View Full Version : Araucaria's habitat.
07-12-2011, 08:49 PM
New to this format, please be tolerant.
Orchard status: pinto peanut inter-row plants growing and flowering, wax jambo 3 years old has first ten flowers, 3 years old grumichama has produced 12 fruits a day for the last 3 weeks, Hawaian guava flowering, cherry guava flowering, choko flowering and fruit setting,
Avacados fruit has set on Wurtz, the last Hass is falling off tree, but still yummy, Tahitian limes abound, figs setting fruit all over, all lemons, limes, oranges and mandarins have small, green fruit aboard, Valencia only fruit left and regreening, tamarillos half grown fruits, Macadamia flowers have set fruit, Tropical apples and pears about half size on trees, asparagas rampant, fennel rampant, Lady finger flowers finished female and on male flowers, turmeric and ginger sprouting madly, lychee with mini fruits and some black scale, Ice cream bean flowering, rhubarb on the rise, peanuts going nuclear in growth, leeks flowered and seeding, zucchinis ballistic, chillis all over the place....blah blah.. Summer is nearly here!! Mint exploded, oregano all over, sage and thyme banging on, radicchio exploding, potatoes ready to bandicoot, rhubarb on the go, parsley everywhere, arrowroot sprouting, kumara all over sprouting, climbing beans 500 mm high .....
08-12-2011, 04:01 PM
ooohh I want to move to..somewhere warmer.
Sounds wonderful Im so jealous.
08-12-2011, 04:23 PM
yes it sounds great! nice part of south east queensland too.
08-12-2011, 05:09 PM
At least you've got lots to eat.
08-12-2011, 09:15 PM
How wet is it at your place at present? I've had days of lovely soaking rain, but not so much that it is a problem.
09-12-2011, 03:52 PM
Only one day of rain here in north Brisbane. Enough to get my a 10,000L tank 3/4 full though. Thank goodness, it was scraping the sludge.
09-12-2011, 09:06 PM
We got rain last week
My tanks are full, before that we just had the driest November on record and now everything looks alive again.
3 years old grumichama has produced 12 fruits a day for the last 3 weeks
10-12-2011, 10:18 AM
Measured 118mm total rainfall in this session to date, 85mm from this morning early.The runoff has just begun and my tanks are full as are the four dams. Waterfalls can be heard 500 metres away at the house. The billabong hydraulic ram pump is clacking away like mad, It has already filled 20000L dam water tanks for the garden in the past 24 hours. Ah! the power of gravity pumping water for free! I'll have to shut off the supply valve I suppose, but I just love the metronomic sound of the pump.. Went to Woodford early this morning, a bit less rain over there. Just girding up to go out in the rain and plant 30 or so Hoop pines, Silky Oaks and Bunyas in a wet gully I cleared the lantana off when doing a boundary fence. Been too dry to plant before this. Curl grub and Xmas beetles showed in bulk on dusk last night in the humid calm before the storms. Thunder and heavy rain as I type, might have to be a shorts-only planting outing as the rain is so warm. Just discovered some arrowroot that I forgot I buried about 3 months ago in a drainage line. Any ideas on how to eat it? Nearly feels like Christmas here.
10-12-2011, 10:29 AM
Yes, thanks Sunburn. Something to do with growing up in a large extended family in the 60's and 70's and not ever seeming to have a satisfied appetite, I remember a solid diet of mashed potato, cauliflower and cabbage, french beans in summer and green peas in winter and pumpkin, with a choko or too added for variety, rissoles or corned beef and plenty of fresh cow's milk and jam drops and anzac biscuits for smokos. I remember when zucchinis arrived, wow, what a wonderful addition. My family think that I'm preparing for the end of civilisation or something bizarre, I just like growing stuff- we probably share more than we actually eat. My kids are big eaters when home and are all just under 2 meters tall and ravenous eaters of good, fresh tucker. One day soon I will retire from wage-slaving and just enjoy the fruits of my labours, hopefully for a while.
10-12-2011, 11:53 AM
Arrowroot pancakes - from Elisabeth Fekonia.
Grate several arrowroot tubers and squeeze as much of the juice out as possible. Add an egg or two (depending on how much arrowroot you have). Add grated vegetables and freshly chopped garden herbs, and a little bit of flour to bind it all together. Mix and shape into patties and fry until brown on both sides.
I haven't tried it - please let me know how it turns out if you do...
11-12-2011, 11:15 AM
Your garden sounds like a piece of heaven I'd love to be growing all those things and more but I'm a bit further west and it gets too cold here.
11-12-2011, 12:48 PM
Thanks eco and Elisabeth as well, tried recipe for arrowroot pancakes-didn't need much wheat flour, added some par cooked potato, raw zucchini and a knob of fresh grated turmeric with parsley, oregano, a bit of sage and thyme. Used two eggs to three cups of squeezed, grated arrowroot. I had to squash them pretty flat to get the middles cooked without the outside getting too burnt. Next time I might add some chopped chilli, sweet paprika and a little cracked pepper.
Just finished desuckering ladyfinger bananas, be running of places to stick them soon where the cows can't reach them.
11-12-2011, 08:22 PM
Thanks! I night have to lift some of mine in a few months so I ca try it myself.
12-12-2011, 08:07 AM
I have been eating coco-yam [ Xanthosoma robustum syn. sagittifolium pancakes every week for last few months .
Abundant tuberous offsets on these and a bit drier than potatoe or Canna tubers so no messy squeezing . Would be a great addition to any garden .
14-12-2011, 06:34 PM
How do you obtain coco-yam? Is it a fNQ native? My soil is an acid volcanic origin basalt a bit like up at Millaa Millaa. What other weird and wonderfuls do you grow please. I'll google the Xanthosoma sp. and learn something new. Thanks.
15-12-2011, 07:17 AM
It is easily available , I got mine from Isabelle Shippard ages ago .. ebay is easy .. many common names .
tania , yautia , malanga as well as cocoyam . It is a very important crop for poor tropical people and many millions of tons are eaten every year. Just found another recipe I had saved ..
cocoyam fritters from Cuba 500gm peeled tubers are added to a blender with 2 tblespoons of condensed milk , 2 tblespoons chopped parsely , some minced garlic , 1 tspn salt and 1 tspn vinegar and an egg ,all whizzed up and then a tablespoon is dropped into hot oil and deepfried .turn a few times . Would go well with 'tostones' plantain banana twice cooked chips .
26-01-2012, 02:42 PM
Wet season is upon us. 160+mm here so far this week, 250mm+ 10km away at more Easterly farm in town. Planted some Tapioca/Cassava/Manioc sprouted stems, another very scented frangipani and a weeping mulberry today. The rosellas planted about a month ago are about a metre high and flowering. The first bunya cones came crashing down yesterday and signal the true start of our local wet. Desuckered and detrashed bananas this am. and bagged and debelled bunches. The first figs and tamarillos are ripening and I am harvesting the last couple of kilos of pears and the very last of the Hass avocados. I shore the last 50 of our sheep flock last weekend and am just about walking upright again! Planted out about 50 cilantro/coriander volunteer seedlings, harvested silverbeet seeds, parsley seeds, leek seeds and fennel seeds before they got any wetter. We pregnancy tested the beef cows and were pleasantly surprised to have 192 of 211 pregnant. We have bought in 15 tonnes of hay from Clifton to begin calf weaning in early March. With the prices up we may sell all the steers this year instead of growing them on for another 2 years. It has been a good season here. Youngest son off to Senior High School, eldest off to the North next week to work cattle for a season on a Cloncurry District Station, 30 000 head a bit different to home. I processed a fat steer and 4 lambs last Thursday and yesterday broke them down and put in the freezer. Tonight is sausage making with a few mates and their families and a few cooling beverages to assist in the process. 50 kg of snags always seems to turn into 15kg when they all help. Already the day lengths are noticably shorter only one month on from the longest day. I just love observing the changing of the seasons.
01-03-2012, 06:52 PM
Habitat update February 2012.
369mm of rain from the 12th to the 19th of Feb.! Mustered up the brood mares and weaned a couple of September born colts for handling and doctoring. Sheep drenched for barbers pole worm, pulled off 40 ewe lambs to wean. Cattle treated for ticks and buffalo fly this evening with the youngest son. Pulled off 30 weaner heifers to keep in the yards, so there will be some bellowing here for a few days. My wife says that I always manage to go away for a few days at this time. I wonder why? Tamarillos ripening, macadamias dropping, chokos and pumpkins growing exponentially. Plenty of rhubarb to eat and the rosellas are near ready to pick as well. Cherry guavas are ripening and the last of the first fig crop is ending. Limes aplenty, so we've been dining on lime pie, lime brulee, lime cordial, lime ice cream, lime in beers.....Persimmons are ripening and a few leaves are turning orange as well, custard apples are covered in little fruits just set, Bananas ready to bunch and dehand soon too. The first crop of my monstera's looks full and ready to pick. They bring back pleasant childhood memories of them with custard. Turmeric, ginger, arrowroot and galangal all flowering, so will harvest a bit in a few weeks. Only 19 more days to the autumnal equilux and the moon is a day short of new this year. Pulled the woollen blanket up early this am. as a chilly breeze from the NE. I suppose I will have to gather a load of firewood soon as we'll probably need it in 6 weeks or so. Everything here growing green and mouldy, so will have to break out the gerni and do a bit of repair and painting for the winter. Time to pull peanuts soon and dig some spuds. Sweet potatoes are full now as well. Garlic cloves are shooting so will plant them if it stays dry. The back paddocks that were blady grass 5 years ago are now kangaroo grass, bluegrass, clover, wynn cassia and Shaw creeping vigna legumes. These were slashed and the cattle were fed untreated seed in molasses and copra meal and locked on the paddock for a few days to spread the seed in their manure and trample it in, and then slashed each February for the last 3 years. The tree plantings from last year are about 5 metres tall and the next section is slashed and mulched ready for this years. Those 2 years old have been limb pruned and some culled and thinned. The fire breaks onto the National park have been slashed again for the late winter dry and August westerlies to come. The only thing I'd change is that at 6 am the light is way late and getting later. I hate getting up in the dark!
12-03-2012, 01:24 AM
Finer weather at last. No damage to the creek banks on the Western creek that I call Forest creek, the eastern creek that I call Waterfall Creek has some slippage on steep banks and my vetiver grass has all but dissappeared. The Shaw creeping vigna has taken a leap all over the place. The late pumpkin vines planted after Xmas are setting fruit and expanding at about 1 metre a day. Cassava plants have grown over the wet period as have the arrowroot and turmeric plants. Cherry guava jelly made and bottled. Bucket loads left over so have fed some to chooks and pigs. Seems a waste. Mulched new garden areas to be with blady grass and sheep manure. Ordered some more European chestnut trees as the ones planted last season are growing really well. Carob trees are a couple of metres tall, English oak tree I grew from a perloined acorn down the road is now 2 metres tall. Figuring out what to underplant with under the deciduous non natives. Originally I planted these as a food source for animals underneath. Indian Sirus, Ice Cream bean, carob, oak, chestnut, all around an existing 50 plus years old persimmon tree. These are on the Northern side of a paddock and the plan was to allow light in from there in the winter and to shade the area in the summer and allow periodic foraging in there by our pigs and sheep. Let the pigs dig up underplanted sweet potatoes and peanuts in the autumn and then plant a winter annual brew like oats or rye or barley with clovers and chicory underneath and then let the sheep in to graze and manure in late winter when the grass grows slower. I probably made a mistake by letting horse radish loose out of it's container here as it has spread like wildfire.The sheep eat the leaves but the pigs don't touch the roots at all. First nuts off the macdamia windbreak outside the fruit orchard area planted 2 years ago, dissappointed that they do not husk easily. Wax Jambu fruits were pretty, but not really tasty fresh, so tree got a good prune until I figure whether it has another use. Citrus trees all loaded down with fruit, probably have to thin some before the branches start to break, most impressed with a japanese seedless mandarin, such sweet and juicy fruit so early. Grumichama trees fruiting yet again, what a great tree. Tasty feijoas ripening off the bush now too. A couple of young citrus trees showed signs of nutrient deficiency, probably more from waterlogging than leaching. Chokos everywhere, so the pigs are getting plenty, bananas full and ready to cut, desuckering and detrashing nearly every week now, they just love the rain. The cows wait at the fence for limes, lemonades, damaged pumpkins and banana trimmings if they see me in the orchard now, I may have created a monster there. Wild pigs have been digging up my pinto peanuts along the National park boundary. Last year I culled 9 of the little beeps from the same place, but I suppose they may spread the plant further afield for me? Wild dog tracks all over the place after the rain, probably just after the pigs and wallabies here I hope. 10 days left before the autumn equilux- feel like a celebration or get together with friends and neighbours is in order to mark it and the changing season. Looks like it's all on track for when I stop fulltime work in a couple of years and enjoy fully the fruits of my labours.
12-03-2012, 07:42 PM
Must have been serious erosion to beat vetiver!
You've got a lot going on all at once. Can you make a jam out of the wax jambu?
12-03-2012, 10:00 PM
Hi Eco, the paddock falls 100 metres in 600 metres or so and the lovely council have directed a couple of Km's of sealed road runoff into my waterway as well, plus we had 300 mm in one day here with some very heavy falls. The jambu are very high in moisture content and I think that they would need a lot of sugar, besides there are a lot better plants around to make jam from. I think that the lot going on all at once sort of sums me up. I don't ever get a chance to get bored, besides your dead for a long time. I like the sound of your recent observations and studies, but I tend to shy away with no rhyme or reason from formalising, methodology and dogmatism, not being rude and intimating that that is what permaculture studies are all about. I don't really think that I fit the mould of a dyed in the wool permi, but I enjoy the interaction, ideas and conversation. Cheers.
13-03-2012, 09:02 AM
My observations have lead me to understand that there isn't such a thing as a 'mould' for the typical permie. For me, it's about the intent - if anyone is doing their best to honour the 3 ethics with the knowledge that they currently have, then I reckon they can earn a permie badge.
I'm not good at dogma either. I'm more a 'rules were meant to be broken' sort of person! But you have to know what the rules are, before you know that they are worth breaking.
21-03-2012, 07:42 PM
haven't been here for a bit. Now the wet, wet, wet weather has returned a bit of time indoors. Even though we may strive to Care for the Earth and it's people and accept we must limit our global population and minimise consumption you get a bit miffed when you are less than 1% of the World's consuming population, try hard yet don't even make a ripple of measurable difference ! Permi principles, strategies and techniques are really for the converted and a mechanism for upholding the Permi ethics.. I think what I really meant was that the ethics of Permaculture are simple and easy to direct your own life from, but collectively we are a very small minority in our society and are in general individually happy to do our own thing without the need for hierachy and conformity to a central ideal. I enjoy the diversity of the members of this forum.
On a completely different and more mundane note, my new Chestnut trees arrived today from Kyogle in good health. The Reilly's already have burrs! I will plant these on the top of a steep, rocky slope with my seedling trees which have done so well here( that I proudly grew myself from perloined burrs from an old roadside tree in Toowoomba) so that they have good drainage, when the weather clears that is. The dilemna is, do I plant them now or let the leaves fall and plant them bare rooted in the late winter. I can imagine someone in 50 years enjoying the shade under them beside the pecans, oaks and persimmons in the summer, the nuts ready in late autumn and roasting them through the winter on the fire. My 5 years old English oaks have set their first acorns, they are much larger than I recall. I still feel a bit of silly guilt growing these Euro trees in a select part of the orchard that I call "Snobs Knob". I have no trouble with the "native" macadamias , varieties bred in Hawai, nothing like a bauple nut. The Wheel of Fire trees are still flowering in the front yard after months of continual flowering. How strange. Pumpkin vine now covers an acre or so, still setting fruit all over the place. We picked 131 fruit off it last year, yes, just the one vine. I got the original from one I found growing in the manure pile of a local dairy about 30 years ago. Looks like what they call a Kent. I just stuff half a dozen seeds into the soil at Christmas and let it grow over the kikuyu in the orchard and harvest the fruit in late April, to mid May whenever the vine dies off. The unmarked fruit last us right through to December, by then we are tired of pumpkin anyway. I milked 15 litres from "Daisy" one of our Guernseys out today 3 days after she calved as she was bursting and will attempt to make beestings tomorrow - here goes.
17 yearling beef animals left today in the mud to some friends to be grown out North of Gympie. The cash flow will be welcomed towards materials for a "real" set of yards. Cherry guava jelly delicious, figs all dried and dusted in icing sugar, tamarillo jam just too tart, rosellas ready to pick next, macadamias dropping nuts everywhere, pecans on the turn from green to brown- wonder when the Cockatoos will visit?, 10 autumn beef calves yesterday and 4 today, too many at once in a small 20 Ha paddock, Mums trying to steal calves not their own and leaving their own, 9 cows and 10 calves? I cannot pick which has had the twins yet, but they are both boys and being looked after by a cow I think may be their mum, but not sure. Time to cook tea. Bye for now.
21-03-2012, 08:03 PM
I'm a bit over the rain.... It can stop now.
I had wanted to try chestnuts for ages - along with the whole roasting over an open fire and sleighs in the snow thing. Got my chance in Canada a few years back at Christmas time. They were not at all what I expected - more like roast potato than roast peanut. I don't have many nut trees at my place so I don't know when you should plant them. My approach is to whack them in whenever I have time. I have a macadamia - too young to set nuts yet, and I may have a pecan. I thought I killed it, but I noticed that it has sent up some new growth from the base of the plant. I'm just ignoring it for now and we'll see what happens. I didn't realise how BIG they get until recently and now I'm kinda hoping that it doesn't resurrect as it is right in the middle of my garden and is going to suck up all the water and block all the light. At the time I was thinking that it would be good there because it would drop leaf litter on my garden beds.
My pumpkin vines are growing about a foot a day and threaten to bury everything in sight. I'm starting to look forward to them drying off - if it ever stops raining!
21-03-2012, 09:25 PM
Back again, my Dad told me that some time in the '50's I think, it rained for 90 days straight without a break. The local butter factory boilers were wood fired and they ran out of dry wood so the factory stopped and the local dairy farmers did it really tough with little or no income for months.
Chestnuts probably wouldn't grow where you are, I am in the hills on red soil at 470-500 metres. There are many types of chestnuts- North American, European and Asian, all very different from each other. Mine are of european stock from trees grown a century ago on the Alstonville plateau, sort-of adapted. The chestnuts I like are the Euro ones, much firmer, less floury then the N.A ones from my limited experience. I've also planted a Malabar Chestnut-waiting for it to fruit.
I remember from my childhood in Nambour the huge pecan trees in Max Gamble's planted along the creek flats on the creek running from Dulong, Towen mountain and then along the flats at Perwillowen to meet Petrie creek. There used to be an absolutely monstrous one which covered an acre or more in the 60's and 70's in the dairy yard of Jack Lees, now Shailers at the top of Vinicombe's hill opposite the Burnside-Perwillowen Road junction. There is a house there now. My Grandad planted an orchard about 1900 at Perwillowen on the farm where I grew up, mostly trees were planted in the tops of tree stumps in the hollow, by the time the stump rotted feeding the tree and keeping it out of the reach of cows the tree was big enough to fend for itself. Terpentine mangoes, persimmons, mulberries, quinces, poor man's oranges for marmalade and a pear tree were all that remained in my childhood in the 60's.
I've got a mutant Gingko a bit like how I think that your pecan will grow that I will have to move as it seems to grow 2 metres up and 4 metres wider every year even though I prune it in the winter. What are Gingko's good for except some ancient chinese medicinal recipe? I think they are dioecious as well, I wonder if mine's a female or male?
22-03-2012, 10:41 AM
I didn't know there were pecans along Petrie Creek! Might have to go have a look WHEN IT STOPS RAINING.... (feeling very housebound today).
22-03-2012, 11:15 PM
Hi Eco, the trees I mentioned are on Perwillowen Creek ( pilly willowen in kabi) just about opposite the original QDPI gates at the beginning of the steep hill on Mayers Road. Hope you get over your Cabin fever soon.
23-12-2012, 10:05 PM
Nine months already since my last confession! Five months of very little rain tries out the system and the psych. no end. My last post was when we were enduring a feast of rainfall. It is amazing to me to see the difference that a dry spring makes to the country. The tallowoods in the euc forest flowered like snow cover in all through September and October, Black wattle trees now are a mass of bloom, I've never seen so many magpie geese here before and the koels and channel billed cuckoos day in and day out mournfully and raucously in turn lament the dry weather. As I type a mopoke metronomically breaks the monotonous sound of crickets outside. A massive fig crop is a few weeks off ripening, although golden shouldered beetles gave them a touch up, mangoes are holding their set fruit, grumichama is loaded to the ground with ripe fruit, guavas and avocados are loaded with half filled fruit. Arrowroot, turmeric, ginger, galangal and jeruselem artichokes are all resprouting, globe artichokes flowering, asparagus setting seed, fennel all gone to seed like the coriander and parsley, chillies fruiting heavily, cherry tomatoes everywhere, leeks seeding, macadamias ready to drop, tamarilloes loaded and ripening, bananas desuckered and bunches bagged, custard apple flowering with no leaves, chokos rampantly vegetative with a lot of tiny fruit, yam beans on a growth spurt. The longest day is just past so the ewes are all horny and the rams relentless, so a big batch of lambs due in May-June. Cattle are mostly calved, the first time mums are doing it tough, another week without rain and we'll have to early wean down to 8 weeks on the '99 drop heifers. Dragged a poor number 6 cow (born 2006) with an early calf from a gorge this morning, still not up this evening so gave hay and water, hope that she has more fight tomorrow or this Christmas will be her last. Good cow, 4 calves without a miss so far, so feel a bit of guilt in seeing her so miserable after her accident and the dry season, salt, molasses, soymeal and calcium lick blocks consumed like I am with a packet of turkish delight. Planted a licorice plant, some yarrow, feverfew and salad burnett this arvo to add to the eclectic. Not many Christmas beetles this year, a few dung beetles and the occasional moth around the lights but bugger all insects compared to the wetter seasons of the past several years. Made plum sauce, chilli sauce, mint sauce and rhubarb tart and a couple of racks of lamb tonight. Gecko chirruping, doesn't sound like a native one, a lone wild dog howling down the valley and the calf belonging to the cow from the gorge bawling about the abruptly cut off milk supply. Time for another rain dance, then bed. Bye.
29-12-2012, 02:56 PM
We're just a little bit north of you, in the Mary Valley at Dagun. Long hard dry spell finally broke for us yesterday -73 mm. Whole place instantly transformed today - it's beautiful, a great lift in spirits. Hope your place is feeling good too.
30-12-2012, 09:36 PM
23 mm total here, better than a dry wind storm I suppose hey? Frustrating to see it hammering down twice that a km or so away in every direction. Ground cracks are 100 mm across in places and mature trees dropping all their leaves. I'm sure that rain is not far away. Lucky we have plenty of water in reserve and pumps etc. Mulching has been the saviour of our fruit orchard. I'll have to lift the spirits here with a bit of left over Christmas cheer instead. Glad for you that you had such a good break to a longish dry spell.
31-12-2012, 02:42 PM
Your descriptions are always so vivid Curramore, but weren't you going to add some photos when I messaged you last? I'm spending a bit of time in Maleny now, how about a visit?
01-01-2013, 03:51 PM
look at some pics on photoblog if you like. www.photoblog.com/dinosaur. Bloody dry and horrible here at present. Please feel free to visit after the rains have arrived, also I am working flat out with the holiday season where I work at a local resort and things are not as organised as they could be on the home front. Maybe later in January? I have posted to a photoblog, any other ways of posting more directly?
02-01-2013, 08:44 AM
Photos look great.
I'm up and down the mountain, so no rush, or at all if you prefer.
Nice spot by the way .
31-01-2013, 08:11 PM
750 odd mm of rain here this week, cyclonic winds, what a dramatic end to the dry spell! Some soil loss, mature trees and all in a couple of mudslides, lost all bananas, most figs and all mangoes and citrus fruit, much pruning! 40 litres of chainsaw fuel later... and voila-100 odd tonnes of wood, leaves etc, for mulch and firewood. Green as a bean now. No stock losses, found the last 40 head today several properties away downstream, seemed glad to be headed for home.
31-01-2013, 08:15 PM
Postscript. Please remind me not to raindance so vigorously next time it is dry for a little while!
31-01-2013, 08:25 PM
Sorry to hear about the losses. I suppose from the little deaths come the births of new things hey? The cycle of life and death, goes on and on. I will also tone down the raindances in the future.
31-01-2013, 08:30 PM
Yes - I feel slightly responsible for the great deluge. I did do an AWFUL lot of asking the universe for some good rain....
31-01-2013, 08:58 PM
Ahah! the plot thickens. Just how many of you were responsible along with myself?
01-02-2013, 11:10 AM
Len probably is amongst our number, and SOP and Bazman...
Next time we should agree on a few basic things first. Like no loss of life!
12-04-2013, 11:58 PM
A primordial urge occurs in me at this time of year to stock up the pantry for the winter and lay in dried foods, firewood, fill the freezer and a not so primeval check on things financial for the end of the taxation year.
Planting legume seeds in the heavy rain by mulch planting a couple of hectares with Shaw creeping vigna, red clovers along with some wynn cassia and wooly pod vetch, with a smattering of chicory. The globe artichokes and horse radish planted this way in late January look just like the crop of spear thistles they have replaced. The amarillo peanut planted as runners in late January is doing really well, but not spreading much.
Queensland fruit fly have invaded the citrus orchard so not much fruit juice to be had through this coming winter. Cherry guavas and Hawaians starting to ripen, chokos rampant, no pumpkins this year due to the wetter than wet late rainy season.
A satin bower bird has built a bower under the locquat tree and is sampling ripening bunches of bananas daily.
Cattle prices have plummeted due to the cessation of the Northern live cattle trade and them now being offloaded to the Southern markets creating a glut, along with the high Aussie dollar. Luckily offloaded most pre-winter here extras before this happened. Looks like depressed prices are here to stay until the situation changes. I think this slump will be similar to that in the early 70's where I sold 800 kg bullocks for a princely $70.00 a head. We will pregnancy test as soon as the rain eases and the yards dry out a bit. Usually 90% are in calf and the other 10 % empty are culled if fat enough. We try to send them in deckloads for transport efficiency, so we expect about 30-40 to be empty and fat enough to slaughter. We are contemplating killing all the breeding cows over 4 years without preg. testing to be able to ride out the coming beef slump, but the yards are too wet to truck several hundred cows away yet. Really hard decision to sell off the core of your business of animals that you have selectively bred and husbanded for a generation and worst of all probably mostly in calf too. Lose some sleep over that one for sure. Which is a lesser evil? A couple of hundred thousand empty yearling live export cattle to slaughter in Indonesia or four or more million cows, possibly pregnant to slaughter in Australia? I wish the do gooders would think a bit more on the long term consequences of their actions. Sure, there were some horrific cattle slaughter scenes overseas that no-one could overlook or ever condone, but the indirect result is that all the old bulls over 5 years heer were sent last week and all other breeding bulls will go this week weather permitting. The breeding herd over 5 years old will probably go after that if we can get a booking that is. We should see the cash from these in another week or so hopefully to pay for weaning and to buy in cheap, better quality replacement heifers later on. Weaning can start as soon as we can secure some hay, such a wet season that the lucerne and other forage crops were all drowned or washed away for a 500 km radius. 20 tonnes of round bales should get us out of mischief. The 200 kg weaners were worth $400 last month and $250 today, probably $180 in another month. We will keep this batch and ride it out for two or three years until supply lessens and the Aussie dollar drops in relation to the greenback.
It is just as well that all of our eggs are not in one basket and that here farm survival relies on diversity, just makes for a higher workload and more juggling for time in each enterprise. The following is very tongue-in-cheek.
Much easier to line up at Centrelink each week, live on anti-depressants, drugs and alcohol with my gold health care card, or run away to a FIFO mining job in the west to shore up the finaces and top up the super , or mayhap sell up the ancestral pile and buy a unit at the Coast and die of Golf boredom in a few short years.
13-04-2013, 11:16 AM
What is mulch planting exactly? Does that mean you lay down mulch and scatter seed on top?
How nice that a bower bird has chosen you as worthy of visiting!
Why is meat so expensive at the consumer end still? - someone is making a ship-load of money in the chain somewhere! Can you shortcut the supply chain and sell direct to consumer, or direct to local butcher - or is that too challenging? You'd at least be able to command a fair price.
13-04-2013, 12:34 PM
Hi Curramore1. I finally had a chance to read through your thread. :) Thanks for sharing your photos and your stories - they were great!
Sorry to hear about how difficult things are for you right now. I'm not familiar with the scale of farming that you do (or the issues that you face), so it was really interesting to hear your perspective...
The following is very tongue-in-cheek.
Much easier to line up at Centrelink each week, live on anti-depressants, drugs and alcohol with my gold health care card, or run away to a FIFO mining job in the west to shore up the finaces and top up the super , or mayhap sell up the ancestral pile and buy a unit at the Coast and die of Golf boredom in a few short years.I really like this passage from The One Straw Revolution (Masanobu Fukuoka, page 113):
"So for the farmer in his work: serve nature and all is well. Farming used to be sacred work. When humanity fell away from this ideal, modern commercial agriculture rose. When the farmer began to grow crops to make money, he forgot the real principles of agriculture.
Of course, the merchant has a role to play in society, but glorification of merchant activities tends to draw people away from a recognition of the true source of life. Farming, as an occupation which is within nature, lies close to this source."
I often think that anyone trying to live off the land in today's world must be crazy! (Thank goodness for all the crazy people that do this sacred work http://forums.permaculturenews.org/images/smilies/%28happy%29.gif).
On a different note, I didn't realise that QLD fruit fly could attack citrus (I thought the skin was too thick). We've had serious issues with this pest in previous years (but, only on thin skinned fruit). Now, I'm worried (as we're expecting our first crop of citrus on several new trees this year)... Our pumpkins also didn't do anything this season (glad to know we're not alone). Thank goodness for the humble choko (and tamarillo, which also does well for us at this time of year).
Hope things get better soon...
13-04-2013, 07:44 PM
hope that you and your place are weathering well.
In reply to your question regarding mulch planting- when the summer growing grasses and herbage slow in growth as the day length shortens and the temperature drops and we have these April showers we just broadcast the seeds of winter active legumes and some temperate annual grasses onto the ground and mow or slash the grass as short as is possible to provide a wet mulch over the seeds, they germinate and roots establish and about 6 weeks later can be grazed or cut. A useful method to allow legumes and temperate grasses to be grown through the winter and spring when the summer active plants are dormant. When the sunny, warm weather returns in October, the underlying dormant summer active grasses and herbage take over again until the next autumn. This method of planting does not dsiturb the soil and open it up for erosion. Every few years we aerate the soil along the contours with a yeoman's plough and dribble the seed down the back of the tynes and then mulch the padddock afterwards. The seeds are planted at about 1-2 kg/Ha of legume seed eg. clover and 10-15 kg/Ha of temperate grass seeds like a ryegrass or rust resistant oats. Usually at planting I lime coat and inoculate the legume seeds before spreading. The legumes that we plant persist and spread to fix nitrogen in the soil and are perrennial and also spread vegetatively. The seed of Shaw creeping vigna when available is about $70/kg, but will spread over 4-5 years to the surrounding 5-10 Ha if lightly grazed.
Bower bird may just be young, naive or has plain bad taste, but a welcome resident.
We used to sell to the animal direct to the consumer and deliver to our local abattoir to be slaughtered, then delivered to a local country butcher to be cut up to the wishes of the consumer. At the peak we were providing about 1000 kg a week ( 6 or so 180 kg carcasses) of no chemical, grass fed yearling beef at $7.00 a kg to the consumer, $4.00 for me for the beast and transport costs (Currently receive $3.00/kg from abattoir)and $3.00 for the abattoir and butcher. The animals were slaughtered on a Wednesday, trucked to the butcher and ready from the butcher the following Friday week to allow for meat aging, sausage curing and corning and individual packaging, labelling and cryovaccing processes. The only drawback for the average bear is that you had to buy a minimum of a side of the beast each time. The local family abattoir we were using closed as the workers all went to mining jobs, then the local butcher closed due to no closer killing facility within at least 100 km. Transport costs are too high and animal welfare issues arise when transporting fat beasts any distance and meat quality also suffers. The People's or really the State Government owned abattoirs were sold off to private enterprise, ours was eventually bought by Australia's biggest beef producing competitor JBS Swifts, a Brazilian based company at Dinmore in Brisbane. We still kill and process our own at home here, but only 2 or 3 times a year as required. Sometimes when a beast breaks a leg or similar we might kill and butcher it and make a couple of hundred kilos of snags and mince which you soon tire of after a couple of months. Probably a more sensible option is to alter the land use as we are really only keeping the real estate pretty and green to maintain it's future lifestyle appeal in this area for wealthy superannuated retirees after a tree change. We steadily increase the timber tree plantings each year in marginal areas and have returned much of the riparian zones to a better state and the less stable areas planted with tree legumes and deeper rooted acacias and edible shrubs and only grazed as a protein suppement and good westerly wind shelter in late winter. A lot of new arrivals are trying to create a boutique market with grain fed wagyu etc, but the profits are slim if at all and most fall by the wayside after a couple of years of selling their own beef. There are many health regulation hurdles to avoid along the way to be able to legally sell a guaranteed hygenic, meat inspected, foodsafe and tasty product.
13-04-2013, 08:09 PM
Thanks for your kind thoughts and quotations Treetops clan.
Things are not really difficult, it just requires adaptation which requires extra thought and energies. We also probably might know what we should change, and how to change them, but procrastinate and react more slowly than we should. Many organisational and enterprise changes have a long shut down and start up phase in Agriculture, often taking several years in which cash flow and capital must be maintained and meticulously planned. If you go to a bank for a loan, a million dollar crop in the field or 10000 head of cattle are not an asset until they are harvested, processed, sold and paid for, yet an acre of water front land or a million dollar house are considered an asset to be mortgaged against with no effort.
In Australia Agricultural GNP is dwarfed by the resource sector and the manufacturing sector, only 5% or so of our population are employed directly by Agriculture. Jobs mean income and votes and being able to live and work near a large population centre is important to Australia, the most urbanised nation in the world.
I hope that we can move to a more "locovorian" society in the future with lower food miles and lesser energy inputs, but the way in which our country functions at present, particularly in the 'burbs and cities will have to be modified to be able to do this effectively. How to reverse the trend of increasing processed, preserved and fresh food imports and return to local production and consumption of fresh local seasonal foods?
13-04-2013, 10:34 PM
Ahhh so that's how you regenerate a large paddock easily.
I bought beef eye fillet today - $40 a kg. :( I only got a tiny bit. When the mines go bust (they will eventually....) hopefully someone will still remember how to run an abattoir. I must investigate further to see whether there is someone killing and selling direct to the market close to me. I'm away at present so my meat came from Coles (yeah I know.... really sad....) but when I'm home I buy from the nice husband and wife team at the farmers market. I'm not sure how long the supply chain is - I think they are simply acting as the butcher and selling meat that has been processed along the traditional lines. It would be nice if there was someone who was actually the farmer selling it.
BTW I think it is called protracted observation not procrastination!
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