Cold winter

As I expected, not much is happening on building construction over the colder/darker months.  We had trouble finding an engineer so we can get the Construction Certificate.  We have a way ahead now, you just have to add enough zeroes to the end of the bill.

Here’s an update on Ginger, our part-dingo dog.

Ginger was passed onto us from a friend, when our (now deceased) Labrador Cara proved unable to protect the house paddock from foxes.  Ginger used to do regular perimeter patrols, and kept everything under control.  She didn’t miss much, and could move stealthily when she wanted.

My favourite Ginger story is on my son Owen’s twelfth birthday, when had some friends to camp over in one of our big medieval tents.  They had a campfire, and sizzled up some sausages.  Strangely, the pile of cooked sausages never seemed to get any bigger, and at the end of the night, Ginger was utterly stuffed and snoring loudly at the edge of the fire.  The boys had to make do with chips and lollies, poor fellows.

Anyway, Ginger is now old and grey and deaf, and was sleeping most of the day.  We’ve heard that her litter-mates are now in the habit of suddenly dropping dead, so we’re expecting to lose her soon.

That’s a big part of why we got Buster, to provide some fox protection.  Ginger will play with Buster, to a point.  She yelps at him when he gets a bit rough, but keeps going.  I think it’s given her a new lease of life, though Allison reckons she still gets a lot of snoozing over a day.

Our other dog, Bella, is a little bitser-dog, and she doesn’t enjoy playing with Buster.  She insists that she’s an indoor dog most of the time, and as she’s an old lady too she is getting away with it.

Buster has been doing well, except for one notorious day when I found him in the peacock pen, with several dead peacocks and others missing (never to return).  I shouted very loudly in his face, and he has been very well behaved since.  The trick was in keeping out of Allison’s view until her rage receded.  She spared him because he’s absolutely focused on me, and she thinks that’s good for both dog and me.

The whole state is in drought, and we are very low on grass.  We are getting some exceptionally cold mornings: last Saturday was minus 9 degrees Celsius, which I think is a record for our time on the farm.  The pipes froze; last winter they froze at -5 deg, but our usual plumbers fixed the flawed installation of a new hot water system by lagging the pipes.  This year they avoided freezing at -8 deg, but the extra degree down was just too much and fair enough too.

2 Responses to “Cold winter”

  1. Linda Says:

    Hi, love the blog!
    We have recently bought a place near Goulburn and I am really interested in some permaculture knowledge if you have any to impart, I find it challenging the hot summers and cold winters to find plants that will survive. I was wondering what you have found to work in this climate.
    best regards, Linda

    • cockatrice Says:

      Hi Linda, blog obviously on a pause right now! Goulburn winters have taught me a lot of humility. Our farm is highly exposed so not much makes it through winter. We did have very good results with a windbreak of red-stemmed wattle, which has significantly improved things. Even so, we have one small pocket well sheltered from winds, and that’s the only place things have gone well. Very little luck with citrus, stone fruit has gone OK but the possums and birds get most of them — right now we are worrying about other things, but we could bird-net them. Cheers, and good luck.

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