Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Plagues and Pets

Scratching above our heads at night, squeaking in the cupboards, Coco on high alert at all times. At this time each year since we experience the annual (well, I am christening it as such) mouse plague. Apparently we are not alone - the appearance of large signs outside the rural stores advertising mouse bait means that I don't need to be too paranoid about the cleanliness of the house. This year however we have pet mice too... something which Coco has found terribly confusing and exciting at the same time. As you can see, Brad and Rosie are somewhat chubbier versions than their wild counterparts, however when we do hear squeaking we check first because they have been known to escape (despite being fatties they do seem to squeeze through very small spaces). James managed to castrate Brad (demonstrating that he has excellent eyesight and is a clever surgeon) so that Rosie did not add to the already growing population, we are just hoping that she does not have any inappropriate visitors in the cage at night.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Family Photos

Coco's family that is... well 3 out of the 9 anyway. We had a lovely visit from Blott, formerly Beatrice. Like true springers they were more interested in chasing rabbits or tennis balls than chasing each other so we tired them out with a walk around the farm and a swim in the dam.

February/March: Beach Holidays, Mudgee Show, Gun Dogs and Visitors at the Shop!

A brief look at our January!


The large gaps between posts and fact that I have not had a chance to keep you up to date with all of our daily news is a glimpse into our thought process when we decided after much debate and sadness to close The Farmer's Pantry, the farm shop and cafe that we had run so successfully up at Burrundulla Winery for almost 2 years. The farm, James' vet work, the kids and the fact that we had not had a weekend off with the exception of our UK visit the previous Christmas were all factors and life was getting too hectic considering we came out here to simplify things and spend more time as a family. As I write this we have just today moved all the large pieces of furniture out and are officially out of the farm shop...which actually felt a little sad...however having the last 2 weekends free and having Sunday lunch, gardening, riding the horses and all the other little things that we have not been able to enjoy on our farm have made us realise that we made the right decision.

On the farm we seem to be growing a herd of pet sheep - Luke, who has been rechristened with names that I dare not type, has been possessed by his hormones and is both aggressive and (like most handraised farm animals) not fearful of people at all. I stay safely on the bike when we have to bring them in for drenching etc as last time he was very intent on charging James regardless of large sticks and bin lids - beware when his ladies are in season. Managing him is 'simply' a matter of catching him by the horns when he gets close in his charge and then physically moving him on the back of the quad bike to the next paddock. He has been joined by Ebony - who being female has so far been more of a success - now fully grown she is used for petting zoo days and as a nanny to other orphans. Ivy is the latest, those old merino girls who were 'aged' when we bought them to train Woody on 3 years ago have gradually died in the paddock of old age and there are two left. One of them decided quite unseasonally to have twins about a month ago and perhaps it was all too much for her. We sadly lost her and one of the lambs, however were left with a little female. She and Ebony are now very bonded to each other, although Ebony despite being fully grown will still happily drink from a bottle so trying to feed little Ivy whilst having another sheep jump all over you is not so much fun.

The grey ladies (cows) are due to calve quite soon - we have one little bull calf and are hoping for some more heifers to grow our little herd some more.

Horse wise Emily was delighted to get Rockstar for Christmas and he has been a huge success (unlike Sparkle and Micky, I admit it). She is at pony club every month now and rides out with me by herself. He is also very patient and spends much time being a) plaited b) brushed and (the reason he is patient) c) fed anything and everything - sandwiches, chocolate, fanta (which he can drink from the can) and crisps...not so good for him but Emily thinks it is fabulous that she can share her lunch with him. Jazzy put her foot through a fence in January and has had almost 5 months off in recovery but is back under saddle again - we attempted to get her in foal this season however she had other ideas and there is not a foal on the horizon.

So, here is to more farm news and less work! Although James is thinking that we need to start a salami empire so watch this space....

Friday, October 15, 2010

Our winter photos..

Children and Animals..

During the September Mudgee Wine Festival we brought 3 newly weaned piglets up to the cellar door. Although initially tentative then were soon won over by Emily and Felix. Emily has named this one Olivia - more of them can be seen on the Ormiston facebook page - where we christened Em The Pig Whisperer. Needless to say the pigs have been eartagged as breeders and will join the herd when they are big enough.

It is obviously spring around here because we have also got 'Cheepy' a solitary chick that was unsold at the local farm shop. I couldn't help myself and bought 'her' (hmm..let's wait and see) home. She was meant to go under a broody hen for adoption. By the next day she had indeed been adopted..but not by a chicken.