Mojo is my scared boy.  He has been with me for around 10 years, and yep we still haven’t got it right!!  He knows I am a safe place; he just can’t get past his fear and come to me.  I had to use pressure to keep him out of the corners this afternoon.  He wasn’t really paying attention, just wanting to escape and get to the other horses.  After a while he was going around me quite nicely, a bit closer than I would want, although better than trying to get away.  He looked like he wanted to come in a couple of times, so I asked.  After a while he relaxed and I was able to walk parallel and ask him to come in, then I crossed his midline and he followed me.  I made a happy memory and realised he actually already has that with me.  He has shown that he is a real smoocher and when he allows himself, loves cuddles.  What a great day.  Life changing!

 

SESSION 2, DAY 2

This morning I spent half an hour with Mojo.  I was able to get him to listen and keep out of the corners.  We worked in the large paddock, completely at liberty.  He had plenty of room to move away from me and he utilised the entire space.  In a smaller area, Mojo is more keen to come in to safety, reminiscent of horsemanship training with ropes and a stick.  In the large space he is more empowered and also unlikely to come in, at all, even when I ask.  At the end of our time, I chose to go to Mojo.  He was happy with this, and I created a happy memory.  This is a horse I cannot catch in the paddock, so to be able to walk straight up to him, he being relaxed, is a great milestone!

I had my second session with Banjo this afternoon.  We both have a better idea of what’s what now.  He is good with following my direction.  I am scared to ask him to leave still, as I need to use a fair bit of energy and then he arks up.  Once he is out there I am fine.  Because of my reluctance he gets confused when I ask him to come in.  He definitely wants to.

He came at me twice during this session; he was going to try and pound me into the ground.  I did step back before I got really big and sent him back out.  I had no stick with me for this session.  I feel we made progress.

 

Session 3 : day 2

This morning our session was a short 10 minutes.  I was really reluctant to work with Banjo today, as I am still really scared of him.  I went out with the intention of keeping my energy low so that he would not get too big and dance at me.

It was impossible for me to get him to leave without raising my energy, and then he came at me.  I am thinking he wanted to play rather than kill me!  It is still scary and I am not sure how far he would take it.

I decided to get the sticks, only to extend my arms and to make me feel more confident – important when working with this horse.  This worked really well, and I was able to get him to do a full circle around me.  I wasn’t trying to get him to go way out, I just wanted one full circle, nicely around, listening and paying attention to me.  I then asked him to come in, but I think he is a bit confused as to what I want as I spend so much time keeping him away from me.  I was happy enough to go to him and create happy memories.  I am sure we will get there eventually.  I cut the session off at this point as I was happy with what was achieved!

I attended a clinic by Sylvia Zerbini organised by Paulette Evans of Ribbleton Warmbloods over the weekend.  I have attended many natural-type workshops and clinics; this was something quite different!  The techniques Sylvia showed us spoke to me like no other training technique has.  It was really very simple!

I have spent some time this morning working with my ‘difficult’ horse Banjo Mcgregor.  I am going to need a LOT of practice with my timing and cues, but the change in this horse is immediate.

He has a very high energy and won’t balk at stomping you into the ground if he wants.  This is very scary and daunting to me, so I did take a whip in with me, to have on the ground in case.  Sylvia uses no whips or aids at all, just her body language and a few verbal cues.

I had a little trouble getting Banjo’s attention at first as Mojo was running up and down the lane like crazy.  Banjo wanted to pay attention it was just impossible, so I had to move Mojo farther away.  It was simple to get Banjo to move out.  I was able to gain and mostly keep his attention, and he even followed my finger around just like Sylvia taught us!  I had a fair bit of trouble bringing him back in to me, as I have been very afraid of him.  The trick today was to lower his energy, with, “Gggoood boy.”  I found if I was too forceful in my asking him to move, his energy went up like crazy.  In the end I walked to him, and his face was so soft as I stroked his neck. WOW! This from a horse that would eat your face off!

I did become lost when he would turn to face me and I wanted him to keep going around.  I found I was walking too much to try and face his barrel.  Perhaps in these early days I should have asked him to come in.  He was not too sure I wanted him in with me as he is just learning (as am I).

I will give him a second session later today, even in the rain before I try my hand at my scaredy cat boy, Mojo.

It’s update time!

We have been downsizing the pig population on the farm with Prince, Penelope and Pitu all moving out.  It was a sad day when we farewelled these three.  You can see them here, when I introduced our herd to you.

Our goats, Violet and Rosa Lee, have also moved onto new pastures, while the addition of a new buck, Astro boy has occurred! :)

astro

Astro came from the Collingwood Children’s Farm, in Melbourne, where we sell our pork on a monthly basis.  He is an anglo nubian and just gorgeous.  Don’t you love his ears? :)  He is only about 6 months old, so won’t be working just yet.  I don’t actually have any does I need to service this year, since I lost my beautiful Opal, so he is just hanging out with the wethers Milo and Bellamy.

I mentioned kinesiology, well, let me tell you, it is fantastic for the animals!!  I have not told you that I am almost qualified in this modality.  Yep, that’s what I have been doing since my last post in 2012, studying my little heart out!!  I love it!  How is it good for our precious farm creatures?  Well, just on a basic level, I can work out what an animal might require.  Judith our goat had started to get a coppery look to her otherwise black coat.  Now, as a farmer, I know that this usually mean a copper deficiency, but to check I used some kinesiology techniques to determine she required copper PLUS Vitamin B!  Now I didn’t go into an entire balance (kinesiology session) with her, but this gave me a quick guideline as to how to adjust her feed ration.  Sure enough a couple of months later, her coat is perfectly black again! Amazing! :)  Another example, I had a couple of crook chooks.  I was able to ascertain that one needed worming and the other had an infection, so required anti-biotics.  Kinesiology does not diagnose, nor does it treat, but we can ask the body what it needs.  Now, of course, as a farmer I know that with chooks it’s usually either a worm burden or an infection, but this way I was able to pinpoint the exact requirements of the individual animal, and administer the minimum medication required, rather than blindly over-dosing.

That sounds very dramatic, doesn’t it?  Well, I believe it to be true! I discussed in an earlier post about my health issues, primarily with adrenal fatigue.  As a last resort I had begun the GAPS protocol, which, although did assist me to feel slightly better, did not resolve my issues.  In fact, I think GAPS exacerbated some of them.  The main issue with GAPS, for me, was that it caused me to restrict calories.  This is not the purpose of GAPS.  GAPS is designed to heal and seal the gut, and I believe it achieved this for me;  I suspect I was on this regime for too long.  Anyway, after years of restricting calories, not always by choice, I have a low appetite anyway, my metabolism has been damaged.

So back to kinesiology. What the heck is it?  Kinesiology is a natural health modality that can basically address any issue at all.  Any issue!!  Imagine your brain is a computer, and it send messages to the body.  The messages tell the body to run the programs, such as digesting food, lifting weights at the gym, running fast, hormonal responses etc.  Sometimes, these messages might become blocked, go haywire, or a fuse gets blown, so the message can’t get through.  In kinesiology we go in and find the blown fuse, blockage or bad wiring, and either replace the fuse, clear the blockage, or even, do some re-wiring.  Does that make sense?  Causes of blown fuses, and so on, are multitudinal; stress, trauma, injury, and more, can all create these issues.

Way back in March I set down this ‘Brick Cheese’.  It is traditionally made in a rectangular mould, although I did not have one, so mine is round! :)  This is a bacteria-ripened cheese, and is supposed to have a red mould growing over it.  Sadly mine failed to grow. :(  Despite this setback, this cheese is delicious.  It is nutty and a little salty and mildly sharp.  I will definitely make this again, despite it being a fiddly process due to the dipping and washing one must undertake! :P

 

 

It’s Winter here in the North-east, well and truly.  The Solstice came and went and took the sunshine with it!  Although the days are lengthening, it is also getting colder.  This is fabulous news, because we have something very special hanging in our shed! :)

For once, we managed to get our salami made on the June long weekend, which is a very traditional time for salamis to be made.  This means we will have a nice long curing time, unlike other years when things have been quite rushed!

We made 20kgs of salami.  Naturally we used our own home grown,  free range, heritage breed pork.  We used shoulder meat this year, but have used a combination of shoulder and leg meat in previous years.  This mix was approximately 7/8 meat to 1/8 additional fat.  We like to add 25g of salt per kilo of meat and fat, but others use less.  That’s basically it, but of  course one can add any manner of herbs, spices and condiments to the mix.  We kept it simple and added black pepper, plus 500g of capsicum sauce per 10kg, but the addition of wine, fennel, peppercorns has occurred in the past!

ImageCutting up the pork

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Mincing the pork

We add the salt, pepper and capsicum sauce and mix it in before adding the fat

Image

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Soaking the skins

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Stuffing the skins – we have used beef middles, plus a few hog skins for cabana

Imagetying the salami, ready for hanging

A string of cabana

Salami 2008 & 2009 vintage

Our vegie patch has gone through many incarnations.  I have spent a lot of time and energy feeding the soil with manure and mulch, while fighting weeds, and then I gave up.  Initially I used a chook dome to create the beds.  Then I decided to grow the vegies in raised rows, with deep mulch and manure between, in the trenches.  I dug the soil using a little rotary hoe I had purchased on ebay.  The weeds still overcame my efforts and the nutrients seemed to completely disappear from the soil, despite the vast quantities of goodies I was piling on!  Then my other jobs became so overwhelming, that I pretty much gave up on the idea of a vegetable garden that would supply all our vegetable requirements for a family of five.  It was so depressing not having many fresh vegies to pick, that we decided to try one more time.  This time we chose to follow the square foot gardening method.

Below is the space where our vegetable garden resides.  I originally used the chook dome, pictured, to create my gardens.  I followed Linda Woodrow’s mandala methods, but the chickens were unable to scratch deep enough to keep the couch-type grasses at bay, as they send runners quite deep under the soil.

In an attempt to reclaim the space we employed some of our pigs to clear the garden.  They are much better at digging deep to remove weeds.  We used our Kombi to house them, as it can be driven to any location on the farm, which is very handy!

We then decided to turn a portion of this space into a square foot garden to see if this method might work for us here at Baringa Park.  We used weed mat covered with pebbles between the beds.

This is at the start of Spring 2011.

Some of the more tender plants, such as tomatoes and capsicums required covers in case of frost.

Here is our Summer garden. 

The garden, now it is Autumn

There are 8 beds.  We will be tripling this number, once we have funds available, to expand the garden as we are very happy with the square foot method of gardening.  The Autumn garden is a transition garden where we still have the last of the Summer vegetables ripening, such as eggplant, capsicums and chilli.  We tend to grow leafy greens all year round such as lettuce, silverbeet and parsley.

This bed has a few remaining eggplants and a new planting of kale seedlings.

Here we have the last of the chillies ripening, and the capsicum, top left is a bed of carrots and top right a newly planted bed of broccoli and cabbage.  You can see the template in the broccoli bed, which determines how far apart to plant the seedlings.  This has been crucial for me as I am prone to over-crowding the beds.

A bed of greens with parsley and silverbeet.  The lettuce have all been harvested.

A major factor in this type of gardening, is that we must become proficient at producing good quality compost.    The beds are very shallow and the plants suck up all the nutrients provided.  To date I have failed compost-making 101, despite my best efforts.  I seem unable to get the correct ratios of carbon : nitrogen.  In the past I have simply piled up ingredients, and allowed the free-ranging worms to do their thing over time.  Now it has become important that we ‘get it right’!  The husband has made a new compost bin and we are working compost-making into our already very busy schedule! :)

This is haloumi, which I grilled in the pan.  I love haloumi.  It is a salty, firm cheese which can be grilled in this way and then added to salads and so on.  I made the haloumi a couple of months ago.  It keeps well in the brine, although can be a tad salty.  The trick is to use it as a condiment in salads and even on pizza, which I will be doing tonight.  Due to our dietary restrictions I will be making meatza, which is a GAPS  friendly version of pizza.  The capsicums are freshly picked from the garden and will also make a nice pizza topping :)

To make meatza :

Meatza base

I whizz about 1kg of mince in the food processor.  Any meat will do.  Tonight I am using beef, but I often use pork.  Add 2-4 eggs and a bit of salt and keep whizzing until sticky.  Spread the meat paste onto greased trays and bake in a very hot oven until the base has shrunk and looks cooked.  At this point I drain any juices off and pop back into the oven until well done as I like my base quite firm.

Toppings

Toppings can include whatever you like.  Slather on some tomato paste or sauce first and then throw on anything you happen to have! :)  I will be using our home-made salami, onions, olives, maybe some capers, capsicum and some of my home made cheese.  I like a combination of cheddar and feta.  I will slice up the haloumi and add that and as I haven’t any cheddar open, will use the Manchego I cracked the other day :)

Place it all on and either cook under the grill or put back in the oven until the cheese is nice and brown and melted.

Here is a photo of some meatza made previously.

I have so many birds.  From chooks, to turkeys and ducks and guinea fowl.  I really had no idea of numbers or breeds, as it has never seemed terribly important, so long as everyone looked healthy and happy.  We let our chickens out around 2pm each day, well after they would have laid their eggs for the day.  This way they lay in the nest boxes provided, rather than in obscure locations around the farm, which while it can be fun to go egg hunting, is not really useful for quick egg gathering!  One windy day I went to shut the pen that evening, only to find the gate  had already blown shut sometime during the day.  This meant that most of the chickens had not managed to return to their pen before dark, in order to be shut up safely from predators.  I spent the next hour trying to locate my chickens, in the dark, to return them to the safety of their pen.  Unfortunately, as I had no idea how many chickens I actually owned, it was impossible for me to ensure that I had found them all!  I counted 44 that evening, but today decided to do a check of all my birds, both in terms of number as well as breed.  Here is what I discovered.

Chickens

Hens/Pullets

6 Buff Cochin X

2 Speckled Sussex

1 Silkie

2 Bantam Xbreds

3 Rhode Island Red

4 Aracauna – black

1 Aracauna X Indian Game

3 Indian Game

3 Indian Game X Silver Grey Dorking

2 Silver Grey Dorking X Cochin

17 Silver Grey Dorking

1 Silver Laced Wyndotte

45

Roosters/Cockerels

3 Silver Grey Dorking

3 Brahma X

4 Rhode Island Red

2 crossbred

12

Ducks

9 Muscovies

11 Aylesburies

3 Indian Runner X

1 Khaki Campbell

1 Khaki Campbell X

25

Turkeys

2 hens and 2 Toms

4

Guinea Fowl

4 lavender

5 brown

9

That is a Grand Total of 95 birds.  I also have another setting of chicken eggs in the incubator, so this number will increase shortly.  Remember, we breed these birds for the table, as well as for their laying abilities, so numbers are constantly fluctuating.

Mostly Silver Grey Dorkings in this picture.  They are a rare breed and so great to breed, as the females are grey with a brown breast, while the males have a black breast and white feathers above ( see rooster back left).

Speckled Sussex are another rare breed, and so pretty.  I would like to source more of these :-)

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