"In the beginning"

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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.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Self Sufficiency


Posted on 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!

#First posted by Peter @ Thursday, September 08, 2005


14 comments:

Davo said...

Survival as an 'independent' is not all that easy. Stick with it. Many will pull you back into the herd.

JunieRose2005 said...

Peter,

Am enjoying your farming adventures! Reminds me a lot of some things we have gone through here in Ocala.

We've had gardens and just about every farm animal you can think of...lol- but no sheep!

June

bornfool said...

You're the man! Was the foray into self-suffiency satisfying? (unintended alliteration. lol)

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Wow, you are some worker bee. If you enjoyed that, well, I guess you had to be there...

Tan Lucy Pez said...

Enjoyed reading that. Glad you are re-posting stuff.

Cliff Morrow said...

I think we have the makings of a film here. However at this stoppage we have a dead sheep brought down by gunfire. We'll have trouble selling it in the states unless you can figure a more palatable finish. Maybe a divorce?

Carolyn said...

Sounds like a time, Peter! Poor old Crazy, though.

We've often had the same trouble with our neighbor's cattle. They get out and roam all over-- usually all over my rhododendrons! I may have to have a bar-b-que...

Hale McKay said...

Your repostings from your archives are a treat for me, a relative new visitor. I like the farming stories - reminds me of my youth on the grands' farm back in ol' West Virginny.

Jamie Dawn said...

That's a lot of work!
Crazy is probably haunting you right now.

Maria said...

Loved reading about your land and your sheep. Poor Crazy! I tried to think of a moral for her story but somehow none of them sounded fitting. For example, "If you have friends, join them." "Better to run with the crowd, then stand alone."
Help, I am sure someone can come up with better ones.

Big Dave T said...

Farming is tough even in this day and age. Wonder if "Crazy" had something akin to Mad Cow Disease. I don't know if I'd want to eat an animal that wasn't that normal in life. (But I'm sure I probably have)

Marcus said...

G'day Pop
Your farm stories are proving very popular,I reckon you should keep writing about your adventures, jobs, travels etc.
Which sheep was it that i chased down and tackled in one of the paddocks? Rebel? Renegade? something like that? That was a very funny day!
I have a photo somewhere of us carting rocks at Maryboroughburgle.

How was Keith's party? Hope to see some pics on Holtieshouse soon.

LZ Blogger said...

Poor Crazy. . . (or should I say mutton stew)?! ~ jb///

kenju said...

Peter, I really like it when you talk about your life. This was fun. Too bad there are no pix!