Category Archives: Down on the Farm Diary


Well it is well and truly time for a “down on the farm update”. So here we go.

It has been a very tough season here on the farm. We haven’t had the rain that we usually do and when we have gotten some it has been too cold for the grass to grow. We have even taken to buying in a little hay to keep the stock going.


We had quite a few pigs and they were doing a great job digging up our paddocks so that my husband could sow them down. Now we have about 6 left after butchering 9 for the freezer.  We have 3 breeding sows and 1 boar and 2 more large boars to butcher and we will be doing this in a couple of weeks with another steer. We also have 4 piglets left from the last drop and they are around 16 weeks old. We managed to sell 18 piglets which was a wonderful blessing.

Pigs in their paddock

Normally this time of year we wouldn’t get a tractor onto our paddocks but not this year, so my husband is going to sow down some more paddocks to oats and wheat. He is not sure whether he is going to cut it or let the stock graze on it, but he will see.

My husband sowing the first 10 acres of wheat and barley in May.

He has already sown down 10 acres to oats and wheat (see photo above) and this has been done for quite awhile and is growing nicely. This crop will be cut for hay and baled into small squares. We have found that oaten hay is a good way to feed grain to the pigs and house cows with roughage.

We have finished lambing now and are about to mark them. Then we will grow them out and sell them before Christmas. We usually keep a few ewe lambs back to keep our numbers of ewes up for breeding.


We are milking 2 house cows at the moment, once a day and are getting over 20 litres each morning. This enables me to make cheese and keeps the piglets, chickens, puppies and cats in milk.  We still have 2 more dairy cows to calve too, so there will be heaps of milk around. I am going to start making butter again shortly.

We don’t have any outside vegetables growing at the moment, but the aquaponics is moving along nicely. (update to follow)

We have managed to barter an incubator from a friend and my husband is managing this now and he already has 23 eggs turning and hopefully ready to hatch in another few days. We are hoping to keep this up so that we can build up our chicken numbers. Unfortunately with the weather so cold the chickens aren’t laying too many eggs at the moment but in another month or so we should see the weather turn around.

Eggs in the incubator

We are starting to think about our spring garden and get some plans together. We want to  build a hothouse for our tomatoes and we will need to start moving on this so it is ready in time, and we can spread the costings over a couple of months.

We are going to put sweet potatoes in beds either in the aquaponics hothouse or the other one, not sure yet, but I am going to get some more potatoes so that I can grow slips from them shortly.

Hope all is going well on your land at the moment.



You will find me linked up at some of these great blogs.




Well it has been a while since I have shared how things are going on our little farm.  Summer is over and Autumn is here and it is a lovely time of the year.

We had a couple of fires this year within our brigade – one being a header that caught fire. This isn’t our header, it was working on one of our neighbours property.  Below is a picture of the header after it was put out.


Our local fire brigade also burned along the sides of the road from our place to the next town, about 12 kms.  This is to keep the grass down and hopefully stop the fire from jumping into the paddocks.


Here is one of the fire trucks out the front helping to keep the fire along the side of the road and not in our paddocks.  Our Brigades are all run by volunteers and they do a great job.DSC_0899[1]This is what it looked like out the front of our house. It looks black for a little bit and then the green starts to show through.

My husband is still milking two cows each morning and we are still making feta and cheddar cheese. Below is where he does the milking, it is good in the summer but can be a bit difficult in the winter. We are in the process of moving the milking area to the end of our wool shed and the power is waiting to be attached at the moment. Once that is done the men will concrete it out and move everything over. This will make milking more pleasant in the winter and also make it feasible to milk more cows.

DSC_0987Here are the two cows that we are milking at the moment.  Both cows are a Fresian / Jersey Cross bought from a dairy farmer friend who uses a Jersey bull over his heifers as they deliver smaller calves and thus making it less likely to loose either cow or calf.   Both are totally different looking one looking more Jersey and the other more Fresian.

DSC_0988The cow not facing us has been here for quite a while and her name is Cornetto (after an ice cream we can buy here).  I think the other ones name is Daisy and that really suits her.

The piglets are still growing well and when it gets a bit cooler we will be butchering a few of them.  The bigger ones will go first of course. We have really enjoyed the last lot of sausages that we made from our own pork so I think that will be first on the list to do.

DSC_0994My husband is keen to make some dried cured meat and we might do our bacon that way this year.

Here is Roses our little kitten. We have two kittens and a cat at the moment, so the younger children have one each and the cat – Smokey belongs to all of us.  They really help keep the mouse and rat population down.

DSC_0992If you knew my husband well you would know that he has an aversion to cats, especially inside as he is allergic to them and if they are inside they give him asthma.  Over the years he has really softened towards them and now I find out that he is feeding them milk each morning down at the shed.

We have been offered an alpaca, and I hope that it will be delivered shortly. I don’t have too many details as yet but I feel very blessed that it isn’t costing us anything as they can be quite expensive. Maybe we will get it a mate when we find out what type it needs.

Well that’s all for now, stay tuned for the next episode.

What’s happening on your farm or homestead at the moment?

Psalm 24:1  The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.


I am not really a gardener, it is something I do because I have to not because I have a passion for it.  I would much rather be inside knitting, or sewing or quilting. That is why I enjoy winter so much because I have a great excuse to be inside because of the wet and cold.

Recently I wanted to beautify our back verandah so my husband put up these boxes we purchased at a clearing sale (a sale farmers have when they have sold their property and want to get rid of stuff they don’t want to take with them.  They sell it all via an auction).IMG_0829[1]

These boxes were made by the farmer we bought them from for keeping his beer bottles in.IMG_0830[1]

I originally wanted to put herbs in them but they didn’t get enough sunlight so I asked my mother-in-law if I could have some succulent cuttings to put in them.  Now I am not a succulent person but I am really impressed with how these look and they are growing well. So maybe I am a succulent person.


We also have this beautiful tree that flowers outside our kitchen window.  I am not sure of the technical name but the blooms are called angel trumpets.  This tree is highly poisonous to animals but it is very pretty.


Here is another succulent that I got, I’m not sure of the name but the little flowers are lovely.  This pot is by our back door, next to our wood basket.


I am definitely a rose person.  I really love roses and here is a bloom on a bush out the front of our house. It is actually a deep red.IMG_0850[1]So that’s a snap shot into our summer garden, thanks for stopping by.

Do you like succulents??? What do you grow in your summer garden???



I thought it was about time I did another Down on the Farm Update, as it has been quite a while since the last one.

It is summer here and the land has really browned off.  We have had some rain this past week (over an inch) and there is some green pick starting to show up in the paddocks.

We have our piglets in a feed lot in our cattle yards, and they are growing really well.  There are some with names such as “sausage”, “prosciutto”, “smokey” and our favourite “spit”.

IMG_0760We have sold a few and another couple are sold awaiting collection, but there will be plenty left to butcher for us.  The last sausages we made were such a success we will probably do these again.

We keep our big pigs, 3 sows and a boar out in the crop paddock and they are enjoying being out there.  When they are big they don’t crawl through fences, so they are content where they are.  Two of the sows are due to have piglets any day now.

IMG_0761Here is my husband with one of our milking cows.  We are feeding them a mixture of oaten and wheat hay and this really keeps them milking well. We milk once a day and each cow is averaging about 10 litres a milking.  We then let them out for the day for them to feed their calves and then lock them up again at night with the calf still in the paddock.

IMG_0776My husband really enjoys milking them and he always gets more milk when he does it.  Most of the milk goes to the piglets, we use some for our cheese making and for use in the house and the cats get a little bit as well.

We are wanting to put in more fruit trees this Autumn and the picture below shows the area where they are going to go.  The pigs and dairy cows have been in there and have eaten it right down so it is almost time to plough it up before the green growth starts coming back.


We had planted fruit trees the first year we moved in but didn’t realize how wet it was, so we did lose a few. This new area is right next to the old area and we will join them up and hopefully have nice mowed grass between the rows.  We want to put in berries as well this year and will have them in this area so they will be fenced off and protected from wandering stock.


We have a couple of different plum trees and they are both laden with fruit. I am looking forward to them being my next preserving project.


That’s my update for now – more to come later.

We have lots of plans and ideas and we are excited to see how it all plays out.

Hope your farm/homestead is going well and you are enjoying the fruits of your labour.





It’s a busy time of the year here, as usual, what with hay making, selling lambs, vegetable planting and maintenance of the same. It’s all happening.

We needed to sell our lambs before Christmas as this allows us to carry our ewes and cattle through the summer and doesn’t put too much pressure on our pastures.  God really blessed us with our lamb prices this year.

It is wonderful to see how our farm is developing from when we first bought it 4 years ago.

Here’s how our hay making happens…

First of all my husband and son cut the crops and then let them sit for about a week to 10 days and then when its dry enough they rake it and then bale it straight away.

This year they cut out the front of our property against the road. We have quite a wide nature strip so they decided to cut it and bale it. This hay isn’t good enough for feed but will be great for bedding in our feedlot during the winter.

We also cut and baled the wheat crop and also the oats, wheat and clover crop (this all sown together).

My father-in-law is on the tractor and my husband is on the sledge at the back of the baler.
The tractor and baler drives over the raked hay and feeds it into the baler which sends out little square bales. (I don’t know why they call them little squares when they are actually rectangle in shape).


My husband then takes the bales as they come out and stacks them on the sledge.IMG_0510[1]


IMG_0512[1] IMG_0513[1]

Then when there are 10 bales on the sledge my husband pushes a lever which releases the stack.IMG_0520[1]This is what the stack looks like when it comes off the sledge.  We have 18 stacks like this on the nature strip in front of our house, and we are getting lots of comments about our Christmas Trees, we have thought about putting a solar light on the top of them!!!  We also got 28 stacks from our crops, this will be used for feed.

When my husband has time he will cart these stacks in using the forks on the back of our Ford 4100 tractor and stack them together in the paddock near the house.

We are also having power put on to our workshop and our wool shed.  So my husband hired a digger to put in the trenches.


Here are the men folk digging and below are pictures of the trenches.  The trenches need to be 60 cm deep to meet regulations.


The electrician will lay the power cables in these trenches.


The aquaponics system is going well, but the fish haven’t arrived yet, hopefully early next week.  Some of the strawberry plants have died back but all have new shoots.  We are adding a seaweed extract to the system until the fish arrive and mature a bit.

My husband and children are going out and picking the grubs off our grapevines and feeding them to the fish.


Here they are, the fish just love the grubs and so does my little boy.

Well that’s all for now, I will post more on the aquaponics system when the fish arrive.

How’s things going on your farm/homestead at the moment???




I thought I’d update you with some photos of our cattle.

terri camera oct 2014 1410

Here is my husband with George our Scottish Highland bull.  He has been with us a few years now and has fathered quite a few calves.

terri camera oct 2014 1434

Here is Mildred our Scottish Highland cow with her calf from last year.  She seems to only have bull calves.  We ate her last one and he was delicious.  She had another bull calf about a month ago.  The Scottish Highland calves are just so cute, they look like a teddy bear.

Mildred and her calf
Mildred and her calf

The kids name all the calves and cows but I’m not up to date with them all yet.

terri camera oct 2014 1427

Here is George again, he is just a magnificant animal.  He is very tame, although I don’t quite trust him.  My husband and our oldest son (19) get quite close to him and he has never caused any problems.


Here’s a close up of George Junior.


This is the next one we will butcher, his mother was a Friesian/Jersey cow and George is his father.  He will be butchered before Christmas.

It may sound callous to talk about eating them, but we have cattle to supply us with our own meat, we have chickens to supply us with eggs, all the animals are here for a reason – even the cats have to catch mice. This is the way it is here and our children understand that.  We usually butcher them ourselves now, and a friend comes and helps us cut them up and make sausages etc.

Hope your farm/homestead is going well also.







We have over 20 chickens and about 18 ducks on our farm.  Most of our chickens we purchased from a breeder near Sydney in NSW (about 14 hours drive from here).  He travels around in a truck with mesh sides and sells chickens from there to here and back again.

His chickens are really well looked after and we haven’t had any problems with the ones we have purchased.  They are a White Leghorn/New Hampshire Cross, so they are white in colour.  They aren’t very exciting looking being quite plain but they lay a nice large white egg.

terri camera oct 2014 1310

We have been trying to breed our own chickens and as I have stated before we have a friend who incubates them for us her being called the “chook whisperer”.  My husband has made an incubator out of an old fridge and just needs a new thermostat now to get it working properly.

We keep our chickens in a big pen with laying boxes on one side and roosting bars in the other.  They are totally enclosed all round and on top with mesh.

Chickens in enclosed pen
Chickens in enclosed pen, this is where they spend the night.

We feed them a mixture of wheat and layers pellets each day and they are locked up until after lunch and then let out to forage around the farm.  We let them out after lunch because they lay most of their eggs by 2 pm and it saves the children scrounging around the hay stack looking for eggs.

We have 6 hens and a rooster locked up separately from the others to use in our incubator when we get it going.  These chickens get all the appropriate scraps from the kitchen and also wheat and layers pellets as well.

terri camera oct 2014 1303
Hens locked up to get their eggs pure so that we can incubate them.

Eventually we will have a mobile chook house down the paddock following the sheep and cattle around and will only keep our breeders in the enclosed pen.  Hopefully this is something we can get up and running next year.

Any way that’s  how our chickens live, I think they have a pretty good life here at Darling Downs.


This post is linked up here…




Just an update on what is happening on the farm.

We had another calf last week this one was from our angus cow.

Our new calf.  This was as close as my husband could get.
Our new calf. This was as close as my husband could get.

This cow has a bit of a history.  Over 5 years ago we were renting not far from where we live now and we were blessed to be able to have a couple of milking cows and pigs and vegetables.  Heather (the cow) required joining, so we sent her across the paddocks to our neighbours who were friends of ours to be served by their bull.  This happened, but Heather stayed there a bit longer than necessary and then we couldn’t find her.  We think our neighbour actually sold her with his own cattle.

Our neigbour found a cow he thought was Heather and returned her to us.  We don’t think this is Heather, there is no way we can milk her and she is a little bit wild.  Maybe it is Heather and she enjoyed her freedom running the pastures with the other wild cows and decided this was the better way to be, who knows.  Anyway she gives us a good meaty calf to butcher and eat.

We have finally weaned the piglets to the joy of their mothers and are now busy fattening them up with all the milk we are getting from the two cows we are milking.  We are going to put a sign up this week announcing them officially for sale.

Adiah and the weaned piglets. That's about as close as she is going to get.
Our eldest granddaughter and the weaned piglets. That’s about as close as she is going to get.

My husband is getting ready to cut hay in a couple of weeks.  Our crops and grass paddocks haven’t grown as well as we had hoped, the rain sort of ran out in mid August, so instead of heading (harvesting) our crops he will cut it for hay instead.

We usually keep our pigs in a feedlot pen with hay as the bedding. Now we need to dig it all out and spread it and work it in where we are going to grow vegetables.  That’s a job to for this week.

Our chickens are laying really well and we are getting almost 2 doz eggs a day (that’s why I can make such big quiches).  We need to butcher some roosters very soon and I might can them using a “Chicken a la King” recipe.  This is a great recipe and I enjoy just being able to cook some pasta and open the jar and mix it together for tea.

I am trying to finish off pruning my roses and I hope to have this finished this week.  I am running late again with this, but they will still give us a lovely flower show.

We are about a month off starting our aquaponics system where we grow fish and vegetables.  Our fish are arriving at the end of November, so my husband is just testing the water out now with goldfish and so far so good.  We have been researching ways to feed the fish without having to buy in food and it seems we can feed them vegetables and hearts and livers (the meaty parts of offal).  So when we butcher our next beast in a few weeks I will keep some of the innards and mince and freeze them, and label them really well!!!

Life is very exciting here and there is always stuff to do.  There isn’t always the time or the money to do all we want to but we just keep chipping away at it all.

Blessings to you on your farm / homestead, I hope everything is moving along nicely for you all.



I thought I would upload some photos of our small farm to give you an idea of where we live.

Our home, we are really blessed.
Our home, we are really blessed.

We are very blessed to have a lovely home.  We have grass planted around our home that is green all summer if we water it.  We have a bore so water is no issue, another blessing.

Cubby that dad built
Cubby that dad built

This is the cubby house that dad built the younger two last year.  It is great and in the summer when the tree has leaves you can’t see the cubby at all and they can hide away.  They want their dad to build them a bridge to another tree but we aren’t sure Health and Safety would be ok with this.


We started with about 6 Appleyard ducklings and 2 Mallards and then some friends gave us some other ducks.  I’m not quite sure what they all are but there is some Runner Duck in them.  We have 19 ducks at the moment.  I wanted to butcher some to eat but they all hang out together and seem to talk to each other so I am hesitant to break up the family.


Some of our chickens that love getting out and roaming around the paddocks.  The white chickens are a White Leghorn x New Hampshire breed.  The black ones are ones from eggs that we gave my friend to incubate for us.  She is definitely the chook whisperer and gets almost 90% each time.  At the moment we get nearly 2 dozen eggs a day and are nearly ready to sell them out the front of the house.

terri camera oct 2014 1280 No 2 son in front of the windmill that his older brother and father put in the front yard.

This is just a small snap shot into our lives and where we live, we really enjoy it here and every morning we wake up here is a blessing.