Sunday, October 21, 2007

Green Green Grass of Home

This time of the year the green of the grass almost burns your eyes.

We live in a lush and beautiful part of Victoria, with high rainfall and quality topsoil. Paddocks are being mowed early for silage, and there are hillocks covered with plastic weighted down by tyres on many properties.

Cows apparently love this richly fermented cut grass, and when I look at the emptyings from our mower catcher piled up for a few weeks, I wonder whether it's similar to silage. Early cutting and follow-up rain means another cut for hay closer to Christmas. During the drought last year hay was at a premium, reaching unbelievable prices, so our locals can hopefully relax this season.

We were asked to do an emergency bottle feed of a neighbour's orphaned lamb on Saturday. His name is Zipper because of a black line down his nose.

We were told he would rush up to us and suck crazily on the bottle until empty, then run back to his friend, Rocky the alpaca. That's exactly what happened. He is a lot bigger than our babies, though they're catching up.

Rocky is a big, handsome alpaca wether, but is very serious by nature. He peers ominously at you from under his impossibly long eyelashes, just willing you to come closer so he can spit at you. He and his two friends kept their distance, and when Zipper returned with a full tummy, they moved regally away.

I am told Zipper will lie down next to Rocky, cuddled into his lush wool with his legs up onto his side.


Now the overwhelming windy weather has stopped, our bees are out in full force, harvesting the huge banks of Blue Pacific.

The noise of their combined buzzing is unbelievable, but augers well for a good honey harvest this year. I would like to split our hive into two soon, and must order a new queen to be posted to us, so we can install her and some workers into the empty hive.

Having had a busted wrist which is just out of plaster, so my hand hangs like a painful lump of wood off my arm, means we will have to ask for help. The local bee keeper who sold us the hive has apparently offered, so I am relieved. My man took two stings last time the hive was opened and he has a long memory, and mutters darkly about not going in himself. I love all our little ladies, and don't mind copping a sting, but I do need two hands.

Apparently a new queen can be ordered and posted to us, then installed in her cage with a few workers to care for her. She begins to smell like she belongs during the week it takes for the workers to chew through the box to release her, so I am looking forward to learning about the process.

I took this photo below and wonder whether it is of one of our native bees, though there is no pollen on the rear legs. They seem to like the Golden Diosmas, as there were quite a few on this bush. I will send the photo off for identification.

“Yes, there is Nirvana; it is in leading your sheep to a green pasture, and in putting your child to sleep, and in writing the last line of your poem”

.... Kahlil Gibran

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