Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Friday, February 29, 2008
So hopefully now you can visit me at Fangorn Farm - the website, and maybe even the actual farm, some day!
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
It took us 9 hours to take the west route back to Geeveston from Wynyard. It was a pretty drive, albeit long and frustratingly slow at times in the truck. It's a bit boring doing the highway thing in a big car, but it was good for Monte; he got used to the car and I am rather fond of his excellent driving, and the way the gear changes showcase is muscly arms! The dogs, who came with us, were perfectly behaved, as were the chilblains, who slept most of the way.
Lots of poems about logging the forests came to my mind, including phrases like "Monsters in the woods" and "My pretty drive through the forest" and "Death becomes not the forest." I didn't think I'd feel so uncomfortable seeing the logging, but I actually felt ill seeing all the logged forests, their debris heaped in menacing piles. The machines eating away at the beautiful trees was sickening - it just looked so unnatural. And the strange thing is that all this is going on at the side of the road that tourists travel on! It's sickening. I don't know what is worse - the propaganda strips or the naked logging for all eyes to see...
We also have another rooster. He is a light sussex. I am trying to think of a male form of Lily, but only came up with Lucifer and Vanilla-Ice (Lily and Nilly?). So at present this young rooster is called 'Dickie' as well. Speaking of Dickie, he is really crowing a lot more now. It's almost annoying. I like waking to the sound of his spooky song.
There is lots more news, but time is short and I have other things to do today, like rest while Matty is sleeping and Georgia is at school. I went to spotlight on the weekend when we went through Launceston, and I bought some wool and a pattern book for knitting toys. So that's got me occupied for now. I have no intention of working at this stage!
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Monday, February 18, 2008
We've run out of our bandwidth, so I'm not going to post any photos onto this blog for now. We have some great shots, taken by Georgia, of the animals. She loves going around the farm, taking photos!
On Wednesday we'll get our wind-generator, which wil be great! Monte cut down two trees today and it has opened up our 'backyard' (a small secluded, sheltered area behind the house, where we often eat dinner). He intends to chop more trees down because we will need to have 20-40 metres of cleared land in case a fire comes through (and we've already had some threats!). I am sick of running the generator, but now everything is on the batteries and we will only need to run the generator to supplement the wind and solar generators. Monte has done a wonderful job, connecting everything up! He's had a lot of help from his brother too!
Monte is asking me how much he is "allowed" to spend on his tractor. Then there's the new car and a trailer that we have our eyes on. Tomorrow we want to catch up with the architect. Things are not progressing as fast as we'd hoped; we had given him instructions, which he seems to have forgotten. The house will be great though. And I am looking forward to having more space, although there are a lot of things I like about having less space. It's helpful that we have a shipping container that is storing a lot of our things. However, a smaller place is easier to clean; it's easier to organise (you must!); it is easy to be power/water savvy; and we are always nice and close by each other. Yay! The bonus of having 23 acres is that when that 'close' becomes 'too close,' we can just go for a walk! It's always calming (I have already tested that theory!).
Thursday, February 14, 2008
We now have a new website: www.fangornfarm.com
Why Fangorn? Without going into too much detail, our property consists of several - 6-7 - acres of forest. The forest is noisy and it seems to be alive! We hike in there and are reminded of the ents in Lord of the Rings. We keep expecting Treebeard to appear and lead the way! So, our farm is named after Fangorn Forest, as our forest seems magical, like that of Tolkein's.
Things are happening at this farm. We feel that we can actually call it a 'farm' now because we have a few animals to make it so. The goats and the chickens are keeping us entertained and occupied, having to move the goats in the morning and the evening, and letting out the chickens in the morning and putting them to bed at night. Not to mention cleaning up after the animals, feeding them etc.
Georgia is in charge of the chickens and she is doing a good job so far. She needs our help a fair bit; she cannot open the chookhouse door (a deliberate invention of Monte's) and she can't get the food for them all by herself (something we will have to rectify).
All our animals have names. There's d'Artagnan the kelpie, Naigee the cat, Lucy the Cavilky, who's nearly three months old and very rambunctious but sweet. Anna and Giddy are the goats. We did not name them; they came with those names. Queen Anna has a mild temperament. She is Giddy's mother. Giddy was so named because she ran around in circles at first, apparently. Now she is more placid, and she has come from running away from us as we approach to only backing away a bit if we don't have food for her. She likes apples. They both munch on them - loudly. The chickens are Dickie, named after Richard Gere because he is so handsome - at least he was, until he was attacked by a quoll. Now he is a bit dishevelled. Henny Penny is a plain old pullet who we got from a seedy poultry farm (never again!) but she lays an egg almost daily and she is very tame. Rose 1 and 2 are Rhode Island Reds. They are pullets and they are already bigger than Henny Penny. Georgia calls them the babies, and she loves holding them! Lily 1 and 2 are Light Sussexes. They are big birds and we would like to get a rooster in the same breed. We would like to breed them; we think they will make a good table and egg bird.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Right, so, my firstborn Georgia Rebecca May has grown up and wears a school uniform and goes to school and learns stuff... I can deal with this! It's only two days a week. It's only for a few hours. It's nice to have some time just with Matty (can't wait till he gets childcare though, so I can work or clean or write books :0). Yes. This is a wonderful change for our family.
Her first day was a great success, which doesn't surprise me. She has been to childcare since she was 6 months old. She has been to occasional care at the local kindy since she was 2. She was doing pre-entry in term 4 last year, and she is ready for school! She started the day playing playdough, and from second hand information, I know that she rode a red bike, wrote her name by herself, painted a picture, decorated her name on a poster and heard a story about a vicious rabbit or something. She ate all her food (hardly surprising) and drank all her drink, and the teacher told me she had a "lovely" day and she even wrote it in the school diary. I am impressed!
Monday, February 11, 2008
Georgia with Rose #1 or #2
Georgia's job is going to be to look after the chickens. She goes into the coop in the evening and feeds them, pats them, cleans up a bit and looks for eggs. I asked Monte how many types of animals he wants. He wants "heaps." I thought that maybe we should have one child per breed of animal we have, so that the kids can look after the animals. But I won't be doing a Brangelina and have a dozen or so children! In fact, since coming here, the only thoughts I have had about having another baby are: "Gosh, no way, not yet!" I am busy enough!
Tomorrow Georgia, my baby girl, goes to school for the first time! She will be in kinder. We have bought her uniform and her books. I spent today labelling everything. I was quite frustrated with some of the brands of contact that I bought for covering the books; some just went so bumpy! I named her clothes and put little pink ribbons with beads on them on each item so she can tell hers from everybody else's. She recognises her name, but I want to be extra sure. So, my little girl is growing up!
And then there's Matthew. Well! He's growing up too. He is so tall now, and independent. He wants to play with everything. He takes things apart, opens anything, pulls things out of boxes, drawers, doors - whatever. He keeps saying "No" too. I am trying to 'wean' him now. I would like to just do the two feeds a day - morning and night - but he seems to have the power in that domain. He gets his milk when he wants it, and the truth is that I fear that that is all I am to him - a milk machine! I see the cows, their eyes big and wide as they chew the cud whilst feeding their calf. I know how they feel!
Thursday, February 07, 2008
We celebrated with a scenic drive followed by a family picnic at Margate playground aka Du Pont Bicentennial Park, where we 'fed' (under duress) ducks that made Matty cry; watched boats on the water; ate smoked salmon and cream cheese and Tasmanian yogurt; and played in a playground that is accessible to all members of the community as well as being educational!
Monday, February 04, 2008
Georgia won a scarecrow badge and some lollies because she had the cutest pet - and quite possibly she was the cutest person. She was beaming and I got teary.
Georgia had to speak to the crowd as part of the parade. She had to talk about Lucy.
"What is your name?"
"And what type of dog do you have?"
"Do you know what sort of dog she is?"
[prompting from mummy] "A cavalier-silky"
"And can she do tricks?"
"I think her trick is looking cute! And what is your favourite thing about Lucy?"
Matty was a good boy too. He sat in the pram a lot of the time, but when he was 'let out' he loved to look at all the animals. In the background you can see Georgia looking at a white miniature pony with her 4 week-old foal!
Georgia pats a mini pony, and asks for one. Monte considers it and takes a card from the owners. What the?! He is also considering buying a new goat.
Sunday, February 03, 2008
But with losses come wins, and we were granted an egg in the laying box the next day. Georgia was so excited that she walked around the property with it for about an hour. Eventually, inevitibly, she fell and the poor egg smashed, and so another loss - but not as great. In actual fact this was not our first egg; we have found three others smashed around the place. We are not sure what has taken the eggs, or the chook (wasn't d'Art), but today we will fiish making the proper chook house so our livestock and friends are safer!
Just to add to this dilemma - last night (Sunday night) something attacked our Dickie. He has lost quite a few feathers and did not crow this morning. We have caught him and he is sleeping in the workshop, where Henny Penny has been sleeping since her friend was decapitated. We are praying that he will recover, and we think that he will, for he is a tough bird, and a beautiful, randy bird too. Maybe Henny Penny can have a rest today LOL
Friday, February 01, 2008
On Friday I felt rather low, being rather claustrophobic and lonely. Monte, being the great man he is, would not put up with my crap, and insisted that we all took a walk into the forest to look for the creek. I agreed, not reluctantly, and I felt so much better afterwards that I wanted to do it again (after I have recovered, of course!).
We walked across a few acres of pasture and stopped by some blackberry bushes, where we gorged ourselves and collected more berries for the journey. It was so much fun picking all the berries, and if we really wanted to, we could harvest a gazillion of them to make all sorts of goodies to eat and maybe even to sell.
Georgia and me picking berriesWe then spent a few hours hiking in the forest. We were constantly amazed by the beautiful thing that we own. d'Art was kept busy chasing God-knows what around the braken and wot-not. Lucy got tired pretty quickly so I just 'had' to carry her. Georgia was an excellent hiker, and we are so proud that she is tough, with great fitness and stamina.
Monte and the kids in the forest
I just had to carry Lucy; she's just a puppy afterall ;)
Overall it was an enlightening experience. We did not find the creek that we were searching for, but that just means we'll have to have another family adventure on our farm another day!
Today d'Art got headbutted by a goat. I think Georgia took her too close to them. The new chickens are laying eggs, but we don't know where - some animal got them and ate them yesterday. We blamed d'Art. The goats are entertaining when the pick the flowers off the thistles. They use their lips to eat and it looks hilarious. Dickie is 'in' with the girls and that has been interesting, learning about the mating habits of chickens. The girls are so tame they try to roost on and near us, so each night we put them back into their coop to roost. They are now free range birds and are looking better than when we purchased them from the poultry farm. There is a niche market for organic chickens (live) so we are going to breed some hens to sell at the many markets around here. Hopefully we can breed some other animals too, and that way they can earn their keep.
Lucy is so sweet and is growing every day. She is looking quite cavalier now but with mostly the colouring of a silky. Matthew and Georgia are quite happy in the playbus and Georgia periodically puts a 'cape' around her neck and 'flies' around the property - so great it is to have all this marvellous space, and, yes, even some rain!
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Me and MG at Dover beach on Aussie Day. I now know where Georgia gets her gorgeous hair from!
"look at mummy! doesn't she look funny" (ha ha) - lovely kiddies giggling
Let's talk about animals.
Richard aka Dickie aka Fabio
Giddy - daughter of Anna - lovely natured goatAnna - mother of Giddy - lovely natured but a tad skittish
Georgia with Lucy-lou - Cavilky puppy age 9 weeks
Lucy-Lou (Lucy) is my new Cavilky pup. She is a cross between a cavalier and a silky. She is very sweet and affectionate and fun. I'm already training her. It's a bit odd that we got the farm dog when we lived in suburbia and the lap dog when we arrived on the farm, but since when have I been normal? My plan for Lucy is to find a cavilky mate and breed the pair.
The house is coming along - at least we hope it is. The architect is working on the drawings and I am hoping and praying and being really good in the hope that the house might be ready by next winter because all the locals are telling us how very freezing it gets here. Our neighbour even showed us photos of the 2004 snows on our hills. Eeeek! Monte is lugging wood around the place in the hope of getting a collection ready by winter, but going by most of the neighbours' wood piles, we're way behind and will most probably have to endure the winter on a tropical island like Tahiti or something.
We are settling in well and we are so happy to have some chickens now. They really are very entertaining and Dickie just makes it even more amusing! The children are very happy. Georgia can't wait to start school in 2 weeks. I can't wait either! She needs the structure and the learning. She is doing a kindergarten level workbook at present and is working through very quickly. She's a bright spark like her father. Matthew is really cheeky and finds everything funny. He is being particularly gorgeous and I am still feeding him 3-4 times a day. He is growing a lot and is quite tall and solid with a very cute face and a big smile and a cheeky laugh. He says "ta" repetively when he wants food, but if we have chips he yells "TA" in an agro tone because he is chip mad like his mum! must. not. eat. chips. or. drink. beer. (that's me, not Matty)
I am blissfully happy and excited about this life we have chosen. I love to sit at the table near my hillsy*** overlooking the hills and greenery and the cows. I feel so blessed to have this opportunity and I am really proud of mg who has taken everything in his stride. He seems able to do everthing and he knows so much! I am learning a lot too. So is Georgia - she drives up the driveway everyday.
SO much to say and so little time. It is late now so my incoherent rambling must come to an end.
Georgia cuddles up to Anna. Very sweet!
I wouldn't kiss the dog, it's just a pose. But I do find her very cute! My own little Ewok!
** jerry can of petrol
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Monday, January 21, 2008
Possibly the best picture I have ever taken. Matthew is a real country feller in his overalls, with his trusty companion d'Artagnan.
When we arrived at the property, the first thing we did was walk the top perimeter. That's everybody, including the cat.
It was Monte's birthday the day we arrived. We celebrated midnight with a cake and some Moet! And yes, Georgia did stay up late.
Monte is building a power station. Here, the children are thinking that it is a cubby house, but in actual fact, their cubbyhouse will be down in the next paddock, under (or in) a 150 year-old blackwood tree!
This is me on the day we arrived. I am standing in front of my very own forest. It is divine.
We are thrilled that we sold our house at the price we wanted at auction last weekend. We are looking forward to getting things moving with the building of our new house. I'm sure it will take time! Life is good. We are very happy. In a moment we will go for a little drive in the country. It's all so relaxing and peaceful here, although cows are quite noisy!
Friday, January 18, 2008
I have SO much to say. I just don't have the time to do it. So I will use lists at this stage.
- evening cups of tea by candlelight with my husband, as we debrief the day etc
- rigging up the coffee machine and enjoying my two lattes before I can function
- sleep ins! Don't know why or how, but we all sleep in till about 8:30-9:00!
- Outdoor dining. We have two set-ups - one for cool days and one for warmer days.
- Beautiful cool-warm weather
- Seeing friends the Smiths a few times a week
- Our views!
- Getting to know cows. They are pretty cool!
none, except for poor phone reception, no internet, no tv. But these are not really lows! They're not even inconvenient!
What we have done on the 'cabin.'
- cleaned a lot!
- put in a toilet
- putting in a kitchen sink
- set up our furniture - it is all comfortable and feels like home. Washing and dishes etc are all easy and it's going really well.
- We have set the bus up as a playroom - very cool - and have put the leather lounges in there too. It's comfy enough.
How the land is doin':
- We're getting in cows soon to chew the grass down.
- We planted a vege patch but wallabies and rabbits ate the lettuce (no derr)
- We've planted citrus, olives, avocado and some other fruit trees
We've met the architect and it's coming along. We've chosen the house site. It's going to be a big house! I am loving the smaller cabin but more rooms will be good so we can fit in more kids and more books! We've opted out of strawbale for several reasons and we will be using hebel blocks on a waffle-pod foundation.
How we are all feeling:
We're all feeling great. I am really happy but I have certainly had a few flat days, when it seems a bit hard to unpack everything and settle in. I think I miss working but am too busy to consider it at this stage. Monte is loving the hard work and he is losing weight and looking fantastic! He's really tanned and is making me feel so happy. He is going out of his way to make a home for us all. Georgia is tanned too; my little porcelain girl is going brown. She loves the farm and the dog. She is helpful around the farm. She follows Monte around and helps him as much as possible. She loves putting things away and helping me with the jobs too. Matty is gorgeously happy too. His hair is getting long and is very curly. He is talking a lot. He plays very nicely. We're all a bit nervous about the auction tomorrow but we are assuming all will go well. We are also all excited about meeting our new baby girl "Lucy" who is going to be either a border collie or a king charles cavelier spaniel!
TTFN (tata for now!)