Just when you thought it was safe

Just when you thought it was safe.sighting-of-pania-030

The piglets start to hide in the straw to keep the flies off.



Charlotte and I had such a time yesterday trying to keep track of them all. And now I have to worry about their mother standing on them again. They are hidden in there. But at least they are safe from these nasty biting flies. Sigh. sighting-of-pania-003

Pania has been sighted  jumping the fence and waddling nonchalantly right down the back of Pat’s paddock where there is a bit of long grass and no threat of haymakers. Let’s hope she is nesting within the boundaries so she will be safer from predators.



Ton has been teaching Boo about blog photographs and how to insert oneself unobtrusively into the frame.sighting-of-pania-012

Arthur’s mulberry tree is growing nicely and Mr M’s has just begun to bud, at last.  But Bugs has had to have the humidity treatment.


To try and force the shoots out.  Its head is wrapped in a clear plastic bag with a damp rag enclosed to create lots of moisture.   The slow  (and no) growth of these trees is mystifying.

Good morning. After chores I will rake the hay into windrows and get it all ready for the baling tonight. The hay is ready to bale, it dried slowly due to the cooler calm days. The heat is only just reaching us. The baler on the other hand is not ready to bale. Our John had it out after work last night but it is still having trouble knotting a string. It does this every single time we start it up after a break.  So lets hope it shakes out the cobwebs and gets its groove on tonight, there is work to do. It would all be easier if John was working on the farm, but he is off at his own work at least 12 hours a day for 6 days a week. I can do most things by myself but baling the hay with a wonky baler is not one of them, I need help with that. And both of us have only done one season of baling hay. There is more to it than meets the eye.

So it is 5.30am and off to work I go.  Later I shall take some photographs of The Coop for you. The bathroom is finished and hopefully the painter will be staining the covered verandah today so that next week it will be screened in (his last job)  and we can start eating our dinners out there. The flies have come!

Have a lovely day.

your friend, celi

66 Comments on “Just when you thought it was safe

  1. Love these pictures, your animals are adorable! I miss living on a farm 🙂 good luck with the mulberry trees

    • Morning Jade-Ashe.. i do hope this mulberry snaps out of it, the lady at the nursery said “But you can’t kill a mulberry”. Well” I said “Apparently I can!” c

  2. Has Blue morphed into Boo? Love all the pictures.
    If you have trouble baling, why not build a haystack? That’s what we did in the early days after WWII when machinery was hard to come by. We used to cut the hay in cemeteries and wide grass verges, cart it with a grumpy cob and trap and built it in a corner away from marauders (except children, who used to hide in it.

    • After a while i heard myself calling Boo when getting his attention, it is a heftier sound and he seems to respond to it better so yes it seems he is morphing into a Boo. Not exactly a Boo Radley tho!! May end up being a hay stack, there is an art in building one of those… c

  3. And what a fine job Ton has done teaching Boo about photobombing! Love the pics of the piglets hiding in straw — doggone flies!

  4. My parents had a mulberry tree for many years. They never used the berries though because they were too seedy. Will you be eating the berries? The pigs in straw are so cute!

    • We have enormous mulberry trees hanging over the yards and the chickens and birds eat the berries, we tried to make mulberry wine one year but not enough natural sugars.. c

  5. I’ve been following your blog for a while and I just want to say your animal pictures always brighten my day. Presently, I live in London but I’m an American with family down South and in the Midwest as well. Your blog reminds me of the family farm and I’m thankful for that.

    • Well you are most welcome, I know what it is like living away from your birth home. I love london though! c

  6. I can see how the piglets would cause concern. Is it not correct that Charlotte would smell them before stepping on them? With that snot, you’d think she could sniff them out right away. Not that I know dwibbly about piggies though.

    Good morning, c, and happy wishes for the day to the farmy. xx

    • No-one else seems concerned, there is not that much straw in there .. but they find a way to fluff it all over themselves. She just lies down elsewhere and calls them and so far we have not had any incidents.. but you know me .. looking for things to worry about! c

  7. hi celi! bummer about the baler. i hope it is up and running by tonight. i can see your concern for the piglets but they sure are cute hiding in the straw. i can’t wait for coupe pictures! joyce

  8. Cute little Piggies playing Hide and Seek 🙂 Celi can you get close enough to them to give them a spritz of Citronella Oil or would Charlotte reject them because of the smell I wonder? Our Bobby Blanc has grown into a big boy. Good luck with the baling tonight. Laura

    • I would not be able to spray them all , but i could get a few, I have one boy with a cut on his back (when Charlotte stood on number nine she leapt backwards and stood on this one though not as seriously), and i have been spraying his wound with iodine whenever he gets close and she does not seem to care, but it looks like they have it under control.. The flies are terrible this year.. c

      • Perhaps give this a try:
        In a narrow neck plastic bottle (milk or soda) add:
        1 banana skin
        Cover with apple cider vinegar
        1/4 -1/2 teaspoon dry yeast
        top up with a little rain water, swirl around to mix
        once settled add two drops dish washing liquid

        Hang away from the area where you don’t want flies. The flies will be attracted to the mixture but will be unable to get out once in – the dishwasher soap breaks the meniscus of the water. Can be emptied onto compost pile – just dig in a little.


  9. So far we’ve been spared flies. It’s good, but I think it just means that the farms are closing one by one, so there’s less livestock around us. Bittersweet…..or Bitterswat 🙂

    • It is a bittersweet thing, what happens to the land though, does no-one farm it? Where are all the young farmers like me? c

  10. We are so familiar with working with wonky balers that won’t tie correctly! This was the first year that our hay operation went somewhat smoothly (small wonders will never cease!!) even though we did get a few poorly tied bales that fell apart before we could hoist them into the loft. There is nothing so frustrating as watching the bales come out of the baler and fall apart on the ground amidst lots of. #%&@s from our weekend warriors. (I am the family’s only full time farmer too so I feel your pain.)
    Those piggies peeking out of the hay are some cute!

    • Yes, i know about the language, last night I just quietly handed over the torch, grabbed an armful of hay for the cows and went inside for a bath.. he always gets it going in the end but tempers flare! is it a tension thing? c

  11. Oh, I do understand about balers. I love haying. I like the way the hay smells, I love being out in the sun, I love that I am growing food for my critters. But bales that won’t tie will, eventually, send me into orbit. Hope it works for you tonight!

    • I love it too, and I especially love when i see the barn filling up! Oh I do look forward to that.. c

    • One of those memories that are not quite so fondly recounted I am sure , i have take to milking at 8pm. so it is not too bad in the milking parlour.. c

  12. I hate biting fly season…they are so bad at the beach, and I remember how bad horse flies are…poor babies and poor you! Is that Charlotte in the shot with Boo looking happy as a pig in mud? 🙂

    • No that is Sheila, she was so hot down the back i brought her up to the barn, she perked up right away! she is black with mud though from her wallow… c

  13. Good Morning,
    lol It is a tension thing with the baler. I well remember the old New Holland baler Dad had that I learned to bale with. Sitting on the tractor thinking vile thoughts about that baler. Dad trying to get the dang thing to knot, voicing a few vile thoughts. It always seemed at its worse when we were trying to beat a rain storm, the vile thoughts and baler not knotting. That baler excelled at knotting only one side of the bale. Most of our broken bales were fed right away or ran through the baler again. Some Dad would hand tie if they didn’t pop apart right away. The hand tied bales were always the last to go in the loft and they had a separate spot that they set and were fed first, provided they didn’t get hung up on the elevator on the way up. Hopefully it will want to knot today and you will get lots of bales.
    I have a mulberry tree growing in my fence that I have been trying to kill for a couple of years, it is hardy bugger. Mom use to make mulberry pies from our mulberry tree. It produced plump berries. Seems like she made jam and/or jelly too. My grandmother raised chickens and sold them and the eggs. As soon as I could gather the eggs without breaking them that became an evening chore I was allowed to do. One time I decided to surprise Grandma with lovely mulberry juice decorated eggs. She was not pleased as I used the white eggs as well as the brown ones. She couldn’t sell those white eggs with all the lovely staining. At that time brown eggs were considered inferior and people only wanted to purchase white eggs (without purple splotches). I found different creative outlets after that experience.

    • That mulberry juice would have made splendid blotches, our berries are teensy tiny things no good for a pie i am afraid, not to mention that the tree is in the yards with the animals! poo.. Our baler does the exact same thing, only knotting one side, i drive and john walks along saving any bales that do not knot. And like you i always have plenty to feed out straight away (to the bobby) We don’t have an elevator (oh how I long for one) each bale is lifted into the loft using a very old hoist. It sounds like you had a lovely childhood on your grandparents farm, i would love to have a grandparent now, there is so much i am having to relearn. c

  14. Pesky flies! I loved the first picture but then I am a sucker for cute kitty pictures anytime. Good luck with the mulberry trees—-and keeping the piggies safe!

  15. Celi I really don’t know how you do it! I have been up since 4am (not unusual). Fed the cats, took dogs to the park, home and fed chickens and dogs. All before 6:30am. Then the fun began – picked, processed and pickled Beets. Picked and froze beans. Picked and froze Peas. Kitchen looked like a bomb had hit it!! Now I am taking a break to read your peaceful blog before I de-fat the Chicken stock I simmered for 12 hours yesterday, before putting it in Ice Cube trays and then bags for my winter soups. Oh and then I have to start mowing the lawns/grass areas(4 of them). Phew I am knackered!! How come everything in the garden matures at the same time LOL

    • Oh I think you do know how i do it, you are flat out! I need to pickle some radishes but I just can;t do it today!! c

  16. Cats are such pros at relaxation – love it!
    “:Ton has been teaching Boo about blog photographs and how to insert oneself unobtrusively into the frame.” – too funny C.
    Poor piggies being bothered by the flies which in turn gives you more to worry about now that they are hiding away out of sight from their mom!
    Can’t wait to see the updated pics of the coupe.
    Have a beautiful weekend C and here’s hoping your bailer sorts itself out ASAP!
    🙂 Mandy xo

  17. I worry when I can’t find one of our two cats in a day – I don’t know how you survive, having so many lovelies to worry about in one way or another! The flies are bad here in SW MN, too – and the mosquitoes and the ticks. But, on the other hand, we’ve been getting rain and that’s fantastic!

  18. The smell is intoxicating !!! Loved the whole process…especially sitting atop
    the bales freshly stacked in the hay loft…hot….but ahhhhhh the fresh hay smell !!

    Good luck with the baler….I think you should give, it..her…he
    an affectionate name. LOL


  19. i had a book[let] from the baler manufacturer that showed photos of incorrect knots and how to adjust knotters
    might check with local dealer for book

    one thing that helped was to spray the bill hook,part of the knotter assembly, with wd40 when put baler away in fall

    once get the rust off the knotter it will work fine
    don;’t take much rust to make the colorful language fly

    • hmm it lives in the garage, I shall tell john to check for rust on the knotter, can wwe spray that oil on now?he greases i know that and I am not sure if he has a book, it is an old baler but usually you can find something.. good idea ron, thank you.. c

  20. I’m not a dog person – I more in cat camp… but your Boo is very much growing on me.
    Good luck with the hay bales.
    Love Leanne

  21. Celi, I’m so happy to see the Arthur tree is doing well. Thank you!
    Also, I see why you haven’t introduced Sheila to the piglets. You don’t need eight feet stepping on them. I’m just dying to know what her reaction will be. And I’m glad Pania has put in an appearance I hate it when one of the crew goes AWOL.

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  23. And there I was gloomily eyeing the darkening sky from where we are ‘promised’ some 250-300 mm of flood rains in the next three days: but then I don’t have all that hay to get in, a darling husband working 70 + hours a week, a lot of animals all doing their own thing, sensible or not or having to do the ‘Great Australian Salute’ non-stop [after reading your story I don’t think we have a right to use the term 🙂 !]. As long as the piglets are safe and you look after yourself . . . ni-ni!

  24. I’m playing a little catch up tonight. I’ve missed the Farmy and YOU! Hope you are doing well. Looks like all the residents are doing great. Love those piglets!

  25. Oh, flies! Every season has its trials. Hope the piglets are safe, and that you can get the hay baled successfully.

  26. I hope you got that hay bailed — or at least most of it — before the storms swept through.
    I hope Char is as good a mother as we all think she is and looks before she walks or has a lie-down. How about that Pania! You wanted peachicks. You could be swimming with them pretty soon. 🙂

  27. C. I forgot to say that lil mulberry tree looks like it’s wearing a rain bonnet! 🙂 Those piggys buried in the straw are so cute, the little poopers!
    ps. how do you pickle radishes??

    • just a regular pickle . scant one part water, generous two parts cider vinegar, salt and whatever else is hanging about, herbs, peppercorns.. all that stuff and with the radishes i pop in green fennel too.. store in fridge. YUM. now I have to make them.. c

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