Tuesday, December 16, 2008

On Cows, Rats and Giant Radishes

It was possibly just too good to pass by, let loose on their lower paddocks adjacent to the river, the neighbors herd of cow's had charged across the creek trampling our stone steps we had made up from the crossing and so after filling their mouths full of our lush pasture they had gone through my (somewhat in hindsight non-cow proof) garden fence and started at the radishes and silverbeets... reminds me of the flopsy bunny stories from my childhood but this is serious when it's about cow's... anyways they left a number of good manure deposits as some form of redemption and really they had only nibbled on a few radishes as it turned out. We can fence off the river crossing with great gusto when summer holidays arrive very shortly by recycling some unused fences we have lying around; "Beware you are now approaching a NO Cow Zone".

SO inspecting the garden today merely 5 weeks after planting we have handfuls of juicy radishes with the beetroot, silverbeet and dwarf beans not far behind. With the trial patch a resounding success for both humans and cows, with a little attention to the soil and a proper fence i hope to get a largeish vege patch prepared by summers end with the help of rotary hoe. Digging by hand is very hard slow work and despite the rotary hoes drawbacks (soil pan) a single use and loads of mulch should see us right. Also today I planted experimental gooseberry and pomegranate vines, not sure if the pomegranate will fruit but it does in the Himalaya's so why not here.

With nearly 200mm of rain in the last month its no surprise that the vege's are loving it. The dams are again overflowing and the river continues at full volume. Merriman's creek crossing the highway at Gormondale on the river flats some 10 km downstream from us is now a wide river, looking most out of place now its forest boundaries have all been stripped bare well up into the upper catchments that are just below our patch. Climate change is primarily caused by losses of trees and the water cycle becoming dysregulated but that doesn't stop the pulp-paper industry.

As I was working there today I was thinking that its only now 4 months next week since we got the farm, all-in-all less than a total of 10 weekends work and we have already achieved so much, its quite wonderful to think what 4 years might bring us. The road is now solid packed gravel but the rains eroded some of the dam wall which will require some earthworks and have halted work on the carpark and new shed foundation area until next year now. We were certainly lucky that early spring was so dry otherwise we might still be getting bogged on a very muddy road and unable to do anything there at all.

Another surprise was that I accidently caught 2 bush rats. The sneaks had ended up in a bucket of citrus scraps that got waterlogged that I had left near the compost, they had managed to climb in up the handle and in but couldn't get out and had drowned, thats 2 less rats to eat my ginseng when it goes in next winter. In fact I think I will use the idea as a trap for the ginseng areas.

Off to plan for the 2 weeks of farm bliss coming up after xmas. Thanks for all the comments to date.


  1. Wow .. you've done a lot in the short time you've had the farm!

    Sad that the pulp-paper industry doesn't care about what they are doing to the environment.

    Hope you enjoy the holidays!

    Small Footprints

  2. Great progress and not all due to the rain. Glad to see you have another pair of hands there helping out.

  3. Hope you're enjoying that two weeks Paul. The falls must have been cranking after all that rain. Look forward to the changes next time I can get up there. All the best for 09!

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