So, what now?

Big events like Feastin and Fencin can have a real snowball effect if you follow them through. The most immediate thing that came out of last weekend was the combination of the bales being finished and as much grass as the cows can eat. Milk. My first decent amount, which was only a litre but so satisfying.

Last night I locked up the bull calf with Dolores for company. Laf doesn't need company as all that runs through her head is "food food food food food food water food food". When we came down this morning her udder was the fullest I'd seen it since she came to Lantanaland. The calf was also very thirsty and as I led her down to the pen I had to shoo him off her udder.

I got her into the bales and got to work. Of course the first thing she did was step in my nice clean bucket. Oh well. Then it was a combination of squeezes, pulls and squirts to get the milk out. I did ok for a bit with the traditional method but my hands soon got sore, especially the two fingers that I'm fairly sure I've fractured playing footy. I persisted and The Wife had a go as well and we have one tasty litre in the fridge. Butter and cottage cheese will be the go this week.

So the cows are producing. Next week I'll book the AI man to get them both pregnant. On July 1 the vet comes to make my bull a little less bullish. Meanwhile they continue to open up Lantanaland for me, exposing the lie of the land that we have never seen in our three years here.

So to give you a rough idea where lantanaland is at here is a arial view. The red section is the top paddock. This is where the bales are and where I'll keep the cows when they are close to calving. The green is the new paddock that we cut, maybe about 2 acres. The yellow would be a really easy paddock to do next as two sides are already cleared. The pink is probably the next big push as it would take in the dam. This would allow me to have a paddock that has it's own water supply when my tanks run low. The white and orange areas might get done when I have the money to hire an excavator to cut me some paths, swales and terraces.

The top paddock will also become the house block for the new house sometime in the future. There is half a house block already cut. Along the top fence I am planting out fruit trees. I have learnt the hard way that if you are random and unorganized like myself don't plant fruit trees where you only see them every six months. Plant them where you can get to them and walk past them regularly. I have a grape in on the gate posts, a grapefruit and an apple. Now that the top paddock is nicely cleared I'll be putting in more, starting with some mulberry cuttings. Cows love mulberries.

I have sown a little clover, both for the cows and for the bees and will be doing some research on a nice mix of fodder species for a dairy cow. The next project will be planting out some garden beds. This time I am trying rotted cow manure between sugar cane bales. Then another revamp of the chickens and maybe even another pen up near the bees for the second group of guinea fowl. With the amount of ticks the cows are picking up from the long grass I think it will be a few batches of eggs before I'll be selling keets.

Still life is never boring or still at Lantanaland. Soon I'll be experimenting with cheese making and I have to master the art of hand milking and rig up a solar panel for the electric fence and untangle the goats and and and and.....

Lantanaland from the iPhone

The future?

I have the best mates in the world (lantanaland will never be the same again)