Lifeboat Farm

The new dairy shed
September 2, 2011, 9:10 pm
Filed under: Building

Our helper Matt is not only a 1st rate farm hand, but a pretty decent photographer. This is the frame of the new dairy shed, captured in the evening light.

I do love the view from my office most days.


Improvised bug shield
April 15, 2010, 9:52 am
Filed under: Building, Garden

We had a great run through most of summer free of white butterflies (and their broccoli-eating caterpillars) but that run ended. This is our attempt to keep the butterflies off our tender brassica seedlings and I have to say it worked out pretty well for an impromptu solution.


We used some old bird netting, some spare fence posts and the wire hoops that came wrapped around bundles of posts. Straw bales hold the ends down, making it (so far) butterfly-proof. We might have to track down some more netting to do this to more beds next year.

Broccoli aplenty
January 17, 2010, 7:19 pm
Filed under: Building, Food, Garden, The House

Despite the very unsettled spring weather (or more likely because of it) we’ve had our best year ever for brassicas. It seems that a cold, long winter killed off most of the white butterflies and the last few months of weird weather has disrupted the life cycles of those that survived. We’ve seen perhaps only two or three white butterflies this spring and the result is broccoli, cabbages and cauliflower coming out our ears.


This will be tonight’s dinner (with some cheesy tomato and vege sauce, over pasta.


Yard construction
January 9, 2010, 5:20 pm
Filed under: Building

With Niall staying for a week after New Year it seemed like a good opportunity to knock off another item on Karen’s to do list – new yards. Much like the stables, I think once these are done we’ll find a lot more uses for them than just putting horses in them now and then.To that end I’ve used 5 150×50 rails (6×2 for those in the US) on 1.3m high posts at close spacing. They should contain the horses just fine, but also cows and sheep if they need to come in.

There are four 4m x 4m pens opening onto a working area. Here they are without fronts.


And a larger 12m x 7m holding pen for mobs or mare and foal etc.


Finally, the pens with fronts, just awaiting their gates. Once they’re finished in the next few days the yards should prove quite handy (and much more convenient than the old cattle yards down at the front of the property).


We finally have a garden gate
October 6, 2009, 1:47 pm
Filed under: Building, Garden

I don’t usually get so excited about a bit of fencing but this one has been on my to-do list since we arrived. No more will helpers (or us) need to climb the electric fence to get to the back garden.


Here’s the before pic of the fence line we used to traverse regularly.


Like most projects, it ends up being more complex than planned. I had to re-strain and secure all the existing wires to the new posts. The line of shade cloth keeping the chickens out relied on good fence tension.


New Pig House
May 16, 2009, 9:01 pm
Filed under: Building, Menagerie

Our weaner pigs have been growing pretty quickly so it was time for them to have some more permanent accommodation. Their first house was this hastily built hay bale house. It worked out really well with great insulation and it was very easy to build and expand. All we needed was some old bales of hay (courtesy of Nick and Louise down the road) and some baling twine for reinforcement.


When they started knocking it down (and without the help of a big bad wolf) I made them this house of…not sticks, but close…wood.


It’s a really simple design – just a lean-to on skids with a roof. We can tow it around with the quad bike as we move the pigs around their woodland enclosure. Best of all, I used left over timber from the stables fit-out and some old tin lying around, making it a zero cost project. Here are the wee porkers exploring their new home. Judging by the effort required to rouse them in the morning, I’d say they were pretty happy with it.


Winter planting
April 24, 2009, 12:27 pm
Filed under: Building, Garden

With Autumn well and truly upon us it’s time to get more winter veg in the ground. Aiko and Fizz the helpful gardening cat are filling planter pots for all the seedlings to come.


Some of the seedlings waiting to go out in the garden.


Aiko planting brassicas in the beds where the potatoes were. This is good crop rotation but also the potato beds were nicely turned over by the harvesting, leaving fine soil in the beds for the next crop.


One of the beds full of broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower.