bird house we have. Frank (the cat) is thrilled about it. And we've already had to save two young sparrows from the budding bird dog Mawhero.

If you just open this wee glass door I'll help it outside. Pleeeeeeease. YEAH RIGHT!

So just don't let that dog get me huh?

Come on little birdy, we'll put you outside.

Swallow having a visit in our room, chilling on the TV.

So that's the update on our wee farm. We've always got heaps to do but we have done heaps as well. Here are some more pics of around and about.

Chris and Mickey having a chat after a night time water filling run.

Don't use jandals as your farm work boot - this is what your feet will look like!

Ah the hammock, there are many magic spots on the farm but this is pretty close to being my favourite to relax.

The dogs chilling out.

The old outdoor set, it's now looking quite different here. We've tidied up the clearing more and the set is in the middle of that, Chris has chopped up all the logs that are seen in that pic as well. It looks really cute in there now.

The herb tower - gotten so much use out of that recently! It's great. Though the coriander is looking pretty damned sad these days and I anything I do just doesn't help. Also one of the basil varieties is doing really badly - hopefully I'm able to revive them.