It’s been some time since our last blog post, and as you would expect, a lot has been happening.
Firstly, some sad news – one of our Burmese cats, ‘Jasmine’, died at the end of September. She had been in the family since April 2004, was a wedding present to ourselves alongside ‘Teapot’, and is missed.
On the very same day, however, we were excited to find 9 new baby chicks all successfully hatched after being incubated by ‘Nanny’. They do say that a cat has nine lives, and what a special coincidence this was.
Our troop of horses has grown through the winter and now stands at 5.
In July we welcomed Charlie and Abbey to 5 Willows. Both are Standardbred horses, rescued from the Trot circuit. Charlie is a big boy at more than 16hh, aged 14yrs, and is ridden by Jack mostly. Abbey is a younger mare at 8yrs, approx 14hh, and is Caroline’s project.
In September we added young Elmo to the mix, who is a seasoned Pony Club veteran already at only 6yrs old. He’s a great size for Emily.
Then just last week we adopted Rambo, about 18yrs, another big boy at over 16hh. Rambo is a Thoroughbred and ex-racer who was looking for a new home as his previous owners were moving to Queensland. We are hoping that he’s a gentle giant and Craig can get some saddle time with him.
Nitro, our rescue Kelpie pup, now has a playmate. Bear, also a Kelpie, was another animal looking for a new home during Winter, and we were happy to help. Bear has a more solid build to Nitro’s sleek frame, and the two are together most of the time.
The Garden Studio
The Garden Studio continues to make steady progress. As the soil temperature started to rise we’ve been able to plant:
- A row of crab apples along the current driveway, which will not only grow into beautiful trees, but also supply edible crab apples for jelly and jam
- Two sections of ornamental pear trees for their spring and autumn colours
- A cluster of Silver Birch to create a little walkway through the foliage
- Liquid Amber as a feature tree at the end of the waterway
- Some small Weeping Willow cuttings – we just love Weeping Willow trees
- The lavender garden - containing a variety of lavender plants
- Red Oak trees for a vibrant contrast in colour, and
- Two beautiful Robinias that should provide colourful flowering later in the season
We’ve had a few losses/damages from kangaroo and deer in early Spring and as a result the Garden Studio fencing is in the process of being heightened to approx 1.8m around the entire boundary.
We also managed to win a beautiful old Fordson Major tractor and blade at a nearby clearing sale auction in Dalgety. This tractor has so much character and will make a beautiful ‘scene’ in the studio.
The lack of any substantial rainfall since the epic downfalls in May filled the new dam has been a challenge for the property but also for the Garden Studio in particular. We have extended the pipeline from the bore-fed water tank about 150 metres beyond the Little House, and added long hoses to be able to access all parts of the Studio area.
As we spend more time in the Little House and on the property, progressing through the seasons, we are learning about the effect of the winds in particular. We have started to prepare four separate areas for wind breaks, and have taken delivery of approximately 70 conifers that we hope will develop into effective wind breaks, and also provide a constant rich green colour to the property landscape throughout the year.
Our hens have been very reliable throughout the winter, averaging 6-7 eggs per day. We have purchased a large batch of boxes to keep these, but also start to distribute to family and friends. We’ve had some labels printed too, and the 5 Willows Farm Fresh Eggs are being very well received. The animals are all free range, and most days are free to wander the entire property – and they do turn up in some unexpected places!
Nanny, our Partridge Brahma hen, cemented her name through September when she successfully incubated 9 eggs to hatch. We have a mixture of colours in the new arrivals, and aren’t sure yet how many are males or females. They are living in a temporary but secure enclosure under the protection of the Little House, and it won’t be long before we start to introduce them to the older chooks.
In preparation for this, we’ve also extended the existing chook house and run to about double the size, including a very solid dog kennel that has been repurposed for the chooks.
Through the winter ski season Craig worked in the Media team at Perisher, spending most days on the snow taking photographs for the Perisher guests. Definitely one of the best jobs in the world on a calm and sunny day, although there weren’t many of these in the season. It was a great experience and very enjoyable. It was also great to be able to catch up with Emily at school while I was at work.
As the weather improves we are seeing more wedding photography activity, with bookings already in place for January and February 2018. Craig has also been able to photograph weddings in September (Thredbo) and October (Jindabyne) this year, featuring the snow and gums of Thredbo and the beautiful Lake Jindabyne.
While the Garden Studio continues to develop, Craig is able to visit client’s own properties, and is photographing a family in November in the area.
To support the local area, Craig has spent time at Snowy Mountains Grammar School to produce a series of photographs that are being extensively used in the local and wider press together with Social Media.
We will also be responsible for providing the Santa photos at the Christmas Fair, held at the Jindabyne Equestrian Resort, in December.
With such beautiful surroundings nearby, Craig has also been working on his landscape photography skills, capturing the steady flow of the melting snow into the Snowy River.
The list is long but that’s what we like. As spring moves through into summer we hope to make further progress on:
- Fencing/planting in the garden studio, with more edible trees such as apples and plums
- Building a jetty on the dam
- Educating the horses
- Planting a host of foods into the vegetable patches
- Planting the wind break areas
- Moving forward with the plans for development of the main homestead through Council