28 December 2010

Dog blog.

The Maremma puppies are now three days old and still haven't opened their eyes. They are just too cute for words and we are spending oh so much time watching them and discussing them. When we left home earlier today for the first time since they were born, I missed them and couldn't wait to get back to them to see what they were up to.

Mostly all they do is feed and sleep, but they have also started to make little squeaky barking noises and sort of drag them selves along the ground if they get too far from their mama.

And today they started to wag their tails too (see above pic). This mostly happens when they are feeding and is too cute for words.

And their Willow mama adores them. She has taken a few quick walks away from them to eat and dust bathe and dig but constantly looks back to them and rushes back the moment she sees one of us touching them or if one of them cries.

She does not like us cuddling them at all and watches us and sometimes cries until we give them back to her.

A few times I have seen her try to pick one up in her jaw to move it but she has quickly put them down. I wonder if she'll bite the skin at the back of their necks to carry them or is that only with cats?

So apart from the farm chores and some berry picking, that's what's been going on here at Daylesford Organics for the past few days. Real work, hopefully ploughing up some vegie beds if its dry enough, resumes tomorrow.

The farm shop which was meant to reopen in January will remain closed until further notice due to the flooding and the delayed planting.

Bye for now.

26 December 2010


Last night at 7pm, after a day of pacing the backyard and digging holes to lie in, Willow the maremma had her first puppy. A girl called Joey.

It was wonderful to watch her doing her thing. Even though it was her first litter, she knew to lick the puppy to clean her and to stimulate her into life, she knew to bite the umbilical cord and to eat the placenta.

Joey came out wet and mucky, above, and pretty soon she had her clean and fluffy, below.

There was a stage before the first one was born where all we could see sticking out of her vagina was Joey's pink nose and mouth, it was so scary and exciting and we were all crying.

She went on to have another girl at 9pm, a boy at 11pm, another boy at 1am, one over night and her sixth this morning at 8am.

Willow has been so patient and silent and calm during the process.

Its now three hours since the last puppy was born and she's finally put her head down and closed her eyes. She must be exhausted. The puppies on the other hand are feeding and jostling each other out of the way and clambering over her and all without even opening their eyes.

It has been such an honour to be allowed to witness such an incredible life event.

Congratulations Willow!

22 December 2010


With all the rain we've been having, I worried that the strawberries would be a big, soggy, mushy mess this year. But thankfully, we've had our best crop ever!

Masses of the delicious, red fruit.

You can't help but smile whilst harvesting them, and eating them. Its a bit like 'one for the bucket, three for me...'

There are lots of picking helpers too when we are harvesting such a delicious crop.

Thanks Mum and Dad!


So far there's been many, many strawberries eaten, one and a half kilos turned into eight jars of jam and still more put aside for ice cream.

Is there a better way to start the day than with strawberry jam on toast?
I don't think so.

And don't forget we'll be at The Slow Food Farmers' Market at The Abbotsford Convent in Melbourne tomorrow evening (Thurs 23rd) from 3pm-8pm with the freshest, most delicious free range organic eggs and garlic.

Have a great Wednesday!

15 December 2010

Misters October.

When you buy a copy of this week's The Weekly Times you get a dog calendar as a free gift. The calendar is full of gorgeous photos of man's best friend.

When October 2011 comes around, you get to look at our Farmer Bren and Bingo for the whole month. Now that's something to look forward to.

Our calendar is already hanging in the kitchen open on October which is making our two little October babies just a bit excited thinking they might have birthdays all year through.

In other exciting news, we've started harvesting our garlic.

We've spent the past few days while the sun has been shining pulling up the glorious, juicy bulbs.

We've got many rows left to harvest, but I have to tell you that it feels great to stop worrying about the wet and the locusts and to focus on something positive for a while. Great!

After we pull up a row, we rack it all up to cure for a few weeks.

You can get your hands on the best, most delicious garlic in town, at the Slow Food Farmers' Market next Thursday the 23rd of December at The Abbotsford Convent from 3pm-8pm.

Garlic toast for dinner tonight I think.

See ya!

08 December 2010

Indi's duck eggs.

Every evening after dinner but before bed time, our Indi takes a walk through the forest to the ducks. When she arrives they are expecting her and are waiting noisily up by the fence. She feeds them their dinner, she cleans out their water, she makes sure they are all healthy and accounted for and she closes them into the area where their food and house is and out of the dam.

Early every morning before school, our Indi walks back to the ducks, she collects the eggs and lets them into the area with the dam so they can spend the day the swimming and splashing around.

Last Saturday Indi designed a label for her duck egg cartons.

And last Sunday she sold her first three half dozens.

This lady was her first ever customer. I think she was as excited as we all were.

This Saturday Indi will be setting up her duck eggs stall next to our chook egg stall at The Collingwood Children's Farm Farmers' Market. Her duck eggs are certified organic and free range and delicious.

Why don't you come and see her and try some for yourself?

03 December 2010

Your local farmer's market.

Please do me a favour and visit your local farmers' market this weekend.

So many farmers are doing it tough right now. After 10 years of drought, over the past few weeks we have had hundreds of mls of rain at the wrong time, humidity and unseasonably cool temperatures.

The start of the season looked so promising, like the best season in years. But since then nothing has gone to plan. Top soil has been washed away, stone fruit has swollen and split, crops are rotting in soggy soils and I don't even want to think about what damage the hail storm that has just passed through central Victoria will do.

So please go and visit your local farmers' market this weekend. Say g'day to the farmer who has gotten up early, driven to town and set up a stall to sell you the freshest, most delicious produce. Plan your weekend's menu around it, make an outing of it, take the kids or the grand parents and don't forget your brolly.

Farmer Bren will be selling the best eggs in town at The Melbourne Show ground Farmers' Market on Sunday and I know he'd love to see you.

28 November 2010

The Big Wet.

We've had 120ml of rain since Wednesday night.
I think the drought we've been living in for the last ten years has broken.

We've had enough now, thanks!
More than enough!

This is the farm stall where we sell our fruit, veg and eggs.

This is the farm shop car park.

This is the shop garden that Bren ploughed up last week in preparation for the new season's planting.

This is The Short Creek Paddock, again freshly ploughed.
And the tyre swing.

This was the driveway into our place.
This morning all our guests had to leave their cars on this side and wade their way across.

This is Farmer Bren checking to see where his beloved top soil has been washed away to.

This is our new waterfall.
Muskvalley Falls has a nice ring to it.

Certified organic trout?? Rice??

This is where I stood to photograph the flood waters and almost got knocked over by the current.

This is where I left my car at the bottom of our hill, afraid to drive any further.

And this is my Farmer Boy going to check out the damage, trying his hardest to remain optimistic despite the fact that more rain is forecast this week and we probably won't be able to plant a vegie crop this year.

Bring on Summer, I say.

25 November 2010

Organic inspection.

This is Doune (left).

Doune has come to Daylesford Organics today to perform our annual NASAA (National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia) inspection.

As a Certified Organic farm, each year we are visited at least once by an inspector who comes to ensure that we are complying with all the NASAA standards.

This inspector reviews all our records from the past year. This includes all our planting, harvesting and sales records, as well as proof that everything bought onto the farm as an input was Certified Organic.

Doune will also have a physical look around and may take some tissue or soil samples to make sure there are no risks from contamination or other potential problems.
There are three elements that are linked in the certification process and they are the people, the land and the product. A combination of all three is an organic management plan.

For the past seven years we have been Certified Organic with NASAA and have the license number 3500. It's a lot of work and a lot of record keeping but we are proud of our certification and like that it gives our customers confidence in who we are and how we are growing.

19 November 2010

Farming our future.

Over the past few weeks I have overheard Bren on the phone to different restaurants around Melbourne telling them how due to the large amounts of rain and the cold Spring whether, that our season is really late this year and we may not have any produce until mid January.

You'd think he would be stressed about not producing anything yet, about letting them down and about constantly having to deliver the same bad news.

But he's not.

After almost ten year of working in so closely with Mother Nature, he knows that she is calling the shots and there's nothing he can do about it.

I also know that to my husband what grows above the surface and what is harvested from the plants is an added bonus. What he really cares about is what is going on below the ground. He is obsessed with the health of his soil. I have heard him talking on more than one occasion about taking a few years off from growing stuff and just focusing completely on his beloved soil and compost.

I also know that he is looking at the bigger picture.While I am concentrating on what we will have to take to the farmers' market this weekend, he is looking way down the track into the future months and the years to come. He speaks often of the olden day farmers who would get one bumper crop about every seven years. Growing a crop takes so much out of the soil that he wants to make sure he is putting as much, if not more, back in.

Any minute now the ground will dry out, the boys will work the soil and plant the seeds and then there will be the never ending cycle of weeding and picking and planting but for now we are just waiting, watching, planning, composting and enjoying our children, the next generation.

Have a great weekend every one.

And there's an interview with me over at Thea and Sami today if you want to go and check it out.

13 November 2010

Mercurio's menu tonight.

I don't know about the rest of the world, but here in Victoria, Australia it is raining cats and dogs. We've had 33mm so far this weekend and it doesn't look like its stopping any time soon.

So when its so wet and horrible outside, what better way to spend the late afternoon than getting cozy inside and watching the episode of Mercurio's Menu filmed in Daylesford last March.

Its on channel 7 at 5.30pm tonight.

I blogged it way back here.

I wonder if you'll read my blog differently after you have heard my speaking voice.

Keep warm and dry out there and have a great weekend.

10 November 2010

Four things.

As well as the usual farm jobs, there have been some new and exciting things going on at Daylesford Organics lately.

The first one being this new/old truck that Bren drove home from Seymour last night. He had to get a special license to be allowed to drive it. It has a cool room in the side and storage in the back. It doesn't have a radio though. Yet.

I think the best part about the new truck is its number plate.
It makes me feel like a real farmer.

Second, is the load of our new personalised cardboard boxes that arrived this morning. Don't they look great! Its so much fun to pack our orders in them rather than in the generic apple boxes we've been using for the past ten years.

From now on all our egg, vegetable and fruit orders will go out in Daylesford Organics boxes.

The third thing is that Pierre turned 27 yesterday!
Hip hip hooray!

And fourthly and finally, Farmer Bren will be at Collingwood Children's Farm Farmers' Market this Saturday the 13th of November from 8am-1pm selling the best eggs in town.

Hopefully he'll see you there.