Summer Seasonal Report
It's been a while. Time for a seasonal update.
What a wonderful year 2021 was on the farm. We recorded 1104mm, the wettest year, by far, in my life. The only wetter year on record in Bungendore was 1950, 1158mm.
We now enjoy more grass than we know what to do with. The tractor mulcher has been getting a work-out making tracks for the sheep, for temporary fencing and so we can go for a walk.
The main Millpost creek has only recently stopped flowing below the house. I can't remember it flowing continuously into February ever before.
The big season brings its own problems. We've taken dogs to the vet to extract grass seeds. Checking the sheep for fly-strike is a regular chore. Blackberries are taking off.
In the longer term, when everything dries off we will have a fuel load to deal with. This is going to be a farm, district, regional, probably state wide issue next summer once La Nina has gone and the temperatures soar.
This summer has been delightfully cool. We've only had a couple of days over 30 degrees, extraordinary when you consider two years ago we had weeks at a time when the maximum temperature was over 30.
The cool summer has been good for most of the vegetables. Bak in November we harvested a great garlic crop, despite the wet season. Since then we have enjoyed great peas, carrots, potatoes, onions, climbing beans and zucchinis. No tomatoes yet, but they are looking good.
We recently sold some wool. None of it was quite right to send to New Zealand for yarn. However it was much sought after in the market place. Its non-mulesed status prompted a bidding war. Most of the better lines were either best or second best price on the day for their micron category. Our agent said these lines are Italy bound.
Tim Booth, who I have known since the 1970s, and who taught Harry and Roy science at Queanbeyan High, brought his native grass seed harvesting machine to Millpost in January. We now have many woolpacks full of and tarpaulins covered in Kangaroo Grass (Themeda australis) seed. Tim has been selling this seed for rehabilitation sowings.
This year it was a joint venture with Tim. In the future, we might consider buying our own machine and adding seed harvesting to our enterprise.
Judith has had success this summer breeding pure-bred light sussex chickens. Our flock has more than doubled in size and currently enjoys a high-fenced old market garden plot which had become overgrown.
We also have a new Dexter bull to get the milkers in calf. It was quite an adventure picking him upon our ute on the southern highlands. He is very small, so fingers crossed there will be no calving difficulties.
The new glasshouse is approaching completion. The back wall is made of cob, clay (excavated from a dam years ago)mixed with sand and straw. We have been building the wall up layer by layer or six months or more and aim to have it finished before first frosts in autumn. It will be a beautiful new space to work in winter.
Greg Welch who was born and raised on the family farm, brought his bulldozer here recently for some work. He built a little dam, repaired a dam overflow, carried out some erosion control woks and did lots of ripping. The latter is for a revegetation project partly funded by Local Land Services to encourage woodland birds and partly by Greening Australia to attract endangered Glossy-Black Cockatoo. I have ordered the native trees trees and shrubs for an August planting. In the meantime, we have to build a fence to exclude the sheep. We also have to rebuild fences which were taken down to allow loggers into our Pinus radiata plantations. Plenty of work in front of us, a shame Harry just broke is collarbone...
I am making slow progress writing a Millpost history, just completed an introduction and Aboriginal history chapter. I aim to have it published for the centenary of Millpost in the family in 2023.