As our first summer at ‘Kildare’ draws to a close here’s some of our favourite photos and ponderings.
Michael has spent a lot of time lately on the tractor, as optimal planting time in the New England is upon us. There is an ‘Old Timer’s’ saying in this region: “April is 3 months later than March”, which means it’s important to plant winter crops before April, so there is time for them to establish before the cool weather arrives.
We think it’s important to listen to and consider ‘Old Timer’s’ advice, and hold onto their babies whilst throwing out the bath water. There are so many signs on our farm of past love and agricultural dedication, but now we need to manage farmed out land and the African Lovegrass that has taken over. Once renowned lucerne flats (‘as tall as a man’ we’re told), desperately need regenerating. Our main tools for now are to lay down organic matter, disturb the soil as little as possible and kick start soil biology with the application of some targeted organic products. A very exciting addition (for a biological farmer anyway) was our new flail mower.
Our London Plane trees have put on excellent growth. We only had to water them in once and timely summer rain has done the rest. It’s only begun to dry off in the last few weeks and we would love more rain now before heading into Autumn.
The boys’ have been busy planting 400 lucerne trees (Tagasaste) from Mole Station Native Nursery west of Tenterfield. Once established, all our livestock will be able to enjoy these and we especially look forward to our poultry foraging amongst them.
Our production rhythm continues on as we regularly go through our growing birds and select the ones we want to keep for our breeding programme. Here’s our poultry production assistant Sonya, with a motley crew of early morning chicken catchers.
We have bred many beautiful birds since moving to ‘Kildare’ and now have a second breeder house.
What a ripper it is, worked on tirelessly by Stuart and Grant. We are very grateful for their practical skill and craftsmanship.
We’ve just begun placing birds inside, and are marveling that when it is finished it will have the capacity to produce about 3,500 chicks per week, very exciting times ahead.
Speaking of craftmanship, Stuart has also been busy making nest boxes and some special pens in the shearing shed for our pedigree breeding groups of 3 or 4 birds. Yes, I know poultry fanciers will drool over these.
Our new meat goats are loving their rocky paddock. Some were pregnant when we received them and are due to kid any moment, they have plenty of trees and protected spots to choose from.
Our 16 year old’s first crack at growing corn has been relatively successful. Maybe there’ll be twice as much next year and we’ll be offering you corn along with chicken 🙂
We’ve had some stinkin’ hot February days (for our part of the world), but relief comes very quickly in the cool mornings and evenings and already there is an autumn tinge in the air. The cold weather won’t be far away now, and time to insulate our old farmhouse before it hits.