"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Saturday 15 September 2012

Getting our ducks in a row...

As Spring descends with it's welcome warmth, final thoughts and pictures of our first the winter on the farm.

Naturally, winter is not confined to snow alone - it also includes rainfalls in the foothills of the mountains, and on our farm.  Very welcome, ground soaking rain.  12mm on one Thursday night, 28mm on Friday night, and 14mm on the Sunday in the middle of August.  Seriously, ground soaking rain...

Which, having a clay base, means mud.  Lots and lots of Wellie-sucking, boot weighing, squelching, squishy mud.  And mud at your gate, and on your driveway is not conducive to trucks delivering sand, bricks and stone.  So something had to be done...
Our entrance gate at the lowest point of our
driveway - a muddy mess
RMan found the point at which the water was streaming into our driveway - and, in the cold and wet, ventured out and made a trench for the water to be diverted along.

The source of the running water
His actions encouraged the water to flow to a more suitable spot...
Directing the water along a new route
on the other side of our driveway
Down the property...
Down she goes...
And, even further down the property, until it found it's home in our dam.
Ah - now that's better - that's where you
should be :)  Filling our dam, not destroying
our entrance
Now - that is what I call a proper dam :)
Five days after the trench started filling the dam, and the water was still pouring in...  
Such a small trickle at the start - you should've see it at it's height, bubbling and rushing downhill, with such a force and in such a quantity, that it was forming foam at the point of entry to the dam...
Also, the slope of the water-logged ground at
the back of the property directs the water
perfectly towards our dam - more gently, but

every drop helps...
Naturally, the water-logged ground around the dam is a dogs delight - he didn't care about bringing mud into the house and on my floors...

We had a (temporary) small island with a
Black Wattle tree in the centre
Stan the Man, the digger / loader driver who placed, and dug, our dam all those years ago, did a sterling job.  He couldn't have chosen a better place for it.
You wouldn't believe the weight of my
My boots got heavier and heavier - so heavy that lifting my leg almost caused my boot to come off my foot.

But - yet another surprise awaited us on the Sunday morning.  I woke up, and wrapped in my winter gown, clutching my cup of tea, I walked out onto the patio.  What did I spy in the dam but...

... a duck!  Our first wild duck in our dam LOL  What excitement!

You're very welcome, Mr or Mrs Duck.  Please - bring your family for a visit, and you're welcome to stay as long as you like :)  There will be plenty of mozzies for you to eat, as well as a plentiful supply of frogs...

My poor old compost heap - got completely submerged again.  There cannot be any goodness left in that compost heap - it must surely have all washed away...?
Drowned compost heap
A final picture of the snow on the mountains this past winter - a complete contradiction with the desert-loving aloe in the foreground and the white, snow-topped mountains forming such a stunning backdrop.
Aloes in front of the snow-capped mountains
Absolutely awe-inspiring and surreal.  We are so blessed.

There is still water in our dam, albeit not as much.  But, at least the dam is holding rain water - for the first time... :)


  1. Nothing like a good wet spell to let you know where to put things like compost piles. All a work in progress. It's exciting to see this all come together. enjoy!

    1. Sue - Isn't that a fact!

      Enjoy your break, and congrats on your anniversary :)

  2. I enjoyed the end of winter tour. Happy spring planting.

    1. Mrs Mac - I'm planting (and harvesting broad beans) like mad...

  3. The joys of spring. Things are looking pretty messy down your way Dani. I suppose you'll be wishing for cooler places soon.

    1. FCH - Yup, you've got right. All dry here for the mo', but tomorrow is predicted to be in the early 30oC :)

  4. congrats on the duck, Dani! you are like us - we always welcome any specie that chooses to live on our land - having your own little mini eco-system is wonderful! and tell Rman that he did a great job with the trench!

    your friend,

    1. kymber - I'm also hoping the ducks eat the ruddy slugs too LOL Yeah, not too shabby a trench - clever man. But the digger loader had to be called in - wet clay is v-e-r-y heavy and very sticky. Impossible for a man to move 100 mtrs of the stuff on his own :)

  5. Duck in your garden much better than the snake my gardner discovered in mine, near the pond, yesterday! Laura

    1. Laura - Welcome and thank you for taking the time to leave a comment :)

      Yeah, we've been there, and done that, too - and a Cape Cobra at that LOL(http://ecofootprintsa.blogspot.com/2012/01/look-who-paid-us-visit.html) Scary - but one of those things, because we are, after all, invading their territory.

  6. How exciting! Its wonderful to see the dam filling up and birds coming for a visit. We have a gorgeous family of wild ducks that are around most days in our dam. This morning while I was planting trees, I saw a cormorant and an ibis as well. So gorgeous! Enjoy the wet. We haven't had rain is Brisbane for two months - not a drop. But with plenty of tanks, we're doing fine.

    1. Sandy - RMan would be thrilled if a family of wild ducks took residence in our dam. We have had a Blue Crane, and hares as well as a Honey Badger (we think) visit our dam so far :)

      We're heading for the (hot) dry season now...

  7. what a great dam and nice to see it in action, especially when it works so well. And how great to have a duck drop by. My mud boots get completely cakes like that when we get a lot of rain too. I am always SO amazed at how heavy they are. We don't have anywhere near the amount of land you do so that makes my outside wandering a lot less.

    You had asked me (months ago I admit) about a stamping set that I used to do the spoon stamping I posted about. The name of the set was by Tekton and it was a 5/32" size with 36 pieces. here is a link on Amazon to the set so you can see it.


    1. Emily - Thanks for the link - bless you for remembering :)

      Yeah, scary how heavy clay is...


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