It's been an interesting summer, one that is forcing me to think about the plans for Lantanaland and how I manage the land. As I sit here and listen to the squalls pass through and drop their precious load over the farm, I can almost hear the soil let out a huge sigh of relief. It's been dry, very dry. Yet only two years ago we were all shovelling mud after some of the worst flooding to hit SEQLD. Australia hey!
The biggest costs have been water and feed. We had to buy three lots of water this season. The most we have ever bought before is one. Normally by now I'd be mowing the house lawn every week. The mower hasn't been touched in over a month. Half the grass seed we planted hasn't even sprouted and the rest is struggling. Laf has been let out on to the neighbours better pasture. All these costs have a flow on effect. I really wanted to get a digital fault finder this year so I could find and fix the breaks in the electric fence. If Laf gets out she will find and eat the whole barrel of pollard or the bales of hay. But the money for that have gone to water and feed. And this is running a hobby farm on a tiny scale, imagine the scale of those decisions on a real farm. A dry year might mean you can't buy a machine that makes you more efficient and makes you more money.
The one thing I have finally worked out is my chook runs. Originally I just put up the mesh fences thinking the cows would see them as a barrier. If they have tasty chook grain or soft juicy arrowroot they don't see them at all. So a period of trial and error has ensured as I test ways I can keep them out. Now I have electric down one side and bamboo rails along the top, bolted into star pickets on the other side. Along with my new gate and some bamboo protection for the plants on the inside I am confident to start planting again.
It is the perfect time to get a few things in while the rain falls and with Laf the destroyer out in the neighbours paddock I put in a lime, some rhubarb,, snow peas, wormwood and purple asparagus. I also planted cucumber, corn, rocket and beans from seed. It is day two of this constant rain, while I hope that no one suffers flood damage, this is perfect rain, constant and not too heavy. The type of rain that soaks in and fills up my nice clay soil like a huge storage tank. Lantanaland might finally start growing some grass.
I'm interested in seeing what the rain does to the fruit trees. I reckon that tank watering doesn't have the same effect as good rain. I've nursed them through the dry, so hopefully they will establish themselves a bit more now the wet season has arrived. I'd already side dressed them with some muck from the bales so now they should thrive. The cow bales with their bamboo and tarp shelter have not fared well in the strong winds, one of the bamboo struts snapped under the strain.
It really is time to redo the bales properly, do a bit of a more secure milking shed. Something a bit more solid with a nice raised floor and a proper roof. Be good to store all the feed out of the weather where the cows couldn't raid it as well. Another job on the long long list. Not for today though. Today I'm going to sit and listen to the rain, soaking in to ground, making the grass grow, filling the dam, bringing life back to Lantanaland.