Wednesday, 29 February 2012

I ♥ Wednesday

I ♥ bubble wrap, cardboard and a straw for an hour of rainy day fun





Friday, 24 February 2012

Guinea fowl

We have four guinea fowl keets. They were about a week old and were tiny, extremely cute and amazingly fast when we got them. They are not like any other type of poultry that I have ever dealt with before. They seemed to be very afraid of us and almost seemed to hate us. They are extremely skittish and flighty. From what I have been told this does not change as they grow up, they are meant to never be truly tame. When they are older we plan to free range them and let them eat insects and grass seeds, we will only feed them so that we can put them away safely at night.

Guinea fowl are meant to have an innate dislike of snakes, foxes and other intruders. They are supposed to scream at any intruder, and have even been known to attack and kill snakes. It is difficult to know when there is anything around that should not be here, so the guinea fowl should help alert us when things are not right. To me they sound like the perfect watch dog. They will be cheap to feed, should let us know when things or people are around, and should also lay tasty eggs if any are females.

As they have grown I have noticed that they still do not particularly like us even though they will eat from my hand. I handle them often to try and tame them and I weigh them once a week out of curiosity. They are still very fast and I am scared to let them out of the cage in fear that I will never see them again. When they are older I plan to let them share a house with the chickens, hopefully they will be happy with the arrangement when the time comes.

If anything different is put on or near the cage they scream until it is removed, this gives me hope that when they are older they will let us know when there are intruders around. They have also always had a fear of thunder, even if they can hear thunder in the distance it makes them cry. Sometimes I know that there is a storm coming because they carry on, I assume that they can hear the thunder from far away long before I can hear it. These are truly fascinating birds.



When they mature they change colour from the brown that they are now to grey with amazing white spots on each feather. Now that they are a little older you can start to see this adult colour coming in. This is meant to be the most common colour of guinea fowl but I think it is the most beautiful colour.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

I ♥ Wednesday

Today I ♥ sleeping children, even if it is on the floor. I have managed to get the two youngest down to sleep at the same time. Woohooooooo!!!!!!!!



Friday, 17 February 2012

Fruit Fly



When we moved here we have no idea how incredibly infested this farm infact the whole town is with fruit fly. The numbers here are unbelievable. It is heart breaking throwing out more than half the fruit due to infestation. I hate it, I really really hate it. We moved in during peak fruit and therefore peak fruit fly season. It was too late to do anything so it all went to the bin.

This year we knew we have to do something. Having a handful of different types of trees makes commercial sprays tricky as different trees need different poison. We are also not particularly keen on using those chemicals on our farm. The alternative, organic sprays, baits, traps and bags. We researched, we read, we discussed and came up with our action plan.

Eco-Naturelure
This needs to be applied weekly, and reapplied again if it rains. It attracts both male and female fruit flies and poisons them. It is sprayed on the trunks of the trees. We instead decided to sray it into cups hanging in the trees so rain would not wash it away and apply twice a week.



Verdict: Trees with two cups hanging were completely lost to the fruit fly every single fruit gone. Are these cups the cause? are they attracting the fly to the tree but not to the cup? Is the poison too dry to kill them instead the just act as a lure? Next year I plan on putting some disks of felt into the cups so the lure can be soaked in and dried out slower.

Fruit Fly traps
These are designed to attract the males and kill them in trap. It is suppose to help give and indication of how infested you are with fruit fly.



Verdict: Very very few flies in these traps but very large numbers of fly maggots in the fruit. Are they worth the money I do not know.

Exlcusion Bags
Place them over the fruit tie them off and keep the nasty little critters out.



Verdict: They work wonderfully. The fruit is free from the fruit fly maggots. Keeps most of the fruit safe from birds and fruit bats.

But can I bag an entire Quince tree? Can I bag our entire 200+ tree orchard. Likely not



Chooks and Ducks
Fruit fly pupates in the soil, once they hatch it takes 24hrs for their wings to be dry enough to fly. Having chooks and ducks free ranging under the trees should mean a significant amount of fruit fly eaten.

Verdict: We have a couple of acres for them to roam, 200+ trees and not enough poultry to make a great deal of impact. We are sure they helped to what degree is particularly hard to assess.

Where to from here? Have a bit of a cry, a little more of a cry then try and come up with a new plan. Do we use commercial sprays next year? Maybe. Will the fly just be blown in from elsewhere? Most likely. Will we ever beat the fruit fly?

Do we pack up and move? Yes. But we cannot, we cannot afford to move only 12months after moving in and Damo having not had a full time job for almost 3 years. This move has turned out to be one giant massive expensive mistake for many many reasons, the fruit fly being just one. For now we must knuckle down, bear with it, and turn this farm into the most productive farm we can, try and make improvements where we can so when we sell the place will sell quickly.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Mastitis

Mastitis is crap, it is a horrible horrible terrible infliction. It is caused by a blocked milk duct. The milk banking up behind this block is forced into the breast tissue causes inflamation. This then can very easily create infection. Horrible fevers, and complete body aches and shaking.

What you do not need whilst feeling like this is an utterly inept doctor. I was starting to feel bad so begged the medical centre for an appointment that day. Knowing I needed to feed Immali every time she wanted it to help clear the block I took her with me. Within two minutes of the doctors I am told to please next time bring a pram rather than wearing her in a sling. Why the red alert sirens did not ring in my ears screaming at me to walk back out I do not know.

I have never had such an awkward breast examination before. I cannot describe what was odd but it was odd. Then she doesn't know what to prescribe to me. Is unsure whether it is safe when breastfeeding so asks me to express and put Immali on formula. My answer was a flat out NO. I need my little girl to feed and feed like a trooper to make her mummy better.

I accepted the script, filled it at the chemist who assured me it was fine with breastfeeding. But I never took it. I just fed lots, drank lots of water, garlic pills and rested. Thankfully I think I skipped the infection. Being a friday it was great to have the antibiotics on hand over the weekend had things turned poorly.

My Dr count for this town is 4 with 4 crossed off my list. I am quick running out of GP options.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

I ♥ Wednesday

I ♥ Nanuq even if he does want to lap the water like a puppy when we go swimming.