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August & September

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Our first lamb arrived on 29th of July, a lovely wedding anniversary gift from our sheep! 🙂  The rest arrived without any intervention from us and we have just marked 97 lambs for 2016.  While we did have some losses, we took a very hands-off role during this lambing season and are happy with the numbers we achieved.

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Spot the lambs!

We spent a great deal of time and effort prior to lambing ensuring that the lambing paddocks had plenty of feed so that the ewes could remain close to their lamb during the hours after birth.  A ewe that has to walk away from her lamb to find enough grass to eat leaves the lamb vulnerable to predators.  Thanks to the fantastic rain we’ve been having the grass has been keeping up with the ewes’ requirements.

We have also been continuing our fencing along the creek.  This fencing is happening thanks to a grant from Melbourne Water who is trying to get landowners to keep stock out of waterways.  Since our little Spring Creek is part of the catchment, keeping our creek healthy and clean means healthy and clean water for Melbourne.  I am planning a future post with some tips and techniques for keeping fences tight and straight in hilly terrain – the only terrain we know how to fence. 🙂

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June/July 2016

Only a couple of months in and I’m already getting slack about keeping up the blog posts!

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Previous fencing

June and July have traditionally been our fencing months.  Each year when normal, sane people head off to the fire with a good book, we traipse around the hills carrying star-pickets and wire.  It makes sense, of course, to fence when the ground is soft after rain and the cooler weather makes vigorous exercise more pleasant.  We have done fencing during summer and I can assure you that it is not at all comfortable.  Yes, fencing in winter is sensible, but sensible is not the same as comfortable.  Of course, this year Justin dived off a shed wall, spent 3 days in hospital and has been rehabilitating ever since.  We are now starting to think about doing our fencing for the year – just as lambing is about to start.

Yes, five months has gone quickly and the ewes are due to drop lambs any day now.  Each morning we pull out the binoculars and scan the paddocks looking for little white lumps on the ground, but so far, no lambs.  We’ll let you know when it does happen.  It is always very exciting and very nerve-racking; new additions arriving daily and predators prowling at night.  The ewes are generally very protective of their lambs, but they struggle to protect triplets so unfortunately one triplet will often not survive – unless we take it and bottle-feed it.  As always, we are hoping that our preparations for this year’s lambing will make it a trouble-free period.

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May 2016

Our big event for May was burning off the native Silver Tussock in one of our paddocks.  We began by walking the fences with a brush cutter and cutting out the tussocks growing close to the fence.  This was to create a fire-break so our fences wouldn’t be damaged.  The tussock was super-easy to light and scary to watch the fire leap from plant to plant.  However we managed to contain it to the areas we wanted burnt, although it did get through the fence in one spot.  The amazing thing about the Silver Tussock is how it takes off again.  Within 3 weeks of burning we were able to put the ewes back onto the green shoots coming up.

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2015 Lamb ewes enjoying the burnt Silver Tussock

On a more personal note, a nasty accident has left Justin with a broken leg.  He was climbing around the farm shed in the dark and fell onto concrete breaking his hip.  Now he’s hobbling around on crutches and feeling completely useless – he’s not, of course; he’s just not used to sitting still or ‘taking it easy’ which he has to do for the next 6 to 8 weeks.  The doctors say he should fully recover within 3 months or so.  We are just grateful that he didn’t fall on his head!

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April 2016

April has been a quieter month on the farm.  The rams were put in with the ewes at the start of March for six weeks, so mid-April was when we chased them out.

The rains have not come for us so we continue to supplement feed both the ewes and last year’s lambs.

We have spent our time doing odd jobs, maintenance and starting this website!