Sunday, 26 August 2012

The rural womens gathering Penola

Last weekend myself and eight girlfriends made the seven hour drive down to Penola in the Coonawarra, for the annual  rural women's gathering. Now if Scones quilting and cups of tea come to mind then think again. This is now the third one I have been part of and they are amazing. I have come away still on a high, and inspired by many of the amazing women that I met. This is female bonding at its finest!!!!The event was sponsored by Rymill, Koonara and St Mary's wines so the wine flowed freely. The food was great and the guest speakers were entertaining and inspirational. The  workshops were a chance to learn a new skill or just relax and included a diverse range of about thirty things from cheese making to welding,  sculpting to making a brick pizza oven. I would recommend these gathering to any women out there that just need a break, and to revive themselves. We laughed non stop, and learnt so many things. We went home with lovely gift packages filled with lots of goodies, including clinique toiletries, sparkling wine and a merino wool long sleeved T- shirt. The whole town was involved and most shops and wineries in Penola were giving discounts to all the ladies that attended, as if we needed any encouragement to hit the shops.

Lunch stop at the Henry & Rose Cafe in Keith.

One of my neighbours Tracy Browning in the Limestone carving workshop.This was so messy, big chunks kept falling off my sculpture, making it smaller and smaller all the time.

 Welding a rake workshop, where I was very partial to my suede welding jacket

My good mate Nicole Harris
Trying to tidy up my welds
Friday night with the girls
 Ita Buttrose on stage sharing with us her amazing story
We were so excited, we actually had our photo taken with Ita, but to my dismay the  camera they were taken on was a film camera, so chances are they will be lost forever, I cant believe anyone still uses one.
 Jo Fincham & Ita Buttrose two of Saturdays guest speakers
Jo you might recognise from the farmer wants a wife series, she was talking about her battle with depression and bulimia and how she has overcome both these issues.
 Our group in the wacky wire sculpting workshop
 There were not meant to be any guys allowed but a few sneaked in, who were we to turn them away
Two farming women showing that yes, we can manage some tools

 Shannon and Lisa with Bronwyn Roberts, who was a guest speaker sharing the
clinically proven benefits of laughter

Saturday nights entertainment was singer Elijah Madden who was certainly entertaining enough that a few of my girlfriends thought they would show their appreciation by dancing on the tables. At one point I reckon there would of been at least 200 women dancing with no dance floor, just up and down the isles. It looked like an episode of high school musical, just the average age a tad older.
We always go home from gatherings with lots of new friends. 
 My new buddy, I reckon she was warning me to stay off the scones
 before I developed any more chins.
The next gathering is in October 2013 and is being held in Port Pirie, we have actually booked accommodation already as they usually book out pretty fast.  So if you know anyone whether it be yourself or partners let them know as it is an amazing weekend.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Calendar girl

Well here we are half way through August, which is very special as I have just fulfilled my life long dream of becoming a calendar girl...cringe.... bring on September so I don't have to keep staring at myself.  Ben looks bloody massive and I have made fashion faux pas of the century wearing baseball cap and beads. We had no idea this picture would end up in  the calender of YP AG the company we buy our chemical through, what a laugh.

Over the last week we have had 24mm of rain which we are very excited about, the crops were starting to really need it.
We are putting out fungicides at the moment on Barley and just about to start the wheat. The Barley is showing signs of spot form net blotch and has been getting sprayed with Amistar Xtra and also we have found stripe rust in the Gladius wheat so that is being sprayed with Opus (Epoxiconazole).

Ben and Steve discussing one of our wheat paddocks, this was the first wheat  sown
and looks magnificent at this stage. Our other paddocks of wheat were actually sown 11 days later. In hindsight we probably could of sown a few more paddocks before we stopped sowing and waited for rain.  

The Peas and Canola are growing well. The canola will be in full flower in a couple of weeks, unfortunately the hill that has struggled for cover because of the summer fire has come to nothing, but at least seems reasonably stable from drift at the moment.

We have been having a massive bin yard tidy up, and last week the scrap man came and removed 7 old chassis bins. Unfortunately his excavator fell apart during the bin bashing and crushing process so he will be back in a few weeks to finish the job. He also pulled out our old sheep yards, ramp and spray dip that's Ben's dad John built over 40 years ago. We now have lots of empty space that we are not quite sure what to do with. Hopefully we get a big cheque at the end of it.

Any Bin marked with an X has had its day on this farm
 The kids posing for one last photograph before the old ramp was taken away

I just thought I would finish with this photo. One of our favourite things to do, Ben and the kids watching the sun going down over the paddocks

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Everything is green and growing well, and we have had 11mm of rain in the last two weeks. This is topping up the moisture in the soil just nicely. Ben has been putting out Liquid nitrogen(UAN) on the Barley and a second lot on the canola as it is starting to bolt ( starting to shoot up and flower). When we were out with Steve last week we noticed that the Twilight peas were starting to get Powdery mildew, which is a fungal disease. We can control this with agriphos which we can add to the grass weed mixture when we spray out the grasses in the peas.

Commander Barley growing in between last years stubble rows
Ben was spraying broad leaf out of the wheat and barley at Tamar when he took this picture of the Dow Agriscience guys spraying the weeds in the trial plots. He had to wait for them to leave before he could finish the paddock. It was good to see we were obviously spraying the weeds at the correct time.

We signed up more wheat at $304 and Barley at $257 last week. We are pretty much at our limit for forward sales for this coming harvest for wheat. So now we can sit back and watch what the market does. The pea price is starting to look attractive, but we can never forward contract too much, as it can potentially get hailed upon, as has happened the last 2 out of 3 years.

This year we are not happy with the way the soil compacted behind the seeder. We have a tow behind box that usually causes no problems, but this year in many of the paddocks we have area's like the picture above where the compaction is stopping the plant pushing  through. Now to work out whether or not we were sowing to deep or maybe its just time to bite the bullet and either buy a new seeder or have ours converted to a tow between box. Quite a few people we know who have this configuration actually put a video camera on the box so they can see if any of the hoses have blown off. This was out initial reason for getting the tow behind box so we could actually see the bung ups and hoses, again decisions...

The Kids and I have been having lots of fun the last few weeks on the farm. We have been planting tree's round the farm and eremophilas around our extended garden. I wish sometimes that we had it fenced so there actually was a cut off point between the garden and scrub. We actually have about 15 acres of yard and Garden so its a big area to keep the weeds under control in. We have an old cottage on the farm about 300m from the homestead which Ben's Mum and Dad and three siblings lived in for about 9 years when they were first married and starting their family. It was built in the fifties, so has lovely asbestos cladding. It has not been lived in now for over 6 years. We were quoted about $15,000 to remove it because of the asbestos, so we are contemplating whether to spend that money renovating it, or just demolishing it hmmmm... decisions

What was funny though was today I was putting out a knockdown around the cottage and came across this agave with the most amazing flower. I reckon this has only grown in the last two weeks. Here are a few images of what we have been up to for the last few weeks.

The best pets ever!!!Lilly Dallas and Ginger the chickens, they are also very useful, unlike some other animals that we have . When Ben was making Hugo's birthday cake, we had to keep sending the kids down to check for eggs as we were one short. luckily they came up with the goods in the nick of time.
We had a new friend over for dinner last Friday, Clancy the 8 month old red kangaroo.
He has been adopted by friends of ours Wade and Nicole Harris.

Our newest ebay purchase, this is going to go above the work bench in the new workshop when it is built. It was pulled out of a house in Hyde Park. Someones trash is someones treasure!!

My little man Hugo turned 3 last Sunday so we organised a pirate party down at his favourite spot, Tippera rocks sand dunes with a few of his buddies. We are so lucky to have such amazing beaches close to home, and again we managed to fluke a beautiful day. Of course being winter, no flies.

Anyway we are off to the local Apex fundraiser Ball this weekend down at Barley stacks winery  near Maitland, so time time to dust off the heels and Ben to get his kilt out woo hoo.