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Our new hobby farm(let) lifestyle property ?

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Alec Loftus
Lord Alec of Lancashire
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« Reply #15 on: July 04, 2013, 08:02:20 am »

Thanks for the comments guys Smiley

I think you might be right Eddy, not to big, not to small just about the right size Smiley

Just got back from a quick trip down to the farm with a furniture trailer full of stuff to make life a bit easier when we are there.

Unfortunately, had no time to do anything, except still trying to get a landline connected and internet won't be connected until the 16th July...

I didn't think our gravel road was that bad, a few potholes and corrugations, but the Council had a road grader out yesterday re-cutting the drainage channels and grading the road.

Looked into the price of a TPL wood chipper/mulcher Hermit, although not sure of their usefulness.

Dotted about the olive trees are piles of wood chips, obviously from previous pruning of the olive trees. These look to be several years old and don't look to have broken down to any degree ?

Below is a pic of a granite outcrop, which also appear dotted around the property, some in not the best places... like on the boundary fence where I would put in a firebreak and in the middle of the driveway.

On the left of the rock is a pile of wood chips which would be several years old.



I think we may burn all the branches and either use the wood ash as fertiliser on the vegie gardens, or, I found a method of treating olives with wood ash paste instead of cuastic soda as the commercial processors use...

The leaf litter we have decided to compost and will add that to the soil to try and improve it.

Wandering through the olive trees we have found a few oddities. Looks like previous owners have tried other fruit trees. Below is a locquat tree, these used to be common in peoples gardens. I have not been able to eat them since I sat in one gorging myself until I was sick as a 10 year old in the mid 1960's...



For people not familiar with locquats, here is a wikipedia link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loquat

Out the side of the house is a covered orchard which has a pomegranite, fig and cherry trees that we can identify at this stage. If we go for 3 or more days then we take the "girls" Smiley  they don't seem to mind the 250km trip there and back - still lay eggs so can't be too stressed...



Under the mandarin tree is a plastic bird bath, usually it is just the wrens and robins having a bath on a sunny day. yesterday a magpie decided to have a drink...





In the "front garden" with the mandarin there is also a lemon tree - so maybe FS-UK Limited Edition Chunky Marmalade might be made available... pickup only no shipping Grin



Lemon and maderin trees are great, currently robbing the next door neighbours madirin tree for fruit. So far we have got 3 bin liners and 4 decent size eskis of them off it. Not bad for a tree that doesn't get any attention at all. We also have a lemon and lime tree in the garden, great for Gin and Tonics or Corneas. 
Me borrowing fruit from the next door neighbours tree.
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sandgroper
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« Reply #16 on: July 04, 2013, 08:25:02 am »

Always good fun eating fruit someone else has grown Smiley

Mulberry trees were always good value - if they grow where you live.

We have a weeping variety in the backyard that provided so much fruit we had trouble eating it all.

We have all ready planted an almond and a pear on the farm and would have mulberry trees as well but the local nursery's are having trouble sourcing them ?? should be able to buy some here in the city and take them down to the farm...

Only problem with citrus is they are heavy feeders and need fertilising 4 times a year, orange/mandarin/tangerine/tangelo etc will end up sour if not fed regularly.


Lemon and maderin trees are great, currently robbing the next door neighbours madirin tree for fruit. So far we have got 3 bin liners and 4 decent size eskis of them off it. Not bad for a tree that doesn't get any attention at all. We also have a lemon and lime tree in the garden, great for Gin and Tonics or Corneas. 
 Me borrowing fruit from the next door neighbours tree.
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parockin
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« Reply #17 on: July 04, 2013, 08:32:29 am »

Interesting retirement plan, ill be following this! And that FS-UK Olive Oil seems like a interesting idea Cheesy
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Alec Loftus
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« Reply #18 on: July 04, 2013, 08:35:37 am »

Always good fun eating fruit someone else has grown Smiley

Mulberry trees were always good value - if they grow where you live.

We have a weeping variety in the backyard that provided so much fruit we had trouble eating it all.

We have all ready planted an almond and a pear on the farm and would have mulberry trees as well but the local nursery's are having trouble sourcing them ?? should be able to buy some here in the city and take them down to the farm...

Only problem with citrus is they are heavy feeders and need fertilising 4 times a year, orange/mandarin/tangerine/tangelo etc will end up sour if not fed regularly.


Always good fun eating fruit someone else has grown Smiley

Mulberry trees were always good value - if they grow where you live.

We have a weeping variety in the backyard that provided so much fruit we had trouble eating it all.

We have all ready planted an almond and a pear on the farm and would have mulberry trees as well but the local nursery's are having trouble sourcing them ?? should be able to buy some here in the city and take them down to the farm...

Only problem with citrus is they are heavy feeders and need fertilising 4 times a year, orange/mandarin/tangerine/tangelo etc will end up sour if not fed regularly.


Yeah, so when can I come and collect some Marmalade and Olive Oil?. This tree never gets any attention at all just left to its own devices with the odd bit of round-up drift from the AG Pilots. Not sure if mulberries grow here as it can burn trees off it not looked after.
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sandgroper
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« Reply #19 on: July 04, 2013, 08:48:25 am »

No problem guys Smiley  

Next time you come over Alec stop in on the west coast and we can put you up at the farm for a holiday Smiley

Should have some Olive Oil, eating olives, chunky marmalade and free range eggs ready - you can even have  grapefruit for breakfast  Grin

Mulberry's don't keep, you will likely never see them for sale in a shop, you have to pick and eat them straight away, so summer is the time for them.
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sandgroper
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« Reply #20 on: July 11, 2013, 07:07:31 am »

Scored 2 bulki-boxes free from work, so did an overnight trip down to the farm to drop them off.

Officially they are known as IBC's or Intermediate Bulk Containers... but I have always heard them referred to as bulki boxes ?

One will be used on the fire-fighting trailer, not sure about the other one, but as they cost between $80-$100 did not refuse the offer of two Smiley



We have had a bit of rain recently but the bottom dam level seems to have gone backwards ? either precipitation or it leaks Huh may have to buy a drum of dam sealer and see if that improves things...


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Farma Zelenih Maslina
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« Reply #21 on: July 16, 2013, 05:15:11 pm »

any more amazing updates? Smiley
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sandgroper
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« Reply #22 on: August 30, 2013, 01:10:55 pm »

This month has been busy moving stuff down to the farm to make life a bit easier when we are there...

Finally have a landline after much hassles dealing with two company's to make it happen and the satellite dish for internet was (again) finally installed after even more hassles and dealing with three company's and many failed install dates.

Between work and rain we have not been able to spend many days on the farm so not much to report ag wise.

Talking of rain, it has been one of the wettest months in recent times and this is shown by the dam levels.

The top dam does not get much runoff, but the bottom dam is basically as full as it will get.

Compare the photo above of the bottom dam with the latest pic below:



Latest top dam pic:

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sandgroper
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« Reply #23 on: September 21, 2013, 01:27:16 pm »

Down on the farm for the weekend Smiley

Haven't been down for a while, so just checking the place is ok after some pretty wild weather recently...

Last time we were down we bought a rain gauge, temporarily nailed it to a post in front of the house. I didn't think it was going to be of much use as winter is actually over and we are now into spring, but... how wrong could I be...

Checked the rain gauge as soon as we got here and it had 75mm in it !! initially thought it could not be right, then looked over at the top dam, and

Compare the pic above of the top dam a couple of weeks ago, to the pic below !



Looks like we have gained at least 500mm and this dam normally doesn't get filled unless water is pumped from the bottom dam. So perhaps we did get 75mm rain ?

While we were here wifey decided we need even more fruit trees... so off to town, came home with an almond, a quince another lemon and some smelly flowers that took her fancy Smiley

Looks like the olive trees are starting to flower, as are all of the other fruit trees, most of which we don't know what they are, so will be a surprise to see what fruits we have Smiley

Also time to start looking at buying some olive harvesting rakes, tarpaulins etc  and someone to process our olives into oil.

As you can see from the pics the grass and weeds are getting longer all the time, but it has been too wet to cut it. By the time it is dry enough to cut, I fear it may be too long for the ride-on lawnmowers to handle ?

Looks like we will have to buy a 3PL slasher for the tractor Grin
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Old_Mc_Donald
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« Reply #24 on: October 07, 2013, 04:12:38 am »

Well Done mate,

it's getting there bit by bit.  looking forward to reading the next updates. as it has been great reading through this entire post.
Cheers & All the best
Gaz
W.A for the present Smiley though it could be back to Maine in the future.
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sandgroper
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« Reply #25 on: October 24, 2013, 02:58:04 pm »

We have been down at the farm for 4 days now, and the job for forever it seems is mowing, well slashing really and weed wacking where the mowers won't go... luckily I have taken some annual leave from work, we need to get this mowing done and firebreaks in place before 1st December or face fines...

We spent 3 days a week ago doing the same.

This is a small area between the house and shed that shows what the rest might look like.


All went well until a swarm of bees decided to take up residence... luckily 4 days later they had gone.


A foray into the pole line to read the electric meter shows a little of the task ahead...


The 1997 Rover Ranger ride-on had a rear tyre I managed to knock the bead off the rim - I had to eventually take the tyre/rim to a shop to get fixed. All my efforts, using all the tricks I knew failed, so it cost me $44 to get it fixed. Then it was held onto the axle with a piece of key steel, which I proceeded to lose in the shed somewhere, so off to town to get a piece of keysteel which was the wrong size, so out came the grinder... eventually I got to mow/slash some grass...

The Yardman ride-on which came with the farm seems to have a problem with what they call a PTO, but looks more like an electric clutch to me. Anyway, the local mower shop thinks it will be $800 plus to fix, so that's back in the shed...

Here's a view from the seat of the Rover while mowing...


The old Rover seems to be hanging together for the moment, here is a view back up the pole line.


And a view from much the same distance, but looking back down maybe 100 metres towards the front of the property.


So after 4 days of mowing with the Rover and wacking with the Husky... and only getting maybe a third of the farm done - tomorrow it is off to a nearby town (32kms) to buy a slasher for the tractor.

Seems although we have had an average winter, it has been the wettest for over  a decade and almost everyone within a 300km radius of us has sold out of "reasonably priced" 4ft slashers ! so we have had to settle on a 3ft slasher - not my preferred option as the tractor is 4ft wide and I will be losing productivity with every pass...

Then it will be back out with a ride-on to get as close as possible to the olive trees and then a final cleanup around the tree trunk with the weed wacker - and this is a hobby farm ? ...

Oh yeah, and we got a dog... the dog was free from a local dog pound --  a bed, food, vet check, vaccinations etc etc was $300 - free dog ? some sort of boxer/kelpie cross, female supposedly sterilised, but the vet thinks not...

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Robin6030
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« Reply #26 on: October 24, 2013, 03:04:06 pm »

Nice update sandgroper looks like you have got a lot off work to do  Cheesy
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sandgroper
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« Reply #27 on: October 24, 2013, 03:11:09 pm »

Thanks Smiley and yes, only 7.5 acres but they managed to squeeze nearly 400 oilve trees plus a dozen or so fruit trees as well as monster native gums and a stand of pine trees.

As well we seem to have a fair number of rock outcrops hidden in the long grass, that and all the exposed old irrigation piping make life scary. Not really looking forward to mowing with the tractor/slasher when the grass is above your head and you can't really see what is in front of you...


Nice update sandgroper looks like you have got a lot off work to do  Cheesy
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« Reply #28 on: October 24, 2013, 03:32:01 pm »

For the Yardman problem, I would see if you could pick up a second hand Yardman or even the part that you need and fit it in
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NoobFarmer
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« Reply #29 on: October 24, 2013, 03:45:33 pm »

Wow, you are living my dream, cool!

What other vegetabiles you plan to grow? If you can grow rhubarbs there practically manages themselfs and combine them with carrots you get the sweatest of marmelades. I can give you the recipie.

Thanks for letting us take part in your retirement plan.
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