Sunday, 2 August 2015

Monthly nine - July 2015

..........and it's August!!  How time is flying this year!

Please join with me as I record the happenings of the last month.  This link-up is made up of a group of warm and friendly bloggers with many ideas to share.  We each cover nine categories for the month which you can read about here.  This group was created by Christine at Slow Living Essentials and continues on with many regulars joining in.  Please join us by linking your post below.

There's no mistaking it's winter as I walk out the door in the mornings.  We've had many frosts this July and my fingers are usually stinging with the cold as I tend to the animals in the morning.  It's wonderful to step back into the house and go about my day with the fire warming us all and keeping us cosy.  So what did I get up to in July?

NOURISH: 

We've enjoyed eating more meat than usual lately.  It's been a confronting time for all of us as we've become more serious about eating in a way that is more sustainable and kinder to animals.  I've posted many times about my struggle to enjoy eating roosters that we have butchered ourselves.  I've just pushed on though and finally I'm becoming used to it.  I'm able to enjoy the meals for the first time since we started this process.  Hubby and I dispatched two roosters and faced the really confronting task of having our young goat dealt with.

It's hard when you're on a small farm like ours because you get to know your animals so intimately.  We had planned to deal with the goat ourselves but when the time came, we just couldn't do it!  So we had a butcher do it for us and it was the right decision.
The two younger children were totally at ease with eating the meals but poor Belle, at the age of twelve (and the carer of the goats), really struggled.  She understands our reasoning though and was very mature about it.  She even tasted a little bit of the goat.

We've discovered two important facts about eating your own poultry.  Age matters.  It really makes a difference.  As does resting the meat.  We dispatched a young Australorp and used it as a roast, followed by a chicken pie made from the leftovers.  The other rooster was a bit older so it will be used in a slow cooked casserole.

The goat provided us with twelve kilos of meat.  We've enjoyed a casserole cooked with tomatoes and balsamic vinegar and a curry so far.  The rest of the meat is in the freezer.

PREPARE:

We made some lemon cordial and I even water bathed it this time so that we can keep it for later in the year.  I haven't made as much as I would like though so I must prepare a couple more batches soon.  It would be lovely to have some ready to drink in summer.
REDUCE: 

We've been making shelters for the animals in different paddocks on the property.  We've started a rotational system where we move the animals into a new paddock every week or two.  I love the idea of moveable pens but, given that we're on a rough hill, I haven't come up with a useable system.  So we'll just keep building the new pens as we go.  This hard work will pay off in the long run.  Next year the shelters will be sitting waiting for us.

We haven't purchased any materials except for the screws so far.  I've been taking the trailer to town and scrounging pallets.  The tin is just old stuff we've had lying around but we've nearly used it all up now.  I'll need to find out where I can access junk tin soon.

GREEN: 

I've done nothing new here.  We still make our own washing powder and bathroom soap.  We use soap to wash our hair.  We've gone backwards in some respects because we now use a purchased dishwasher powder.  The dishwasher kept getting blocked up and smelly with the homemade stuff and I just haven't got time to worry about dishes right now.  This is the only chemical product we are using at the moment and I put in half the recommended amount.  It works effectively.

GROW: 

I've been quite halfhearted in the garden.  I've put in some seedlings from a friend and some from Mum but I'm certainly not looking after them well.  I think I've only fertilised once this month!  Hopefully the soil can create some magic and grow veggies without my help.

I did, however, spend some time making net covers for the garden when I realised that every seedling I planted was disappearing.  I'm not sure who/what the culprit was, but the nets have fixed the problem.  I now have spinach and the leeks are nearing maturity.  Broad beans are poking through the soil and lettuces have self seeded.
CREATE: 
I'm still working on my little neck shawl.  Nearly there now!  I haven't had time to sit and knit so it's a project I only work on if we're travelling as a family when Hubby drives.

DISCOVER: 

I completed a MOOC (Massive Open Online Learning) run through RMIT.  It was a photography course.  You won't see much improvement by way of photographic embellishment of this blog yet though.  I'm way at the beginner level.and I'm happy just to understand a little more about aperture, focal length etc.  My dream is to own a digital SLR one day....

I've also been learning about pigs with the introduction to our farm of a boar and sow.  Meet Peggy.  Isn't she lovely!
ENHANCE

Well I must have been keeping to myself on these chilly winter days!  I can't think of a single thing to report here.
ENJOY: 

I loved implementing our rotating paddocks in July.  There were many mistakes and mishaps but I can already see that over time this system will flow.  The arrival of the pigs has changed the pace of farm life along with our young chickens who will become layers in spring.

We also managed to squeeze in some fun family outings.  The kids and I loved Inside Out and we enjoyed visiting a park in Bendigo.  The children are fascinated by the bats.
But most of all we enjoyed adopting our new maremma, Gypsy!
Please join in with us and share a post about your month!

7 comments:

Aimee said...

I am in love with Peggy!!!! Great post!

Chris said...

Lots of things happening. I felt for your dilemma with eating your animals. I struggled with eating our roosters (when we used to breed chickens) unless they were particularly troublesome - I didn't mind eating them, lol. Or I should say, I felt absolutely no guilt at all for eating a troublesome rooster. It was the nice mannered ones I struggled with.

I couldn't imagine eating something bigger I raised, but I'm sure if we did, I would find a way to. Its a wasted gift of their life, otherwise. You made it to the next level of carnivore, which most of us rarely see, so congratulations.

I got your email, I just haven't had the chance to reply yet. But thank you. :)

Chris said...

Oh yes, and forgot to say - nice addition to the family. I hope you all have a great time bonding together.

Fiona from Arbordale Farm said...

Lots going on at your place. We get our junk tin from the dump they always have a big pile of metal and it often includes lots of old tin. A little liquid nails makes it water tight.
Peggy is lovely and I look forward to hearing more about her. Good on you for persevering with your own meat. It does get easier the more you do it.
Ohh a merema that will be interesting I have heard that you need to not treat them like a pet and leave them out with the animals so they bond with them not with people. Let us know how you go.

Kathy said...

So much going on! I too sympathize with the eating of our own animals. Raised on a farm though I was, we had registered Angus that we showed and bred and were almost 'pets' as opposed to the feeders. We had one cow for three years and she was barren so she became a 'feeder' - it was very traumatic, but we survived and grew a little! Love the new pig and I like the idea of the rotating pens. Lemons are so expensive here I found myself drooling over yours - they look awesome! Thanks so much again this month for hosting!

Kathy said...

P.S. - the bats are fascinating I'm with the kids - I have never seen them looking like that before - and they look huge!!

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