The views expressed in this blog are not necessarily the views of the blog management, (on the other hand, they are not necessarily not the views of the blog management).
No effort has been made to stay within the bounds of the truth in this blog as it has always been the view of the management that the truth should never be allowed to stand in the way of a good story.
Thursday, September 08, 2005
Self Sufficiency part 2
Yes the veggie patch was quite a success, particularly for the weeds, they thrived on all the labour that had been put into the garden beds; there was also a good crop of vegetables, potatoes, carrots, cabbages, lettuce, tomatoes, peas, beans and delicious strawberries.
I made mention of a shearing shed, unfortunately there were no sheep yards to go with the shed, so we set out to design and build our yards, we needed multiple pens all inter-connected to a drafting race, access to and egress from the shed at shearing time, as well as holding areas for the complete mob.
When we had settled on the design we wanted, the construction started, it should be said that timber and I are not good friends, so these yards were to be made from steel.
I am a reasonable welder and had equipped the workshop with all the necessary tools for this, and many other projects, so over the next few weeks the yards gradually took shape, I am pleased to report that the design was good and they worked a treat.
The floor in the shearing shed was way past its best, so the area where the sheep were penned was ripped up and replaced with a modern steel mesh which looked superb, trouble was the sheep didn’t want to walk on it; they obviously thought it wouldn’t support them.
Each sheep had to be pretty much carried onto the mesh floor and would then try to leap to the sides of the pens, they obviously felt safer there! I am pleased to report that after they had spent the night there, awaiting shearing they had become much more at ease.
On subsequent visits they showed much less resistance to entering the shed, mind you each years lambs had to be shown the same treatment to get them into the shed.
We had inherited a quite sizable machinery shed, but the ravages of time and the open design had allowed it to take up a most impressive lean, so once more, away with the timber and in with the steel, and gradually as each post was replaced our shed took a new and secure stance.
We had plenty of water storage dams, but needed to be able to transfer water to stock drinking troughs and our new garden.
We installed a windmill on the large dam near the house and pumped water to a concrete tank located on a hill behind the house, once we had run poly-pipe to the locations we selected we had an automatic gravity fed watering system which also worked a treat.
Now the infrastructure was in place, we needed to stock our little dream, we bought 200 Merino ewes and 5 Border Lester rams, we would breed first cross lambs, which were very popular with the butcher, and shear good quality fleece wool from the Merinos.
To supplement our sheep we also bought 4 Murray Grey cows from a neighbor, so our dream was underway.
Our area was declared drought stricken at almost this precise time, we spent the next two years, and many, many dollars, hand feeding our stock with hay and grain that we had to buy in as we had not had a chance to build up any reserves.
To finish off this post I will relate one more tale about the stocking o f our property, we had our 200 sheep delivered by truck, and as we didn’t have a loading ramp, told the driver to back up to the wall of a dam and unload them there.
He did this without a single hitch and we were just congratulating ourselves on a job well done as the sheep all bounded down the back of the dam and disappeared, next to be seen spreading out in all directions, in a neighbors paddock!
At a loss to understand how this could be, we went to investigate and found a whole section of fence was missing, it turned out that the neighbor with whom we shared that boundary had decided to replace that bit of fence but had gone off elsewhere before finishing the job.
After about 2 hours we had got all but one of the sheep back into the paddock we wanted them in, the one exception, whom we named CRAZY, defied our best efforts on that and 3 subsequent days to have her join her friends.
In desperation and frustration CRAZY was finally shot, cooked and eaten, and a tough old thing she was even after death!