Monday, March 16, 2015

Figtrees Organic Farm

My mother and I went with our local home school group to a  farm yesterday called Figtrees organic farms. We were greeted by the farm manager Henry and his duck Dorothy!

 Henry very kindly offered us all a delicious morning tea of organic pies and sausage rolls, they are just starting to supply them as well as their lovely beef.

While we were waiting for everyone to arrive there was plenty to see and do.

Henry talked to us about growing different types of grass on the farm,
and how different grasses do better in different area's
It is really a grass farm not a cattle farm, and they focus more on managing the land and environment in a holistic and healthy way, the beef is a bonus really and the cows are workers on the farm.

The farm is one thousand acres on the mighty Clarence river.
They use no chemical fertilizers or pesticides, only natural minerals and oils 
to combat pests, while the cattle provide the fertilizer.

To increase diversity to the pasture, 
Henry  adds seeds to the cows mineral lick so they will
spread the seeds right where they are spreading the fertilizer,
these are very hard working cows.. 

We all piled in the back of the Utes to travel around the farm
 it was a good way to transport our group around the muddy farm.

The trailers are a crucial part of the management of the cattle they are set up to supply the cattle with  salt and Himalayan rock salt and a Pat Colby lick that Henry makes.  

The trailers also have bars wrapped in carpet that Henry soaks with natural oils and the cows rub along the bars to get the pest repellent oils right where they want it and the green bag is a sulphur dust bag they also self administer. Sometimes it has diamateous earth in it. The cows are clever and learn how to manage these things themselves, they also teach each other and their babies. 

Here are some of the hardworking cattle.
They will soon have some more co workers when the farm introduces organic pigs in the near future to increase the diversity and Henry is growing a flock of baby guinea fowl to work with the pigs. 

He has millions of other workers on the farm as well,even though everything looks quiet and calm out there, it is actually really busy and some of the hardest workers are the dung beetles. you can see some some dung beetle eggs that I found. They are not really eggs but balls of manure with a single larvae growing inside. 

This is a baby dung beetle.
He will have a very important job on the farm when he hatches,
they take the poo down into soil, and that makes the soil better, it fertilizes the soil and it builds up the organic matter to feed the other workers on the farm, the earth worms. By burying the manure they also break the life cycle of lots of harmful pests like the buffalo fly.

We put cow poo in a bucket and watched all the beetles float to the top,
so we could see all the different varieties of dung beetle and the ages and stages..

There were so many.

We had lunch at the wetlands,
a beautiful peaceful area 
and we saw black swans down on the water and pelicans circling above. 
All that water was once drained to be grazing land but with modern thinking and realizing the importance of each part of the cycle this farm has made a beautiful area for the wildlife and the surrounding people and also manages to divert and clean lots and lots of storm water run off that would otherwise end up in the river. 

After lunch we just had to climb into one of the many fig trees on the farm.
Every year, 500 trees are planted on the farm.
We all learnt a lot that day
 we thought we were going to visit a cattle farm but it turned out to be so much more.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Book review the Silver Brumby

The Silver Brumby written by Elyne Mitchell in 1958. This book takes place in Australia in an imaginary area called the Cascades.

It takes an in depth look at the life of a wild colt stallion. It is a great and interesting read. It takes you through the life of Thowra a beautiful silver white stallion, as he "conquers" his land and defeats his child hood enemies. Thowra moves on to steal a beautiful golden mare named Golden from a man who was hunting him, after a little while Golden begins carrying Thowra's foal but she doesn't feel safe having it in the wild so against Thowra's will she returns to the man that had raised her, after she gave birth Thowra comes and frees her once again. He names his little silver daughter Kunama who he raises with great care in a secret valley that he remembered from when he was a very small horse, once she is grown enough to look after herself she meets a nice stallion called Tambo he is a black stallion. she soon becomes his favorite mare and he has to fight lots of other stallions for her. Thowra goes on to have another foal this one a boy named Lightning who grows up to be selfish and careless unlike the rest of his family. Thowra's son Lighting causes many fights and tries to steal his half brother Baringas herd  from him continuously for a long before he learns that Baringa has defeated a much bigger stronger and heavier horse for the larger horses herd, wich is when Lightning decides to back off for his own sake. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Testing, Excavatoin, dating and analysis.

A full blown Excavation is not done immediately after the survey the archaeologists have to dig test holes and survey the area for the best spot to dig then they have to wait for digging season.
Quite often an archaeologist from a school will enlist the help of his students when he/she leaves to dig in the digging season if he has sufficient funds. Once artifacts have been found the diggers will date and analyse them many old old coins are found every day some digs find over one million coins in a matter of days some groups have found and counted up to two million plus coins.
Though many artifacts are examined while the digging is still going on, there are usually many thousands of artifacts found at each site. The artifacts go back to the university leading the dig, where the students and archaeologists can study them during the school year to help them prepare for next years digging season there are lots of things about an artifact that need to be found out the date of its make its condition and the ware, coins can be the easiest and the hardest to examine as some are mint and some others are in awful condition. Numerous finds are found in many separate pieces sometimes even in different sites. Quite often they wont be able to piece them together.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

How Archaeology Works


It’s that thing you always hear about on the radio and see on the screen but what is it really?

 Easy- you may be saying. It’s where young men brave the wild and find huge treasures right? 

Well no, it’s not that easy.

 First there is the step of understanding what you want to find because you can’t just go in and hope to find something. 

You also need money without funding there would be no archaeology on the screens or in real life For instance Howard Carter thought he knew where King Tutankhamun’s tomb was but didn't have the funds so he got a rich Englishman to fund his work. Years went by with nothing significant found and Carter had to keep going back to Lord Carnarvon seeking more funding and at times he had to beg for financial support to keep following his dreams. There were a couple of times when Lord Carnarvon said it had to stop, no more funding but Carter persuaded him and eventually he did find the tomb.

Another important part is research, after you know what you want to look for you need to hit the books, find out where you have the best chance of finding it.

Once you have decided on the area you want to work, you need to survey it to find out where it could be and how best to get at it.

If you are lucky and well prepared after possibly 10 days, 10 weeks, 10 months or even 10 years or more there’s The Find the discovery moment where you may get a nice amount of money for your find or you may keep it sometimes you have to go 50/50 with the man/woman who funded your dig. 

Interesting things about Chooks

Cinnamon Queen.

#1.The cinnamon queen lay large brown eggs and lay regularly.

#2.They lay 230-340 eggs per year.

#3.They are cuddliest chicken breed.

#4.They lay at an earlier age than most other chickens.

#5.The hens are a reddish brown color.

#6.The males are white.

#7.They were developed to meet the needs of modern farmers.

#8.They can be raised for meat as they have bulky body's.

#9.Their scientific name is Gallus gallus domesticus

#10.Life span 10-20 years.

Plymouth Rock.

#1. They are very noisy as they coo,cluck,gurgle,chirp and some other noises.

#2.They are good layers .

#3.They smell the same as their surroundings.

#4.They are american chickens but can be bought in Australia.

#5.They are excellent scratchers also.

#6.They are ideal for city or suburban areas.

#7.Got an earth worm problem? they will fix it.

#8.You can order the chicks in the mail.

#9.For the first week they should be kept at 90 f degrees

#10.they are good pets

Black Australorp.#1.They look very nice.

#2.They are pretty good layers.

#3.They are good in the Garden.

#4.They are good pets.

#5.They are good hardy chickens.

#6.They are good meat meat birds.

#7.A new record was set when a hen laid 364 eggs in 365 days.

#8.They were being used in the 1920's.

#9.In 1920 the breed was admitted to standard breed of perfection.

#10.They were developed as a utility breed.

The Buff Orpington chicken have deep broad body with a good back curve.

The chook was created in 1894 by William Cook.

The male weighs 4.55-5.55 kgs.

The female weighs 3.60-5.55 kgs.

the birds under 12 months will be lighter.

Sydney Homeschooling Adventure, days on the harbour


Lorikeets are smaller than lories and have a long pointed tail.

 Their body color is generally green blue and red.

Lories are larger and heavier bodied, have a short tail
and body color is generally red with spots of yellow and purple.

Lories and lorikeets need a clean, warm, mentally stimulating environment.
 A wrought iron cage parrot cage, free of rust and chips is the best home for a pet lorikeet or lory.

Since these birds can be extremely  messy with their droppings - often "Shooting" them out behind them  - it is highly recommended to keep them on a solid wall.

Your parrots cage should be checked every day for rust, dirt and old/mouldy food.

You will need to clean out your lorikeets cage daily. remove any uneaten food.