Araucaria's habitat.

Discussion in 'Members' Systems' started by Curramore1, Dec 7, 2011.

  1. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    What is mulch planting exactly? Does that mean you lay down mulch and scatter seed on top?
    How nice that a bower bird has chosen you as worthy of visiting!
    Why is meat so expensive at the consumer end still? - someone is making a ship-load of money in the chain somewhere! Can you shortcut the supply chain and sell direct to consumer, or direct to local butcher - or is that too challenging? You'd at least be able to command a fair price.
     
  2. treetopsdreaming

    treetopsdreaming Junior Member

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    Hi Curramore1. I finally had a chance to read through your thread. :) Thanks for sharing your photos and your stories - they were great!

    Sorry to hear about how difficult things are for you right now. I'm not familiar with the scale of farming that you do (or the issues that you face), so it was really interesting to hear your perspective...

    I really like this passage from The One Straw Revolution (Masanobu Fukuoka, page 113):

    "So for the farmer in his work: serve nature and all is well. Farming used to be sacred work. When humanity fell away from this ideal, modern commercial agriculture rose. When the farmer began to grow crops to make money, he forgot the real principles of agriculture.

    Of course, the merchant has a role to play in society, but glorification of merchant activities tends to draw people away from a recognition of the true source of life. Farming, as an occupation which is within nature, lies close to this source."

    I often think that anyone trying to live off the land in today's world must be crazy! (Thank goodness for all the crazy people that do this sacred work [​IMG]).

    On a different note, I didn't realise that QLD fruit fly could attack citrus (I thought the skin was too thick). We've had serious issues with this pest in previous years (but, only on thin skinned fruit). Now, I'm worried (as we're expecting our first crop of citrus on several new trees this year)... Our pumpkins also didn't do anything this season (glad to know we're not alone). Thank goodness for the humble choko (and tamarillo, which also does well for us at this time of year).

    Hope things get better soon...
     
  3. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Hi eco,
    hope that you and your place are weathering well.
    In reply to your question regarding mulch planting- when the summer growing grasses and herbage slow in growth as the day length shortens and the temperature drops and we have these April showers we just broadcast the seeds of winter active legumes and some temperate annual grasses onto the ground and mow or slash the grass as short as is possible to provide a wet mulch over the seeds, they germinate and roots establish and about 6 weeks later can be grazed or cut. A useful method to allow legumes and temperate grasses to be grown through the winter and spring when the summer active plants are dormant. When the sunny, warm weather returns in October, the underlying dormant summer active grasses and herbage take over again until the next autumn. This method of planting does not dsiturb the soil and open it up for erosion. Every few years we aerate the soil along the contours with a yeoman's plough and dribble the seed down the back of the tynes and then mulch the padddock afterwards. The seeds are planted at about 1-2 kg/Ha of legume seed eg. clover and 10-15 kg/Ha of temperate grass seeds like a ryegrass or rust resistant oats. Usually at planting I lime coat and inoculate the legume seeds before spreading. The legumes that we plant persist and spread to fix nitrogen in the soil and are perrennial and also spread vegetatively. The seed of Shaw creeping vigna when available is about $70/kg, but will spread over 4-5 years to the surrounding 5-10 Ha if lightly grazed.
    Bower bird may just be young, naive or has plain bad taste, but a welcome resident.
    We used to sell to the animal direct to the consumer and deliver to our local abattoir to be slaughtered, then delivered to a local country butcher to be cut up to the wishes of the consumer. At the peak we were providing about 1000 kg a week ( 6 or so 180 kg carcasses) of no chemical, grass fed yearling beef at $7.00 a kg to the consumer, $4.00 for me for the beast and transport costs (Currently receive $3.00/kg from abattoir)and $3.00 for the abattoir and butcher. The animals were slaughtered on a Wednesday, trucked to the butcher and ready from the butcher the following Friday week to allow for meat aging, sausage curing and corning and individual packaging, labelling and cryovaccing processes. The only drawback for the average bear is that you had to buy a minimum of a side of the beast each time. The local family abattoir we were using closed as the workers all went to mining jobs, then the local butcher closed due to no closer killing facility within at least 100 km. Transport costs are too high and animal welfare issues arise when transporting fat beasts any distance and meat quality also suffers. The People's or really the State Government owned abattoirs were sold off to private enterprise, ours was eventually bought by Australia's biggest beef producing competitor JBS Swifts, a Brazilian based company at Dinmore in Brisbane. We still kill and process our own at home here, but only 2 or 3 times a year as required. Sometimes when a beast breaks a leg or similar we might kill and butcher it and make a couple of hundred kilos of snags and mince which you soon tire of after a couple of months. Probably a more sensible option is to alter the land use as we are really only keeping the real estate pretty and green to maintain it's future lifestyle appeal in this area for wealthy superannuated retirees after a tree change. We steadily increase the timber tree plantings each year in marginal areas and have returned much of the riparian zones to a better state and the less stable areas planted with tree legumes and deeper rooted acacias and edible shrubs and only grazed as a protein suppement and good westerly wind shelter in late winter. A lot of new arrivals are trying to create a boutique market with grain fed wagyu etc, but the profits are slim if at all and most fall by the wayside after a couple of years of selling their own beef. There are many health regulation hurdles to avoid along the way to be able to legally sell a guaranteed hygenic, meat inspected, foodsafe and tasty product.
     
  4. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Thanks for your kind thoughts and quotations Treetops clan.
    Things are not really difficult, it just requires adaptation which requires extra thought and energies. We also probably might know what we should change, and how to change them, but procrastinate and react more slowly than we should. Many organisational and enterprise changes have a long shut down and start up phase in Agriculture, often taking several years in which cash flow and capital must be maintained and meticulously planned. If you go to a bank for a loan, a million dollar crop in the field or 10000 head of cattle are not an asset until they are harvested, processed, sold and paid for, yet an acre of water front land or a million dollar house are considered an asset to be mortgaged against with no effort.
    In Australia Agricultural GNP is dwarfed by the resource sector and the manufacturing sector, only 5% or so of our population are employed directly by Agriculture. Jobs mean income and votes and being able to live and work near a large population centre is important to Australia, the most urbanised nation in the world.
    I hope that we can move to a more "locovorian" society in the future with lower food miles and lesser energy inputs, but the way in which our country functions at present, particularly in the 'burbs and cities will have to be modified to be able to do this effectively. How to reverse the trend of increasing processed, preserved and fresh food imports and return to local production and consumption of fresh local seasonal foods?
     
  5. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Ahhh so that's how you regenerate a large paddock easily.

    I bought beef eye fillet today - $40 a kg. :( I only got a tiny bit. When the mines go bust (they will eventually....) hopefully someone will still remember how to run an abattoir. I must investigate further to see whether there is someone killing and selling direct to the market close to me. I'm away at present so my meat came from Coles (yeah I know.... really sad....) but when I'm home I buy from the nice husband and wife team at the farmers market. I'm not sure how long the supply chain is - I think they are simply acting as the butcher and selling meat that has been processed along the traditional lines. It would be nice if there was someone who was actually the farmer selling it.

    BTW I think it is called protracted observation not procrastination!
     
  6. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Confession time again so that I don't feel so isolated in the brain department.
    Spring is early here with Jasmine flowering all over the place, the red cedars are pink with new foliage, The native daphne in the bush all around is sending the bees wild. The citrus are in bud with the last fruits still sweet. King orchids are in bud burst, the wind has been a warm, dry NW for the past 2 days. Time to burn firebreaks and tune up the fire fighting gear. Filled 10000 gallons in spare tanks of water for fires just in case as well. Calves arriving 10-15 a day now, lambing nearly finished so will vaccinate with glanvac 6 in 1 and mark next week. Spelled mountain pastures since April will be opened up to cows and calves to be mustered again in late summer. Just about finished the replacement steel yards on the home block, I try to sneak in 2-3 hours between jobs each day. After 3 long months of work they will be finito. Marked out tree plant thinnings to be felled next week for replacement fences, 250 posts to cut Monday to Wednesday, drive in posts Thursday and Friday, run wires and strain Saturday. I find that if I do 1 km a year replacement then I keep on top of the old fences. Some in the town farm were originally put in about 100 years ago by my Grandad and the hand split White beech posts have lasted that long. A shame to put in a new fence sometimes. Fenced off another riparian zone this week, will put a cool fire through the upper parts on the Eucalypt fringe to germinate new seed and reduce competition by grasses. Last year's fire planted seedlings are as 2 metres high and as thick as hairs on a dog's back and limb pruning and thinning in the rest will have to be finished by the end of September. Sorting out pumpkin seeds for planting in ash piles now. Last year's gave us 10 -15 tonnes of pumpkins, but between the feral pigs, the neighbour's bloody dexter and senepol cross fence crawlers that I promise that I won't shoot next time they appear, and the wild red deer, I only harvested a couple of tonnes for winter feed. Wild pigs invading again as the season dries off, shot 5 last week no more seen since. Lovely to see light at 6 am now and getting in 11 hours work till the sun goes away again. Too soon it will be 4.30 arise, 11-3 siesta and work till 6.00, light till 8.00 pm and then bed. Globe artichokes growing as though on steroids, Turmerics and gingers all planted out, Pepinos fruiting all over the place, fennel bulbs full and delicious, asparagus giving us 10-15 shoots a day now, chokos shot, mulberry flowering, cherry guava crop 1 a few weeks away, macadamias flowering,
    Parsley in overdrive. Stone-fruit in leaf with early set fruit, chestnuts and Oaks still dormant, carobs in full new leaf. Wild ducks pairing up and nest selecting, black faced cuckoo shrikes have returned, the first channel billed cuckoo arrived today, a genuine harbinger of spring.
    Life continues......
     
  7. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    It's good to be alive isn't it? I can't get globe artichokes to grow at my place. Your extra height above sea level must be what makes the difference. And you have reminded me that I must go and investigate the pepino to see if it has fruit...
     
  8. treetopsdreaming

    treetopsdreaming Junior Member

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    Hi again, Curramore1. Thanks for updating your thread. I always find your updates so insightful and interesting! They make me take a closer look at what's happening around me... I believe you mentioned (in a different thread providing advice to a new landholder) that you feed your cattle lemons? If so, can you explain this aspect of your feeding regime a bit further (when you have time). Thanks :)
     
  9. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Nothing extraordinaire I'm afraid. Just too many lemons at once after making lemoncillo, lemon curd, lemon cordial etc, Squash them, so the cows don't choke and feed all you like. A good energy supplement in late winter, early spring. Cheers, Steve.
     
  10. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Citrus all flowering like mad, red mulberries all in leaf and young fruit, gingers and turmeric corms all in beginning to quicken, English Oaks in bud, European chestnuts in early leaf, Carob in full leaf, Wampi Teem Pay flowering for the first time 5 years after planting, Spring is here!
     
  11. juhill

    juhill Junior Member

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    Sounding good :clap:
    I have lost all the stone fruit, mulberry fruit and peas I was saving for seed..... bloody late frost, everything thought it was Spring an now all gone.
     
  12. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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  13. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Spring equinox has been and gone-days getting longer and nights shorter. Avocadoes, citrus, lychee, wampi, ice-cream bean, grumichama, jaboticaba, tallowoods, tamarinds and everything else in bloomin bloom. Harvesting pepinos, cassava roots, avocado, asparagus, the last of the Valencia oranges, the first bananas, choko tendrils, nasturtium flowers and fruit, the last macadamias, cherry guava, black mulberry, globe artichokes. Planted out more turmeric, arrowroot, two different types, taro roots, cassava roots, summer salad greens, yacon, jicama seed, radishes, lettuce seedlings, a few new stonefruit trees, an olive, and a couple of female carobs, two more pecans along the creek, a new Hass avocado to shade a rainwater tank, some silky oaks, crow's ash and persimmons to shade the new cattle yards, another 20 coffee plants as a hedge along the edge of the vege garden. Harvested 110 kg green bean last week, fermented and dried the seed, turned into only 25 kg dry bean. So I will have 15 odd kg to share later on. Slaughtered and butchered a prime yearling steer dressed 220 kg, even the topside is tender and tasty, hung him for 3 weeks in my cold room at 2 degrees C. 20 kg lean mince and 30 kg sausages made with plenty of thyme, garlic, rosemary and pepper added. The tastiest were of course those made towards the end of the bottle of rum. Ready for the onslaught of returning Uni children/adults and school leavers and their mates over the BBQ weather. Amazing how soon they can all eat 5 kg of fresh beef and 10 kg of steamed veges washed down with 5 litres of milk in a sitting after a term of insipid Uni refectory food. Toward the end of term I get sneaky emails questioning whether the fatted calf is yet in the freezer, and did I make any of my secret recipe sausages and any corned beef. Just have to remember to only buy old school beer they won't like!
    Sheep numbers have exploded with 180% lambing this year. So if anybody wants one or 50 Dorset/Dormer/Dorper lambs you know who to call. I also have about 100 kg left over spinning wool ( coloured) which will be composted by mid October if nobody claims it.
    30 mm rain a fortnight ago has greened the edges, more soon would be nice.
    Mopoke calling outside now and a Koel (stormbird) was calling up storms at smoko. Black cockies reearrking around this evening as well. Storm season is about to arrive.
     
  14. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Hello Eco,
    globe artichokes will grow anywhere spear thistles will. I mound mine up and plant 30 cm above ground level and companion with horse radish which only sprouts in late spring and grows through the summer. Chokes are cut from late September to late February, steamed in salty water, then quartered and put in jars with olive oil including a chilli, peppercorns, roasted capsicum, nasturtium fruits and a few black olives. Great for antipasto with a loaf of crusty fresh baked bread on a summer evening to accompany a crisp chardy or a creamy Guiness. These were planted 5 years ago and are suckers of old plants or from chokes left to flower and seed. Just a big clump 4 m by 3 m that I keep in line by mowing the perimeter a couple of times a year. They thrive on being left alone.
     
  15. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Well there's my problem - we don't get thistles around here. One day I'll have to have a garden in a cooler spot so I can finally get to grow them.

    Is there no market for your wool with a local spinners craft group? Seems a pity not to make garments with it. I was going to say use it - but compost is a use I guess.
     
  16. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    I feel like moving somewhere warmer so I can grow all those exotic tropical fruits that I can only dribble about when I read what you lot get up to!
    I think I'd much rather have them than boring old artichokes.....just look at that list!!!
    I'm suffering from a serious case of envy.
     
  17. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    It's always the way - we always want what we can't have!
     
  18. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Don't worry Mischief, I had to like most of us progress from a pretty dusty beginning and travel through many progressive and regressive stages to end up here. Dream and plan and act, then do it all over again, and again...... Cheers.
     
  19. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Hi Mischief and Eco,
    Just Dream and plan and act, then do it all over again until you get where you think you want to be. I pictured where I live now as a small child about 10 years old. The trees I planted back then are now monsters. My first mud brick house has long been a ruin. I am just lucky enough to have been able to have a great partner for the last 30 years who has shared this dream with me and children, friends and a large family which accept my eccentricity and doggedness. It is easy to say that you want for nothing, but a bit more cash always comes in handy.
    Planted out rhubarb crowns, squash seedlings, rosella seedlings, snake beans, corn, pumpkin seeds and cucumbers in random spots in the orchard where the chook tractor has been over the winter months. The Amarillo peanut has returned after winter dormancy in the orchard. I thought it was gone but the warmer weather has seen it's return. Planted some stem segments of the cassava for next season's roots. The yacon tubers have shot and emerged, the taro has got a couple of leaves, jeruselum artichokes have shot also. Still harvesting asparagus. The jaboticaba is flowering for the first time after 5 years since planting. The King parrots have brought me their new babies to raid my bananas. I always leave them a few bunches uncovered. Still having a few incursions of wild pigs down the back in the areas where Pinto peanut and chicory was sown, dozens of piglets in evidence too. At least they help me cultivate some areas if there is to be a bright side. Grass getting browner and trees dropping a few leaves as we wait for some more spring storms.
     
  20. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    I agree with your attitude. One of the things I run into with trying to get other people to keep on with their vege gardens, is they get a less than expected crop for what ever reason and decide that its too hard or they arent any good at it and give up.
    What we dont realise, is that because most of us havent grown up learning at the heels of our parents and grandparents,. we have lost or more likely never got to learn intuitiveness with regards to our gardens. Now we get that by as you say, try and try again

    I notice you have pinto peanuts. I tried to grow them but must have done something wrong- probably not watered them enough.

    How do you go about growing yours?
    What sort of yields do you get from say, a 3 metre row?
     

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