Skinning, Hacking, Fencing & Planting

This month our pigs on the home farm have added heaps of manure and stirred up the perennial pastures enough to now give that paddock a rest. We’ve got about 100 growers at any one time, so a month on a 5 acre paddock is plenty of time at this time of year to graze off the good bits and add a bit of poo. When we got back from our holiday (hallelujah!!!) it was amazing to see what even 10 days rest has done for the paddock they have just been moved from. When we left there was pretty much just lots of poo and stubbly grass. Now there is a blanket of mixed grass about 1 foot high which hasn’t even been irrigated. We’ve been lucky enough to strike up a relationship with Foodbank Victoria just recently where we pick up 2 bins of green waste from the Melbourne Wholesale Markets once a week and feed that to the pigs too. They’ve been munching on mangoes, zucchinis and leafy greens along with their normal ration of Barham avos and barley. We are going to compost any surplus that we feel might be too much for them to handle, along with the boxes they are packed in, poo and any used straw bales from housing. This will go back on the rested paddocks when it’s ready. Things have really dried off here in the past month but we still have a green pick luckily.

My kitchen/farm gate shop is one step closer… I now at least have a builder keen as mustard to hook in and a good little design from my clever sister. Built entirely from recycled materials the kitchen will be my spot to make small goods like hams, jamon, pancetta, capacolla and bacon eventually for retail and also to cook up farm food to hold seasonal feasts in the paddock. Every kitchen must have a garden, so the veggie garden is being expanded into our little orchard to cater for lots of tomatoes, herbs, corn, potatoes, carrots, squash, zucchini’s and leafy things. Our neighbour is a dairy farmer and composting king… So I’m hoping that with a little swapsie for some pork he can drop me off some compost to get me started. I’ve already got all my seedlings ready to go in, sourced from The Purple Pea and the Barham Primary School kids who have been madly planting tomato seeds. The moon calendar says the next 6 days are good for planting, so I’ll roll with that and get them all in before then.

This week also marked a milestone for us with the opening of Skinner and Hackett in Rathdowne Street. Jonathan Stobbs has created a little haven of fine meat purveying, stocking producers such as Hopkins River Beef, Warialda Belted Galloways, Moondarra Grass Fed Wagyu, Plains Paddock Lamb, PoonBoon Lamb, Greenvale Farm, Pacdon Park and US!! This is us in the fridge and Bruce carving up a Christmas Ham storm at the opening… Get in and check out Mr Skinner and Mr Hackett’s goods, they are top quality, ethically grown and diverse.

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