Entropy, my high school physics teacher told me, is the tendency of the universe to want to tend towards chaos. He thought that we could all easily study the theory by examining the state of our teenage bedrooms but if he wanted a true study he should have come and had a look at my farm.

Lantanaland is just a hobby, but that comes with its own challenges because I can't afford the solid, stand the test of time fencing that proper farms have. All my fencing is electric. I have run into a few unique problems with the electric that have given my cows a holiday in the lush paddocks of my neighbor.

Strange that it might seem after all the rain last week we had a very dry December and January. So dry that all the star pickets my fencing was on loosened and the fence fell over. There is one sure way to tell when an electric fence has failed and that's when you see your cows on the far side of the hill. Unlike fencing a couple of thousand of acres it's pretty easy to walk the fence and redo the lines. The cows were pretty easy to get back, they wandered up the top of the hill after a week and I just called them back in. My beautiful black and white jersey, Dolores was so happy to see me that she didn't even want the food I was offering, just some pats. She is hopefully pregnant and I can't wait till she calves cause she is so beautifully mannered that she will be a joy to hand milk.

The next prison break happened ironically because of all the rain. I am stretching the energizers a bit far around the farm and I don't poison my fence lines. When it's dry, no worries, but wet weather like we had means every twig and thick stem of grass touching the lines becomes an earth point. The fact that there is better grass on the other side is simply an incentive to test the fence. Still, a few days out and some tempting grain and they come back.

Still on a place like this entropy can also work for you. the cows spread tomato and pumpkin seeds everywhere, ready fertilized and mulched for the next rain. There are tomato bushes all over the place and the ones that survive tend to yield some ripper tomatoes. I'm also hoping that the rain will finally give the grass the kick it needs. I have probably over grazed this year, I really need to fence the wildest paddock down the bottom, which means cutting fence lines through sometime ten foot high lantana thickets. The beauty of that paddock is that it has the dam in it and I would love the cows to clear around it a bit so I can get in and plant some things to stabilize the bank and boost a bit of biodiversity, maybe even put a duck island in the middle.

Still I can't complain too much about the forces of chaos on the farm. Considering the resources we have, most of the chaos is working in my favor, not against. It's not like I rely, yet, on Lantanaland to provide my income, I can't imagine what floods or drought or a falling tree or escaped cattle does to a real proper farm where fixing the fences might take a month, not a day, a pile driver, a pair of scissors and some gumboots.

Photo walk round Lantanaland

Competitive Reading