The cold weather is upon us - as usual for these parts it started with ANZAC Day. Unfortunately it also causes me problems with the pigs fencing - every year it's the same, we get failed wires and shattering insulators. What's made it worse this year is that the fence went down between the Boar and the Sows and now I'm looking forward to the first week of September as being a very "labour" intensive.
So we've had our first Minus 4's, Monster Frosts and thick all morning fogs. Everything is damp or frozen and scraping ice off the windscreen at 5am is becoming a chore. But the days have been warm - after the fog clears at least.
We've only had about 12mm of rain since our big falls earlier and everything ha died right back. We still have some feed and the dams are almost full - but it won't last the winter.
So what has been going on at the farm? We've had a Birthday, a 21st Wedding Anniversary, Mothers Day and our 3rd anniversary on the farm. Also the return of Doctor Who and Robin Hood on ABC always something to look forward to over the winter months.
The Cook scored really well on Mothers Day - a brand new Schnitzer Grain Mill. She's been milling wheat for various meals ever since. A friend loaned her a pasta making machine and we had a great time making our own pasta, a little more practice is required - no wonder Italians had such large families.
She also got a hand cranked (Amish) corn schucker and her own scythe - she's a little concerned about hidden messages.
We've also been selling a few pigs, some went to the Farmers Markets, some went to be fattened for Christmas and some are going to be breed. We have been pretty happy with the current condition of all our pigs going into winter and looks like it'll be our best spring yet as far as the pigs go.
Unfortunately the fencing has taken a back seat the last few weeks - but that is about to change. Also, our weed program has been given a boost with the arrival of some new equipment to make our spraying program a lot more efficient and effective.
Ben has started Soccer - he's the star Goal Keeper for the Cooma Cosmos. So far this season they are 2 wins and 2 loses.
Unfortunately we had a fox in the Chook Dome they other day and he killed a few of our chickens and four ducks - one was the drake we were given by Mrs D. Luckily she has a spare and I am picking it up on Friday evening. He was a lovely drake, full of character. We think he was taken protecting his girls from the fox as they were all fine. I hate foxes. It came back a couple of nights later, not long after I had gone to bed. It got a real shock when a large naked man sprung at it, with a stick cleaned in his hands, from the shadows as it tried to corner another helpless duck. Unfortunately I wasn't quick enough to get a good swing at it - must have been the cold, and it got away. But I'll be waiting - in the shadows, when it returns.
I've been told that the family is running a book on what the change is I was talking about - good luck guy's - there's no hints. Sometimes things just don't happen how you expect they will. It's been three years since we moved onto the farm - one of our goals was to be full time farmers by the end of five years, others included - pay off the mortgage in ten and be as self sufficient as we could before we retire - of course the Cook would put in - renovate the house as well (she's a little over the Kitchen and Bathroom). We are on our way to achieving some of those goals, others might have to wait. I think I might add getting rid of the rats in the cieling as well.
One of our biggest problems has been the transport of pigs back from the abattoirs. I think I approached this problem with a number of incorrect assumptions which tied me into a narrow mind set. Of course the principle key to success of any business venture is innovative thinking - and I fell into the trapped of trying to do it the same as everybody else. Having slipped the chains of imitation I can see my errors and am working on a new logistics chain for our product which should prove to be far more robust then the current method and a lot more efficient.
I have been participating in a pilot pig farming course run by the NSW DI&I (DPI in QLD). It's been really interesting and this last subject was marketing. It's funny how you sometimes don't join the dots until you are explaining yourself to another person. That's when I had my epiphany about our logistics train.