Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Pig farming for beginners

It has been suggested that we start a blog as we embark on our trek around Australia....so here it is. Chapter 1, Page 1.

Once upon a time, in a land far far away the author got writer's block. She also discovered that her laptop battery lasted approx 35 mins before expiring. On the 'to do' list is 1. buy a new battery, 2. buy a generator.

Summary of travels to date: a week in Sydney catching up with friends, pointing excitedly at the Opera House, getting sunburned and eating to excess. Stayed with Mary & Nick ( vets from London ) and their 2 kids- they have bought a veterinary practice in the Sydney suburbs. Nick has already treated 2 koalas and several possums ( I got to see my first possum as a patient, cute little demons they are too).

There is a massive outbreak of equine flu in NSW, and I have registered to work as anyone with a vet degree and a pulse welcome, regardless of whether they know their way around a horse or not. Have not volunteered as yet, but may end up by some weird twist of fate doing some large animal work......too scary to contemplate!

Sourced a large Winnebago, which cost as much as a modest 5 bedroom house over here, sprung the dog from quarantine, and made our first trip in said 23 foot Leviathan straight over the Blue Mountains. A white knuckle ride until we realised that yelling 'get out of my way I am bigger than you' helped enormously.

So, here we are in Mudgee. James ( vet from London ) and his wife Georgie ( from Sydney) and the sproglets Felix and Emily bought a 150 acre farm 3 months ago, and are starting up a free range pig farm . You have to love people who decide to start this sort of venture on land which is suffering the worst droughts for several decades, constant risk of bush fires, and the cost of pork is at its lowest. The sort of friends we seem to attract I guess.

To date the Berkshires include McGuire the boar, Bev and her 7 piglets, Gloria the gilt, and Rosie the heavily pregnant sow. Dora the goat and her 2 kids, and several Australorps ( the Aussie version of the Buff Orpington chicken ). Not to mention the goslings, and baby chickens.

J & G went off to market yesterday to buy more pigs....Australia. it appears, is rather large, so this involves an overnight stop leaving the uninitiated in charge. Fortunately Grandma has arrived to take care of the children, so all our charges are non-human. We were up at crack of dawn feeding and watering, taking the goat out to forage, attending to the neonatal poultry and watering the 50 olive trees we planted last week. Vanessa has created a vegetable patch, and is digging away as I write this.

The farm is a piece of Paradise- stunning views of the Blue Mountains, dams for the dogs to swim in, fabulous weather......and flies. Well, flies and cockroaches, and crickets as big as airships, and huntsman spiders larger than plates, and venomous snakes, and Hampton Court sized ant's nests with inhabitants to match. Did I say Paradise? Saint Patrick should have come here first. The campervan is packed with snake bite items.....antihistamines, adrenaline, steroids, i/v canulae, drip bags and giving sets ( all for the dog ) and when we go up country there will be a $1,000 vial of anti-venom in the fridge.

Will update this when I find out how to ad pics and generally brighten it up for the vast readership.


Sally said...

Bollocks, you write a weighty tome of a response and then you find you're not entitled to and have to join up and once you do they've lost your damned response...come on Pinder, if you're going to invite interaction, meet the Fulwood yokels half way!

Mmmm snakes. Yes we had one of those in downtown Fulwood yesterday....I'm leaving for Ireland forthwith.

Am suggesting you blow another $1,000 on the anti snake death stuff. Seems a bit unfair that only one of the party gets to live!

Can't wait to hear more from The Chines downunder!

twosheilasandadog said...

Apologies, I will try and find my way around this site to allow the Fulwood yokels trouble-free access! New generator gently humming in background so at least I can spend a little more time fine-tuning. Meanwhile have a bonzer G'Day ....F xx

Anonymous said...

Hi Fiona,

Apart from the scenery and weather can't say Nicola and I are itching to come and visit. The creepy crawlies are a bit off putting. The Daddy long legs here are bad enough.

Besides I (not Nicola because she can't stand the French) am starting to dream of non-stop eating of croissants in Paris. Love to you both, oh and to James!

Mark and Nickyxx

Anonymous said...

p.s. to Mark's reply:- I'm off to North Yorkshire, it seems the safer option! Death by creatures or death through heart attack doesn't seem ideal.


Anonymous said...

You can't call it Susan! In my experience, you could be in for a lot of problems. This is my experience of that word...

doesn't travel far
hasn't worked hard for quite some time
very noisy on (most) occasions
always running late
can be the cause of great discomfort
expensive to run and maintain
unreliable suspension (which breaks down often)
You can pour money into it and still see no evidence of it
do you want me to go on...?

You can be collectively called: Jason and the Argonauts (in search of the golden fleece! very australian - sheep - get it?)

The van can be called Jason and you can be the Argonauts (see the 4th paragraph of the following link - lesbian heaven!!)


The argonauts were great travellers...

Also you will have named it after an Aussie superstar : Jason Dono Van!!!!

Seems like a done deal to me...

Andrea said...

Hi Fiona and Vanessa

Can't think of a name for your van but can't say I like Susan. It all sounds wonderful and all three of you look well. It must be great. Love to you all and the Caspars. love Andrea

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