Tuesday, February 22, 2011

not a post for vegetarians

I have been away in Sydney at a Veterinary behaviour conference ( no, NOT the behaviour of vets, but of their furry charges ) so Vanessa took advantage of my absence and reduced our flock number by 2. The female lamb has been sold to a neighbour for breeding but the boys are for the freezer.

Being cheapskates we decided to perform our own carcase butchering which despite diagrams and a video by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is trickier than it looks. The legs are easy enough but trying to produce chops/cutlets/racks of lamb using a meat cleaver and an old saw from the shed provided interesting end results.
It is very handy having friends with a cold store and an equipped catering kitchen.

From Protea Farm 1

From Protea Farm 1

From Protea Farm 1
The days are getting colder here now after a blistering few weeks and autumn is just around the corner. We have 'Nick the Builder' on site at the moment knocking out windows and putting in new doors before the holiday season picks up again, so it is a busy week.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

old farts in caravans

We have been missing 'Geoffrey' the mighty Winnebago, so today we took delivery of 'Dorothy', a fine example of a 1976 Australian built caravan.

From protea

A magnificent 11 foot long, weighing in at 640 Kg. A quality aluminium product, with specs as advanced as a baked bean can. The electrics are rather dodgy, the fridge does not seem to work on electricity or gas, and the 70's interior is retro in a bad way, but we may grow to love her.

From protea

Meanwhile I have taken the plunge and spent today at the Opticians learning how to use contact lenses. Although I am not at all squeamish about ramming my fingers into my eyeballs, the dilemma is that of needing glasses in order to see the little blighters. Once lens is precariously balanced on the end of the index finger  remove your glasses. At this point you cannot see your finger or your eyeball. Peer blindly into the large magnifying mirror and insert lens up left nostril. Repeat for right nostril.

Second problem is lens removal. Poke thumb and index finger into eyeball and squeeze. Sit back and cry for 5 minutes then try again as it has fused with your cornea and refuses to budge. Make note to self to trim fingernails from thumb and index finger. Make second note to take out a contract killing on sadistic optician who refuses to let you go until you have repeated the procedure 5 times per eye.

Having failed the practical test for lens removal by use of manual dexterity the optician handed me little rubber forceps. "Nobody can use these, not even me" said the exasperated sadist. Years of surgically removing corneal foreign bodies with fine instruments came flooding back and lens was whipped out in a nanosecond. Remainder of consultation was spent training optician how to use the rubbery micro-tweezers.

So now I have my box of disposable lenses and my tweezers. All this torture due to the fact that playing tennis under floodlights wearing multi-focal lenses is impossible. When serving or setting up for an overhead smash you tilt your head and look at the ball through the reading lens part of the specs. Instinctively you duck and fold your arms over your head to avoid being decapitated by a large yellow water melon.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

heat wave & extreme gardening

The last week has been viciously hot with temps close to 40 degrees and a hot dry wind. This may seem like an ideal time to skulk indoors with the air-con running but Ness's program of 'extreme gardening' is unstoppable. Terry the tree man called last week and chopped down a large gum tree that had curled up its toes during the wet spell, so we have been chain-sawing logs for winter fuel. She also borrowed a vicious brute of a mulching/chipping machine so we have felled and chipped several sick and ugly conifers and converted them into garden mulch.

Terry also brought his stump-grinder ( a machine I had never heard of before we became rural Australians ) and annihilated over 20 large tree stumps that have been cluttering up the place for years so now the lawnmower and quad bike can access all areas without complex slalom manoeuvres being required.

From Protea Farm 1

Stumps like these are no more

From Protea Farm 1
We are also making the most of the abundant water supply from Lake Protea and have been digging channels and running irrigation piping to the newly planted trees.

Jules & Vanessa came for their annual Australia Day visit- a tradition which involves cooking, cocktails and canasta and also the annual sheep muster. The sheep and alpacas are now worm-drenched and vaccinated. For feline specialists their large animal handling skills are developing well.

Wild excitement regarding 'Duck Island'. Every night at dusk parent birds have started arriving with ducklings in tow and swimming out to the island for nightly refuge from foxes. A great result.

From Protea Farm 1
James dog is now fragrant after major dentistry, but her fruit addiction is causing problems. Every day she throws up plum stones after a raid on windfalls in the orchard, and as the plums are fermenting very quickly in the heat I suspect that she is permanently four sheets to the wind.....hard to tell with James.

From Protea Farm 1

Above- the biker chicks!