Tuesday, 2 June 2015

PDC Property Tour

We had our first PDC group visit last weekend. Of course, it did manage to rain half way through right where there was no cover......and when I say rain, I mean it was really coming down. Luckily Permies are a pretty tough lot and we kept on going, though some stops on the tour were a lot more abbreviated.

As the sun made an appearance yesterday, I thought I'd go out and take some photos and do a virtual tour........

First stop: Sheep yards/paddock. Our breeding sheep (3 ewes and a ram) spend most of their year on our neighbours property. This works well for us (more land to use) and our neighbour (grass is mown and a share of lamb). The sheep yard system is made from all recycled materials and allows us to be able to separate sheep, load them onto the trailer when we need to move them down to one of other paddocks, etc. We have the Dorper breed - they're a good meat breed and don't need shearing. You can read a bit more about them on the Sheep Station page.

Chicken Shed: All recycled materials, hand made by John using old construction methods, positioned to make best use of lighting and airflow during the seasons. Pear trees on this side of the shed have North facing aspect and the chickens do a good job of cleaning up any dropped fruit and (some) bugs. These fruit trees are some of the most productive on the property.

As this is a such an image heavy post, click the "keep reading" link to see the rest

Fire System: Gravity feed from tank at top of property to taps around the house/main shedding areas

Main Hay Shed: Positioned at highest point on the property so that all feeding out of hay is downhill from here - recycled materials except for one half of the roofing. Fire System tank. Post and Rail fencing made by hand using traditional methods. Shed and tank provide thermal mass for Olive and Advocado trees (behind the fence - still small).

Partial panorama of the property from the hay shed - on a clear day (which this wasn't) there are fantastic 180 degree views of the mountain ranges.

The Small Forest this block of bush is approximately 5 acres and due to the easy access location is a good source for our firewood. We see plenty of echidnas, wombats and the odd koala in this area. 12 years ago it was choked with blackberries which John has steadily managed and is now under control. 

This is the point where the rain really came down on the tour - not a lot of shelter under the gum trees!

Pig Yard - we usually grow out two pigs a year - this year we didn't as one of the sheep had triplets which meant far more meat than we would need for the freezer this year. It was a good opportunity to rest the paddock, add some extra organic matter and sow oats. A new set of pigs will be arriving in a few months to take advantage - they get a pretty good view, too! 

The Pig Shed -  construction on this one will hopefully be complete this Summer - using similar construction techniques to the Chicken shed but on a larger scale - this area is going to provide a hard surface to feed the pigs on, secure area for future farrowing and storage for feed and machinery.

Shed Foundations - the site of John's future shed

The Dairy -  we use a single milking machine to milk the cow - the total time outlay is about the same as hand milking, but actual standing time for the cow is about 5 minutes as opposed to 20-30 which suits both the Jersey and us - no being swatted in the face or "accidental" knocking over of the milk bucket. The closed system gives a cleaner end product, too.

Raspberries, Cherries (near the milking shed), Blueberries and Almonds (near the vegetable garden)

Vegetable Garden - provides approx 90% of our vegetable needs - we eat in season, which can be a bit limiting through Winter/early Spring, though we also preserve/store quite a bit of produce for future use.
Future Bee/Potager Garden site - though it's not very visually appealing now, this 21 x 7.5 metre site will soon have it's retaining wall replaced (see the wood stacked up waiting!) and plans have been finalised for the garden beds and planting scheme. Bed layout should be complete in the next month or so ready for planting in Spring.

Whew! Done! Hope you enjoyed the tour :)